One facet of cloud storage that has made some businesses and other organizations leery of adopting it is the lack of any consistent set of standards across the provider industry. Tom Gelcom, who serves Imation as a business development director, feels that business demand for improved data security will drive the industry toward a set of standards: “Standards must be established to ensure secure protocols are in place for data transfer to the cloud. Data should be encrypted prior to leaving a corporate environment, ‘in-flight’ and ‘at-rest’ in the cloud,” he commented." Standards should also outline security best practices related to interfaces and APIs, and identify management, data management and data separation."
Cloud standards may be arriving in the near term to solve some of the issues identified by Gelcom. For example, the Storage Network Industry Association is developing CDMI, or Cloud Data Management Interface. CDMI introduces a system of metadata designed for cloud environments so that users will be able to tag their data so that providers can be aware of which services are desired for that particular piece of data. Tags may direct cloud providers either to backup data or to archive and encrypt it.
The advantage of CDMI would be that users would be able to migrate data more easily between various cloud vendors since any vendor using a CDMI-compliant interface would see and understand data in the same basic way.
As organizations continue to explore their options for cloud storage IT solutions, they are advised to work with a managed services provider. This type of IT company can help businesses to look ahead to the data standards expected to be adopted on a wide basis.