Five reasons you should be concerned about SAN security

Dr. Vijay Ahuja
Founder and President,

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Cipher Solutions Inc.
Dr. Vijay Ahuja is the president and founder of Cipher Solutions Inc., a professional services company that assists its clients in implementing storage security and offers customized seminars on storage and network security issues. Dr. Ahuja has been an industry leader in network security and more recently in storage security.

Why should I be concerned about security for my storage area network? It's all behind my servers inside the data center, no one can access it and it's always been there, connected to the server! To attack it, you must have physical access to it. Sound familiar? Read on.

In a recent online poll by SearchStorage.com, readers were asked the question: "How would you rate the security of your storage area network?" Their responses were as follows:

42% Good, but could be better
14% Excellent
14% Fair
14% It's so inadequate, I don't sleep at night
14% Don't know 1. As volume of your stored data increases, more and more storage devices are being attached to more than one server can you rely on the security of different operating systems for those servers to ensure security of your stored data?

2. Are you sure your storage will always be within the data center and will never be extended over a high speed LAN or WAN? How about storage over IP between distant storage units or your backup network?

3. You may have storage arrays, switches, directors and appliances from more than one vendor. Can you verify that each device in your storage environment is securely authenticated to each other and that no device is spoofing others or attempting to gain unauthorized access?

4. The biggest risk to your storage network is probably through the out-of-band management network. Are you sure than no unauthorized access is allowed to your storage network from outside? Also, are you sure the management traffic is sufficiently secured against unauthorized access and modifications?

5. Finally, can you verify that your storage network including storage devices, are fully compliant with your corporate security policies for the enterprise?

If you do not have satisfactory answers to the above questions, then you should be concerned about security today -- let alone any expansion of your storage network in the future.

Remember, storage network security can be an enabler for your company's growth and lack of it may become a serious inhibitor.

This was first published in August 2003

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