With the beginning of the new financial year only days away, data center security is being seen as a vital aspect of ongoing business practices. According to a recently released report, more and more companies now deem it to add value to their transactions, with IT decision makers at organizations of all sizes now looking to upgrade or transform their data center capabilities.

The survey, which was conducted by QuinStreet Enterprise, showed that 88 percent of all respondents would be making investments in their data center strategy, with 36 percent of those interviewed describing their current facilities – either through an internal infrastructure or a managed hosting facility – as a work-in-progress. More than 320 IT professionals and company executives took part in the 2014 Data Center Outlook poll, many of whom cited security as their main concern.

“The data center is changing,” the report said. “No longer perceived as merely a cost center, today’s data center is expected to add value to the enterprise. For this to occur, investment in new technologies to modernize the data center is essential.”

The importance of modernization
Data center security has been at the forefront of attention for some time, especially in the private sector and while the survey didn’t throw up any hugely surprising views or opinions, it appears that the modernization of these vitally important facilities was at the top of the agenda. Around 74 percent of respondents saw enhanced security as the number one reason for upgrading their current systems or protocols, with improved uptime/availability and IT resource usage also scoring highly.

Naturally enough, those surveyed saw a number of potential barriers to modernization ahead – both financial and technical. According to the authors of the report, 58 percent of respondents saw security compliance as a challenge itself, with 51 percent revealing that an inadequate budget may hinder progress. Server virtualization was also a major factor, with 46 percent answering that their data centers were already employing this consolidation and optimization technique.

In terms of transformative technologies being introduced into existing or planned data centers, the survey found storage virtualization accounted for 29 percent while 26 percent claimed that energy-efficient hardware was a key factor. The influence of the cloud was also seen to be important, although only 19 percent of interviewees dependent on that model of delivery within their company format. However, 77 percent of respondents noted that they relied upon the cloud to deliver enhanced security, a sign that the technology will continue to grow in the coming months and years.

Making decisions
When it came to making decisions on how data center security should be implemented within the organization itself, the study noted that 63 percent of IT managers and 39 percent of business managers were the ones that had the final say. However, only 40 percent of those identified employees were in charge of approving budgets for acquiring hardware or software.

Finally, the top information resource for learning about where and when to invest in a data center upgrade was found to be, unsurprisingly, tech-related content sites. According to Baseline, these accounted for 60 percent of all upgrade-centric requests, with peers/colleagues or networking garnering scores of 56 and 55 percent, respective.