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A Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity Begins at the Design Stage

The prevalence of cyberthreats has grown exponentially in recent years, buoyed by extensive digitalization, heterogeneous IT infrastructure and hybrid work models. According to Dell Technologies’ Breakthrough Study, three out of four (77.3%) IT leaders in Asia Pacific and Japan believe their organizations are more exposed to cyberattacks given the evolving work environment.1

The stakes of cybersecurity are higher than ever, and gaps can lead to significant financial, business and reputational consequences for businesses.

The importance of cyber resilience
To keep pace with the rapidly changing digital and IT landscape, organizations must continue to evolve their cybersecurity strategies. The traditional perimeter-based defenses of yesteryear have largely been rendered obsolete, as businesses acknowledge that such solutions are no longer adequate as a threat-prevention strategy. To stymie continuing waves of cyberattacks and thrive in this environment, they need to embrace comprehensive approaches better suited for an increasingly remote workforce, modern hybrid infrastructures and multicloud deployments, which are now commonplace.

Instead of trying to stop every threat, businesses are now turning to a holistic blend of capabilities, including proactive threat intelligence and monitoring, security incident and event management, and endpoint protection. They must also conduct regular assessments of their current state to ensure readiness for potential cyberattacks.

A key tenet of this approach is the concept of cyber resilience, which is what allows businesses to recover from and continue operating in the face of cyberattacks. Building a cyber-resilient architecture isn’t a matter of bolting on standalone capabilities at whim. Rather, it begins with having the right foundational technologies to address the security of endpoint devices, the network, storage and the organization’s data. 

Security by design
One often underappreciated aspect of cyber resilience is the physical systems that undergird all IT infrastructure. The importance of robust physical security measures cannot be overstated: It is the reason data centers are designed with extensive security measures against unauthorized access. In the same vein, even the most advanced software mechanisms would be moot should the underlying system be compromised.

“A hardened server is not a luxury but a vital foundation to minimize the attack surface and increase security against potential security threats,” says Chris Kelly, Dell Technologies’ senior vice president for data center solutions in Asia Pacific and Japan.  “To reduce the risk and protect their businesses as part of a multilayer approach, organizations typically implement several security measures, such as the timely installation of patches and updates, disabling of unnecessary services, and setting up intrusion detection systems and firewalls to strengthen the server’s defenses against common cyberthreats.”

To be effective, any hardening of server hardware and firmware should be done at the architecture level during the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought. This should be further bolstered by hardware-level capabilities such as secure memory encryption and virtualization-specific defenses to protect against both internal and external threats.

Role of automation in enhancing server security
Automation can help infrastructure teams significantly reduce time, effort and mistakes related to data center operations, Kelly says. “The presence of remote telemetry can enhance monitoring and management, boosting productivity while removing the potential for oversights,” he notes. “Together, automation and remote telemetry can shorten overall response times and make it possible to quickly identify problems and solve them without impacting operations.”

Supply chain security is also vital. The proliferation of advanced cyberattacks means businesses must be far more conscious of the need to protect their supply chains today. As a result, companies across various industries are implementing risk assessment protocols and seeking partnerships with trusted suppliers.

Two industry-leading supply chain security features are Secured Component Verification (SCV) and Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). SCV allows businesses to validate that systems delivered are secure and that components and configurations at the time of manufacture conform to the specifications established by the customer—and remain so from the factory to the data center. It gives organizations a full view of the manufacturing process and allows them to scrutinize every layer of production for peace of mind at a much deeper level.

For its part, SBOM documents the components of the code used within a server and their origins. In the wake of widespread exposure to vulnerabilities, SBOM gives organizations better visibility into the libraries and modules used by the software powering their systems, whether open source or proprietary. This eliminates ambiguity and gives organizations the ability to identify the creator of every component in their stack. Developers can monitor systems for vulnerabilities and apply specific third-party security updates in a timely manner.

Designed from the ground up for cyber resilience
“The AMD strategy is to create hardware-enabled security technologies that can be implemented across any data center environment,” says Peter Chambers, managing director of sales at AMD Asia Pacific and Japan.

To keep pace with the growing threat landscape, organizations must adopt solutions and systems that take an intrinsic security approach. 

To help businesses keep pace with increasing workloads and the growing threat environment, Dell Technologies recently released a new generation of Dell PowerEdge Servers powered by 4th Generation AMD EPYC processors. With its unique secure processors, AMD offers multiple silicon-level capabilities to protect data.

“The AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) technology, part of AMD Infinity Guard, is an advanced hardware-based security feature that encrypts full system memory and individual virtual machine memory,” says Chambers. “AMD hardware helps to protect data while it is being processed and isolate it from malicious users with AMD’s unique secure processor baked into its CPUs.”

“We have evolved the built-in security features in our next-generation Dell PowerEdge servers to combat the growing cybersecurity threats,” Kelly adds. “These servers are anchored with Dell’s cyber-resilient architecture and include features like system lockdown, drift detection and multifactor authentication. It enables a more secure operation, with end-to-end boot resilience, helping to establish a data center with safety at its core.”

Protection of critical data is paramount to ensuring not just business continuity but also customer confidence. When facing an attack, organizations must be able to continue delivering services and protect the data customers have shared with them. This can happen only if they have the ability to manage and protect their systems securely and efficiently, allowing them to recover their data rapidly, with minimum downtime and assured integrity.

Ultimately, good security comes from strong collaboration among silicon vendors, cybersecurity vendors and server hardware providers like Dell Technologies. By building on a solid IT bedrock designed with security in mind, organizations are better positioned to proactively defend against and recover from cyberthreats.

For deeper insights into how Dell PowerEdge servers with 4th Generation AMD EPYC processors can help secure your environment, contact us today.

1The Breakthrough Study,” Dell Technologies, April 2022. Base: 10,500 respondents (senior IT and business decision-makers and employees involved in digital transformation projects) in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Japan, and Greater China.


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