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ISO/IEC 27040

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ISO/IEC 27040:2015 — Information technology — Security techniques — Storage security (first edition)



“ISO/IEC 27040:2015 provides detailed technical guidance on how  organisations can define an appropriate level of risk mitigation by  employing a well-proven and consistent approach to the planning, design, documentation, and implementation of data storage security. ...”
[Source: ISO/IEC 27040:2015]


The proposers of this standard felt that the information security aspects of data storage systems and infrastructures have been neglected due to misconceptions and limited familiarity with the storage technology, or in the case of [some] storage managers and administrators, a limited understanding of the inherent risks or basic security concepts.


Scope and purpose

The standard is intended to help the purchasers and users of computer storage technologies determine and treat the associated information risks (although unfortunately it doesn’t use that  term as such). The scope covers the security of devices and media, security of management activities related to the devices and media, applications/services, and end-users, in addition to security of the information being transferred across the communication links associated with storage.

The standard describes information risks associated with data storage, and controls to mitigate the risks. It aims to:

  • Draw attention to common risks associated with the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information on various data storage technologies;
  • Encourage organisations to improve their protection of stored information using suitable information security controls; and
  • Improve assurance, for example by facilitating reviews or audits of the information security controls protecting stored data.

The information security issues associated with backup/disaster recovery locations and cloud storage are covered, as well as those associated with primary/local storage on a variety of data storage technologies, media and subsystems (e.g. DAS, SAN, NAS, CAS, FC and OSD).

Media sanitization (destruction of data stored on various types of storage media) is also covered.

The standard is unusually detailed. It mentions a number of specific storage technologies which is also unusual for the ISO27k standards that are mostly generic and hence timeless.


Status of the standard

The standard was first published in 2015.

A revision project was launched in 2020 with the following aims:

  • Draw attention to the information risks in this area;
  • Help organisations improve security of stored data by enhancing or extending the guidance in ISO/IEC 27002;
  • Support those designing, reviewing and auditing [data] storage security.

Numerous changes will increase the page count to ~110.

The second edition is at Final Draft International Standard stage, and seems likely to surface during 2023.


Personal comments

Resilience is covered in the standard - an important information security concept that (in my considered opinion) deserves much more emphasis throughout ISO27k. After all, information security involves protecting/ensuring the availability of important information and information services, right?



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