New Innovative Encryption Methods for the Modern Data Center

Data security has long relied on traditional tools such as anti-virus software, intrusion detection protocols, firewalls and even physical measures, but what happens when these methods don’t keep hackers out or they strike while information is being transferred between data centers? Critical information such as intellectual property and confidential records is always vulnerable, especially with higher data transmission volumes and movement of information from data centers to third-party sites. Fortunately, new encryption techniques to answer such challenges have developed within the last several years.

New Challenges, New Dangers

The multinational technology giant Cisco predicts that cloud data center traffic will comprise around 95 percent of total data center usage by 2021. Even so, many enterprises will keep at least some of their traditional data centers for a wide range of reasons, including security concerns and reducing liability. These realities, plus the continued uptrend in the amount of data users create and consume, explain the vast amounts of data traffic that still flow through data centers and to third-party providers. In the absence of solid encryption, anyone with the time, skills and patience can hack in and compromise a network.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 2017 was a record year for data breaches. The nonprofit organization reported 1,579 incidents that year, a substantial increase from the 1,091 reported in 2016. Although these stats can fluctuate annually, one truth is clear: compromised data security remains a consistent threat. Under the shadow of constant, it’s no wonder that many IT professionals now work under the assumption that their networks have already been breached.

Packet Layer Vs. Optical Layer Methods

Encryption technology specifically developed to handle data in transit usually appears in two formats: packet layer encrypting and optical layer encrypting. Packet layer encrypting was once regarded as the most optimal method, but its use with extremely high volumes of data transfer can result in several problems:

  • The requirement of a dedicated L2 encrypting device
  • Difficulties with key management
  • Increased retrieval times
  • Inefficiencies in bandwidth usage

Even worse, these inefficiencies can exponentially increase as information travels over longer distances through 10G, 100G and 200G waves. On the other hand, optical layer encrypting may be a better solution for modern data centers. With this lowest layer of encryption integrated immediately into the transport network, this method offers its own unique benefits:

  • No additional hardware needed
  • 100 percent throughput in the transport layer
  • Easier implementation
  • Significantly reduced delays in data retrieval

Innovative Technologies for Shifting Realities

Handling in-flight data remains an important part of any enterprise’s total IT security solution. As serious breaches continue to make headlines, industry experts debate whether hackers are always ahead of the curve with more sophisticated tools and methods. Moreover, modern data centers face a constantly shifting environment as bandwidth demands from users surge upward and third-party providers play a larger role in information storage and transfer. Under these conditions, concerns over improving data security are especially salient. Fortunately, encryption technologies have advanced significantly with the addition of optical layer protocols that boost efficiency, potentially speed up transfer rates and help secure sensitive information.