Cloud Computing Audits: The Four Pitfalls That You Should Avoid

By 2030, the cloud computing market is reaching $1,554.94 billion. As the industry grows, the risk for identity fraud and theft also rises within an environment where the data is shared with multiple users. Thus it has become crucial to undergo a cloud audit.

Cloud computing audits are becoming increasingly important, and it is the same as the audit you conduct within any business sector. The primary purpose of the audit is to keep a check and balance on the available data and improve the overall security and performance as ensured by the cloud service provider.

Prime Objectives for Cloud Computing Audits

The prime purpose of cloud computing audits is to ensure that data integrity is maintained. This way, businesses can prevent unexpected incidents or cybercrimes that might target the cloud environment and what’s in it. Moreover, companies can look over their processes and systems and ensure they remain updated by auditing the cloud on a periodic or ongoing basis.

Some other objectives or reasons for performing cloud audits are as follows:

      1. Risk Management: Management should document those risks that don’t comply with the company or the regulator’s objectives. These risks include security vulnerabilities and violations of any law.
      2. Identify Vendor Management Security Controls: As cloud-based companies rely on other vendors like AWS, Azure or GCP to host their cloud infrastructure, they need to identify the risks that can affect the sensitive information.
      3. Define IT Processes and Relationships – To create processed documents and a standardized and stable IT environment. Businesses need to implement policies that include organization structure, responsibilities, risk management, incident response, and recovery plan.

Pitfalls During Cloud Computing Audits

Cloud computing audits have been around for a few years, but many companies are only now moving their data to the cloud and are learning how to perform audits on their cloud environments.

You might not be aware of this, but some pitfalls actually occur during the audits that can risk the business and data. Thus, it’s essential that you remain aware of the mistakes and avoid them in the future by creating simple preventative mechanisms.

1.     Neglecting Encryption

The most significant mistake while performing cloud audits by neglecting encryption. When the data is not encrypted on the cloud, or if the encryption keys are not kept secure, it is easy for hackers to access the information stored on the cloud.

Encryption is a must. It is the only way to guarantee that your data is safe. Cloud audits should ensure that all data is encrypted while in transit and at rest. You should also ensure using an encryption algorithm approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Don’t forget that encryption keys should be kept properly too. We’ve seen them kept in plain text in the past and that’s far from best practice.

2.     Misunderstanding of the shared responsibility model

There is an agreement between the cloud infrastructure providers and the users, that basically says that the first ones are responsible for the bare metal and its availability, while the second are responsible for what’s kept on it, and its configuration.

This trust relationship is crucial, but it should not be taken for granted. Back in December 2021 AWS made a mistake in one of its managed S3 Bucket policies, theoretically exposing the data of countless buckets for 8 hours.

Despite all the concerns, organizations can tackle this issue easily. By using Solvo’s Policy Manager, you can be assured as it will create and enforce least-privileged policies across all assets. Also, the SecurityGenie provides insight on the severity of security issues and possible attack vectors targeting your cloud data.

3.     Lack of Visibility

It’s not uncommon to outsource some of the IT or security management. As a result, the app owner finds it difficult to get a detailed view at their infrastructure, potential risks and compliance status. In hybrid environments it gets even more complicated. Lack of cloud visibility affects the overall performance tracking, security, and costs.

Cloud-based organizations can maintain high visibility by trusting a reliable cloud management platform like Solvo that provides comprehensive infrastructure visibility. Solvo’s IAMagnifier feature takes control of your cloud security and risk visibility. It shows you which entities should be restricted (for example, if they can create a new AWS user while they shouldn’t). Also, on the IAMagnifier screen, you can ask for your check and view any unnecessary entities that can read your sensitive data.

Moreover, when Solvo is integrated into the cloud infrastructure, it analyzes all the assets in the cloud and flags them for review.

4.     Maintaining Compliance

Another major pitfall during cloud audit, and in between audits, is maintaining regulatory compliance and practicing the best cloud security practices. SOC2, HIPPA, ISO, CIS, and NIST are the compliance standards that almost every organization follows at least one of them. In the past organizations would just prepare for an annual audit, but as incidents and data leakage are becoming unfortunately popular, you should consider implementing a continuous and automated solution.

By choosing suitable cloud management platforms like Solvo, you can automatically maintain cloud compliance. With Solvo’s Compliance Manager, compliance is not a separate task; it’s built into how you secure your cloud-based infrastructure and entitlements. It can help you get the proof of regulatory compliance and data hygiene with verification that relevant assets can be accessed only from specific areas in the application.

How Can Solvo Help You?

Cloud compliance audits have become an industry standard as companies are now aware of the risks imposed on their data when hosted with a third party. Users and customers are requesting cloud audits and proof of compliance to gain assurance and reduce the chances of their data getting into the wrong hands.

Discovering your cloud assets and protecting them has never been easier. At Solvo, we continuously audit your AWS security posture and make sure the higher risks are handled first. We have introduced the IAMagnifier feature to see all your assets and recommend the least-privilege security policy that fits your scenario.

In addition, Solvo has recently introduced the Compliance Manager feature. You don’t have to wait for the security auditor to detect any security glitches. We have set compliance rules, so checking the relevant boxes you comply with the industry’s regulations.

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