Cloud Compliance 101: Why It’s Important and Best Practices to Achieve It

Cloud Compliance 101

As companies and organizations engage in digital and remote working practices, cloud compliance becomes more critical than before.

Cloud compliance is a term given to the need of an organization and cloud computing providers to check if they comply with the laws and regulations that apply to use of the cloud established via regional, national, and international law.

As the cybersecurity regulations keep increasing, compliance managers struggle to manage and report the complicated and un-optimized software services to meet compliance and privacy requirements. 

This post takes a deeper look into cloud compliance and why it matters, along with best practices organizations should take to prevent cloud security issues and putting their business data at risk.

Cloud Compliance and Why It Matters

With 92% of organizations hosting some of their data in the cloud, most businesses today have experienced some kind of breach. 

Organizations should ensure that compliance and security are the utmost priority for them as they continue to migrate and operate within the cloud environment. When the company moves into the hybrid cloud environment, they need to pay attention to how the cloud provider helps them comply with the industry’s regulations. Some common regulatory requirements include: 

    1. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 
    2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) 
    3. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

These laws implement guidelines, policies, and practices to protect people’s sensitive data and improve data privacy.

Compliance can have various positive impacts on your organization’s reputation. One prime benefit to adhering to cloud compliance standards is a boost in cloud security. These standards are not based on random choices but are carefully developed to protect data in the event of data breaches and leaks. 

Non-compliance can result in lawsuits, reputational damage, regulatory fines, and disrupted operations. Thus, it is in your best interest to deploy practices to ensure compliance with standards required for your company.

Four Ways to Achieve Cloud Compliance

As the threat landscape grows, non-compliance has become a severe issue. It can’t be overlooked or neglected. All you need is to practice establishing a cloud compliance framework that provides the necessary guidelines to maintain a high level of security for your customers. 

Here are the four best ways to achieve cloud compliance and verify your commitments to data protection and privacy: 

1. Asset Discovery and Visibility 

The first step to achieving cloud compliance is asset discovery and visibility. This means keeping a record of all the active and inactive assets of a network. On the other hand, visibility refers to detecting and understanding the security and compliance risks that threaten your organization.

This involves taking stock of the cloud services and data and then defining all configurations to prevent vulnerability.

      1. Assign ownership of assets
      2. Manage the addition of new instances via change control processes. 
      3. Monitor your cloud accounts through the provider’s management console.

The dilemma for the IT department is to have good asset discovery and visibility of the software being used and their threat to an organization and find the right balance between keeping employees happy and remaining secure.

2. Data Encryption

Data encryption is vital even if you think that you don’t have anything to hide. There are three fundamental reasons for data encryption — security, compliance, and cost. Over the past few years, the government has realized the need to have regulations to protect people’s sensitive information when in the hands of businesses. 

With the overall number of data compromises being up more than 68% compared to 2020, it has become imperative to encrypt your data and lessen the number of data breaches. This is the process of changing your data into a scrambled and unreadable form, so it becomes impossible for outsiders to invade your privacy and access your data or sensitive information.

Your business needs to consider the penalties and lawsuits they might receive for breaking federal and state laws. If any unencrypted GDPR, SOX, PHI are exposed, it is a violation of HIPAA, and it might not cause you to pay hefty fines but also affect your reputation in the market. 

Encryption is an affordable and the most secure way to achieve cloud compliance. It’s important to avoid risk by encrypting your files in the cloud. 

3. Access Control

Most of the time, the flexibility of the cloud environment makes access control difficult, and this inadequate access control often results in cloud misconfiguration. To achieve compliance, organizations need to ensure that only authorized people access sensitive data relevant to their work. 

The best way for implementing access control is to practice identity and access management habits (IAM). It can prevent abuse of privileged user accounts by offering advanced management of user roles and privileges. 

When you deploy IAM solutions, you can define who can use the cloud resources, when, and how. Moreover, you can also monitor any unusual behavior and send warnings to prevent data breaches. 

Here are some IAM tips to achieve compliance: 

      1. Setting strong passwords 
      2. Biometric authentication 
      3. Multi-factor authentication
      4. Security Assertion Markup Language 
      5. IAMagnifier tool

Besides this, you can even disable a dormant account and establish credentials and key management policies. 

4. Develop Controls and Policies 

Having cloud security controls and policies is another significant step to achieving cloud compliance. When you have established the risks you assume, you need to ensure to place controls around these risks. Similarly, when you have a policy in place, you can determine what kind of cloud application can provide you with the best result that fits your requirements. 

While choosing a cloud provider, organizations should understand how they want to maintain their assets and the internal controls they intend to apply to the information. 

In addition, cloud security compliance needs to overview the processes and policies for deleting the stored data. Deleting the data from the cloud environment is somehow related to the record retention policies that your cloud provider has in place.

Make the Right Choice

Need to figure out how to ensure your cloud environment is compliant with your policies and legal regulations? Contact Solvo. 

At Solvo, we enable you to view, control, and protect your cloud infrastructure, security posture, and rising cloud security risks. With Solvo, compliance isn’t a problem or a separate task now. It’s built into the way you secure your cloud-based data processing. 

Also, Solvo automates the remediation process, allowing users to easily right-size permissions to ensure that every asset meets best practices standards. We provide comprehensive visibility into all of your infrastructures while also providing the fine-grained controls you require to manage your assets responsibly. We scan your cloud infrastructure for misconfigurations that could open the door for exploitation.

Solvo is here to automate your cloud security.

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