Introducing The Cloud Security Notification Framework (CSNF): Benefits of A Standardized Security Information Model
April 08, 2021

Nick Lippis

As the global data-lake market is projected to reach a resounding $31.5 billion by 2027, a wall of worry is rising for large enterprises. The increase in public cloud consumption means an inevitable growth in the volume of security alerts, notifications and events. And with no common protocol among cloud service providers for handling security events, cloud consumers are burdened with increased spending on tools, equipment and talent needed to maintain at least a minimum amount of security across their assets.

Because of these alert disparities, the ONUG Collaborative is developing the Cloud Security Notification Framework, or CSNF, to provide consistency among providers. Composed of top enterprise tech leaders and cloud providers, ONUG's CSNF working group seeks to standardize how cloud providers report security events, alerts and alarms so consumers can achieve greater visibility and governance among their assets.

Here's a closer look at CSNF and how this standardized framework proves to be mutually beneficial for all parties involved in cloud consumption:

A Mutually Beneficial Solution

Over the past few months, the CSNF working group has hosted discovery and learning sessions to outline a solution addressing the disparity in managing security events. From these sessions, standard requirements were created for a CSNF "decorator," which would provide cloud consumers with a mechanism to "decorate," or enrich, security events by augmenting the original security event to provide more clarity and context for the consumer, thus increasing the ability to identify the most important notifications.

For both cloud providers and consumers, security platforms require expensive and time-consuming integration efforts to bring in log files from disparate sources, such as security alerts, asset inventory, vulnerability assessment, endpoint angles and IDS products. Using a unified framework like CSNF, notifications can be developed to simplify integration efforts and improve contextual processing for the entire cloud ecosystem. As the market adoption process continues, cloud providers, vendors and consumers alike would experience transformations that end in productivity optimization.

Cloud service providers: A standardized framework would eliminate the barrier-to-entry that prohibits an enterprise consumer from using additional services from a specific cloud provider. Additionally, an increase in consumer cloud governance would provide an added sense of protection, thus encouraging more cloud consumption from any provider and increasing provider revenue.

Vendors: Industry vendors that provide software as a service also are spending more on engineering resources. These additional resources that specialize in each cloud provider's security alert system would no longer be required under a standardized framework. Instead of spending money on such engineering needs as well as labor, vendors could focus on improving operations and products such as dashboards and apps.

Cloud consumers: CSNF would streamline operations for enterprise cloud consumers and provide greater visibility and control over the security posture of their assets. And as noted earlier, the greater sense of protection from heightened cloud governance would benefit cloud consumers and cloud service providers alike. The increase in cloud governance among consumers would provide a greater sense of protection, thus permitting additional cloud consumption from any provider.

All participants in the cloud security ecosystem would have to undergo this change together, but reducing the frequency and friction of security alerts would provide a controlled environment for years to come. In addressing the current notification crisis with a standardized solution (CSNF), it is the working group's goal to enable a standard or common information model so all industry players can work more efficiently.

Next Steps for CSNF

With enterprise cloud consumers having already provided the aggregate requirements, CSNF is entering the building phase. Cloud service providers are at work developing the plan and prototype to be presented, while consumers are providing input and guidance to assure the acceptance of CSNF by the community and industry at large.

The pandemic has expedited the cloud journey for nearly every corporation on a global scale. Because of this, a reduction of IT noise must be a priority for all organizations to function at optimal efficiency. By bringing together the largest cloud consumers and providers, ONUG can ensure that all parties involved will receive the tools they need to drive successful digital transformation within their companies.

Nick Lippis is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman at ONUG
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