Data Security for Storage Area Networks

Data Security for Storage Area Networks

Tom Clark (Brocade Communications, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-855-0.ch038
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Data storage is playing an increasingly visible role in securing application data in the data center. Today virtually all large enterprises and institutions worldwide have implemented networked storage infrastructures to provide high performance input/output (I/O) operations, high availability access, consolidation of storage assets, and data protection and archiving. Storage area networks (SANs) are typically based on Fibre Channel technology and are normally contained within the physical confines of the data center. The security of this physical isolation, however, has proven inadequate to safeguard data from inadvertent or malicious disruption. Both established and emerging Fibre Channel and IP standards are required to secure the storage infrastructure and protect data assets from corruption or misappropriation. This paper provides an overview of storage networking technology and the security mechanisms that have been developed to provide data integrity for data center storage infrastructures.
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Security in conventional data communications networks attempts to safeguard data access by implementing both authorization and encryption technologies. Authentication procedures verify that data access between two end points is approved. Encryption ensures that only bona fide senders and receivers will be able to render encrypted data intelligible. Conventional data security techniques are primarily focused on protecting data in flight, as it traverses the network from, for example, a server to a workstation. If the data in flight is intercepted, diverted or copied, the security breach may allow unauthorized access to or corruption of sensitive corporate or personal information.

For storage environments, data transactions between servers and storage arrays or tape devices are also vulnerable to in-flight interception. In addition, however, security for storage area networks must provide means to safeguard data at rest, that is, after the data is written to disk or tape. This added requirement has generated new security solutions that attempt to protect storage data through its entire cycle of data retrieval and repose. This paper examines the unique characteristics of SANs and security techniques required to safeguard storage assets.


Storage area networking is a technology that enables high availability and high performance access between servers and storage devices. First formulated as American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards in the early 1990s and now widely adopted by all major institutions and enterprises, SANs have displaced earlier storage connections which bound individual storage arrays to individual servers. By placing both servers and storage assets on a dedicated network, it is possible to redirect storage access from one server to another, thus facilitating high availability data access. It also enables administrators to add additional storage capacity without disrupting on-going production.

SAN technology was originally based on the Fibre Channel protocol and transport. Fibre Channel was the first high performance transport to deliver the gigabit speeds required for moving large amounts of storage data. The common analogy differentiating storage networking from conventional LAN and WAN networking is that while LANs and WANs move cars (packets) of data along highway lanes, SANs move freight train loads of data over high performance channels. Today, Fibre Channel SANs can provide 4 Gbps and 10 Gbps performance, while the vast majority of LAN technologies are still implemented at 1 Gbps (Gigabit Ethernet) or 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) speeds to workstations, with 10 Gbps links providing the network backbone.

As shown in Figure 1, data center SAN configurations are typically deployed for high availability data access. Each server and storage array is connected to fabric directors or switches for alternate pathing. If an individual link, port or switch fails, servers still have access to their designated storage targets. Fibre Channel directors are designed to provide 99.999 percent availability, or ~ 5.39 minutes of downtime in a given year.

Figure 1.

A data center SAN provides alternate pathing for high availability

For moderate performance requirements, new IP-based storage network protocols such as iSCSI provide a means to move blocks of storage data over traditional TCP/IP network infrastructures. Given the notorious vulnerability of TCP/IP networks to disruption and latency, however, iSCSI must address the inherent contradiction between the deterministic performance required by storage applications and the indeterministic nature of IP networks. From a security standpoint, iSCSI is the beneficiary of decades of development of IP Security and other IETF standards that provide auxiliary mechanisms to safeguard IP data transport.

Because all applications and data ultimately reside on some form of spinning media, maintaining the high availability and integrity of storage data is fundamental to all IT operations. SANs have generated a wide spectrum of solutions for assuring continuous storage access, including server clustering, failover, point in time data copies, data backup, and disaster recovery. At the same time, SANs have helped reduce operational costs by facilitating consolidation of storage assets (fewer but larger storage arrays) and streamlining backup processes. The end-user value of SAN technology is so clearly established that every major enterprise world-wide is now running its storage data on the basis of a storage area network.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Fibre Channel: A set of industry standards defining a multi-gigabit block data transport

Binding: Creating an authorized association between two devices or switches

Fabric: A switched network typically based on Fibre Channel protocols

iSCSI: A de facto standard for transporting block data over TCP/IP

Zone: A group of devices or ports authorized to communicate with one another

Block data: Digital data organized as contiguous bits of a designated extent

SCSI: Small Computer Systems Interface. An architecture for block data I/O

Virtual Fabric: Partition of a single physical storage networking into logical networks

Storage array: An enclosure with controller logic and multiple disk drives for mass storage

WWN: Worldwide Name. A unique 64-bit identifier for Fibre Channel devices and entities

LUN masking: Concealing the existence of logical units from unauthorized servers

Storage area network: A dedicated network implemented between servers and storage

IPSec: IP Security. A set of IETF de facto standards for securing data over TCP/IP

LUN: Logical unit number. A predefined capacity of disk storage assigned to a server

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Chapter 1
Xin Luo, Qinyu Liao
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Ransomware: A New Cyber Hijacking Threat to Enterprises
Chapter 2
Joon S. Park
E-commerce has grown immensely with the increase in activity on the Internet, and this increase in activity, while immeasurable, has also presented... Sample PDF
E-Commerce: The Benefits, Security Risks, and Countermeasures
Chapter 3
Pamela Ajoku
Even though weapons and money are considered important factors for running a modern world, at the end of the day, it is all about controlling and... Sample PDF
Information Warfare: Survival of the Fittest
Chapter 4
Gaeil An, Joon S. Park
In this chapter, we discuss the evolution of the enterprise security federation, including why the framework should be evolved and how it has been... Sample PDF
Evolution of Enterprise Security Federation
Chapter 5
Roy Ng
The hypergrowth of computing and communications technologies increases security vulnerabilities to organizations. The lack of resources training... Sample PDF
A Holistic Approach to Information Security Assurance and Risk Management in an Enterprise
Chapter 6
John D’Arcy, Anat Hovav
A number of academic studies that focus on various aspects of information security management (ISM) have emerged in recent years. This body of work... Sample PDF
An Integrative Framework for the Study of Information Security Management Research
Chapter 7
Aditya Ponnam
Organizations worldwide recognize the importance of a comprehensive, continuously evolving risk assessment process, built around a solid risk... Sample PDF
Information Systems Risk Management: An Audit and Control Approach
Chapter 8
Udaya Kiran Tupakula
In this chapter we discuss Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in networks such as the Internet, which have become significantly prevalent... Sample PDF
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks in Networks
Chapter 9
Andy Luse
This chapter describes various firewall conventions, and how these technologies operate when deployed on a corporate network. Terms associated with... Sample PDF
Firewalls as Continuing Solutions for Network Security
Chapter 10
Jamie Twycross
The immune system provides a rich metaphor for computer security: anomaly detection that works in nature should work for machines. However, early... Sample PDF
An Immune-Inspired Approach to Anomaly Detection
Chapter 11
Wasim A. Al-Hamdani
This chapter introduces cryptography from information security phase rather than from deep mathematical and theoretical aspects, along with... Sample PDF
Cryptography for Information Security
Chapter 12
Carlo Belletini
The chapter introduces and describes representative defense mechanisms to protect from both basic and advanced exploitation of low-level coding... Sample PDF
Memory Corruption Attacks, Defenses, and Evasions
Chapter 13
Dalila Boughaci, Brahim Oubeka, Abdelkader Aissioui, Habiba Drias, Belaïd Benhamou
This chapter presents the design and the implementation of a decentralized firewall. The latter uses autonomous agents to coordinately control the... Sample PDF
Design and Implementation of a Distributed Firewall
Chapter 14
Tom Coffey
This chapter concerns the correct and reliable design of modern security protocols. It discusses the importance of formal verification of security... Sample PDF
A Formal Verification Centred Development Process for Security Protocols
Chapter 15
Ahsan Habib
This chapter develops a distributed monitoring scheme that uses edge-to-edge measurements to identify congested links and capture the misbehaving... Sample PDF
Edge-to-Edge Network Monitoring to Detect Service Violations and DoS Attacks
Chapter 16
Doug White, Alan Rea
Hard disk wipes are a crucial component of computing security. However, more often than not, hard drives are not adequately processed before either... Sample PDF
A "One-Pass" Methodology for Sensitive Data Disk Wipes
Chapter 17
Lijun Liao
This chapter deals with the issues concerning e-mail communication security. We analyze the most popular security mechanisms and standards related... Sample PDF
Securing E-Mail Communication with XML Technology
Chapter 18
Li Yang, Raimund K. Ege, Lin Luo
This chapter describes our approach to handle security in a complex Distributed Virtual Environment (DVE). The modules of such an environment all... Sample PDF
Aspect-Oriented Analysis of Security in Distributed Virtual Environment
Chapter 19
Information Availability  (pages 230-239)
Deepak Khazanchi
This chapter describes the concept of information availability (IAV) which is considered an important element of information security. IAV is... Sample PDF
Information Availability
Chapter 20
Siraj Ahmed Shaikh
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the research area of formal analysis of authentication protocols. It briefly introduces... Sample PDF
Formal Analysis and Design of Authentication Protocols
Chapter 21
Rajeev R. Raje, Alex Crespi, Omkar J. Tilak, Andrew M. Olson
Component-based software development offers a promising technique for creating distributed systems. It does require a framework for specifying... Sample PDF
Access Control Frameworks for a Distributed System
Chapter 22
Manish Gupta, JinKyu Lee, H. R. Rao
The Internet has emerged as the dominant medium in enabling banking transactions. Adoption of e-banking has witnessed an unprecedented increase over... Sample PDF
Implications of FFIEC Guidance on Authentication in Electronic Banking
Chapter 23
Sue Conger
Historically, companies have automated a security model that analogizes the concept of a “guardian” who monitors incoming and outgoing activities... Sample PDF
Disruptive Technology Impacts on Security
Chapter 24
Sushma Mishra
Internal auditing has become increasingly important in current business environments. In this era of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act and other similar... Sample PDF
Internal Auditing for Information Assurance
Chapter 25
William H. Friedman
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IT Continuity in the Face of Mishaps
Chapter 26
Yvette Ghormley
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Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans
Chapter 27
Yvette Ghormley
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Security Policies and Procedures
Chapter 28
Arjmand Samuel
This chapter outlines the overall access control policy engineering framework in general and discusses the subject of validation of access control... Sample PDF
Enterprise Access Control Policy Engineering Framework
Chapter 29
Sushil K. Sharma, Jatinder N.D. Gupta
The purpose of the information security policy is to establish an organization-wide approach to prescribe mechanisms that help identify and prevent... Sample PDF
Information Security Policies: Precepts and Practices
Chapter 30
Paul D. Witman
This chapter provides a set of guidelines to assist information assurance and security researchers in creating, negotiating, and reviewing... Sample PDF
A Guide to Non-Disclosure Agreements for Researchers
Chapter 31
Omkar J. Tilak
Software realization of a large-scale Distributed Computing System (DCS) is achieved through the Componentbased Software Development (CBSD)... Sample PDF
Assurance for Temporal Compatibility Using Contracts
Chapter 32
Arjan Durresi
The latest estimates suggest that there are over two billion cell phone users worldwide. The massive worldwide usage has prompted technological... Sample PDF
Spatial Authentication Using Cell Phones
Chapter 33
Sushil K. Sharma, Jatinder N.D. Gupta, Ajay K. Gupta
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Plugging Security Holes in Online Environment
Chapter 34
Erik Graham, Paul John Steinbart
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Six Keys to Improving Wireless Security
Chapter 35
Robert W. Proctor, E. Eugene Schultz, Kim-Phuong L. Vu
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Human Factors in Information Security and Privacy
Chapter 36
Wm. Arthur Conklin
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Threat Modeling and Secure Software Engineering Process
Chapter 37
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Guarding Corporate Data from Social Engineering Attacks
Chapter 38
Tom Clark
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Data Security for Storage Area Networks
Chapter 39
Edgar Weippl
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Security Awareness: Virtual Environments and E-Learning
Chapter 40
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Security-Efficient Identity Management Using Service Provisioning (Markup Language)
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A Strategy for Enterprise VoIP Security
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Jose M. Torres
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Critical Success Factors and Indicators to Improve Information Systems Security Management Actions
Chapter 43
Rebecca H. Rutherfoord
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Privacy, Societal, and Ethical Concerns in Security
Chapter 44
Rodolfo Villarroel, Eduardo Fernández-Medina, Juan Trujillo, Mario Piattini
This chapter presents an approach for designing secure Data Warehouses (DWs) that accomplish the conceptual modeling of secure DWs independently... Sample PDF
An MDA Compliant Approach for Designing Secure Data Warehouses
Chapter 45
Hai Wang
This chapter introduces the survivability evaluation, especially on the corresponding evaluation criteria and modeling techniques. The content of... Sample PDF
Survivability Evaluation Modeling Techniques and Measures
Chapter 46
Art Taylor
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The Last Line of Defense: A Comparison of Windows and Linux Authentication and Authorization Features
Chapter 47
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Bioterrorism and Biosecurity
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