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CloudCode suggests voluntary security standard

Public comment sought on proposed changes to security clause in NZ CloudClode

The vital area of security in the Institute of IT Professionals' Cloud Computing Code of Practice (NZCloudCode) may be due for a change that will eliminate the element of compulsion in the application of recognised standards.

A discussion document issued by the Institute is nearing the end of its period for public comment. Comments on whether a change to the security clauses is necessary or desirable should be made by January 30, says IITP.

The NZCloudCode is based on voluntary disclosure; cloud service providers disclose the terms of their service according to the code's framework, leaving clients to compare offerings and assess the risk of choosing one provider or another.

As currently drafted the security provision appears an exception, in that it is prescriptive. It requires the applicant to have either a formally assessed compliance to a recognised standard or registration with the Cloud Security Alliances STAR registry.

"The IITP CloudCode team have considered this matter and are seeking feedback on changing the approach of [the pertinent section] 5.4 to align with the rest of the Code," says the IITP discussion document "by recommending that a minimum security standard should be held by a cloud service provider but not requiring [that] such a standard [be adopted in order] to be compliant with the disclosures of the Code.

"While the Institute believes that adhering to standards is a good thing, the principle of the CloudCode is one of proactive disclosure," it says.

The existing version of the code requires a declaration that the provider is compliant with the CSA STAR registry standards or one of a limited number of other standards listed on a schedule.

The suggested new version adds the options: "We are currently undergoing the process of acquiring certification against the following standard(s)" or "we do not meet any formal security standard recognised by the CloudCode." Providers giving these replies should still be allowed to qualify as compliant with the code, it is suggested.

The discussion document can be downloaded here.

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