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The State Of Data Centres And Data Security, In Conversation With Sudhindra Holla

From protecting the data centre building to securing the firmware, an integrated effort to mitigate risks is important.

Axis Communications offers intelligent solutions based on sight, sound and analytics to improve security and optimise business performance for a broad spectrum of industry segments and applications to enable a smarter and safer world. Headquartered in Sweden, the company has been operating for over 35 years.

Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Sudhindra Holla, Director, Axis Communications, India & SAARC, to understand how the company combines human imagination with intelligent technologies and offers solutions based on analytics, sound and sight to optimise business solutions.

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AIM: What is the current status of data centres in India, and what are the instances of attacks on data centres in India in the last few years?

Sudhindra: According to a report by Research and Markets, India still has a nascent data centre market when compared to the rest of APAC. However, it is expected to witness an investment of up to USD 8 billion by 2026. India has 23 unique third-party data centres around 80 facilities and several on-premises data centres owned by local enterprises. The Government of India’s initiatives to build Digital India has also aided the development of data centres in the country.

One of the recent data centre attacks we witnessed was the cyber-attack on Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in 2020. A multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Hyderabad had to shut down its production facilities across the world due to a data breach. Earlier this year, Air India also suffered a massive data breach as a result of which all data on personal details of passengers, including credit card information, had been compromised.

AIM: In order to provide security to data centres, what all AI and analytics technology do you employ?

Sudhindra: AI and data analytics are at the core of ensuring security to data centres. Axis deploys Secure Boot to enhance the cybersecurity aspect of the cameras. Secure Boot is a built-in firmware intelligence that keeps a check on the quality of the parameters required by the video management system. It acts as the gatekeeper to the surveillance system. Axis cameras also notify if there is any tampering in the hardware and reboot itself to shut down and prevent any breach. 

Analytics is a commonly used technology in video surveillance. It is deployed to install intelligent video motion detection capability in cameras, which alerts users on the time, type and intention of the servers entering the core areas of the data centre. Features like loop intelligent video and motion reduction help clear scrubbing data and analyse information with video management.

Data centres also require strong perimeter protection to safeguard the petabyte of information, the expensive equipment and the infrastructure that is used. Axis provides automatic perimeter protection by combining thermal cameras, fixed cameras, and audio enabled PVC cameras to detect any possible movement near the perimeter. This, in turn, allows integration wherein alerts and notifications to the command-and-control centre can also be automated. 

AIM: What role does CCTV surveillance play in securing data centres?

Sudhindra: Data has become one of the world’s most valuable commodities. An integrated, multi-layered approach is essential to securing data centres from the perimeter to the core. Threats like the usage of drones to monitor a data centre for planning an attack can be serious, and hence, video monitoring should also encompass drone detection. 

Network video surveillance with license plate recognition technology ensures only authorised people on entering the site. To complement the system, technologies like radar detection can be used to track animate objects, animals, and people across expansive sites. Radar combined with network audio can also be used to manage people entering prohibited zones remotely. In the server room and racks, surveillance is critical to prevent breachers from implanting malware or spyware in the system. High-resolution cameras can be installed to pan and zoom when the entrances are compromised automatically. Access control technology and video verification can be used to access racks while creating an audit trail of individuals who have been inside earlier. 

AIM: Who are your potential customers, and what makes you stand out in the market?

Sudhindra: Innovation is an important pillar of our core culture. We believe that innovation enhances the efficiency of our products and services that allow customers flexibility and convenience and thus propels our growth. Aligning our business strategies to the sustainable development goals, we ensure to build green cameras that not only offer lesser power consumption but compress videos saving 30-50% storage space which can then be used by data centres for its other storage purposes. 

Data centres have always been important, but with the growth of cloud services, virtualisation, and hyperscale computing, many organisations now depend on them for day-to-day business operations. We provide multi-layered security to protect these critical assets, from the perimeter to the server racks. We deliver secure, comprehensive data centre surveillance to monitor the premises with fewer manned patrols. Edge analytics take Axis hardware to a higher level, helping in efficiently detecting and resolving incidents in all areas of the data centres.

We additionally ensure that the cameras have a quicker process of cooling which is critical for the segment. Additionally, the videos are encrypted on our cameras – thus making our cameras very safe, robust and cyber secure.   

AIM: Which all other sectors have tried and tested your solutions? Who are your competitors in the market?

Sudhindra: We have had a strong pan India presence since our inception here for over a decade. We cater to several industry verticals like smart city, hospitality, retail, commercial, transportation, education, and healthcare apart from government-initiated projects. We have collaborated with Kolkata Police, Salt Lake Stadium, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, and Hyderabad police, to deploy our products and solutions. We have also been associated with various government PWD projects like the PWD Western Court. Our other collaborations include Café Coffee day, Ceat Tyres, Mindtree, Mahindra and Mahindra, and Fortis Hospital, to name a few. 

AIM: Securing data is of utmost importance; what sort of security is provided to avoid data theft, and who will access them?

Sudhindra: Data centres need to be protected both externally and internally. Breaches often start with physical access. From protecting the data centre building to securing the firmware, an integrated effort to mitigate risks is important. To protect cameras from vulnerability, we integrate the firmware ourselves to ensure cybersecurity. The firmware is loaded and packed into carton boxes by Axis, and if anyone tries to tamper with the firmware, it reboots itself to prevent data from being compromised. 

To prevent illegal access to the data centre building, access control technology enables video verification of visitors and credentials through identity cards or mobile phones to allow access to only specific individuals with authorisation. Video surveillance safeguards the security of the entire building, the people inside, and the operations of the data centre.

AIM: As far as the pandemic is concerned, have you seen a rise in demand for your services? What are your future plans to extend them?

Sudhindra: The pandemic has reinforced the concept of working remotely. This has led to the increased need for strengthening perimeter security with reduced manpower present at the premises. Catering to the need of the hour, we have offered numerous solutions that increase security, maximise business performance and operational efficiency, and, above all, allow us to carry on with our daily business while protecting ourselves and the people around us – today and tomorrow. We have thus seen an increase in the uptake of products and solutions due to the increasing demand for remote monitoring solutions. 

As per our service agreement, all our products come with a five-year warranty. The customer can opt for software and hardware upgradation as and when required. Thus, instead of providing an annual service model, we provide support in case of complications arising at the time of installation or faulty cameras through email, phone, or chat support, apart from ensuring holistic support by our customers.

We are more focused on strengthening our end-to-end solutions. Next year, we are also looking at launching AXIS Control and a new series of explosion-protected cameras in India. We are also building on creating a robust ecosystem for our thermal cameras and services. 

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kumar Gandharv
Kumar Gandharv, PGD in English Journalism (IIMC, Delhi), is setting out on a journey as a tech Journalist at AIM. A keen observer of National and IR-related news.

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