04 Nov Understanding Cloud Computing Security and Compliance
For many businesses, the rapid transformation to a hybrid workforce meant quick adoption of cloud computing and leaning on desktop as a service (DaaS) solutions to keep employees connected and productive.
Even businesses and industries that have always worked in strict compliance and regulatory environments still find themselves facing challenges of ever-increasing regulatory burden, often across diverse verticals or geographical locations.
Regardless of how your business came to consider using a cloud computing solution, it’s essential to position yourself to get out in front of anticipated changes posed by governmental bodies that are designed to improve data privacy and to give more teeth to disclosure mandates like those that have been adopted in the EU and California.
When determining which solutions are best for your company, it’s critical to understand the common compliance challenges posed by cloud computing as well as the benefits of cloud hosting when it comes to ensuring data integrity for businesses of all sizes and in all regulatory environments.
Cloud Computing and Compliance: Primary Considerations
If your business handles financial data by conducting credit card processing or if you are in a highly regulated industry such as banking or healthcare, most organizations face compliance and regulatory mandates designed to protect their customers’ sensitive information. Depending on your industry, you could need to meet compliance standards promulgated by the states or even the specific countries or global regions in which you conduct business.
Good record keeping is essential for showing state, federal, and international regulators that your business has a sound auditing framework in place as well as specific controls and procedures implemented to meet or exceed the current regulations for your industry.
Transitioning your operations to the cloud means that some of the key aspects of compliance are ceded to your cloud hosting provider so you want to be sure you understand exactly how the cloud solution handles network infrastructure, data security, and provisioning.
The cloud provider also needs to be able to operate with the same types of safeguards and controls that you would use internally to meet your industry’s regulatory requirements. Your partner also must be able to provide you with evidence of compliance via regulation specific reports and they must have the ability to conduct the audits that are required by your industry.
Despite these challenges, most companies find meeting compliance requirements by moving to a cloud-based solution offers significant benefits.
Benefits of Cloud-based Compliance for Businesses
Utilizing cloud-based solutions can give your employees instant, on-demand access to your computing resources and platform applications from anywhere. With reduced costs and increased flexibility, cloud-based solutions are an attractive alternative for organizations of all sizes and for those businesses that must operate in complex regulatory environments.
But cloud computing’s real value for small business to large enterprise is in increased compliance. With the right cloud solution, you can implement a Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) framework to close gaps, improve executive visibility, and be proactive addressing specific risks and compliance issues.
Instead of having to rely on and pay for an in-house IT department, your cloud provider can offer you a more secure infrastructure to maintain adequate data security in the cloud. Or they can harden your datacenters and endpoints or give you access to more resilient network connectivity. You’ll also have improved security threat protection and a dedicated incident response team in place and ready to take immediate action when the inevitable breach occurs.
With a qualified cloud provider partner, most businesses can also outsource the task of updating their software platforms to keep them up-to-date and operating within compliant parameters. With smart scheduling, updates happen so they don’t cause slowdowns or outages during peak business hours keeping customers happy and employees productive.
Your Cloud Solution is Built on Secure Networking
Meeting most compliance standards starts with having good network security. Any cloud-based solution will rely upon a combination of network and application firewalls plus virtual private networks (VPN) and an intrusion prevention and detection strategy.
These security measures are deployed to protect both the cloud data center itself and to specifically protect the workload now operating in the cloud.
Risk mitigation is only as good as the monitoring performed on the system. Network and host activity is constantly reviewed to identify policy violations and other unauthorized activity that may be allowing risky conditions to develop. Your cloud provider will secure the infrastructure and maintain strict access management protocols to defend against breaches as well as potential compliance issues.
Whenever new threat information is logged and detected, it should trigger modifications to your current security controls. Constant improvement to your overall security process is as important as identifying security events.
Ongoing network and data security is carried out through penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, as well as threat monitoring and analysis of monitoring data.
How Your Cloud Provider Can Protect Data Integrity
Whether you need an overall security process to monitor your assets and data threats or to create specific controls and policies, there is a cloud-based compliance and security product or audit module that can increase data security and data availability in the cloud.
The right cloud solution can also protect your company’s sensitive data, whether it is in use or in storage, while improving both security and availability.
The key benefits of a cloud-based compliance solution are:
• Enforced compliance from datacenter to the cloud for all applications and data sources without the need to modify applications
• Powerful data protection from strong authentication, access control, encryption protocols along with consistent audit logging
• Centralization and integration of cloud partner solutions that improve data management and auditing capabilities to ensure necessary compliance
• Enhanced security and compliance delivered in a cost effective and flexible manner
By relying on an experienced cloud solution provider, most businesses enjoy the benefits of professionally managed and programmatically enforced compliance and security measures. These cloud computing solutions provide a true operational cost saving value and reduce potentially expensive exposure from data breaches while improving organizational productivity.