Finra Approved Cloud Storage

Finra Approved Cloud Storage Solutions

Overview of Finra Data Storage Requirements

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) has specific requirements for how financial services firms store their data. This includes guidelines around data security, access controls, and disaster recovery. Firms regulated by Finra must ensure they have secure and reliable storage solutions for their sensitive customer information and transaction records.

Finra rules state that firms must have procedures for storing records in a way that preserves their integrity. This means choosing storage systems that prevent data loss and have strong backup capabilities. Finra also requires proper information security controls like encryption and access management. Firms should limit data access to authorized personnel and protect systems from unauthorized intrusion.

Using Cloud Storage in a Finra Compliant Manner

Cloud storage has become an attractive option for financial services organizations to store their data cost efficiently while maintaining high availability. Public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer enterprise-grade security and reliability features. However, firms must evaluate cloud providers carefully to ensure they can satisfy Finra data storage regulations.

The good news is that the major public cloud platforms have options to enable Finra compliance, including:

– Encryption of data in transit and at rest using AES-256 or similar algorithms. AWS, Azure, and GCP provide full database and object encryption capabilities.

– Role-based access controls and multi-factor authentication for administrative access. Cloud identity and access management tools allow granular control over data access.

– Detailed activity logging for audit trail purposes. Cloud platforms have configurable logging systems to track storage access and changes.

– Backup capabilities like snapshots and versioning support data restoration. Cloud storage can be backed up across multiple geographic regions.

– High availability and resilience against failures. Cloud data centers have robust continuity provisions including failover and redundancy mechanisms.

Examples of Finra Compliant Cloud Storage Solutions

Here are some examples of cloud storage services that can meet Finra compliance requirements:

– **AWS S3** – Amazon Simple Storage Service with server-side encryption enabled satisfies Finra encryption and security standards. Access controls, logging, and cross-region replication provide additional compliance capabilities.

– **Microsoft Azure Storage** – Encryption, RBAC, and logging with geo-redundant storage meets Finra availability and integrity needs. Azure file shares can replace traditional on-premises NAS devices.

– **Google Cloud Storage** – Default encryption, IAM controls, activity logs, and dual-regional or multi-regional data redundancy adheres to Finra guidelines.

– **Box Enterprise** – Box offers FINRA-compliant cloud storage with security controls like encryption key management, user access restrictions, and detailed activity reports.

– **NetApp StorageGRID** – StorageGRID is an object storage platform that meets SEC 17-a4 requirements for financial data retention and availability.


With the right configurations enabled, major cloud platforms can provide FINRA regulated organizations with compliant and scalable data storage. Firms should consult with cloud vendors and compliance advisors when designing their storage architectures. Following best practices for encryption, access controls, auditing, availability, and data integrity allows financial services companies to confidently move storage to the cloud.

Granular Access Controls in the Cloud

Cloud platforms like AWS and Azure provide robust identity and access management capabilities to restrict data access. Features include:

Attribute-based access control (ABAC)

Policies can be defined using attributes like user department, application, resource tags, and more.

Integration with on-premises Active Directory

Cloud permissions can mirror internal user roles and groups.

Temporary security credentials

Tokens can provide temporary cloud access without exposing permanent keys.

Data Residency Considerations

Financial firms must often store data in specific jurisdictions for compliance. Cloud options include:

In-region storage

Data can be confined to particular geographies and never leave the desired region.

Dedicated cloud infrastructure

Private cloud or dedicated hardware for total control over physical data locations.

Data Recovery Testing

It’s important to validate recovery capabilities through exercises like:

Simulating outages

Does failover work properly when primary storage goes down?

Restoring from backup

Testing backup restoration ensures recoverability.

Disaster recovery drills

Complete end-to-end testing that also covers networking, applications, etc.

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