Nasuni Demonstrates Cloud Storage Security With Bold Challenge

Crack the Nasuni Prize File, Win $5,000

Jun 22, 2010, 08:30 ET from Nasuni

NATICK, Mass., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Nasuni, the leading gateway to cloud storage, today announced a bold challenge to industry skeptics: Successfully reveal the contents of the file stored in the cloud by a Nasuni Filer, and win $5,000. The announcement, which follows on the heels of a release detailing the top 5 security concerns facing any cloud service, marks the start of a multi-pronged campaign to demonstrate that these concerns are surmountable.

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"We're aware that many businesses are dubious about cloud storage for security reasons," said Nasuni CEO and co-founder Andres Rodriguez. "Data leakage is a major concern. With cloud storage, you have to entrust your data to an outside party, and your data is swimming around in the cloud with other customers' data. Intuitively, it seems risky. Customers are smart to be wary. But we've built a system that protects against these risks. We're confident that Nasuni can keep your data safe in the cloud, and we are willing to go the distance to prove it."

To protect against leakage, the Nasuni Filer uses OpenPGP — one of the most widely used and respected cryptosystems today — to encrypt all data before it leaves the customer's premises. When in transit or at rest in the cloud, data is opaque to prying eyes. It can be decrypted only by flowing back through the Filer into the privacy of the customer's office. The Filer masks everything — not just data, but filenames, file sizes, timestamps, and more. The encryption, performed by the AES-256 cipher, is fast, so users don't have to sacrifice performance for security. And, to ensure that no customer can accidentally access another's data, in spite of the shared storage resources of the cloud, each customer has a unique key.

To demonstrate OpenPGP's effectiveness, Nasuni has made public a handful of files written to the cloud by a Nasuni Filer. Among them is the Prize File, with a top-secret message inside. The first person to decode the file and reveal the secret message will win $5,000. According to Nasuni president and co-founder Rob Mason, "No one will succeed. We're sure of that. OpenPGP has been poked and prodded for years. Attacking the encryption layer is, practically speaking, futile. The security community already knows that. We want everyone to know."

"This is really a demonstration in the guise of a challenge," said David Shaw, the architect of Nasuni's security model and one of the authors of the IETF OpenPGP standard. "Modern encryption, when implemented properly, thoroughly protects against data leakage. Our design, encrypting at the edge and never allowing even a single byte of customer data to enter the cloud unprotected, allows us to extract the full benefit of modern encryption."

"Our goal here," Rodriguez added, "is to convince people that cloud storage, with the right security protocols in place, is no riskier than in-house storage. If a security breach happens, it won't be in the cloud. Someone may still peek under the desk of the IT guy and steal a password off a Post-it note — we can't control that — but we can be sure your data is safe in the cloud. We walk the walk: We store all our own data — even our HR data — in the cloud with a Nasuni Filer. We know it's safe because we've made it safe."

"Businesses won't put real data into the cloud until they are comfortable that it's as secure as it is within their own four walls.  Nasuni is tackling that issue head on — proving they can deliver.  The challenge is a great way to get the word out — that the cloud really is ready for mission critical data.  In reality, this data is even more secure than if it sat inside the company's own data center 99% of the time," said Steve Duplessie, Sr. Analyst at ESG.

"As a law office, we've got incredibly sensitive files, so it's hard to make the leap and say, sure, we'll trust the cloud with our files," said Henry Chace, Chief Information Officer at Burns & Levinson LLP. "I like Nasuni's approach — encrypt the files so securely that you don't have to trust the cloud for security. Your files are locked and protected no matter what happens. That makes it easier to say, yes, I'll put my files up there."

After 30 days, Nasuni will donate the unwon $5,000 to the Free Software Foundation as a thank-you for the Gnu Project — specifically GnuPG, a Free Software implementation of the OpenPGP standard. Said Rodriguez, "The Gnu Project continues to inspire technical excellence among the best and brightest minds. They are the real heroes."

For further details on Nasuni's security model and its take on cloud security in general, the company invites you to read Understanding Security in Cloud Storage, a newly posted white paper.

Follow Nasuni on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nasuni and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/nasuni.

About Nasuni

Nasuni was founded in 2009 by storage veterans to deliver a secure gateway to cloud storage that makes the cloud feasible for business users. The Nasuni Filer is a virtual NAS file server that runs on VMware and leverages the resources of the cloud to simplify file storage and protection. Targeting the mid-market, Nasuni's solution eliminates the need for incremental storage hardware, and the resulting capital expense to manage unstructured file growth. The company is backed by North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners. To download the Nasuni Filer, or for more information, visit www.nasuni.com.

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