A Guide to Cloud Security Governance

A Guide to Cloud Security Governance

Think about business storage and we start connecting the dots to cloud computing applications that have gained popularity in almost all business operations. These include apps and tools like Salesforce, Workplace Technology, HR Analytics, and more. Cloud computing impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives today. Businesses across the globe are using the cloud to build integrated applications and become the differentiators in the service/product they are providing. Cloud offers the tool for moving faster, better, and more efficiently. Many companies have leapfrogged over years and years of cloud usage. And the implications have changed with higher benefits alongside evolving challenges. 

How you can make your cloud infrastructure resilientBusinesses may join the cloud computing bandwagon at different stages of their business journey. Hence, the benefits and challenges may vary depending on what stage of the journey they joined. Thus, the varying levels of complexities and challenges to be navigated can become tedious. How to address these challenges? And how to make informed decisions about the right time and strategy of migrating to the cloud in a seamless way for different organizations at various stages is very relative and difficult. This may also include, in the later stages, businesses shifting their focus on preventing cloud attacks and containing their blast radius through security controls. This either results in an inadequate amount of security-control knowledge or investing heavily into third-party applications or cloud-security tiger teams after the damage is done.

A McKinsey & Co. study has cited that 40% of companies have faced cloud-data breaches in 2021. Managing cloud security has become even more important as companies scale to thousands of users in the pool, deploy sensitive data, and most importantly place trust in cloud environments. 

Cloud governance acts as the regulating shield to make the people and processes in the cloud ecosystem follow the best protocols for identifying, managing, and mitigating security risks and not deviate from adhering to any compliance standards. In this blog, we will focus on cloud security governance, similarities and differences in single and multi-cloud environments, and compliance governance.

What is cloud security governance

Monitor Cloud Security in Real timeEnabling security on the cloud is a shared responsibility between the cloud provider and the customer. For this, it is vital to invest in security measures that provide visibility of cloud identities and provide companies with a transparent image of potential security damage. This is to make any breach-tackling predictive and formulate response strategies. 

There’s one effective solution that can achieve all the above-mentioned goals – CLOUD SECURITY GOVERNANCE.

Cloud governance comes to play in all aspects of cloud fundamentals. Governance by security implies protecting cloud operations through coordinated and effective cloud security governance strategies. 

The cloud governance principles that primarily guide security issues in cloud computing are: 

  • responsibility 
  • protocols
  • practices 
  • and people-efforts

Cloud security has always stayed on top of the list of priorities for companies who have migrated to the cloud. The lack of efficient processes in place brings forth a very real risk of workload breakouts on the cloud. 

Social engineering and other innovative techniques that hackers use to breach cloud data or networks have made it critical for companies to shift their focus to strategies that deal with: 

  • cloud regulations, 
  • legislation, 
  • and an efficient way to simultaneously keep up and comply with vendor-side changes. 

Consider this, if the cloud is the infrastructure where a company’s operations are efficiently handled and lead to better services and profitable business outcomes; then, cloud security governance becomes a security manager that ensures the organization’s cloud infra is breach-proof. 

This can be done by enabling the identification, prevention, management, and mitigation of risks involved. Which in turn is achieved by building a structure of a cloud ecosystem involving people and processes interlinked within the system.

Cloud security governance is a part of cloud governance that makes IT modernization, migration, and operations possible on the cloud, efficiently and securely. 

Having an overarching framework that guides ‘how cloud resources are used and how cloud security can be maintained’ makes it easier to: 

  • anticipate issues
  • create protocols 
  • define practices 
  • run operations on the cloud 
  • identify patterns 
  • and find commonalities 

Simply put – Cloud governance offers a holistic view and establishment of regulated practices related to cloud cost, security, and monitoring.

Modulate cloud security governance across the entire organization

Chief Information Security Officer Multi cloud security with Accurate visibility ImageThe best cloud security governance maps the granularity of business goals to operational goals. This helps the organization as a whole, the vendors, and the employees to make the best security choices in sync with their business processes.

Challenges that prompt the adoption of cloud security governance are:

  • Lack of embedding security into operational controls
  • Lack of defining tactical and operational roles and responsibilities 
  • Lack of measurement and performance metrics to assess cloud visibility
  • Lax controls in the on-prem environment where the security is primarily centered on perimeter security

A vast number of verticals in an organization and multiple teams working on various operations on the cloud, make it overwhelming to apply cloud governance across the organization. 

Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are becoming key market players in the cloud economy. This is owing to their expertise combined with the capability to build governed cloud architectures that come as an added advantage. Organizations can now, easily collaborate and vet the cloud vendor on security controls and requirements. 

Cloud security governance can be modulated to enable best practices by:

  • Mapping business results of operations to business value. Given the maturity and criticality of a particular business operation on the cloud, its security takes high precedence. 
  • Assigning levels of security across data, systems, and processes. And also by  assessing the risk tolerance, and managing security as per threat modeling.
  • Limiting ad hoc cloud usage from development to deployment by establishing commonality between development environments for teams across the company.

So, even if new businesses jump onto the cloud ship or if existing cloud users shift towards cloud security governance, it is possible to apply cloud governance framework across the entire organization. This will enable all levels of hierarchy to abide by the governance standards to optimize and secure cloud practices.

Cloud adoption is exponential, but companies are now realizing the significance of cloud security governance that makes the cloud journey secure and seamless. 

And how does it do it? By facilitating the identification and mitigation of any security and compliance risks, thus, unveiling the cloud’s full potential.

What cloud security governance means in single and multi-cloud environments

Today, companies adopt a mixed bag of cloud strategies to suit their workload needs. Irrespective of the adoption strategy – Single or multi-clouds are as secure as any company or people in it make it. 

A single cloud can save costs, are scalable, flexible, and offer high-performance applications. They are easy to migrate to as well. So are multi-clouds. In the end, both environments offer the precision to run efficient business operations that are cost-effective, secure, and faster. Let’s break down and discover some differences in the single and multi-cloud environments and how cloud security governance fits into the picture.

Tenets of cloud security In single cloud In multi-cloud
Architecture  Single cloud architecture comes with its own set of challenges. For example, the presence of a CSP across multiple geographies and the ecosystem of security tools might vary, creating complexity. In addition, different BUs might procure different tools for the ecosystem and security requirements in the respective geography. Hybrid and multi-cloud architectures can provide even more complex integration challenges with the security and regulatory environment and the need for compliance.
Compliance Management Single unified consoles and platforms enable streamlining of compliance more efficiently. Security, compliance, and data protection are more challenging to implement in a multi-cloud environment with multiple frameworks and providers in the circle.
Data Visibility A single source of data truth enables easier data governance implementation. Availability, integrity, and utility of data across multi-clouds add an added layer of challenge in managing data governance.
Business Decisions Efficient cloud governance across all tenets mentioned above make it possible to take reliable and effective business decisions. Monitoring security risks become complex with multiple factors in play. This also implies, making a business decision, a granular process in times of adversity, as all layers need to be assessed diligently.

 

To manage risks through cloud security governance, it is paramount to understand the shared responsibility of the cloud infrastructure – whether it relies entirely on the organization, partially on the cloud provider, or needs to be explicitly managed by the provider. For example, consider the AWS shared responsibility model below.

Cloud security governance is a result of cloud security challenges, but there’s more to it. 

Cloud computing services operate from a CSP’s remote data center. Providers and business leaders have to adhere to the standards defined by authorities that deal with legal and regulatory issues. It is important that the CSPs comply with government and industry regulations, and are certified InfoSec experts. This is where Compliance Governance steps into the picture.

Enterprise Cloud Compliance Assess Cloud ComplianceCompliance governance is a process of dealing with regulatory measures and compliance within an organization’s cloud system. It enables the alignment of business goals with compliance management, having a cloud-governance mindset behind the scenes. 

Here’s a high-level cloud compliance view; it simply means to:

  • map operations and configurations with regulations
  • check for violations 
  • comply with rules
  • perform audit checks

Compliance governance is a subset of cloud security governance that keeps any compliance deviations in check.

A cloud security governance makes managing security and compliance across multiple clouds easier. Non-compliance and security risks if ignored might come at a high cost. 

Popular cloud providers use different methods or terms to define how they protect cloud resources. For example, AWS has security groups and NACLs, Microsoft Azure has Network Security Groups on interfaces and subnets, and Google uses Firewalls. 

Likewise, cloud protection methods can be built for custom business operations to offer a holistic security picture of the organization’s cloud ecosystem.

The right cloud partner will enable the best security governance across the cloud services and through people-involved to keep cloud data protected at all costs. To ensure the best security for your cloud, choose a cloud service provider who offers security on all layers of the cloud stack. 

Then again, if you are a multi-cloud infrastructure-based organization, the obstacles are many in achieving efficient cloud security and compliance governance. Hence, the ideal solution is to reach out to a third-party vendor who can help you achieve the same across multiple clouds.

How CoreStack addresses SecOps cloud governance

Autonomous Cloud SecurityCoreStack governs Cloud operations, security, cost, access, and resources across multiple cloud platforms, enterprise sizes, and industries. Our solutions deliver improved operational efficiencies, stronger security posture, and optimized costs.

Partnering with us implies an assurance of compliance with industry standards, regulations, and best practices such as ISO, FedRAMP, NIST, HIPAA, PCI DSS, Azure CAF, CIS Azure, CISAWS, and AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Here's how our SecOps acts as a proven blueprint to strengthen cloud security posture:

  • We offer unified visibility into security threats, attacks, and vulnerability data, and achieve continuous cloud compliance against the evolving industry and regulatory standards.
  • A unified view of your entire multi-cloud inventory and its compliance status helps build a secure, compliant, and resilient cloud.
  • A real-time cloud security posture can help converge policy engines, and offer insights into security trends by – region, resource, type, and age.
  • A centralized view renders visibility of multiple cloud accounts and their access by – user, cloud service, policies, and roles.
  • We enable preventative guardrails to proactively avoid policy violations and steer you away from stringent penalties, and revenue and reputational losses.
  • Real-time remediation and fixing security violations before they can cause any damage is possible.

Our customers achieve autonomous governance by leveraging rule-based automation on cloud services. We help prevent, detect, and remediate governance drift across all five key cloud governance principles – Operations, Security, Cost, Access, Resources (OSCAR):

  • Operations: Run lean and efficient cloud operations, while achieving high availability and optimal performance.
  • Security: Assess security status, identify gaps, and mitigate before they transform into business threats
  • Cost: Gain actionable visibility into all cloud spend, set-up controls, and continually optimize costs
  • Access: Learn access utilization and identify violations based on the principle of ‘least-privilege’
  • Resources: Enforce consistent approach to name and tag resources for better visibility, control, and accurate reporting

Our proven cloud security governance strategies are geared towards diffusing architecture, data, and operational complexities that companies face with cloud adoption. CoreStack, helps you productively run your operations on the cloud and focus on key business areas to deliver great results to your customers and drive high business ROI.

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