Tech guide: how secure is your SAN?

Thursday, 14 August 2003, 12:09 AM EST

With all they've got to worry about these days, most IT executives don't lose a lot of sleep over whether the data stored on their companies' tape and disk devices is secure. Most have come to believe that data, particularly mission-critical data residing in the corporate data center, is capably guarded by the usual protections such as firewalls, user authentication, and intrusion-detection systems.

That confidence, however, may be about to evaporate. That's because, at most enterprises, storage devices that are directly attached and dedicated to a specific server--and therefore easily secured--are rapidly giving way to shared networked storage topologies that introduce new security exposures. As much as 70% of enterprise storage will be networked in the form of either Fibre Channel-based storage area networks or network-attached storage devices by 2006, according to Nancy Marrone, senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group.

SANs are rapidly gaining ground in the enterprise because it can be easier and less expensive to manage a network of storage devices that are shared by many servers than hundreds or even thousands of disk subsystems attached to individual servers.

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