8 Steps CIOs Should Know to Create Cloud Security Policy

Enterprise Security Magazine | Saturday, October 12, 2019

As the latest series of malware and exfiltration techniques continue to harm the data and applications of the companies on-premises and in the cloud, it has become essential to devise cloud security policies to keep the companies' data safe and secure. What are the steps that are needed to create it?

FREMONT, CA: While the IT industries are making their way towards public and hybrid cloud computing security, many organizations are concerned about emerging security issues and the need to create a cloud security policy for protecting their business. Ongoing cloud security threats include misconfiguration, vulnerabilities, and data theft introduced through BYOD (Bring your own device) policies, shadow IT, and incomplete cloud visibility and control. 

Potential cloud computing susceptibilities can stretch across the whole organization and can enter each department and device on the network. Therefore, security needs to be diverse, robust, and inclusive. However, security policy consent and advice from stakeholders across enterprise units can offer a clearer picture of the organization's current security and what steps are required to improvise the security. The departmental audits can unveil workloads and resources that are needed to be addressed in any cloud security policy initiative.

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For reducing the cloud security risks to a great extent, the organizations should formulate a policy that reflects the unique enterprise systems, configuration, and requirements for the company's unique business processes.

The following are the steps to formulate a successful cloud security policy for the organization.

Step 1: Assess compliance and governance processes

Catalog IT governance and compliance by connecting and documenting IT responsibilities — the privacy, security, and compliance policies that protect the business and its resources. These responsibilities instruct the formulation of the required cloud-specific steps to comply with corporate instructions and compliance as per cloud service vendors. 

Step 2: Evaluate the cloud vendor's security controls

All cloud platforms are not created or provisioned equally. It is recommended to perform due diligence of existing and potential cloud partner security practices. This can be done by documenting the security options of the partner and formulating internal solutions than can modify the cloud service offerings. During the evaluation, it is important to request security audits and service level agreements (SLAs) from cloud vendors.

Step 3: Tighten access

Clear roles should be specified by cloud security policies for authorized staff and their access to defined data and applications. IT should account for every hidden resource and provide a record of access protocols through a pre-mediated procedure. 

Step 4: Put a lid on information

Delicate data should be kept at rest and in motion as it navigates the cloud. The internet should also be encrypted. The cloud providers expose API (Application Program Interfaces) to their services, which the third parties take the privilege to enforce their encryption and DLP (data loss prevention) policies, among other security measures. Clearly, document security needs for external and internal data stores.

Step 5: Secure connections

The enterprises should not be oblivious of the data security to and from the cloud. Clear policies need to be set on connectivity security, including virtual private network (VPN) and secure sockets layer (SSL) requirements, network traffic scanning and monitoring, and data-in-transit encryption.

Step 6: Cover the parameters

A single infected endpoint can become responsible for a data breach in several clouds. Policies are required to be formulated for gadget access to cloud resources and the needed endpoint security.

Step 7: Incorporate security

A single security solution is not enough. However, too many security solutions without integration can create many gaps or vulnerabilities. It is vital to find ways for integrating and leveraging shared policies, like DLP, from the company's device and extending it to the cloud.

Step 8: Conduct chronic security audits

It is advisable to maintain existing and adequate security by frequently auditing all policies. However, it is vital to ensure that cloud services are configured as expected during this process. Components should be upgraded to remain ahead of the new risks. Companies should keep a regular check on the cloud vendor's SLAs and its system security audits.

An enterprise's cloud security policy will continue to evolve with new threats coming up. Organizations are advised to be aware of the new risks and keep upgrading their cloud security policies to keep their sensitive data safe.