Data Center Certifications and Compliance: Why They Matter
Data is the new gold, and data centers are the new goldmines — virtual goldmines of information. Data centers house all kinds of data which are invaluable for companies including sensitive, proprietary information such as intellectual property and trade secrets, as well as customers’ personal and financial information. Any form of data leak, intentional or accidental, may lead to various troubles: reputational damage and loss of customer trust, financial damages and loss revenue, and noncompliance fines from industry regulations.
Today, with the growing number of cyberattacks and other virtual threats, when it comes to data center security, the bare minimum will not be sufficient. Companies entrust data centers with some of their most valuable data assets, so they will want to know that the facilities have implemented the very best practices to protect that data at all times. This is why it is vital for companies to choose data centers with proper certifications for security and compliance.
Below are some of the most common certifications a data center can have.
ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized framework which specifies the requirements for implementing an Information Security Management System (ISMS), a set of interconnected policies that manage information risk. The ISO 27001 certification focuses on evaluating risks to information assets (personnel, IT systems, processes, intellectual property, etc.) and mitigating the risks through policies, processes, and procedures. A data center with an ISO 27001 certificate has implemented security best practices for protecting information and managing risk. The certificate is also a form of confirmation that the facility is committed to meeting the demanding high levels of information security.
Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 18 is an internationally recognized accounting standard. It mandates thorough observation and examination on how data centers evaluate and report on their third-party vendors. When a data center contracts with a vendor to provide a service, that service provider potentially subcontracts some of its services out to another provider. SSAE 18 requires these vendors to go through the same risk assessment and receive a verification that they apply the proper risk management systems. Therefore, SSAE 18 data center compliance standards ensure that facilities take responsibility not just for themselves, but also hold their vendors to the same high standards of accountability.
An SOC report is a verifiable auditing report which is performed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) concerning the systematic controls in a service organization. SOC reports come in three forms, each one relating to a different aspect of operations. An SOC 1 verifies whether a service organization has effective internal controls related to financial reporting to protect client data. An SOC 2 assesses internal controls related to security, including data availability, confidentiality, privacy, and processing integrity. Meanwhile, an SOC 3 report is a summarized, less technical version of the SOC 2 report which can be freely distributed.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), an independent body created by the major payment card brands including Visa and MasterCard. A PCI DSS compliant data center implements necessary measures to develop a robust payment card data security process, including prevention, detection, and appropriate reaction to security incidents.
It is important for businesses to consider various things when choosing a data center facility. Data center certifications for security and compliance are a form of verification that a data center has and implements certain standards which can directly or indirectly impact their clients’ businesses.