Now that SSAE 16 has been upgraded to SSAE 18, it’s important to understand exactly what the SSAE 18 requirements are for your data center. An SSAE 18 certification can boost your reputation, increase trust with your vendors, and improve performance within your own company. But in order to reap those benefits, you need to have a data center that is SSAE 18 certified – which means you’ll need high-compliance IT support.
Why is it so important to have an SSAE 18 certified data center?
When a data center has an SSAE 18 certification, it receives a reputation boost from having the stamp of a reputable third party. An SSAE 18 certified data center has the best in security, customer service, and information security. These SSAE 18 certified data centers give your customers peace of mind in knowing that their sensitive data is safe with your data center.
In order to be SSAE 18 certified, a data center needs to take their security seriously. This includes both physical and digital security. SSAE 18 data centers need to have access control in terms of biometric scanning or security guards. Data center security needs to know exactly who is in the building at all times.
Biometric scanning uses biological traits, such as iris or fingerprint patterns, to discern who to let into the building and who does not have the proper security clearance. Security guards need to be present in order to provide extra security at entryways and throughout the building. They can play a vital role when an employee is fired or when an unauthorized person is let into the building.
SSAE 18 data centers also need to employ surveillance cameras as another form of security. Surveillance cameras can watch the perimeter of the facility property and alert security personnel when an unauthorized vehicle approaches. It can also provide a record of what happens at the facility in case an incident occurs.
An SSAE 18 data center needs to take care of their customers, along with their customers’ data. Too often information security companies get caught up in data protection and forget about the people that data belongs to.
SSAE 18, however, does not.
In order to be SSAE 18 certified, a data center needs to show that it is available for their customers when they’re needed. They need to provide upstanding customer service that includes being ready and able to take requests in a time-sensitive manner and handle their data responsibly.
Perhaps most importantly, an SSAE 18 certified data center needs to display that it processes client data with integrity and care.
Picture this. The data center where you’ve stored your companies most sensitive information didn’t use a power redundancy model and instead powered their servers with only one power supply. This data center has more servers hooked up to a breaker than the breaker can handle. When the electrical system is overloaded, several servers shut down without due process. Now you’ve lost some of your most critical data, all because the data center you used didn’t have the right processing integrity.
The SSAE 18 certification helps you avoid situations like this. SSAE 18 inspectors make sure data centers use a power redundancy model with two power supplies per server, each one capable of powering the system, and only one used at a time. Steps like this ensure that you won’t have to deal with the nightmare scenario above.
Data centers need to be adequately prepared to handle environmental factors if they want to be SSAE 18 certified. All data centers need to have suitable fire and water detection, as well as a protection plan in case an environmental emergency, such as a wildfire, should happen nearby.
Electricity and water don’t mix. An SSAE 18 certified data center needs to be prepared for a flood and have adequate protections in place for their client data. After all, having multiple power supplies won’t matter if they both short-circuit.
Temperature fluctuations can also be dangerous to the servers in a data center. If it’s too hot, the servers cooling fans will waste energy attempting to cool down equipment that will operate more slowly and have a reduced lifespan. It’s even possible to lose hard drives if the temperature in the server rooms is truly too hot.
It’s important to remember that an 80 degree server room means the internal equipment of a server will be even hotter.
Companies store their most sensitive data in a data center to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the information, sometimes in a remote location. A data center needs to uphold the confidentiality and integrity of the information in order to be certified.
This can include risks from user error, equipment failures, a lack of backup tapes, and inappropriate user access. Data centers can mitigate this by hiring employees with more training than your average IT department and by using security personnel and biometrics to limit user access only to those authorized to use a system.
The environmental protections required by SSAE 18 can mitigate the risks of equipment failures by regulating temperatures and using redundant power supplies. However, data centers must still be vigilant that all sensitive data is appropriately backed up with backup tapes and other means of protecting electronic security.
In short, if you’re looking to certify your data center with SSAE 18, then it’s time for changes for your data center. Or, better yet, work with an IT company who’s familiar with SSAE 18 requirements. Swift Systems has experience with SSAE certifications. We can provide you with the quality data center you need without the hassle. We’ll make receiving an SSAE certification easier than ever.
Make your certification process easier with Swift Systems. Contact us today.
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