Getting Beyond M&M SANs

Audit Often

Conduct annual security audits to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and risk. There are good guidelines available from the Storage Security Industry Forum, a part of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) See Watch for new developments in network and storage security and new threats from outside and inside the firewalls. Some of the basics for every audit, as recommended by SNIA:

  • Policies cover both network and storage security and all interfaces between the two areas
  • Policies are current with new laws and regulations affecting your data security
  • Evaluate the best balances between access limitation and data availability
  • Levels of confidentiality are applied to data appropriately
  • Employee security awareness program is current and active
  • Storage centers, network hardware, and servers are in physically secure buildings
  • Zoning and LUN masking are appropriate to current business needs
  • Processes team up the multiple specialties for system architecture change control
  • New software patches and firmware versions are tested and implemented quickly

Harden the Wetware

The eternal fact is that security depends on what is going on between the human’s two ears (the wetware). FBI statistics show that 50 to 80 percent of the security breaches originate inside the firewall. This means that if a company is attacked, the odds are that a co-worker is the culprit: a disgruntled employee, an industrial spy, or just someone foggy from medication and having a careless day.

Further, the keepers of the keys and the guards at the gate are all potential targets for the seduction tricks of industrial and international espionage. Regardless of how closely guarded organizational passwords and keys may be, security comes down to the old question of “Who will watch the Watchers?”

This is a tough look at security. Many companies simply are not ready to confront the “50% to 80%” statistic. Investing in hardware, software and badge readers is easier to understand and approve than addressing people problems. Yet the hard truth is that security crosses over into Corporate Ethics, Human Resources and Line Management.

Keeping people happy with their jobs and loyal to the company is the sunny side of Security. Demanding periodic drug tests and background screening of new employees is the darker side. In these difficult times of downsizing, suspended pay raises, and unpaid overtime, all levels of management must work creatively to maintain employee morale — including their own. Building high morale and loyalty in that wetware between the human ears goes a very long way towards transforming an M&M into a SAN that is a tough nut to crack.