May 3, 2017

Understanding Data Center Compliance and Security Frameworks

Paul Painter, Director, Solutions Engineering

Implementing controls, securing data, and withstanding the burden of a rigorous audit are very real concerns when designing and managing one’s information technology infrastructure. The good news is that hosting providers like HorizonIQ have met and implemented the strict requirements of security frameworks, allowing thousands of companies to securely host their data and applications in compliant data centers.

This post will briefly discuss data center compliance and applicable security. But first, it’s worth mentioning that maintaining compliance is not superfluous or an unnecessary burden. Most of the controls required to meet compliance are actually very good security practices and are relatively easy to implement in the cloud.

SOC 2, SSAE 16, and Data Center Compliance

Because of the nature of our business, most cloud service providers fall under the SOC 2 framework, which covers controls to implement for data centers. Administered by the American Institute of CPAs, these controls cover security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.    

When doing research on data centers and SOC 2 compliance, you’re going to run into SSAE 16, as well. SSAE (Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements) is the successor to SAS 70, which was used for 18 years in our industry.

Without getting too in the weeds, SOC 2 is the framework and SSAE 16 is the reporting standard for proving that you have the SOC 2 controls in place. When you look at the report of SOC 2 compliance for a data center, you’re going to be reading the report in the SSAE 16 format.

Every organization is going to attest to their compliance in a different manner. This is simply because every organization is structured differently. SSAE 16, however, ensures that despite organizational differences, there is still a friendly format to present all the controls implemented by the SOC 2 framework. In fact, many cloud service providers adopt SOC 2 compliance and implement SSAE 16 reporting, including HorizonIQ.

What is the Importance of Data Center Compliance?

This brings us back to the most important question for IT professionals: “Can you have compliance in the cloud and its data center?” It’s a very common concern with modern cloud stacks, but in fact, we’re at a point in time where the cloud is no more or less secure or “compliance-ready” than a locally hosted environment. In fact, the economies of scale and procedures in place at managed hosting providers will almost certainly make your environment far more secure.

HorizonIQ’s SOC 2/SSAE 16 certified data centers meet the highest standards of information security, ensuring that customers using our Veeam Cloud Connect backup service or powering applications on our compliance-ready enterprise dedicated servers and private clouds can rest easy.

These fully-staffed, state-of-the-art facilities use the best technologies and safeguards and are fully redundant to ensure maximum security and availability.

Partnering with a managed hosting provider also means that IT professionals don’t have to stay up-to-date with ever-changing compliance frameworks and threat landscapes. Meaning, that resources can be allocated away from pricey cyber security headcount and toward the projects that matter most to your business.

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Paul Painter

Director, Solutions Engineering

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