CSA partners with BSI on cloud security certification program

The British Standards Institution will help the CSA develop a certification program for cloud providers.

The Cloud Security Alliance has announced it is teaming up with the British Standards Institution, a U.K.-based private-sector standards group, on its effort to provide a cloud security certification for cloud providers, including a third-party independent assessment program.

The CSA Open Certification Framework is designed to provide a global cloud security certification that ensures cloud providers implement security controls in line with the CSA's security guidance.

It has three levels, the first of which is the CSA STAR program, where cloud providers can file documentation detailing their security controls. The second level is a CSA STAR Certification, which will be based on the ISO 27001:2005 standard and the CSA Cloud Controls Matrix, and involves a third-party independent assessment. The third level will add continuous monitoring to the certification.

The CSA STAR Certification process will be managed by BSI, which will certify the independent auditors, said Daniele Catteddu, managing director of CSA EMEA, in a phone interview. The goal is to finalize the certification program by March of next year, implement a process for approved assessors by June, and have the first cloud provider certified by September 2013, he said.

The CSA decided to create a certification program with third-party independent assessors based on what it has heard from cloud users and government policy makers, especially those in Europe, Catteddu said. Many policymakers support a formal certification process, and some companies that would like to use cloud services have strict data protection requirements.

"They want to make sure they're not taking unnecessary risks," he said. A formal certification program, in which cloud providers' security claims are verified, Catteddu added, is "the best way to clear up the uncertainty undermining the full development of the cloud market."

The CSA plans to announce additional details about the Open Certification Framework on Sept. 25 at the CSA Congress Europe.

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