Asia's Source for Enterprise Network Knowledge

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Data Center and Infrastructure

Evolving cybersecurity threats and how enterprises can stay ahead

Digitally transforming enterprises are now able to seamlessly integrate a myriad of service providers and business partners globally through diverse private interconnections. Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index volume 2 (GXI2) pointed out that bandwidth to support enterprises’ interconnections to cloud and IT providers in Asia Pacific, for instance, will have grown at a 51% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2021 as businesses expand their digital ecosystems.

Similarly, enterprises are expected to increase and diversify interconnections to network providers to optimize network topology for digital business; financial services providers to transact and exchange payments digitally; content providers to drive customer-first digital experiences; and supply chain partners for digital transformation. These direct interconnections will not only drive bandwidth demand up significantly but also underscore the critical need for secure and compliant data exchange. 

The escalating risk and cost of cybersecurity breaches and the dispersion of data across multiple clouds and third-party providers have led businesses to rethink the internet as the preferred mode of data traffic exchange, increasingly bypass it in favor of private, direct connections.Equinix’s GXI2 predicts that by 2021, global Interconnection bandwidth will grow to 8,200+ Tbps at a five-year CAGR of 48%, versus the expected 26% CAGR of global IP traffic. 

Amid changing data protection laws and heightened privacy concerns, Equinix predicts that enterprises will have to consider new data management techniques that operate seamlessly on encrypted data. Indeed, one of the preferred security controls for sensitive data in the cloud is encryption. 

“However, generating and managing encryption keys remains a big challenge for enterprises of all sizes due to a variety of reasons such as lack of staff, complexity, and questions regarding what groups are responsible for the key management function,” noted Garrett Bekker, principal analyst in the Information Security Practice at 451 Research. 

Keeping keys safe

Addressing this issue, Equinix, the global interconnection and data center company, has simplified data protection across any cloud or destination with a global key management and encryption software as a service (SaaS) offering. The Equinix SmartKey, which will be available in Singapore soon, leverages Equinix's globally interconnected platform of 200 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in 52 markets to securely generate and host encryption keys separate from, but in close proximity to, the data located across hybrid networks and multi-cloud environments.

The SaaS solution – developed in partnership with startup Fortanix that provided the underlying Hardware Security Module (HSM) technology – leverages Platform Equinix’s global presence and scale to deliver key management that is secure and easy to manage with minimal latency. 

Equinix SmartKey is uniquely positioned to improve security for multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud and distributed environments by separating the encryption keys from the data, so that both keys and data are not held by the same entity. Encryption keys can be managed across disparate regions, countries and partners. Yet, enterprises can maintain data and encryption keys in the same region or country in support of data sovereignty and regulatory requirements.

With security policy enforcement at the edge, enterprises can improve corporate governance and provide optimal performance. As a SaaS offering, SmartKey also simplifies the provisioning, storage and management of keys in any public, private, hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Yet, the HSM-grade security service features built-in encryption and tokenization with Equinix in the process of obtaining FIPS 140-2 level 3 certification for the service.

“Equinix is relying on its highly distributed network and proximity to cloud suppliers to apply security consistently and with minimal latency – which should be particularly appealing for enterprise customers pursuing multi-cloud strategies, as well as cloud and hosting suppliers that lack the resources to offer their own encryption and key management services,” added Bekker, who authored a 451 Research report on the solution.

Digital potential

“Services such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) Fabric and SmartKey are enablers of the digital business models and economy as they facilitate the secure hosting and transaction of data between an enterprise organization’s globally distributed infrastructure or its digital supply chain counter-parties,” said Hisham Muhammad, Director of Global Solution Architects at Equinix Asia Pacific. 

“As we evolve our global footprint or platform to seize new business opportunities, we are focused on delivering new services and enabling new ecosystems around hybrid and multi-cloud,” Hisham said. “The growth strategies are around building global interconnection and commerce enablement platforms that look at strategic capabilities and ecosystems that support this growth model. 

“These platform and interconnection capabilities are targeted at enabling new digital commerce transactions or flows of data. It is important to realize that as new business models emerge, so will the use cases that adopt these models, and these cycles lead to long term market opportunities that is much more durable.”

Colocation at an Equinix IBX data center is not required to use the SmartKey service, and customers can trial the service via a no commitment 30-day trial.

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Equinix.