Glossary

Cloud Security Compliance

“The Cloud'' is terminology that is so commonly used nowadays. Cloud computing refers to the availability of resources required by computer systems, including and specifically related to data storage and computing power without the user/organization having direct management.

When we talk about cloud compliance, we are referring to the procedures, policies, and practices that monitor data in the cloud and ensure that this cloud environment complies with governance and regulatory requirements. Organizations deal with customers from all over the globe, all who are governed by different regulatory requirements, such as GDPR, NIST, SOX, and many others.

What is cloud compliance management?

Cloud compliance management is the process of monitoring (either internally, or using an external cloud compliance tool, such as Scytale) the data and regulatory requirements of the organization (and customers alike) to ensure that appropriate cloud compliance policies, practices, and processes are designed, implemented, and abided by to safeguard data and customer information.

Utilizing a cloud provider has a variety of benefits including: reduced IT costs, increased speed of operations, flexibility of product offerings, and endless collaborative possibilities - to name a few.

However, with the added convenience, comes a whole new level of security complexity. Using AWS, GCP, or MS Azure as your IaaS provider provides the capability to have a fully ‘off site’ or virtual environment hosted in the cloud. Unfortunately, data security & cloud compliance is not quite as easy and convenient, and if not implemented correctly, can cause more security vulnerabilities.

Think about a local data storage facility that has access control by means of gates, locks, passcodes, etc. You have your data stored on a device that is enclosed by walls, locks, and gates. You can protect this, add guards outside, add thicker walls, as well as more locks perhaps.

Cloud security compliance standards

Now, using the cloud, where is your data? And more importantly, how do you protect this data? Fortunately, cloud computing is not a new concept, and there are a variety of cloud security compliance standards that when implemented correctly, provide an extremely secure level of security. The IaaS providers previously discussed have multiple layers of security. They are designed so that their actual data centers (where your sensitive customer data is hosted) is secure and compliant with regulatory requirements. 

For example, AWS offers multiple availability zones. Firstly, this ensures redundancy and that you are never left ‘in the dark’ with a data outage. The other critical consideration for these availability zones is different data regulatory requirements. You are able to configure which regions your data is stored in (based on regulatory requirements) and have the peace of mind knowing that the data is safeguarded, and you have maintained data regulatory requirements.

Choosing a cloud compliance framework

When choosing a framework to adopt and implement, consider your organization, the type of governance required, the data stored and maintained (and the regions your customers are based in), and the capability of the organization to implement this. A small, product-driven start up may not have the capability (or time) to dedicate a team to designing and implementing a compliance framework that an enterprise may be able to. However, neglecting cloud security compliance early on may have a ripple effect further down the line. Therefore, focus on addressing the primary compliance requirements, and scale as the organization requires.

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