Cloud security is more than what meets your eye. According to a study by Thales Group, 70% of organizations believe that protecting sensitive data on the cloud infrastructure is difficult owing to the complex data protection regulations. While 67% of them highlighted difficulties in deploying security best practices and tools on the cloud. These statistics prompt a bigger question: Are organizations truly ready for the cloud?
Migrating your workloads to cloud and not upgrading or modernizing core assets could often mean encountering new kinds of security challenges. An effective cloud security assessment and audit checklist offers appropriate checks and balances to ensure you cover all areas of risk. Once you have ticked all the boxes, you can run your business operations in a secure cloud environment. But what is the accurate framework for a cloud security assessment checklist? This blog offers a deep-dive explanation of this question. Let’s read along.
Charting out a Step-by step Approach to Cloud Security Assessment Checklist
Step 1: Strong Policies and Procedures
Gartner predicts that through 2022, 95% of cloud security issues and failures will be the customer’s fault. This proves that the responsibility of a robust security system lies with the cloud service provider and the client. Implementing stringent policies and rules can help you resolve cyber threats with questions like:
- Does your security policy include cloud security?
- Do you follow security procedures during on-boarding/off-boarding of employees?
- Do you have a policy for security breaches and violations?
Step 2: Enforcing Access Management
What if we say that 74% of cyber security breaches are due to privileged credential abuse? Sounds shocking but it's true. This is why implementing identity and access management (IAM) is crucial in securing your Cloud. You can identify and validate user information and assign access rights. Here is a checklist you should follow:
- Who should access your systems?
- Are your systems vetted properly?
- Did you impart security awareness training to your employees?
- Do you have multi-factor authentication as part of your service?
- Have you set up access controls for guest access?
Step 3: Network Security
When it comes to network security, here are the two questions you need to ask your Cloud service provider:
- What gateway security measures need to be planned to prevent malware injections and network-based attacks?
- Can you encrypt sensitive information on less-trusted networks?
Step 4: Backup and Data Recovery
Data loss can happen due to reasons like natural disasters, hardware failure or any other mishaps. A recovery plan can help you secure your data. Choose a cloud provider that offers effective backup and data recovery plans and policies. This should include physical storage locations, backup plans for natural disasters and access to server facilities. Implement the process of regular testing for successful restoration. When you consistently check your backup and restoration processes, you can expect a seamless recovery in case your data gets lost.
Step 5: Enabling Security Patches and Updates
Security Patches are implemented by software companies to fix vulnerabilities in operating systems. You must update your systems with the latest security patches to maintain a secure Cloud infrastructure. Check if you are:
- Implementing the updated security patches
- Testing them before deploying them to a server
- Regularly scanning your environment for potential security threats
Step 6: Logging and Monitoring
Do you know that an organization takes six months to discover a security vulnerability? Maintain logs to check how long you are logging into your system. Log your activities whenever there is a change in policy assignments, network security groups and security policies or you have come in touch with any sensitive data. Monitor your systems to identify security threats in real-time.
Step 7: Data Encryption
Here’s a golden rule of encryption: The more sensitive the information, the more crucial it is to secure your data with encryption. You should encrypt data stored in servers or in transit. Not to mention, you should also secure your private and public keys for certificates.
Demystifying Cloud Compliance Networks
There are six main frameworks that you should consider while adhering to the Cloud compliance regulations. These are:
Cloud Security Alliance Control Maps
The Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) maps out the guidelines for security vendors. This strengthens the security posture of your Cloud environment and streamlines the auditing procedures. You can also assess the risk position of potential Cloud vendors.
This framework is designed specifically for businesses that use the Federal Government’s Cloud. They must comply with their data security regulations. The main objective of this framework is to ensure high-level protection of Cloud assets and deployments made by the Federal Government.
Public trading companies rely on SOX guidelines to safeguard their customers against fraud and casualties. Though SOX doesn’t cover any security issues, they manage IT security controls and ensure data integrity.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Though NIST guidelines are used by government agencies, many private organizations have adopted them as well:
NIST SP 500-291 (2011)—identifies gaps in your cloud security framework.
NIST SP 500-293 (2014)—offers a secured cloud infrastructure framework for government agencies.
NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 5 (2020)— implements security and privacy controls for information systems and organizations.
NIST SP-800-210 (2020)—provides cloud security and access controls for PaaS and IaaS infrastructure.
International Organization for Standardization
To resolve security issues in operating systems, ISO offers cloud security standards like:
ISO/IEC 27001: 2013—serves as a framework for developing IT security systems for your Cloud. These standards are also applied for auditing Cloud security.
ISO/IEC 27002: 2013— outlines the best practices to implement ISO 27001 security standards.
ISO/IEC Technical Report 22678: 2019—details Cloud policy guidelines.
Well Architected Cloud Frameworks
Well-architected frameworks come with their own set of cloud security checklists that provide best practices for developing and safeguarding Cloud environments. These are:
AWS Well Architected Framework—AWS Framework helps you in building applications and workloads for the Cloud infrastructure. With the help of AWS Cloud security audit, you can assess Cloud architecture based on parameters like reliability, performance, cost optimization, operational excellence and security.
Google Cloud Well Architected Framework—helps to construct Cloud architecture with the help of Google Cloud offerings and GCP cloud security assessment checklist.
Azure Well Architected Framework—Azure Architecture allows you to maximize workloads, safeguard data, and enable recovery during failures.
Is your Cloud Secure? Find it Out with Cloud4C
While organizations are spending a good fortune on cloud security, the truth is that deploying cybersecurity risk management tools is not enough to prevent security risks. You need to have an end-to-end Cloud security assessment checklist to identify security loopholes in the IT infrastructure. Cloud4C’s Cloud security assessment checklist offers a constant shield against the growing cyber security crimes. Adopt a sound cybersecurity governance and monitoring strategy to operate risk-proofed anytime, anywhere.
The checklist includes organizational risk posture measurement, compliance audits, malware checks, vulnerability assessment, assets security monitoring, infra health monitoring and public discovery scanning. Our Cloud experts can conduct security assessment workshops to guide your team with cloud security auditing tools and create strong policies and access controls. Achieve unparalleled security by developing a fail-proof blueprint for risk and threat management. To learn more about this, get in touch with our cloud representative today.