|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|August 10, 2012 05:00 AM EDT||
Secure cloud backup is a scenario which increasingly gains traction. It allows organizations to implement an off-site backup while maintaining costs at a minimum. In this blog post I would like to focus on a specific use case of secure cloud backup. The system we describe is comprised of an on-premise replication server, Porticor Cloud Security, and Amazon S3 as the final backup destination, all integrated by one of our fine cloud integrators.
Secure Cloud Backup – The Business Need
In this use case, an enterprise organization was struggling with an inefficient and costly offsite backup infrastructure that was meant to manage an incrementally expanding database. An offsite server farm was costly to operate and maintain and the tape backup and recovery methods used were time consuming. Furthermore, the company failed to meet regulatory requirements with regard to data availability. To eliminate the complexity and cost associated with this backup methodology, one of our integrators, Emind Systems implemented an onsite dedicated server which mirrored directories and volumes on the local network and replicated data to an Amazon Web Services S3. But a critical requirement was cloud data security and encryption; this is where Porticor comes in.
Cloud Security and Cloud Encryption options considered
One of the top concerns of enterprises deploying cloud encryption is “data confidentiality”, or in other words – who controls the encryption keys, and therefore can potentially access the data. Some cloud providers offer data encryption as part of their service, but as the cloud provider manages and maintains your cloud encryption keys, they can potentially see your data. Rich Mogull described it well on his blog “How to Tell If Your Cloud Provider Can Read Your Data (Hint: They Can)”. One secure alternative would be an on-premise key management server, but that is costly (in operation and capital expenses), and limits the cloud flexibility tremendously.
Secure Cloud Backup – Mission Accomplished
To avoid these issues while maintaining information security, Porticor’s Virtual Private Data has been integrated (for further reading download the white paper here) in their backup scenario. The end result is a highly scalable, elastic and secure backup solution. The onsite server mirrored the data and transferred it to a pre-configured AWS S3 bucket, and Porticor encrypts each object on its way to S3. Each object has been encrypted using a unique encryption key, yet the customer maintains a single “project” key, which allows for an automated key management cycle while not sharing the encryption keys with anyone.
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