Keeping Up With Cloud Compliance Requirements

What is Cloud Data Security

Maintaining cloud compliance requirements can be challenging, and requires you to implement stringent access controls and secure authentication methods for users.

At rest and in transit, data must be encrypted for added protection and awareness must be raised of your service level agreement with your cloud provider and how this impacts on your obligations.


As businesses migrate their data to the cloud, there are numerous security measures they must implement to protect it. This includes making sure all of it is encrypted at rest and in transit; restricting access to sensitive information; disabling dormant accounts according to policy; periodically reviewing policies align with regulatory requirements. Lastly, understanding the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and legal contract between your cloud provider and yourself in detail will help clarify responsibilities in case of data breach or other cloud service issue.

Cloud compliance can be an enormously challenging issue for businesses. Even one misstep could create havoc with regulators and customers alike, as well as cost them dearly in fines or lost revenue. To protect themselves against these potential problems, companies must invest in top-of-the-line cloud security solutions.

Step one in ensuring cloud compliance for your business involves determining which laws and regulations pertain to it, then the second step should be identifying which security controls must be implemented; this can be accomplished using various means such as internal audits and risk analyses.

As larger enterprises often utilize multiple cloud vendors with applications that span both cloud environments and on-premise systems, requesting compliance certifications and audit reports from prospective cloud vendors is sometimes impossible for them. When security breaches or compliance breaches do occur it becomes even harder to hold someone accountable if their systems breached.

As part of any strategy to address cloud compliance challenges, finding an automating solution that can streamline as much of the process as possible is key to saving both time and resources, while simultaneously increasing chances that all environments remain up-to-date. Worthwhile cloud compliance tools should detect compliance drift from specified organizational standards quickly resetting environments back into normal state, providing benchmarking capabilities against various technical frameworks (CIS Benchmarks being one example).


As many of the same rules and regulations that apply to on-premises data also apply to cloud computing, but their implementation and enforcement vary considerably, enterprises must adopt a unique strategy for data governance in the cloud.

One challenge of cloud compliance lies in understanding and complying with different laws and contracts. Businesses should understand which laws pertain to them, enlist legal help if needed and consult compliance officers in order to comply. They must also read through contracts they sign with cloud hosting providers — these outline how the services can be utilized — with regular reviews to stay compliant.

Another challenge lies in adhering to industry standards and audits. Businesses must employ best practices for cloud security audits in order to quickly detect and fix any potential security vulnerabilities that arise, using a cloud management platform with visibility into multi-cloud environments to quickly identify any issues.

Encryption is an integral component of any compliance strategy, as it safeguards data against unwarranted access both during transit and at rest. However, it must be remembered that encryption alone won’t stop hackers or malicious insiders from accessing their data; businesses must still implement a comprehensive range of security controls – including firewalls – in their network to guard against these attacks.

When choosing a cloud hosting provider, it is vitally important that they offer multiple data centers worldwide for redundancy and speed. Understanding where their data centers are situated is also essential, as some regulations mandate data be stored within certain geographic regions. Finally, make sure the cloud provider has physical and virtual access control mechanisms in place. Such measures include monitoring when users access the system and encrypting stored data to prevent unauthorized access. A system should also have policies allowing need-based access with expiration dates to keep track of who has access and when it will expire; this ensures compliance with regulations. Lastly, an enterprise should be able to ensure cloud services security through reviewing audit reports from security auditors.


Moving data and operations to the cloud offers numerous advantages, yet this migration also comes with its share of challenges. When enterprises transition their operations and data onto the cloud, they must ensure their workflows, processes, and systems comply with regulations and standards designed to safeguard sensitive information – failing which they could face fines and lawsuits from regulators or customers – for instance those processing credit card payments must abide by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) rules which regulate how personal data should be handled on servers used by vendors.

To comply with these stringent rules, businesses must ensure their cloud providers also comply. Most major cloud service providers offer online compliance portals that give businesses on-demand access to certifications, attestation, and alignment data on their platforms; unfortunately these portals often display long lists of acronyms and descriptors, making it hard for business to differentiate between certifications requiring rigorous review from those claimed by vendors without external inspection.

Though these websites provide a good starting point, it is still necessary to thoroughly vet each prospective cloud provider. An enterprise should look for platforms offering multiple data center regions located around the world so as to ensure its data doesn’t cross international borders in violation of national or regional privacy laws and geolocation closer to its user base so they can quickly and securely access data.

An ideal platform would automatically assess cloud configuration settings against recognized standards like PCI-DSS and FedRAMP, detect deviations from these standards, and report back in a clear, concise manner. Furthermore, such platforms should help organizations develop and implement plans to remedy compliance gaps; such plans might involve assigning someone or team with periodic reviews of company cloud environments compared with corporate compliance programs and aligned where possible.


Cloud compliance tools help businesses to manage and mitigate risks in their cloud environments, as well as comply with industry compliance standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA or ISO 27001 certifications. They may also assist with Zero Trust/CASB implementation as well as classify data and control access accordingly; provide audit reports as well as automated remediation capabilities.

An effective configuration management tool enables users to identify, track and correct configuration issues quickly. It alerts them of any changes as they occur and provides a complete history of those modifications. Ideally, it would integrate seamlessly with messaging/ticketing platforms for automatic routing issues to relevant teams; and also provide various assessment reports from granular details to high-level executive overviews.

Automation of compliance processes is vitally important, as manual processes are both time-consuming and prone to error. Automation can streamline workflows involved with compliance management, saving both time and resources in the process. Furthermore, software such as GRC Monitor helps mitigate risks by detecting vulnerabilities before they become problems while also supporting compliance monitoring through log file analysis and storage capabilities.

One key component of cloud compliance tools is their ability to detect misconfigurations, which could result in data breaches or the misuse of organization assets. To avoid such missteps, organizations should establish a clearly-outlined change management policy as well as continuously monitor their cloud environments for any suspicious activities that arises and consider encrypting both resting data as well as in transit as additional defense against breaches.

Finding an effective compliance tool is of vital importance for any enterprise. An ideal tool should support popular frameworks and allow users to customize policies of their own accord, as well as integrate seamlessly with existing systems and workflows. Vanta can assist managers in managing industry compliance operations as well as creating strategies for assessing risks within their company’s risk portfolio, automate compliance processes to lower costs while automating compliance operations while decreasing manual processes; saving both time and resources spent preparing for annual audits.

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.