Members corner | Private cloud storage | A case study

This blog post was written by guest author, Albert Ma, Chief Innovation Officer, Hengtian and is this week’s NICSA Member Feature.

CloudComputingPic_HengtianAs with any storage system, there are certain security properties that are desirable in a cloud storage system:

  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Write serializability
  • Read freshness

These properties ensure that a user’s data is always secure and can’t be modified by unauthorized users and that the data retrieved by the user is always the latest version.

But a public cloud storage user — both at enterprise level and as an individual consumer — might face various types of issues during use. The primary concerns are with integrity, security and privacy of the data, ensuring that the data is confidential and available when it is needed.

Let us look at these concerns in a more detailed manner:

  • More than 75 percent of businesses have shared or stored sensitive company information on public cloud services (Source: Symantec)
    • 40% experienced the exposure of confidential information
    • 40% reported that they had lost data in the cloud and had to restore it from backups
  • Average cost of a data breach was $5.5 Million in 2011 (Source:
  • Reliability and availability depend on WAN
  • Countries impose strict rules on where data resides

Private cloud storage is increasingly being seen by organizations as an alternative to existing methods of providing shared storage to business units. Private cloud storage can address security and performance concerns while still offering many of the benefits of cloud storage such as scalability, reliability, rapid deployment.

Owncloud is an open source solution which provides cloud storage behind the firewall. For internal use, HengTian (HT) deploys it as a private cloud storage and uses it to manage public cloud storage services securely, such as Amazon S3 and Google storage. Sensitive data can now be protected by storing it safely inside the data center, enabling LDAP/AD integration, controlled by trusted administrators and compliance with internal policies. With the Encryption Application enabled, all files stored on the server are encrypted to user password.

Mobile device is now the de facto standard to access files in the cloud. HengTian chose Pier7Mobile’s Infonexys as the iPad client because it has more enriched features. It bundles mobile document management and distribution, with communication (RSS, Notes, Doc email and sharing) and information compliance, all in a single app.

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