Storage security will become an "imperative" this year as the adoption of Internet technologies undermines the comforting notion that storage networks are safe from hacker attacks.
In an analysis of storage security, the Yankee Group concludes that security will become an essential aspect of deployment strategies as users expand disaster recovery planning or roll out storage networks that mix multiple network protocols.
Yankee is seeking to dispel the impression that dedicated, Fibre Channel storage networks are "closed" networks i.e. not subject to security breaches. As mixed IP-Fibre Channel storage networks or IP storage networks become deployed security will be even more important, the research house argues.
"Customers have used a combination of zoning and LUN masking to segregate how users and servers connect to SANs, but both methods still can offer holes to hackers by being difficult to configure and manage as the number of network nodes increases," Yankee analyst Jamie Gruener writes.
"The emergence of IP-based storage networks will increase the need for specific storage security policies, due to increased complexity of managing these mixed networks."
Vendors have announced products which protect the integrity of data through software management tools, at the storage array levels, within the storage network switch, and in dedicated function storage security processors.
Brocade, the largest storage networking vendor, has promised to deliver new security features through its Fabric OS management software. Emerging firms are also carving a niche. For example, FalconStor is offering key-based encryption as part of its virtualisation software and NetOctave, an IP chip vendor, has launched a security processor designed specifically for the storage market.
Yankee adds a caveat to this by saying there isn't a standard way to solve the storage security problem and the market hasn't got beyond the delivery of point products. Storage vendors need to take an active role in promoting storage security best practices and technologies - or risk a backlash, Yankee warns.
Gruener said: "Without adequate strategies to help customers deal with the emerging storage security problem, vendors will likely be susceptible to customer scrutiny in the longer term as the level of complexity and exposure for breaches increases." ®