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StorageNetworks earns reliability rating approval

Kevin Komiega

StorageNetworks Inc., has a new layer of security to offer customers concerned with the safety of their outsourced data.

The Waltham, Mass., storage services provider (SSP), has earned SysTrust Assurance status, according to independent consulting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. As a result, more service providers will make the reliability rating a priority, said one analyst.

SysTrust Assurance is an independent evaluation of system reliability offered by members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).

Sunnyvale, Calif.-headquartered managed service provider Loudcloud Inc., also earned SysTrust Status recently. Loudcloud, which also offers managed storage services, partners with data center providers like AT&T, Equinix, Exodus and Global Crossing to physically locate in its data centers.

While StorageNetworks and Loudcloud are the only two companies in the managed storage field to announce SysTrust status, Michael Karp, senior analyst for Boulder-based Enterprise Management Associates Inc., said it will soon be a priority at all service providers.

"This might still be a differentiator at this point, but in two years time this will be a checklist item," said Karp.

Deloitte & Touche performed an independent audit on whether StorageNetworks maintained effective controls over the areas of security, integrity, availability and maintainability.

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StorageNetworks' operational practices and controls were evaluated for conformity with SysTrust standards.

As part of the SysTrust Assurance evaluation, StorageNetworks provided information about the its delivery infrastructure and technologies, and participated in a variety of tests conducted by Deloitte & Touche, the independent accounting firm that conducted the evaluation.

The SysTrust testing revolved around StorageNetworks Customer Support Center (CSC). The review also included network devices and systems supporting the CSC, such as StorageNetworks Virtual Storage Portal software and STORvision software, which are applications that are based on StorageNetworks' STORos storage management platform, the company said.

Deloitte & Touche also examined the people, processes and data employed by StorageNetworks to manage and support the company's ongoing managed services operations.

According the AICPA, SysTrust is a professional service which enables a CPA to provide assurance that a system is, in fact, reliable.

SysTrust tests system availability during routine processing and maintenance, protection against unauthorized physical and logical access to data, the completion and accuracy of system processing, and whether the system can be updated for continued availability, security and integrity.

Security has historically been one of the sticking points for customers considering outsourcing storage to SSPs, but, according to StorageNetworks CEO Peter Bell, there's more to it than that. "I'll call trust the number one issue, he said in a recent interview with serachStorage. Bell said that while there are many underlying security issues, both physically and logically, the key is to gain a customer's trust.

Bell said StorageNetworks has a very strong offering of security within the SAN and NAS environments.

Karp added that the importance of SysTrust Assurance weighs in the minds of the CIOs and accountants of the world because it ensures limited risk when outsourcing data.

"Certifying the integrity of the accounting processes is in important in the business community," said Karp.

Karp said SysTrust status is particularly appealing to governmental bodies and financial institutions.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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