A cloud migration is a big project and managing cloud environments takes even more time. So, you might not be too excited to hear that there’s yet another step that you need to take. However, cloud security assessments are well worth your time.
You’re probably familiar with risk assessments in other areas - financial, safety, or whatever else. A cloud security risk assessment is exactly that for your cloud services. If you wouldn’t make a big financial decision without a risk assessment, you shouldn’t move to cloud computing without evaluating its security.
|Cloud security is like a sturdy foundation for a house, it’s essential for stability and protecting what's inside. - Kevin Spanner, Director, Sensible Business Solutions|
With that in mind, the next things you need to know are how they work and how they’re done. You certainly can save yourself the effort by outsourcing an IT company to do this work for you, but having a very basic understanding of the process will help you understand their results better.
Cloud security assessments aim to identify weaknesses in a particular cloud service. This would include anything that could put your data at risk or leave you in violation of your industry’s compliance standards. Generally, the assessment will focus on the following areas.
|💡When data is encrypted, it means it’s locked behind a code that can only be unlocked by a specific encryption key.|
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Ideally, you should perform a cloud security assessment on your future cloud service before migrating. This helps you identify any potential risks upfront and take necessary precautions.
However, regular check-ups will also be necessary. Technology can change rather quickly and you need to be sure that your cloud security is keeping up.
Set a schedule for how often you would like to reassess your whole cloud environment. If you want your security tight, you might want to aim for every 3 to 6 months. If you don’t need tight security measures, you can do it less often.
That being said, you should still check specific aspects of your security, such as your firewall configurations, access controls, and user permissions frequently. This would be on a monthly or bi-monthly basis depending on how tight your security needs to be. This is because requirements and recommendations in these areas change often.
Although, no matter your schedule, you should always perform a new assessment after a major update.
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Like any thorough risk assessment, there’s a step-by-step process to this. Most of the time, it goes like this:
If you’re outsourcing an assessment team, this will be your first step. The team needs to know your business goals and what you’re doing with your cloud. You should prepare some solid documentation to give them a good understanding of your environment. What you tell them will colour their assessment moving forward.
Your security team will use a combination of their expertise and specialised tools to run through your cloud network with a fine toothed comb. As they go through it, they’ll look for the things that we mentioned earlier alongside any business-specific requirements you might need.
Once the testing is done, the team will make a list of suggestions to help you solve each issue they've found. Then, they’ll meet with your key people to go over the findings, answer any questions, and discuss the best ways to go about making improvements.
Even after you have a solid strategy, to iron out any wrinkles in your cloud security you’ll need security experts to consistently monitor your cloud systems. This is to make sure everything goes according to plan. This is particularly crucial if you work with multiple cloud environments as it’s much easier to miss something when more than one system is involved.
This isn’t just about cloud security, ongoing monitoring should be a part of your wider cyber security plan. Just because you feel secure, that doesn’t mean you actually are. Consistent expert monitoring is an excellent way to reveal any security gaps you might not be seeing.
If you’re one of those “key people” from step 3, you might be wondering what you should think about during the assessment team’s presentation. Here’s a checklist you can keep in mind so you can ask the right questions to get the right answers.
|✔️||Has the assessment team fully understood the purpose of our cloud environment?|
|✔️||How will implementing their recommendations impact our business operations?|
|✔️||Were there any gaps or errors identified in our current setup?|
|✔️||Which issues present the highest risk? Which fixes should we prioritise?|
|✔️||Has the assessment team given us a clear roadmap for implementing their recommendations?|
|✔️||How will the effectiveness of any changes be measured over time?|
|✔️||What will be the long-term business benefits of following their recommendations?|
|✔️||Are there plans for follow-up assessments to ensure continued security?|
Picking the right assessment team is just as important as making sure you’re performing your assessments. If the people on your team cut corners, you’ll get subpar results and poor security configurations.
Sensible Business Solutions can provide a top-notch cloud security assessment for your business. We offer a unique combination of technical expertise and business acumen, so we’re well-equipped to provide tailored assessments that revolve around your business goals.
What’s better is that we’re also a managed cloud services provider. That means we can be the ones who implement our own recommendations and mitigate security threats after the assessment.
Reach out to us today to learn more.