What Is a Cloud Security Assessment, and Why Do I Need One?
- What is a Cloud Security Assessment?
- Why is a Cloud Security Assessment Necessary for My Business?
- What are the Steps to a Cloud Security Assessment?
- Is Your Cloud Environment Secure? Start an Assessment with ScaleSec
Cloud security is a top priority for organizations who conduct their operations in the cloud, regardless of industry or size. Assessments are advised when a validation of security posture is needed to confirm recognized issues, determine what still needs to be remediated, or to learn where to prioritize resources.
The goal of a cloud security assessment is to identify gaps and issues in the cloud environment’s security posture and to recommend solutions to mitigate or eliminate these risks. The assessment can help organizations ensure that their data and applications are secure in the cloud and comply with relevant regulations and standards.
- Identify Security Risks: A cloud security assessment can help you identify potential vulnerabilities and risks that may exist in your cloud infrastructure. This can include weaknesses in access controls, network security, or data protection mechanisms. By understanding these risks, you can take steps to mitigate them before they are exploited by attackers.
- Improve Compliance: Many organizations must comply with various regulatory and industry-specific security standards such as HIPAA or PCI DSS. A cloud security assessment can help ensure that your cloud infrastructure is meeting these compliance requirements, reducing the risk of penalties, fines, or legal action.
- Enhance Cloud Security: Cloud security is constantly evolving as new threats and vulnerabilities emerge. A cloud security assessment can help you stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and security measures to enhance the overall security of your cloud infrastructure.
- Increase Business Resilience: Cloud security assessments can help you identify potential disruptions or threats to your cloud infrastructure. By proactively addressing these issues, you can increase your organization’s resilience and ensure that you can continue to operate even in the face of unexpected security events.
To learn more about what a cloud security assessment involves, and why it’s a necessary step for organizations at various stages in the cloud transformation process, read on.
What is a Cloud Security Assessment?
A cloud security assessment is an evaluation of the security posture of a cloud computing environment, and is most effective when focused on a particular area of the environment. An assessment is conducted to identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities that may exist within the cloud infrastructure, applications, or data management systems.
The assessment typically involves a validation of the controls offered by cloud providers to ensure that the environment is configured to meet the company’s security requirements. An assessment may also include a review of the organization’s security policies and procedures to ensure that they are aligned with the company’s policies and any external regulations that the company falls under.
An assessment can help organizations prioritize resources to mitigate security risks, reduce the chances of data breaches, and demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
Some common focus areas of a cloud security assessment include:
- Cloud compliance program review: to determine gaps against a chosen security framework
- Cloud capabilities review: to verify the veracity of core security capabilities like vulnerability management and security monitoring.
- Cloud workload security review: to allow teams to manage, secure, and scale workloads and data handling in the cloud environment
- Cloud platform assessment: to determine security posture for governance, scalability, and low-cost management
- Cloud engineering assessment: to discover how teams are leveraging workflows to manage cloud services and applications at scale
💡 Overall, a cloud security assessment provides critical insights into the security of a cloud environment. Best practice is to conduct them regularly to validate the security posture stays within anticipated ranges over time.
Why is a Cloud Security Assessment Necessary for My Business?
A cloud security assessment brings any cloud security posture issues to light; it can provide detailed justification to seek budget or additional human capital to remedy findings. Specifically, an assessment can:
- Detect potential vulnerabilities: A cloud security assessment can help identify any potential security gaps in your current cloud infrastructure. This includes weaknesses in network configurations, misconfigured access controls, and secrets/key management.
- Determine level of compliance: Many industries and governments have specific regulations and compliance standards that businesses must adhere to when using cloud services. A security assessment can help ensure that your cloud environment is meeting these requirements.
- Identify vectors for potential data exfiltration: Cloud data breaches can have serious consequences, including reputational damage, legal fines, and loss of revenue. A security assessment can help identify areas where data may be at risk and provide recommendations for improving security measures.
- Improve overall security posture: By identifying vulnerabilities and shortcomings in security best practices, a cloud security assessment can help improve your overall security posture. An assessment that prioritizes risks as high, medium or low probability and high, medium and low impact will allow for more effective solutioning post-assessment.
- Leverage cloud security experts: Should you choose to partner with specialized cloud security consultants on your assessment, you’ll get expert advice on what you can improve, how you can improve it, and how those improvements play into your company’s overall growth strategy.
A cloud security assessment is an important step in protecting your data and your business.
What are the Steps to a Cloud Security Assessment?
The cloud security assessment process typically involves several stages, each with its own set of roles, timelines, and action items. The actual assessment itself typically takes under a month. Here’s an overview of what you can expect during a typical cloud security assessment:
1. Planning (pre-execution of assessment)
- Roles: Cloud security team, business stakeholders, security consultants
- Timeline: 1 week
- Action items: Define scope, identify business objectives, determine assessment methodology, establish communication plan
2. Data Gathering
- Roles: Cloud security team, security consultants
- Timeline: 2 weeks
- Action items: Identify cloud assets and data, review policies and procedures, collect data on system configurations, and identify gaps against frameworks/best practices
3. Analysis and Reporting
- Roles: Security consultants, cloud security team
- Timeline: 1-2 weeks
- Action items: Analyze data collected, identify areas of risk and recommend mitigating controls. Draft and review a comprehensive report that includes a summary of findings, recommended controls, and prioritized remediation steps
4. Remediation (post-execution of assessment)
- Roles: Cloud security team, IT team, business stakeholders, follow on consultants (optional)
- Timeline: Ongoing
- Action items: Implement recommended controls and remediation steps identified in the report.
5. Reassess regularly to maintain a strong security posture.
💡 It’s important to note that the timeline for each stage of the assessment can vary depending on the size and complexity of your cloud infrastructure. The key is to work with a qualified cloud security consultant who can guide you through the process and ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to protect your data and assets.
Is Your Cloud Environment Secure? Start an Assessment with ScaleSec
If you want to see how your cloud environment measures up, get in touch with our team to start your three-week cloud security assessment journey. We’ll help you identify weak points and propose frictionless solutions you can use to scale faster, safer.
The information presented in this article is accurate as of March 7, 2023. Follow the ScaleSec blog for new articles and updates.
ScaleSec is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) for cloud security and compliance that helps innovators meet the requirements of their most scrutinizing customers. We specialize in cloud security engineering and cloud compliance. Our team of experts guides customers through complex cloud security challenges, from foundations to implementation, audit preparation and beyond.