Getting compliance right matters a lot. It matters to customers, who rely on your compliance certifications, assessments, and audits to make their purchasing decisions. It matters to regulators, who set the requirement for doing business and ultimately perform the audits. And it matters to you, to verify that all of your ducks are in a row and you’re protected against costly regulatory fines and dangerous breaches that will result in a damaged reputation for your organization.
As the best software tools shift to the cloud, many businesses are afraid to take full advantage of them. Maintaining security and compliance standards on systems that reside outside their control can be daunting. Or, worse, managers may assume that because the services and data live off of their premises, what they don’t know can’t hurt them. TechBeacon recently published a great overview of critical challenges in cloud-first security compliance that I put together, and as a Chief Trust Officer, I’ve seen these scenarios play out across companies in every industry.
The truth is, there are great benefits to adopting cloud-first services, and a cloud-first security approach is critical to maintaining the security and compliance needed to be able to enjoy those benefits.
What are the security risks of cloud apps?
Cloud applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Designed for collaboration, they’re flexible and adaptable to your teams’ needs. They have low infrastructure and maintenance costs, and are often quick and inexpensive to adopt and operate. In many cases, they’re simply the best solutions of their kind, offering better solutions and more frequent updates than their locally installed competitors.
But that doesn’t mean they’re without risks. These cloud-based apps carry many of the same risks as locally-installed applications, with some unique risks of their own.
Old data protection models are outdated
Data doesn’t just live in a datacenter anymore. It’s dispersed on laptops and mobile devices, across local and cloud-based applications. Seeing a single, centralized view of your data can seem impossible. On top of that, piecemeal operational processes — processes that vary depending on the department, app, or device — slow your organization down and make it difficult to enforce security and respond to audit requests.
On the other hand, it’s not safe to leave responsibility for your data security to the cloud service provider. If your vendor does offer advanced security features, it’s up to you to implement those features and maintain the on-premises security policies that regulations require.
Fourth-Party Risk Assessment
Not only is responsibility shared between you and your SaaS vendor, fourth parties have to be taken into account as well. Think of the service providers that your providers use for service delivery, like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Fortunately, compliance audits allow you to measure fourth-party risk. A modern approach to data security requires looking at security frameworks, audits, and attestations for the entire service chain, not just your on-premises solutions or your direct vendors.
Clearly, there’s a lot at risk when you adopt cloud services. To take advantage of the great benefits those apps have to offer, you need a new approach to data protection. The traditional models just aren’t up to the task.
The modern approach to data protection
A great data security solution will protect your data no matter where it resides. These are some critical questions to ask when evaluating options to ensure that the solution truly covers every aspect of your data security needs:
Security is critically important to modern businesses. Compliance certifications prevent legal headaches and build trust, and a cloud-native SaaS solution can deliver them. Security systems protect your data, your business, and your customers.
For more insights, check out my article: TechBeacon: How to maintain security compliance in the cloud