Because of the recent shift that has seen the normalization of the remote work culture, over 98% of businesses use cloud-based infrastructure in some way.
Because many of these cloud services are delivered via third-party vendors, roughly 57% of companies find it significantly challenging to effectively protect their data across multiple cloud environments—all the while trying to maintain strict regulatory compliances required by their industry (on top of everything else).
In order to test the effectiveness of whatever cloud security solutions they have in place, businesses conduct cloud security assessments in the hopes of revealing any gaps or vulnerabilities in their security posture that they can then correct.
In this blog, we will explain exactly what a cloud security assessment is (also called a cloud security risk assessment), why they’ve become absolutely necessary for almost all businesses to conduct, and what the 5 key steps to performing one are.
What Is a Cloud Security Risk Assessment?
A cloud security risk assessment is an evaluation of the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with using a cloud-based system.
This type of assessment is important for businesses to conduct in order to ensure that their data is properly protected while stored on a remote server.
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During a cloud security risk assessment, businesses will test their current security solutions and configurations to see if they are able to adequately protect against potential threats. This process will help businesses identify any gaps or vulnerabilities in their cloud infrastructure so they can take steps to resolve them.
Why Are Cloud Security Assessments Necessary for Businesses?
As mentioned before, the recent shift to remote work has seen a massive increase in the number of businesses having migrated to the cloud and using cloud-based infrastructure. Because of this, it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to effectively protect their data across multiple cloud environments with network security measures alone.
The reason many businesses need a cloud security assessment is that they need to discover where they’re vulnerable in order to be certain that their sensitive data is protected and secured from potential threats.
A cloud security assessment will help businesses understand how their sensitive data is accessed and shared, which is one of the major benefits of said assessment. But another equally important benefit is that it allows a business to test their existing cloud security configurations.
Your cloud service configurations (or misconfigurations, rather) are one of the most common sources of potential security issues.
Whether you use popular third-party cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or your own proprietary technology, a cloud security assessment will identify vulnerabilities in technology and processes that could compromise sensitive information or put you out of step with compliance requirements.
So as you see, by conducting a cloud security assessment, businesses can test their current security solutions and configurations to see if they are able to adequately protect against cyber threats, thereby helping them avoid damages in the form of regulatory fines, as well as protecting their sensitive data..
5 Key Steps to Performing a Cloud Security Assessment Checklist
Before starting your cloud readiness assessment, you will need to gather all of the relevant information about your cloud environment.
This includes information about your:
- Cloud provider(s)
- Any third-party vendors you are using
- And your current security solutions and configurations
Here are the 5 key steps to take for a complete cloud risk assessment checklist, to act as a supplement to your main cloud assessment tools:
Step One: Identify Your Assets
The first step in performing a cloud security assessment is identifying all of the assets that are stored in your cloud environment. This includes everything from customer data and financial records to employee credentials and trade secrets.
Step Two: Classify Your Data
Once you have identified all of the assets stored in your cloud environment, you need to classify them according to their sensitivity. This will help you to determine which assets are most at risk and need to be better protected.
Step Three: Identify Your Threats
The next step is to identify the potential threats that could target your sensitive data. This includes both external threats like hackers and internal threats like malicious insiders.
You should also perform thorough testing of your cloud infrastructure to determine how easy (or difficult) it is for external threat actors to access your information via nefarious means. This will necessitate double-checking all of your configurations to ensure there are no exploitable weaknesses.
Cloud threat and penetration testing is best left to the experts who are familiar with attack vectors and have the tools required to simulate attacks in your environment.
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Step Four: Evaluate Your Risks
After identifying the potential threats that could target your sensitive data, you need to evaluate the risks associated with each one. This includes considering the likelihood of a threat occurring as well as the impact it could have on your business.
Step Five: Implement Controls
Once you have evaluated the risks associated with each threat, you need to implement controls to mitigate them. This includes both technical controls like firewalls and encryption as well as non-technical controls like employee training and incident response plans.
By following these five steps, you can perform a thorough cloud security assessment of your environment and identify any potential risks, vulnerabilities and security challenges. From there, you can take steps to correct them and ensure that your data is properly protected.
Steps for cloud security gap remediation can include:
- Augmenting Security Controls
- Limiting Access Control
- Performing In-Depth Penetration Testing
- Updating Patch Configurations
- Updating Firewalls
- Monitoring User Data/Traffic Logs
- Re-Evaluating Your Existing Cloud Strategy
Getting Help with Your Cloud Assessments from a Leading Managed IT Provider
Here at Buchanan, we pride ourselves on being cloud security experts and leaders in the industry.
We have decades of experience managing, securing and implementing cloud infrastructure while making sure our clients’ business data is safeguarded and compliant with any industry standards they must adhere to.
If you’d like to examine infrastructure security in cloud computing for your business, simply set up a free consultation with us today.