Cloud Compliance in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide
Everything you need to know to deploy secure and compliant cloud-native applications
Cybercrime is not only more damaging than it’s ever been — it’s also more prevalent. 2021 research by IBM found that the average data breach costs a staggering $9.05M, and PurpleSec recently reported that cybercrime increased 600% during the pandemic.
While it has always been important for companies with cloud-based IT infrastructure and applications to achieve cloud compliance, these trends signal the stakes have been raised. Read on to learn how your organization can meet the challenges posed by cloud compliance standards in 2022.
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What Are Cloud Compliance Security Standards?
Cloud security compliance is the implementation of security measures per accepted industry standards to maintain the integrity of cloud assets. These standards, which help ensure that companies take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their customers from malicious actors, have been established by many types of organizations, from local governments to industry-wide coalitions. Some of the most well-known cloud compliance standards include General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
How Do Organizations Achieve Cloud Compliance?
In some organizations, achieving cloud compliance is the responsibility of a dedicated compliance team, who must research the relevant regulations, find the necessary tools, create the compliance strategy, and execute. In other organizations — particularly early-stage companies — the duty falls on the IT and security teams. In any case, meeting cloud compliance standards is a collaborative effort, as members from all parts of the organization, especially senior management, must do their part so their company can meet these strict and complex requirements.
To learn more about the fundamentals of this process, read What is Cloud Security Compliance?
Cloud Compliance Frameworks and Regulations
There is no single source of truth for cloud compliance. What is necessary to achieve compliance varies greatly depending on the particular nature of the company, its technological infrastructure, and customers. Some standards, like SOC 2 and GDPR, cover broad customer data security concerns, while others pertain to particular data types like medical (HIPAA) and financial (PCI DSS, or PCI).
Organizations sometimes have to work with an outside evaluator to achieve compliance. For instance, a company in the healthcare space will likely have to be HIPAA compliant to function, which means their business operations and security controls will need to be assessed by an experienced, third-party HIPAA auditor.
For a comprehensive review of how modern companies can meet strict regulatory standards, read Compliance in Cloud Computing: What Businesses Need to Know.
Understanding Cloud PCI Compliance
One of the most important compliance standards is PCI, which helps organizations protect consumer payment data. This framework was developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, a group of financial services companies dedicated to helping “secure payment data globally.” The council enforces compliance through steep financial penalties, and financial services firms that fail to meet PCI standards can be fined as much as $500,000 per incident.
Cloud service providers (CSP) need to take particular care when implementing PCI compliance protocols, as the standards were designed for on-premises applications. CSPs and their client businesses often bear the responsibility to meet PCI standards. At a high level, CSPs must ensure the security of the cloud, while the client businesses must ensure security in the cloud.
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What Are Cloud Compliance Certifications, and Why Are They Important?
Cloud compliance certifications are credentials that prove developers understand the current best practices when it comes to developing secure cloud applications. There are numerous cloud compliance certifications; some are vendor agnostic (like the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge), and some are created by major tech firms (like Amazon’s AWS Certifications).
When developers complete these certifications, they bolster their value to the company and enhance their organization’s stature in the eyes of its customers and investors. Companies whose IT teams receive these certifications are better equipped to minimize the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. Organizations with a track record of robust cloud security gain the market’s trust — and unlock major sources of capital.
To get a list of the most important certifications, read Top 6 Cloud Compliance Certifications for Developers to Know in 2022.
What Are the Best Cloud Compliance Tools?
#1 DuploCloud: Cloud Infrastructure Automation for Security and Compliance
For many tech companies, achieving cloud compliance can be prohibitively burdensome. Data regulations continue to grow, and early-stage companies can struggle to allocate the resources necessary to meet these stringent requirements while rapidly bringing innovative cloud services to market. These widespread compliance challenges have necessitated a new approach to cloud compliance that leverages automation to streamline the entire process.
DuploCloud is a DevOps-as-a-Service platform that uses automation to help companies developing cloud-native applications by dramatically reducing the workload involved in achieving compliance. The platform automatically provisions IT infrastructure with baked-in security controls (covering 90% of the required controls set) according to high-level specifications given by users. It also continues to maintain that infrastructure throughout the application’s entire lifecycle. To understand more about this approach, read our PCI and HIPAA compliance whitepaper.
To explore three more top tools, read The 4 Best Cloud Compliance Tools for Startups & SMBs.
Why Should I Attend Cloud Compliance Events?
Cloud compliance events offer a wide range of benefits for attendees. Company representatives can meet industry experts and talk directly to regulators, allowing them to get the answers to difficult compliance questions or hear about potential regulatory requirements before they’re officially introduced.
Besides their significant educational value, cloud compliance events are also excellent for networking — giving IT staff the opportunity to get out of the office (or the home), meet like-minded professionals, and share perspectives.
The Top Cloud Compliance Events
GxP Cloud Compliance Summit
This annual, multi-day event brings together cloud providers, IT leaders, security professionals, compliance experts, QA professionals, regulators, auditors, etc., in the life sciences space to help “define a compliant path to the cloud.” The conference often boasts an impressive speaker lineup, with leaders from Johnson & Johnson, Philips, and Ultragenyx populating its 2021 agenda. 2022 will mark the first year the conference will be held in person.
For more events, read 7 Cloud Compliance Events You Should Attend Every Year.
How to Automate Cloud Compliance
While achieving cloud compliance is challenging, it’s also essential. To navigate a growing threat landscape, organizations — regardless of size — have to build cloud applications that meet the highest security standards. This responsibility is burdensome to enterprise organizations, but it’s even more difficult for startups and early-stage companies. That’s why these smaller organizations should consider leveraging automation to achieve compliant applications. To learn more about these innovative approaches, read our whitepaper on PCI and HIPAA compliance via DevOps security automation.