Cloud compliance is essential when using the cloud for infrastructure, applications, or even simple file sharing. It involves adhering to various standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and maintaining partner data protection agreements. It becomes particularly challenging when the endpoints aren’t under your control. Nevertheless, there are ways to compliance-proof your cloud strategy and ensure seamless, efficient operations.
What is cloud compliance?
Cloud compliance is all about making sure an organization’s cloud use complies with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards. It comprises frameworks that guide organizations to meet the required data privacy benchmarks. Being cloud compliant helps secure data, increase system security, and ensures lawful, ethical operation across all departments.
The Challenges of Cloud Compliance
Shifting to the cloud means more agility and innovation. But without the right approach, compliance can suffer.
- First, you can lose sight of your data. When departments, not the whole company, drive migrations, they might adopt services at different times. This makes it hard to track all your assets and where they are.
- Second, there can be too many alerts. Cybersecurity tools send warnings when they see something odd. In DevOps, where teams use many technologies, it can be very hard to answer all alerts quickly.
- Third, there’s a higher risk of breaches. The cloud is complex. Even with good security, companies may fail to implement all the necessary security measures, exposing important data.
That’s where cloud compliance helps. It uses rules to address risks associated with the cloud. Additionally, it helps update your policies and change your teams’ work to match your growing cloud use.
How to Achieve Cloud Compliance
1. Educate Your Team
The journey towards compliance starts with informed employees. It’s crucial to educate them about the risks associated with using file sharing services and the potential hazards of phishing attacks. Implement comprehensive policies outlining acceptable service use and emphasize the importance of password protection.
2. Catalog Your Assets
You can only guard what you know. With slow cloud adoption and new cloud environments, it’s simple to lose sight of data. By cataloging your assets, finding them becomes simpler. This lets you apply the required compliance based on their stored data, resulting in easier protection.
3. Sort and Choose Data
Sort your company data and decide what goes to the cloud. For safety and compliance, it’s smart to keep highly private or sensitive data within your own network. Using a private cloud could be a good option—it offers more security, helping you achieve compliance requirements.
4. Choose a Cloud Provider Aligned With Industry Standards
Countless cloud providers uphold industry security standards. Take Microsoft Azure – it offers environments compatible with FERPA (education), HIPAA (health industry), and FedRAMP (federal government), among others. Opting for a certified provider bolsters your compliance efforts.
5. Tap Into Your Existing Compliance Toolkit
You might be able to extend your existing identity and access management tools to the cloud. Some cloud environments might even accommodate your current firewall software. Existing cybersecurity tools like data loss prevention software can monitor data moving to the cloud. However, given the blurring lines between internal and external systems in the cloud, these tools might not offer complete protection.
6. Implement Controls for Enhanced Security
Regardless of the cloud vendors running your apps and storing your data, you hold the responsibility for their security. Cloud based access control provides a structured approach to cybersecurity and compliance, involving control measures and system monitoring for IOCs (Indicators of Compromise)
Financial controls further enhance command over your environments via a cloud service purchase authorization process. With continuous monitoring and testing, you can ensure these controls function as intended.
7. Regularly Review and Improve
Maintaining cloud compliance is an ongoing process that requires constant vigilance. Regularly reviewing and updating cloud procedures and configurations becomes a critical part of this process.
Every month, make it a priority to assess and recalibrate your operating procedures, standard behaviors, and team setups within the cloud. This process should include monitoring your cloud vendor, as well. They should continuously keep pace with certifications and deliver on the security levels they have promised.
8. Harness Automation
The barrage of alerts from firewalls, antivirus software, and vulnerability scanning tools can be daunting. Automated workflows respond to certain alerts and deploy applications for investigation, allowing quicker threat detection and easier compliance. Integrating these into your CI/CD pipeline automates security throughout development. It can also automate auditing, reporting, and operational controls enforces compliance at scale, even as your business grows.
In the quest for innovation and productivity, businesses often gravitate toward the cloud. Yet, without a structured strategy, maintaining compliance is a complex task. No matter your cloud model, you need a comprehensive plan to safeguard critical information. By adopting these best practices, you’ll streamline compliance and carve out more time to concentrate on growth.