AcademyHow to Stay Compliant on the Cloud

How to Stay Compliant on the Cloud

Cloud compliance has started to feature more prominently in recent years as a result of the increasing adoption of cloud computing services by organizations in all sectors, from one-man band solopreneurs to global entities.

Wiz Experts Team

This rise in cloud technology use has been accompanied by an exponential increase in data, often sensitive information that organizations gather in order to leverage it for business processes and customer service. The use of advanced analytics and modern artificial intelligence or machine learning techniques has increased, and it is imperative that data be stored, processed, and transmitted in accordance with regulatory frameworks. 

The scalability of the cloud and the pace of innovation makes it challenging for organizations to ensure compliance in a constantly changing environment. Learn how CSPM tools can help you stay compliant on the cloud. 

What is cloud compliance? 

Cloud compliance is of particular importance to businesses whose operations require them to store, process, or transmit sensitive data. Sensitive data classifications include financial information, healthcare data, or personally identifiable information (PII). Compliance failures can have significant consequences in terms of legal liability, financial penalties, and reputational damage leading to the erosion of trust and customer loss. 

Effective cloud compliance strategies require assessment of the cloud services and platforms consumed to ensure they satisfy the standards and requirements set out by industry and regulatory bodies. Notable examples of regulatory frameworks relevant to the electronic storage and processing of data include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Standard measures across multiple regulatory frameworks include encryption, access controls, logging and audit, and usable backups, as well as regular evaluations and assessments to demonstrate ongoing compliance. 

Cloud service providers operate globally, and organizations increasingly adopt a multi-cloud approach, as well as operating in multiple jurisdictions, making cloud compliance challenging and the risks associated with non-compliance ever greater. 

Why is Cloud Compliance Important? 

New cloud services are launching constantly, and as technology evolves, the compliance landscape also changes. Updates to international, federal, and state law are required to keep pace with technological advances, as are similar updates to industrial standards, and trade body and regulatory frameworks. While compliance in the cloud may seem arduous, it is important to remember data is the property of the entity to which it relates, not to the entity that stores or processes it. Compliance is important for many reasons, including: 

  • Legal and Regulatory: Most industries are bound by legal and regulatory frameworks that mandate data security and privacy standards be upheld, as well as policy and guidance providing best practice. Cloud compliance extends these frameworks to data stored and processed in the cloud. 

  • Protecting Sensitive Data: Compliance standards typically include specific guidance for the identification of sensitive data, encryption at rest and in transit, access control, backups, rules around information sharing, and the prevention of unauthorized access and theft. 

  • Risk Management: Compliance with established frameworks and security principles provides a solid baseline for data security and privacy in the cloud. Compliance standards provide a framework for risk assessment, mitigation and incident response which help organizations develop robust risk management methodologies. 

  • Trust: Compliance with cloud security standards and regulatory frameworks builds customer confidence and communicates a commitment to data privacy and security, enhancing reputation. A lack of compliance has the opposite effect, undermining customer, partner, and stakeholder confidence and negatively impacting revenue. 

  • Competitive Advantage: Organizations that can demonstrate compliance have an advantage over those who are not. Building on the trust and reputation aspect, organizations that can demonstrate adherence to compliance frameworks will communicate their status as reliable custodians of customer and partner data, which can be increasingly valuable in a crowded marketplace. 

Maintaining cloud compliance is important for ensuring the security and privacy of data, protecting sensitive information, building trust with customers and stakeholders, managing risk, and gaining a competitive advantage. 

Automating compliance on the cloud with CSPM 

Establishing and maintaining compliance in multiple cloud environments, against a continually evolving compliance landscape, may appear daunting. Fortunately Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions are available that can help your organization automate, achieve and maintain cloud compliance.  

Once you have selected a compliance solution, take the following steps: 

  1. Define compliance requirements: Whether common frameworks and regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, or GDPR apply to your organization, or your need is for custom framework definition, define your specific cloud compliance requirements. 

  2. Configure compliance platform: Once the compliance framework has been defined, configure your CSPM solution to regularly scan your cloud applications, services, and workloads against those definitions. Any anomalies should trigger automated alerts. 

  3. Automate remediation: CSPM solutions can be configured to respond automatically to non-compliance events. Integration with playbooks can trigger tools and scripts to automatically return any errant configuration items back to compliance. 

  4. Monitor and maintain compliance: Compliance is an ongoing process rather than a one-off task. Management tools should be configured to continuously monitor your cloud environments for anomalies, alerting and remediating automatically as necessary. To ensure compliance monitoring is successful, it is important to ensure your compliance requirements are regularly reviewed for accuracy. 

  5. Integrate with your DevOps workflows: Integration with CI/CD pipelines enables compliance management solutions to automate compliance checks and remediation during the software development lifecycle. Embedding compliance management into delivery pipelines ensures a compliant deployment baseline, as well as remediating updates before they reach production. 

Automation reduces the overhead of achieving and maintaining compliance on the cloud, ensuring your cloud environment satisfies regulatory and compliance requirements and reducing the risk of security incidents and data breaches. 

Automatically remediate issues

Wiz compliance management provides continuous automated compliance assessments, reducing the complexity and manual effort associated with compliance management in multi-cloud environments by offering feedback against over 35 standard frameworks as well as custom compliance options. 

Agentless deployment enables easy connectivity for AWS, Azure, GCP, OCI, Alibaba Cloud, VMWare vSphere, Kubernetes, and Red Hat OpenShift, with comprehensive compliance visibility, heatmaps, and reporting to inform prioritization. Use playbooks in addition to regular monitoring to automate compliance remediation and ensure consistently compliant cloud environments. 

To stay compliant on the cloud and automatically remediate compliance issues, contact us for a demo.