Verizon Business Offers Tips on How to Secure Cloud Storage

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-06-21
 
 
 

Verizon Business, which launched a cloud storage service June 15, is already presenting itself as a cloud expert by advising companies on how to best secure data in a cloud service.

Verizon, which has had the physical setup for online data storage for a long while but took its time bringing it to market, is using Nirvanix's core system to provide the basic Verizon Cloud Storage service and is adding a suite of data-retention IT consulting services to go with it.

There's no question that security is clearly the No. 1 barrier to widespread adoption of cloud-type systems-whether they be subscriptions to public cloud services or the building of a private corporate cloud system behind a firewall.

IDC, in one recent example, reported at its Cloud Leadership Forum June 14 that about half of surveyed enterprises are still grappling with concerns about data integrity, recovery and privacy, as well as regulatory compliance in a cloud environment.

At the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Washington, held June 21through June 23, Verizon will provide the following best-practices tips for businesses:

Evaluate your goals. Before deciding to move your IT services to the cloud, understand the business benefits you want to achieve. Typical benefits include: reducing the time and effort to launch new applications, enabling IT to become more responsive to the needs of the business, and lowering capital expenditures.

Perform a risk-benefit analysis to determine if a move into the cloud is appropriate for the business. A few questions to consider: What are the possible scenarios should the data be compromised? What processes would be jeopardized if the cloud service failed?

Perform due diligence. Once the business is committed to the cloud model, determine which deployment model-public, private or hybrid-best meets the business' requirements.

Choose wisely. When selecting a partner to deliver services via the cloud, select a partner with a heritage in both IT and security services. Verify that risk mitigation is part of the provider's security practice. Pick a service provider that can integrate IT, security and network services, as well as provide robust service-performance assurances.

Neutral third parties can provide guidance on picking a partner. The Cloud Security Alliance, which promotes the use of best practices for securing the cloud, offers a list of corporate members. For a blog entry on a list of questions to ask a prospective partner, click here.

Take a good look at your storage provider. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, the top security threat associated with the cloud is data loss and leakage. As such, how well the provider protects sensitive data is paramount.

Analyze the provider's ability to deliver the same types of controls that would usually be done in-house-physical security, logical security, encryption, change management and business continuity and disaster recovery. Also, verify that the provider engages in safe data handling with documented backup, availability and destruction procedures.

Consider using a hybrid security model. Incorporate a mix of services delivered in the cloud and on premises. This can help allay data security and privacy concerns as well as leverage legacy investments.

Compliance is paramount at all levels. Investing in the cloud and focusing on security can all be for naught if compliance initiatives are not met. Additionally, many regulations, such as the PCI Data Security Standard, include best practices that enhance a company's security posture. Communicate relevant regulations to your cloud provider, and work with the provider to facilitate compliance.

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