Cloud Compliance Conundrum: Building a Decisive strategy

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Cloud Compliance Conundrum

In recent years, digital transformation has accelerated at an unprecedented rate across sectors. IT firms are now migrating to cloud technologies to deliver applications and services to their clients more rapidly and efficiently. These cloud technologies are allowing communications platforms, banking applications, SaaS offerings, and system consolidation to be delivered at a rate that is more in line with the business requirements. “Gartner expects growth in public cloud to be sustained through 2024.[MS1] ”

Despite the fact that cloud security is still a major problem, the major issue of cloud compliance comes into picture. Most CSPs are solely committed to delivering cloud storage services to businesses, with little attention paid to the data security or compliance with industry laws. For many organizations, ensuring that their cloud resources are compliant with rules and standards is a prerequisite necessity. “Approaching nine in ten (86%) believe that compliance is or will be an issue for them when moving systems, applications, and infrastructures to the cloud, and 94% of organizations report they would face challenges when it comes to IT security compliance and/or privacy regulations in the cloud.” [MS2] 

Many readers are put off by the phrase “Compliance“. They are overwhelmed with many doubts. Do we follow the compliance rules? Is it possible to fully establish compliance? Are we adhering to the correct rules? What if we are not in sync with the compliance? Is compliance something we can afford to spend money on? Are we in a state to afford non-compliance? To clear these foggy cloud questions first we need to understand what Cloud Compliance is, and how you can boost your organization’s compliance confidence.

What is Cloud Compliance?

Compliance is nothing more than a repository of best practices shaped by a number of organizations and professionals. Cloud compliance refers to meeting cloud usage regulations. These regulations are based on both industry best practices and governmental standard laws. For many organizations, compliance behavior in the cloud is a top priority. However, the compliance gap, or the difference between the regulations that organizations establish and the policies that they can actually implement, is a serious problem. Many companies start with ISO 27001 or NIST SP 800-53 as a foundational framework for developing their security posture. To help organizations apply these controls to their cloud environment, ISO acknowledged some specific regulations and consolidated them in ISO 27017, 27036, and so on.

This isn’t as straightforward as it appears. There might be a slew of negative repercussions if these compliance standards aren’t satisfied, you risk non-compliance, which might result in security breaches or even civil or criminal penalties if you violate the law’s regulations. And, because of the cloud’s elasticity, establishing compliance at one point in time does not guarantee compliance in the future. The majority of the time, these take the form of penalties and fees.

What’s your Company Compliance?

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation): Protects Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of the residents of the European Union, which includes name, address, phone number.HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): Focuses on the protection of Protected Health Information (PHI) which includes prescriptions, x-ray reports, blood reports, etc.ISO (International Standards Organization) (27000 series): – It is a collection of documents consisting of best practice recommendations for information security management.NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology): – Guidelines addressing how non-federal systems and organizations should preserve, manage and disseminate non-classified confidential information.
  1. The Compliance Laws are a collection of rules created by the government of a country, state or city and to be legitimate one has to adhere to them if your organization is associated with the data/customers of that particular region.
  2. The Compliance Laws are a collection of rules created by the government of a country, state or city and to be legitimate one has to adhere to them if your organization is associated with the data/customers of that particular region.
  3. The Compliance Laws are a collection of rules created by the government of a country, state or city and to be legitimate one has to adhere to them if your organization is associated with the data/customers of that particular region.

How to enhance your Compliance Confidence?

  • Internal Compliance should be in place: There should be some Internal Compliances defined by the organizations which are based on the code of conduct and business ethics internal to the organization to apply some extra layer to your data security. Internal compliance refers to the measures a firm takes to create a standard and maintain a specific degree of quality inside its own operations. These internal rules can be related to cost control, security, and compliance. These are generally outlined in a formal manner by an authoritative body inside the organization.
  • Strengthen your compliance score with Well-Architected Frameworks: Cloud service providers such as AWS and Azure provide Well-Architected framework that can benefit your cloud with scalability, efficiency, and security.

CloudEnsure’s Well-Architected Audit helps you conduct a well-structured audit of your system and resources across five strong foundational pillars: Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization.

CloudEnsure’s Compliance module highlights gaps and improvement areas on your infrastructure that would help your cloud environment to adhere to various compliance standards and benchmarks to mitigate the risks.

  • Continuous Compliance: Always remember that Compliance is not a one-time job, it is more of a continuous practice to be followed. Continuous compliance guarantees that all cloud environments are compliant at all times, particularly in everyday routine operations. It can liberate your IT departments from dealing with regulatory inquiries or malpractices. Continuous compliance procedures that are well-implemented seek to prepare the firm for future security threats and audit obligations.
  • Compliance would not guarantee Security: Having the necessary procedures and technologies in place to meet data privacy standards would enable cloud compliance. Compliance, on the other hand, does not guarantee the security, confidentiality, or integrity of your data. It just shows that you’ve complied with specified legal or industry criteria for safeguarding your data. Compliance frameworks only set a baseline for controls, which are generally rooted in common threat vectors. For example, a compliance standard may suggest you choose strong passwords. However, this does not eliminate the security attacks.
  • Reporting and Auditing: Because of the cloud’s complexity and scattered nature, monitoring and tracking all activities is critical. The who, what, when, where, and how of events is the backbone of compliance verification and ensures organizations are audit-ready.
  • Raising Compliance awareness among co-workers: Educate the employees about the compliance policies created internally in your organization so that they help you in achieving full governance. Consider your workforce as the first line of protection.  If they are not aware about the policy goals, they might refrain from following these measures.

And, while you incorporate these strategies to your cloud compliance, let’s have a look at a widely growing recognition of compliance benefits available in managed cloud services.

  1. Having a regulatory compliance system in place will not only reduce your chance of non-compliance, but also your overall business risk. Many cloud governance platforms help you stay compliant by providing monitoring services that alert you when settings are altered, or security regulations are violated. These active monitoring systems eliminate human errors from compliance reporting while also increasing your overall security.
  1. Uninterrupted operations are guaranteed. When you have a strategy in place for continuous compliance, an audit isn’t nearly as big of a deal as it would be otherwise. Instead of scrambling to assemble a team at the last minute and disrupting their regular duties in the process, you’ll be ready to demonstrate compliance with minimal additional work.
  1. If you’re hunting for business chances in highly regulated industries like government or healthcare, compliance can help you stand out from the competition. If you’re bidding for a federal contract, which needs backup of cloud-based data and applications, and you already have one in place for compliance regulations, you’re already poised to meet those contract criteria.
  1. Security Compliance will help you in dodging heavy fines and penalties. Organizations must be aware about their specific industry regulations so that they can adhere to the laws for safeguarding the personal data of their customers. For e.g.: – non-adherence to HIPAA framework firms can face fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million annually; or failing to meet GDPR guidelines fines equaling four percent of a company’s global turnover, or 20 million euros, whichever is higher.
  1. In addition, the high costs and penalties connected with data breaches damages a firm’s brand, erode customer trust, and send the message that the company is unreliable and does not take adequate precautions to protect its customers’ privacy and security. In order to develop a more secure system and implement tighter security measures, leading tech firms are shifting from Basic authentication to Multi- Factor Authentication.

CloudEnsure’s Well-Architected Audit and Compliance Solution have helped a number of organizations to reach 100% compliance 100% of the time by ensuring 24 * 7 compliance tracking and also leveraging benefits to organizations such as data security, decrease in Cloud expenditure and upscaling cloud usage.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to maintain data assurance and consistent monitoring in the era of multi-cloud adoption. To accomplish this as a well-defined continuous compliance framework the automation of security controls, procedures, and breaches are essential. Compliance must not be perceived as a major obstacle. It’s something that you should take advantage of to the best of its ability.  Since compliance not only equips you with a framework to help safeguard the privacy of your data, operations, employees, suppliers, and customers, but it also opens up a room full of new opportunities for organizations that can establish that they comply with data protection regulations in a variety of regulated industries. Hence it makes necessary to have automation in place for day to day activities but also important to continuously revisit them. While Cloud-Native tools give you a good start and help you understand your compliance portfolio, adopting a platform like CloudEnsure allows you to define a cloud compliance strategy that can save you millions and ensure the trust is maintained in the longer run.

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