Standards And Certifications
Standards & Certifications
Many organizations today rely on a complex interconnection of digital resources for their business operations and profitability. This has led to the growth of data centers, with companies partnering with providers that can ensure that they receive a fast, efficient and stable service. While you might have unique reasons for considering a data center, it is important to familiarize yourself with standards and certifications before you choose a provider.
Contrary to assumptions, all data centers are not the same as the level of compliance with standards and certifications differ. In a landscape characterized by intense competition, strict regulations and rapidly changing business needs, companies today are expected to demonstrate compliance at all times.
Importance of Data Center Compliance with
Standards & Certifications
It is generally agreed that data centers should be compliant with a range of recognized standards but not many people understand why this is essential. For starters, compliance is a regulatory requirement that ensures that data centers are up to date with the quick and ever changing trends in security.
Furthermore, in-compliance data centers means that their customers are also compliant with the regulatory requirements common to their industries. Failure to comply could put an organization at risk of being penalized and fined hefty sums of money. Worse still, it could attract lawsuits from customers and expose the organization to risks of long-term brand damage in the public eye.
Additionally, your organization can also benefit from hosting its systems in a certified data center as it indicates your commitment to protecting the confidentiality and integrity of customer data. This also translates to assurance of getting a secure, reliable, consistent and continually improving service to maintain business continuity.
Certification and Data Center Accreditations
Many industries have regulatory requirements that organizations must meet and data centers must be well-positioned to ensure that their customers are not found wanting. Thus, a data center must meet these standards and prove that it has the highest level of security and reliability.
To do that, data centers must go through a formal procedure in which an accredited or authorized agency establishes that its facilities meet a specific set of infrastructure and operating criteria. The agency must assess and verify that a range of measures have been implemented in accordance with the stipulated requirements.
Certifications are a form of recognized guarantee awarded that a data center’s commitment to the highest levels of service and security has been proven. Hence, compliance with standards and certifications is an important criterion to look out for when searching for a data center provider that best meets your needs. It can help mitigate business risks and give you peace of mind.
Here are some of the key certifications a data center should possess:
SOC 1, 2 & 3
SOC means Service Organization Control, and it is designed to be a reporting standard for a business’ financial reports, highlighting its financial accounting and reporting practices. Its certification consists of 3 types of reporting standards. Where SOC 1 is equivalent to SSAE, SOC 3 is equivalent to SOC 2. The most stringent of the three is SOC 2, which addresses technology and cloud computing service organizations using a variety of fixed trust service principles including security, privacy, availability, confidentiality and system processing.
Fully known as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, this standard was designed to protect personal health data. It applies to Both Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Any company that deals with either type of data must ensure that its data center has been audited and approved that its facilities follow a strict code of Federal Regulation set forth by independent inspectors.
PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is an information security standard that establishes strict controls regarding the handling of personal financial data involved with electronically processed credit card systems. The standard was founded by major payment brands including American Express, JCB, MasterCard, Visa and Discover, and is governed by the PCI Security Standards Council. Any company that stores, processes or transmit financial data electronically is required to comply with PCI DSS 3.2 standards.
Uptime Institute is an independent advisory organization with the goal of improving performance, efficiency and reliability of business-critical infrastructure. The institute issues globally-recognized tier standards and certifications which are broken into four, in which each tier is defined by a unique set of increasingly specialized data center features.
Published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, this standard promotes the standards used by federal agencies to implement the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and documents security controls for all federal information systems (except those designed for national security.)
Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 is a set of guidelines that was first certified for use in 2010. It governs the auditing standards applied to a data center facility for reporting on the level of controls at a service organization. All data stored within a server must adhere to the security guidelines of this standard.
ISO/IEC 27001 is a global best practice framework that focuses on integral risk management processes involving private and sensitive data. It spells out the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an Information Security Management System (ISMS.) It confirms that the information security controls and other forms of risk treatment are in place to identify risks and address vulnerabilities.
This is the Quality Management System (QMS) standard for organizations who want to demonstrate their commitment to improvement by providing products and services that meet the needs of their customers and other relevant stakeholders.
This is a globally-recognize environmental protection standard that specifies the requirements for an Environmental Management System (EMS) that an organization uses to improve on identified areas of environmental responsibility. The purpose of this standard is to reduce environmental impact around the world.
Due to a broad scope of regulatory compliance, companies are also free to request proof of compliance so they can confirm that a data center is doing everything within its power to protect their valuable data.