Where Does Cyber Insurance Fit in Your Security Strategy?

Protection against cyber threats is recognized as a necessary component of an effective risk management approach, typically based on a well-known cybersecurity framework. A growing area to further mitigate risks and provide organizations with the high level of protection they need is cyber insurance. However, it’s not as simple as buying a pre-packaged policy. In fact, it’s critical to identify what risks and conditions are excluded from a cyber insurance policy before you buy.

Determining what kind of cyber insurance your business needs or if the policy you have will really cover you in the event of an incident is challenging. On August 27, 2020 the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) will host a live webcast, “Does Your Storage Need a Cyber Insurance Tune-Up?” where we’ll examine how cyber insurance fits in a risk management program.

We’ll identify key terms and conditions that should be understood and carefully negotiated as cyber insurance policies may not cover all types of losses.

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The Challenges IoT Brings to Storage and Data Strategy

Data generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing exponentially. More and more we are seeing compute and inference move to the edge. This is driven by the growth in capability to not only generate data from sensors, devices, and by people operating in the field, but also by the interaction between those devices.

This new source of IoT data and information brings with it unique challenges to the way we store and transmit data as well as the way we need to curate it. It’s the topic the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative will tackle at our live webcast on May 14, 2020, The influence of IoT on Data Strategy. In this webcast we will look at:

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Security and Privacy in the Cloud

When it comes to the cloud, security is always a topic for discussion. Standards organizations like SNIA are in the vanguard of describing cloud concepts and usage, and (as you might expect) are leading on how and where security fits in this new world of dispersed and publicly stored and managed data. On July 20th, the SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative is hosting a live webcast “The State of Cloud Security.” In this webcast, I will be joined by SNIA experts Eric Hibbard and Mark Carlson who will take us through a discussion of existing cloud and emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Analytics & Big Data, and more, and explain how we’re describing and solving the significant security concerns these technologies are creating. They will discuss emerging ISO/IEC standards, SLA frameworks and security and privacy certifications. This webcast will be of interest to managers and acquirers of cloud storage (whether internal or external), and developers of private and public cloud solutions who want to know more about security and privacy in the cloud.

Topics covered will include:

  • Summary of the standards developing organization (SDO) activities:
    • Work on cloud concepts, Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), an SLA framework, and cloud security and privacy
  • Securing the Cloud Supply Chain:
    • Outsourcing and cloud security, Cloud Certifications (FedRAMP, CSA STAR)
  • Emerging & Related Technologies:
    • Virtualization/Containers, Federation, Big Data/Analytics in the Cloud, IoT and the Cloud

Register today. We hope to see you on July 20th where Eric, Mark and I will be ready to answer your cloud security questions.

Learn How to Develop Interoperable Cloud Encryption and Access Control

SNIA Cloud is hosting a live webcast on December 20th, “Developing Interoperable Cloud Encryption and Access Control,” to discuss and demonstrate encrypted objects and delegated access control. For the data protection needs of sharing health and other data across different cloud services, this webcast will explore the capabilities of the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) in addressing these requirements and show implementations of CDMI extensions for a health care example.

See it in action! This webcast will include a demonstration by Peter van Liesdonk of Philips who will share the results of testing at the SDC 2016 Cloud Plugfest for Encrypted Objects and Delegated Access Control extensions to CDMI 1.1.1.

You’ll will see and learn:

  • New CDMI features (Encrypted Objects and Delegated Access Control)
  • Implementation experiences with new features
  • A live demo of a healthcare-based example

Register today. My colleagues, Peter van Liesdonk, David Slik and I will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have. We hope to see you there.

 

Q&A – OpenStack Mitaka and Data Protection

At our recent SNIA Webcast “Data Protection and OpenStack Mitaka,” Ben Swartzlander, Project Team Lead OpenStack Manila (NetApp), and Dr. Sam Fineberg, Distinguished Technologist (HPE), provided terrific insight into data protection capabilities surrounding OpenStack. If you missed the Webcast, I encourage you to watch it on-demand at your convenience. We did not have time to get to all of out attendees’ questions during the live event, so as promised, here are answers to the questions we received.

Q. Why are there NFS drivers for Cinder?

 A. It’s fairly common in the virtualization world to store virtual disks as files in filesystems. NFS is widely used to connect hypervisors to storage arrays for the purpose of storing virtual disks, which is Cinder’s main purpose.

 Q. What does “crash-consistent” mean?

 A. It means that data on disk is what would be there is the system “crashed” at that point in time. In other words, the data reflects the order of the writes, and if any writes are lost, they are the most recent writes. To avoid losing data with a crash consistent snapshot, one must force all recently written data and metadata to be flushed to disk prior to snapshotting, and prevent further changes during the snapshot operation.

Q. How do you recover from a Cinder replication failover?

 A. The system will continue to function after the failover, however, there is currently no mechanism to “fail-back” or “re-replicate” the volumes. This function is currently in development, and the OpenStack community will have a solution in a future release.

 Q. What is a Cinder volume type?

 A. Volume types are administrator-defined “menu choices” that users can select when creating new volumes. They contain hidden metadata, in the cinder.conf file, which Cinder uses to decide where to place them at creation time, and which drivers to use to configure them when created.

 Q. Can you replicate when multiple Cinder backends are in use?

 A. Yes

 Q. What makes a Cinder “backup” different from a Cinder “snapshot”?

 A. Snapshots are used for preserving the state of a volume from changes, allowing recovery from software or user errors, and also allowing a volume to remain stable long enough for it to be backed up. Snapshots are also very efficient to create, since many devices can create them without copying any data. However, snapshots are local to the primary data and typically have no additional protection from hardware failures. In other words, the snapshot is stored on the same storage devices and typically shares disk blocks with the original volume.

Backups are stored in a neutral format which can be restored anywhere and typically on separate (possibly remote) hardware, making them ideal for recovery from hardware failures.

 Q. Can you explain what “share types” are and how they work?

 A. They are Manila’s version of Cinder’s volume types. One key difference is that some of the metadata about them is not hidden and visible to end users. Certain APIs work with shares of types that have specific capabilities.

 Q. What’s the difference between Cinder’s multi-attached and Manila’s shared file system?

A. Multi-attached Cinder volumes require cluster-aware filesystems or similar technology to be used on top of them. Ordinary file systems cannot handle multi-attachment and will corrupt data quickly if attached more than one system. Therefore cinder’s multi-attach mechanism is only intended for fiesystems or database software that is specifically designed to use it.

Manilla’s shared filesystems use industry standard network protocols, like NFS and SMB, to provide filesystems to arbitrary numbers of clients where shared access is a fundamental part of the design.

 Q. Is it true that failover is automatic?

 A. No. Failover is not automatic, for Cinder or Manila

 Q. Follow-up on failure, my question was for the array-loss scenario described in the Block discussion. Once the admin decides the array has failed, does it need to perform failover on a “VM-by-VM basis’? How does the VM know to re-attach to another Fabric, etc.?

A. Failover is all at once, but VMs do need to be reattached one at a time.

 Q. What about Cinder? Is unified object storage on SHV server the future of storage?

 A. This is a matter of opinion. We can’t give an unbiased response.

 Q. What about a “global file share/file system view” of a lot of Manila “file shares” (i.e. a scalable global name space…)

 A. Shares have disjoint namespaces intentionally. This allows Manila to provide a simple interface which works with lots of implementations. A single large namespace could be more valuable but would preclude many implementations.

 

 

Data Protection and OpenStack Mitaka

Interested in data protection and storage-related features of OpenStack? Then please join us for a live SNIA Webcast “Data Protection and OpenStack Mitaka” on June 22nd. We’ve pulled together an expert team to discuss the data protection capabilities of the OpenStack Mitaka release, which includes multiple new resiliency features. Join Dr. Sam Fineberg, Distinguished Technologist (HPE), and Ben Swartzlander, Project Team Lead OpenStack Manila (NetApp), as they dive into:

  • Storage-related features of Mitaka
  • Data protection capabilities – Snapshots and Backup
  • Manila share replication
  • Live migration
  • Rolling upgrades
  • HA replication

Sam and Ben will be on-hand for a candid Q&A near the end of the Webcast, so please start thinking about your questions and register today. We hope to see you there!

This Webcast is co-sponsored by two groups within the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA): the Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI), and the Data Protection & Capacity Optimization Committee (DPCO).

 

On-Demand Cloud Storage Webcasts Worth Watching

As the SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) starts our 2016 with a new set of educational programs and webcasts on topics of interest to those developing, implementing & managing cloud storage, I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone of the vendor-neutral educational work the CSI has delivered in 2015.

I’m particularly proud of the work the CSI has done through BrightTalk (a web based content delivery platform) in producing live hour-long tutorials on a wide variety of subjects.

What you may not know is that these are also recorded, and you can play them back when it’s convenient to you. I know that we have a global audience, and that when we deliver the live version it may be in the middle of your busy working day – or even in the middle of the night.

As part of SNIA, the CSI supports the development of technical storage standards; and that means some of our audience are developers. For those of you that are interested in more technical presentations we had two developer focussed BrightTalks:

Hierarchical Erasure Coding: Making Erasure Coding Usable

This talk covered two different approaches to erasure coding – a flat erasure code across JBOD, and a hierarchical code with an inner code and an outer code; it compared the two approaches on different parameters that impact the IT business and provided guidance on evaluating object storage solutions.

Expert Panel: Cloud Storage Initiatives – An SDC Preview

At the 2015 Storage Developer Conference (SDC) we presented on a variety of topics:

  • Mobile and Secure – Cloud Encrypted Objects using CDMI
  • Object Drives: A new Architectural Partitioning
  • Unistore: A Unified Storage Architecture for Cloud Computing
  • Using CDMI to Manage Swift, S3, and Ceph Object Repositories

We discussed how encrypted objects can be stored, retrieved, and transferred between clouds, how Object Drives allow storage to scale up and down by single drive increments, end-user and vendor use cases of the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), and we introduced Unistore – an innovative unified storage architecture that efficiently integrates heterogeneous HDD and SCM devices for Cloud storage systems.

(As an added bonus, all these SDC 2015 presentations and others can be found here http://www.snia.org/events/storage-developer/presentations15.)

OpenStack has had a big year, and the CSI contributed to the discussion with:

OpenStack File Services for High Performance Computing

We looked at how OpenStack can consume and control file services appropriate to High Performance Compute in a cloud and multi-tenanted environment and investigated two approaches to integration. One approach is to have OpenStack manage the storage infrastructure services using Cinder, Nova and Neutron to provide HPC Filesystem as a Service. We also reviewed a second option of using Manila file services for OpenStack to control the HPC File system deployment and manage the exports etc. We discussed the development of the Lustre Manila driver and its current progress.

Hybrid clouds were also in the news. We delivered two sessions, specifically targeted at end users looking to understand the technologies:

Hybrid Clouds: Bridging Private & Public Cloud Infrastructures

Every IT consumer is using cloud in one form or another, and just as storage buyers are reluctant to select single vendor for their on-premises IT, they will choose to work with multiple public cloud providers. But this desirable “many vendor” cloud strategy introduces new problems of compatibility and integration. To provide a seamless view of these discrete storage clouds, Software Defined Storage (SDS) can be used to build a bridge between them. This presentation explored how SDS, with its ability to deploy on different hardware and supporting rich automation capabilities, can extend its reach into cloud deployments to support a hybrid data fabric that spans on-premises and public clouds.

Hybrid Clouds Part 2: Case Study on Building the Bridge between Private & Public

There are significant differences in how cloud services are delivered to various categories of users. The integration of these services with traditional IT operations remains an important success factor but also a challenge for IT managers. The key to success is to build a bridge between private and public clouds. This Webcast expanded on the previous Hybrid Clouds: Bridging Private & Public Cloud Infrastructures webcast where we looked at the choices and strategies for picking a cloud provider for public and hybrid solutions.

Lastly, we looked at some of the issues surrounding data protection and data privacy (no, they’re not the same thing at all!).

Privacy v Data Protection: The Impact Int’l Data Protection Legislation on Cloud

Governments across the globe are proposing and enacting strong data privacy and data protection regulations by mandating frameworks that include noteworthy changes like defining a data breach to include data destruction, adding the right to be forgotten, mandating the practice of breach notifications, and many other new elements. The implications of this and other proposed legislation on how the cloud can be utilized for storing data are significant. This webcast covered:

  • EU “directives” vs. “regulation”
  • General data protection regulation summary
  • How personal data has been redefined
  • Substantial financial penalties for non-compliance
  • Impact on data protection in the cloud
  • How to prepare now for impending changes

Moving Data Protection to the Cloud: Trends, Challenges and Strategies

This was a panel discussion; we talked about various new ways to perform data protection using the Cloud and many advantages of using the Cloud this way.

You can access all the CSI BrightTalk Webcasts on demand at the SNIA Website. Many of you will also be happy to learn that PDFs of the Webcast slides are also available there.

We had a good 2015, and I’m looking forward to producing more great educational material during 2016. If you have a topic you’d like to see the CSI cover this year, please comment below in this blog. We value input from all.

Thanks for your support and hopefully we’ll see you some time this year at one of our BrightTalk webcasts.

Data Protection in the Cloud FAQ

SNIA recently hosted a multi-vendor discussion on leveraging the cloud for data protection. If you missed the Webcast, “Moving Data Protection to the Cloud: Trends, Challenges and Strategies”, it’s now available on-demand. As promised during the live event, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on this timely topic. Answers from SNIA as well as our vendor panelists are included. If you have additional questions, please comment on this blog and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible

Q. What is the significance of NIST FIPS 140-2 Certification?

Acronis: FIPS 140-2 Certification is a requirement by certain entities to use cloud-based solutions. It is important to understand the customer you are going after and whether this will be a requirement. Many small businesses do not require FIPS but certain do.

Asigra: Organizations that are looking to move to a cloud-based data protection solution should strongly consider solutions that have been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, as this certification represents that the solution has been tested and maintains the most current security requirement for cryptographic modules, or encryption. It is important to validate that the data is encrypted at rest and in flight for security and compliance purposes. NIST issues numbered certificates to solution providers as the validation that their solution was tested and approved.

SolidFire: FIPS 140-2 has 4 levels of security, 1- 4 depending on what the application requires.  FIPS stands for Federal Information Processing Standard and is required by some non-military federal agencies for hardware/software to be allowed in their datacenter.  This standard describes the requirements for how sensitive but unclassified information is stored.  This standard is focused on how the cryptographic modules secure information for these systems.

Q. How do you ensure you have real time data protection as well as protection from human error?  If the data is replicated, but the state of the data is incorrect (corrupt / deleted)… then the DR plan has not succeeded.

SNIA: The best way to guard against human error or corruption is with regular point-in-time snapshots; some snapshots can be retained for a limited length of time while others are kept for as long as the data needs to be retained.  Snapshots can be done in the cloud as well as in local storage.

Acronis: Each business needs to think through their retention plan to mitigate such cases. For example, they would run 7 daily backups, 4 weekly backups, 12 monthly backups and one yearly backup. In addition it is good to have a system that allows one to test the backup with a simulated recovery to guarantee that data has not been corrupted.

Asigra: One way for organizations that are migrating to SaaS based applications like Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.com to protect their data created and stored in these applications is to consider a cloud-based data protection solution to back up the data from these applications to a third party cloud to meet the unique data protection requirements of your organization. You need to take the responsibility to protect your data born in the cloud much like you protect data created in traditional on premise applications and databases. The responsibility for data protection does not move to the SaaS application provider, it remains with you.

For example user error is one of the top ways that data is lost in the cloud. With Microsoft Office 365 by default, deleted emails and mailboxes are unrecoverable after 30 days; if you cancel your subscription, Microsoft deletes all your data after 90 days; and Microsoft’s maximum liability is $5000 US or what a customer paid during the last 12 months on subscription fees – assuming you can prove it was Microsoft’s fault. All the more reason you need to have a data protection strategy in place for data born in the cloud.

SolidFire: You need to have a technology that provides a real-time asynchronous replication technology achieving a low RPO that does not rely on snapshots.  Application consistent snapshots must be used concurrently with a real-time replication technology to achieve real time and point in time protection.  For the scenario of performing a successful failover, but then you have corrupted data.  With application consistent snapshots at the DR site you would be able to roll back instantly to a point in time when the data and app was in a known good state.

Q. What’s the easiest and most effective way for companies to take advantage of cloud data protection solutions today? Where should we start?

SNIA: The easiest way to ease into using cloud storage is to either (1) use the direct cloud interface of your backup software if it has one to set up an offsite backup, or (2) use a cloud storage gateway that allows public or private cloud storage to appear as another local NAS resource.

Acronis: The easiest way is to use a solution that supports both cloud and on premises data protection. Then they can start by backing up certain workloads to the cloud and adding more over time. Today, we see that many workloads are protected with both a cloud and on premise copy.

Asigra: Organizations should start with non-production, non-critical workloads to test the cloud-based data protection solution to ensure that it meets their needs before moving to critical workloads. Identifying and understanding their corporate requirements for a public, private and/or hybrid cloud architecture is important as well as identifying the workloads that will be moved to the cloud and the timing of this transition. Also, organizations may want to consult with a third party IT Solutions Provider who has the expertise and experience with cloud-based data protection solutions to explore how others are leveraging cloud-based solutions, as well as conduct a data classification exercise to understand which young data needs to be readily available versus older data that needs to be retained for longer periods of time for compliance purposes. It is important that organizations identify their required Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives when setting up their new solution to ensure that in the event of a disaster they are able to meet these requirements. Tip: Retain the services of a trusted IT Solution Provider and run a proof of concept or test drive the solution before moving to full production.

SolidFire: Find a simple and automated solution that fits into your budget.  Work with your local value added reseller of data protection services.  The best thing to do is NOT wait.  Even if it’s something like carbonite… it’s better than nothing.  Don’t get caught off guard.  No one plans for a disaster.

Q. Is it sensible to move to a pay-as-you-go service for data that may be retained for 7, 10, 30, or even 100 years?

SNIA: Long term retention does demand low cost storage of course, and although the major public cloud storage vendors offer low pay-as-you-go costs, those costs can add up to significant amounts over a long period of time, especially if there is any regular need to access the data.  An organization can keep control over the costs of long term storage by setting up an in-house object storage system (“private cloud”) using “white box” hardware and appropriate software such a what is offered by Cloudian, Scality, or Caringo.  Another way to control the costs of long-term storage is via the use of tape.  Note that any of these methods — public cloud, private cloud, or tape — require an IT organization, or their service provider to regularly monitor the state of the storage and periodically refresh it; there is always potential over time for hardware to fail, or for the storage media to deteriorate resulting in what is called bit rot.

Acronis: The cost of storage is dropping dramatically and will continue to do so. The best strategy is to go with a pay as you go model with the ability to adjust pricing (downward) at least once a year. Buying your own storage will lock you into pricing over too long of a period.

SolidFire: The risk of moving to a pay-as-you-go service for that long is that you lock your self in for as long as you need to keep the data.  Make sure that contractually you can migrate or move the data from them, even if it’s for a fee.  The sensible part is that you can contract that portion of your IT needs out and focus on your business and advancing it…. Not worrying about completing backups on your own.

Q. Is it possible to set up a backup so that one copy is with one cloud provider and another with a second cloud provider (replicated between them, not just doing the backup twice) in case one cloud provider goes out of business?

SNIA: Standards like the SNIA’s CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface) make replication between different cloud vendors pretty straightforward, since CDMI provides a data and metadata neutral way of transferring data; and provides both standard and extensible metadata to control policy too.

Acronis: Yes, this is possible but this is not a good strategy to mitigate a provider going out of business. If that is a concern then pick a provider you trust and one where you control where the data is stored. Then you can easily switch provider if needed.

SolidFire: Yes setting up a DR site and a tertiary site is very doable.  Many data protection software companies available do this for you with integrations at the cloud providers.  When looking at data protection technology make sure their policy engine is capable of being aware of multiple targets and moving data seamlessly between them.  If you’re worried about cloud service providers going out of business make sure you bet on the big ones with proven success and revenue flow.