What Is Cloud Compliance?

What Is Cloud Compliance (2)

Cloud Compliance refers to the compliance of cloud hosted services and data to industry regulations like HIPAA or general data protection standards.

Effective access management is critical to cloud compliance. This involves creating needs-based access rules, tightening policies and creating robust logs of activity.

Regulatory Compliance

Attaining cloud compliance may be complex, yet essential to protecting the sensitive data of customers and employees. A data breach could cost your business millions while irreparably harm its reputation.

An effective framework for cloud compliance management can help your organization meet regulatory requirements and avoid the steep financial and reputational costs of noncompliance. Such a plan should include providing central visibility of your cloud platform as well as strong access control policies that limit only authorized personnel from accessing data. In addition, automated audits should identify vulnerable areas.

Your industry may impose additional regulations pertaining to cloud environments. For instance, credit card information needs to comply with PCI DSS; healthcare and patient data needs to be protected under HIPAA.

Request reports from your cloud service provider which demonstrate their compliance with applicable standards, such as where their data centers are located, how they protect data and who has access to it – the more specific you can be in this regard the better it will be received.

Reminding yourself that protecting customer and employee data in the cloud remains your responsibility is key. While your cloud service provider may offer encryption services, ultimately it’s your job to take the steps needed to encrypt data during transmission and storage.

To make sure your cloud service provider complies with local laws and regulations, such as those in your country. For instance, the US Government could gain access to data stored within the US; this could cause data breaches as well as legal complications.


As more data moves to the cloud, compliance must become a top priority. Cloud compliance provides a framework for consistent security and risk management practices that enhance transparency while strengthening overall security posture and protecting company assets in case of breach or disaster. As well as monitoring activity around stored cloud data, strict cybersecurity policies should also be put in place and regular risk assessments performed; this will help ensure your company meets regulatory requirements without risk gaps emerging.

Organizations often employ the shared responsibility model with their cloud vendors, though this doesn’t relieve all responsibility from them; businesses should still be accountable for the secure configuration of cloud services that it uses; for HIPAA compliance this means ensuring data encryption in transit as well as rest.

Considerations should also be given to data sovereignty laws when selecting a cloud provider, which could impact whether a company will meet regulatory standards like GDPR or HIPAA and result in substantial fines in case of data breaches.

Management of cloud security can be complex and demanding, yet necessary. Secureframe offers several tools that can assist in monitoring and maintaining compliance – it scans your cloud infrastructure, providing risk reports with step-by-step guides for remediation, alerting of potential breaches while assuring HIPAA-compliance; additionally it audits current controls and procedures to highlight gaps in security posture.


The GDPR demands strict security standards and sets very specific limits on where data covered by it may be stored, with very severe penalties for noncompliance. With such stringent regulations in effect, businesses must take extra caution in how they utilize cloud storage services – understanding which regulations or standards apply, their impact and following a risk-based compliance approach in order to remain compliant.

Most companies have contracts with their cloud vendors outlining specific responsibilities for both parties, which should be thoroughly read to identify any provisions which conflict with regulatory requirements, such as GDPR. Should there be any such conflicts, businesses should remain responsible for complying with GDPR regardless of how contracts may read.

As part of an effective cloud security and compliance strategy, visibility must extend throughout its entirety in order to prevent threats and ensure regulatory standards compliance. This involves monitoring user usage patterns. Furthermore, encryption of sensitive data stored in the cloud helps prevent hackers from gaining access and provides organizations peace of mind that their information is secure.

Cloud governance is essential to complying with GDPR and other regulatory laws. One approach is implementing policies requiring multi-factor authentication and restricting how many accounts a single user can have; another way is enhancing access control by creating need-based access rules, strengthening expiries, and tracking any attempt at data or account access; thirdly it’s key that we maintain visibility into the cloud so we can quickly detect threats before they take place and take swift steps to stop them before anything harmful happens.


Many cloud service providers (CSPs) are SOC 2 compliant, and this can aid your compliance efforts. But it’s important to remember that there’s no certification of compliance – rather, an independent auditor certifies your fulfillment of certain criteria set out by Trust Services Criteria such as security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality.

To achieve SOC compliance, it’s crucial that you create an intensive security program which encompasses monitoring and incident response. Furthermore, you need to oversee your suppliers to make sure they don’t introduce vulnerabilities into your system; additionally you should have in place an alerting system which notifies you when something unexpected changes within your environment and includes audit trails to allow for easy identification of its source.

At the outset of compliance auditing, it’s also vital to establish whether compliance must be proven at one specific moment in time using a Type I report, or incrementally over a longer period using Type II reports. Either way, preparations should be made for an impending audit by conducting external vulnerability testing, gap analysis, penetration testing as well as risk assessments on outsourcing your security functions.

Start off right with a Scoping and Readiness Assessment to save both time and money, by making sure that the audit focuses on its intended areas. A thorough scoping engagement will set parameters for your engagement such as actual audit boundaries, business processes to be assessed, internal personnel involved in conducting your audit as well as timeline requirements so your audit is completed successfully and on schedule.

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security management that serves as a framework to ensure cloud compliance. First published in 2005 and revised several times since, its most recent major revision occurred this year with significant modifications made to controls that organizations must follow.

Compliance with ISO standards is an exemplary best practice that businesses should adopt to demonstrate strong security controls to their customers and partners, while mitigating potential regulatory compliance risks. Although no legal requirement exists to become ISO compliant, adopting it could save costs in data breach issues in the future.

Management of cloud assets is essential to ISO 27001 compliance. You need to know which infrastructure and services you’re utilizing, what their purpose is in your organization, and which security controls they provide. A multi-cloud configuration management system is an effective way of meeting this challenge – these tools offer a centralized view of infrastructure configurations prioritized by risk with monitoring tools providing real time updates of changes occurring to them; additionally they help manage identity access controls and remote access management services as well as provide tools for remote user management.

Start by verifying that your public cloud vendor (or vendors) are ISO 27001 compliant by reviewing certifications provided by each vendor, or use Check Point CloudGuard’s compliance gap analysis feature that will identify gaps and produce documentation of compliance status.

Acquiring ISO 27001 compliance should not be an all-or-nothing effort; your cloud environment can change within months or weeks and requires constant monitoring to identify vulnerabilities and reassess risk posture. Horangi Warden offers a 14-day free trial to assess your security posture with comprehensive multi-cloud inventory tracking as well as continuous monitoring of AWS resources and CIS benchmarks.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.