Security Experts:

New CSA Certification Tests Security of Cloud Services Providers

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has teamed up with BSI, an organization that provides standard-based solutions and services, and has announced a new third party certification program designed to assess the security of cloud service providers.

Dubbed “STAR”, the certification program takes a technology-neutral approach, and leverages the requirements of the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 standard together with the CSA Cloud Control Matrix, a specified set of criteria that measures the capability levels of the cloud service.

“Organizations that outsource services to cloud service providers have a number of concerns about the security of their data and information,” the CSA said in a statement. “By achieving the STAR Certification, cloud providers of every size will be able to give prospective customers a greater understanding of their levels of security controls.”

"Especially in light of recent government revelations, both consumers and providers of cloud-based services have been asking for independent, technology-neutral certification to help them make more informed decisions about the services they purchase and use," said Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director EMEA at CSA. "In providing a rigorous, user-centric assessment, STAR Certification will provide an additional layer of transparency that the industry has been calling for."

The independent assessment by an accredited CSA certification body, such as BSI, will assign a 'Management Capability' score to each of the 11 control areas, the CSA said. Each control will be scored on a specific maturity and will be measured against 5 management principles.

The internal report will show organizations how mature their processes are and what areas they need to consider improving on to reach an optimum level of maturity. These levels will be designated as either "No," "Bronze," "Silver" or "Gold" awards. Certified organization will be listed on the CSA STAR Registry as "STAR Certified."

The CSA originally launched the STAR (Security, Trust & Assurance Registry) initiative at the end of 2011 as a step in improving transparency and assurance in the cloud. The CSA offers a publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings, helping users assess the security of cloud providers they currently use or are considering contracting with.

Last August, the CSA shared details on its Open Certification Framework, an industry initiative to provide security certification for cloud providers, and announced that the STAR Certification would be coming in 2013.

More information on STAR Certification is available here.

Related: Five Security Questions You Should Ask Your Cloud Services Provider

Related: Ten Questions to Ask When Developing a Cloud Security Policy

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