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Cloud Compliance & Compliance Reporting: What You Need to Know

June 23, 2022

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Business enterprises are adopting cloud computing at scale after years of skepticism about their abilities to handle regulatory compliance and the security of sensitive data assets.

Despite the lower cost and higher performance, there are security tradeoffs when migrating mission-critical IT workloads to the cloud. This is because different government agencies demand widely diverse cloud computing rules and measures. Noncompliance with these regulations can result in fines and lawsuits, which vary by country.

Internet browsers are becoming more aware of data privacy and online security rights. Organizations that fail to protect user data stored in the cloud—due to insufficient security measures demanded by regulatory compliance—risk losing user trust and loyalty.

Because these regulations provide the basic minimum criteria for cloud security, it’s critical to understand cloud compliance regulations and adhere to industry-proven best practices in cloud security and governance.

Why Compliance Matters

Several industry standards control how sensitive data should be managed and secured by businesses. You may be required to be compliant with regulations such as SOX, GDPR,  HIPAA, PCI, or DSS, depending on your sector and service type.

These regulations impose principles, policies, and methods that aid in the protection of data and the improvement of information security. Your software, IT security methods, and workflows may be audited to ensure compliance with relevant requirements.

Noncompliance with regulations can result in large penalties, lawsuits, and reputational damage to businesses. Even the most conservative businesses have moved certain services to the cloud as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work.

Knowing the most common cloud computing compliance challenges and how to address them will put your company in a better position to reap the benefits of successful and secure cloud adoption.

Why Compliance Reporting is important

Compliance reporting is important for various reasons, the most important of which is that it is required by law. To comply with product safety regulations, for example, companies must file reports with the appropriate industry regulators. It’s a method of measuring the efficacy of your compliance program and determining if any adjustments are necessary.

A compliance report identifies areas where compliance measures have been successfully implemented as well as areas where additional work is needed to meet the established standards, internal controls, or requirements. If you don’t create a compliance report, your company could face major legal consequences.

It establishes trust

Prospective clients may want to read your compliance report to understand your practices before doing business with you, so make sure it’s up to date. Prospects are more likely to trust your controls and operations if they are provided with a complete compliance report beforehand.

Peace of mind

Every company wants a clear and accurate view of how its operations are performing. This is especially true when examining regulatory processes.

Compliance reports alleviate stress for stakeholders and business owners because they provide assurance that their operations are legal. Furthermore, if any issues arise, the report will assist in identifying and correcting them before they become too complex to handle.

How to achieve cloud compliance

To comply with the laws that apply to your company and the countries with which you do business, you must implement appropriate security controls. Make sure your cloud provider complies with the law in all of the markets in which you operate to ensure compliance. 

Cloud compliance standards are constantly evolving and updating to satisfy the growing demands of information security and user privacy. 

Adhering to the extensive set of cloud compliance standards may appear to be a difficult task, but we’ve compiled five key pointers to help you achieve cloud compliance:

1. Understand your legal obligations

Compliance is not simple, but understanding the relevant requirements is the first step toward achieving it. Understanding the regulations and maximizing the compliance infrastructure may necessitate outside help from consultants and specialists, which can be costly—but not as expensive as the fines for noncompliance.

2. Understand your obligations

When it comes to security and compliance, most cloud companies only offer a “shared responsibility” model. It’s critical that you fully understand your responsibilities and take the necessary steps to ensure your own compliance.

3. Control and manage information access

Keep track of how your cloud data is accessed and managed. Keep an eye out for gaps in identity and access control, as well as unusual conduct. Adopt the principle of least privilege access, which states that users should only have access to the information and resources they require.

4. Conduct audits on a regular basis

Check cloud compliance on a regular basis. Identify the flaws in your IT environment, as well as organizational culture and worker behavior, which may include actions that directly or indirectly violate compliance standards.

5. Encrypt important data

Encrypt important company data at all times to ensure its security even if it is compromised. Use multiple layers of security wherever possible and necessary.

How Do You Evaluate Cloud Compliance?

You should evaluate your compliance on a regular basis after adopting the essential procedures. This is important to ensure that your digital systems remain compliant.

Conducting an audit is one technique to assess compliance. Internal audits or self-assessments can provide helpful information to help you improve your compliance posture. Internal audits are prone to prejudice because they are undertaken by internal parties. Hire an independent third-party auditor to conduct an external audit on your cloud compliance for a completely unbiased review.

Closing thoughts

Cloud adoption has a plethora of advantages for businesses. It does, however, bring with it potentially overwhelming compliance. You can ease this process by arming yourself with knowledge about which laws you must follow, why, and how. 

Compliance reporting aids businesses in determining the most effective security procedures for protecting customer data and privacy. So, it is important to prepare regular and consistent compliance reports to guarantee that your company is abiding by the rules.