CSA Announces Open Certification Framework for Cloud Providers

August 19, 2012

In a new initiative involving the British Standards Institution, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has announced additional details of its Open Certification Framework, and its partnership with BSI. The aim is that this partnership will ensure the Open Certification Framework is in line with international standards and is based upon a comprehensive certification process.  

The CSA Open Certification Framework is an industry initiative that offers cloud providers a trusted global certification scheme. This flexible three-stage scheme will be created in line with the CSA’s security guidance and control objectives. The program will support an independent third-party assessment, as well as attestation statements developed within the public accounting community.  

The Open Certification Framework is structured in three levels, each aims to provide an incremental level of trust and transparency to the operations of cloud service providers and a higher level of assurance to the cloud consumer: 

·        the initial level is CSA STAR Self Assessment: Cloud providers can submit reports to the CSA STAR Registry to indicate their compliance with CSA best practices 

·        the second level, CSA STAR CERTIFICATION, is a third-party independent assessment: this certification leverages the requirements of the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 management systems standard together with the CSA Cloud Control Matrix (CCM). These assessments will be conducted by approved certification bodies only. Availability is expected in 2013 

·        the STAR Certification will be enhanced in the future by continuous monitoring-based certification: this third level is currently under development.  

The development of the STAR CERTIFICATION (third-party independent assessment) will be driven jointly by CSA and BSI. Based upon the ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ (PDCA) approach and the specified set of criteria as outlined in the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM), this service enables the assessor to numerically score a company’s performance against the CCM. 

‘The rise of cloud as a global compute utility creates a mandate to better harmonize compliance concerns,’ said Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director EMEA of the CSA. ‘We share with BSI a commitment to improve transparency in the cloud ecosystem and create a market of trusted cloud services. BSI is one of the most relevant players in the area of information security standards, certification and assessment, and therefore they are the ideal partner for CSA in the development of the OCF. Consumers and providers alike will benefit from the knowledge that their CSA-backed compliance activities will be broadly applicable within global regulatory regimes.’ 

‘A key challenge the cloud industry faces is reassuring its customers that the service they provide is not only secure but can recover from any incidents with minimal disruption. By adopting the Open Certification Framework, cloud service providers will benefit from reducing their risks, improving the incident recovery time and demonstrating good information governance,’ said David Brown, Director of Corporate Development at BSI. ‘By partnering with the CSA, we are able to combine our expertise to develop a comprehensive Framework against which cloud providers can be independently benchmarked and which encourages continual improvement to ensure customers receive the best service possible.’

Additional details of the Open Certification Framework will be announced on 25 September.