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CHIPS Articles: NIST Security Guidelines for Storage Infrastructure: Special Publication 800-209

NIST Security Guidelines for Storage Infrastructure: Special Publication 800-209
By NIST News - October 28, 2020
Storage infrastructure — including compute technology, such as operating systems and host hardware, and network infrastructures — is one of the three fundamental pillars of information technology. However, compared to its counterparts, it has received relatively limited focus when it comes to security, even though data compromise can have as much negative impact on storage assets as security breaches in compute and network infrastructures.

To address this cybersecurity gap, NIST is releasing Special Publication (SP) 800-209, Security Guidelines for Storage Infrastructure, which includes comprehensive security recommendations for storage infrastructures. The security focus areas covered in this document not only span those that are common to the entire IT infrastructure, such as physical security, authentication and authorization, change management, configuration control, and incident response and recovery, but also those that are specific to storage infrastructure, such as data protection, isolation, restoration assurance, and data encryption.

Storage technology, just like its computing and networking counterparts, has evolved from traditional storage service types, such as block, file, and object. Specifically, the evolution has taken two directions: one along the path of increasing storage media capacity (e.g., tape, hard disk drives, solid-state drives (SSD)) and the other along the architectural front, starting from direct-attached storage (DAS) to the placement of storage resources in networks accessed through various interfaces and protocols to cloud-based storage resource access, which provides a software-based abstraction over all forms of background storage technologies.

Accompanying the architectural evolution is the increase in management complexity, which subsequently increases the probability of configuration errors and associated security threats. This document provides an overview of the evolution of the storage technology landscape, current security threats, and the resultant risks.

The main focus of this document is to provide a comprehensive set of security recommendations that will address the threats. The recommendations span not only security management areas that are common to an information technology infrastructure (e.g., physical security, authentication and authorization, change management, configuration control, and incident response and recovery), but also those specific to storage infrastructure —data protection, isolation, restoration assurance, and encryption.

Edited by CHIPS Magazine.

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