Proving cloud compliance is an ongoing burden that many in our industry must shoulder. It’s often a manual process that must be repeated on a regular basis. For many organizations, there is more than one set of governing bodies or regulations to which they must conform. In a relatively static environment, it’s a challenge. Add the automated, dynamic, and decentralized nature of the public cloud, compliance has proven to be nearly impossible.
Public Cloud Compliance Challenges
There are a number of challenges that make compliance in the public cloud more difficult than compliance in a standard data center environment. Some of the biggest hurdles to overcome include:
- Cloud services are a moving target: The major cloud service providers (CSPs) offer hundreds of different services. Each of these services have multiple configuration options that could have an impact on your conformance to regulatory requirements. On top of that, the CSPs continue to innovate at a very rapid pace, enhancing existing services and introducing new services constantly.
- Developers are in control: In many organizations, it is undesirable to put strict controls over which services are used. After all, restricting a service might mean putting a critical project deadline in jeopardy. The result is that developers have their choice of cloud services, and will often start using them with little to no advance warning for a compliance team.
- Automation changes everything: Automation goes hand-in-hand with cloud adoption. This means that deployments change rapidly, and at all times. The result? Periodic compliance audits are outdated before they are even completed. Compliance must follow a continuous model, providing that certain guardrails and policies were never violated during the audited time period.
Cloud Service Providers Compliance
But aren’t all of the major CSPs already compliant with all of the major frameworks and regulations?
Yes, they are - here’s an example from AWS, to name but one.
The challenge lies in the shared responsibility model for the public cloud. In such a scheme, the CSP is responsible for security of the infrastructure, and the customer (you) is responsible for configuration of the infrastructure and services, as well as for the security and compliance of the data and applications that you deploy into the cloud.
All of this means that while leveraging a major CSP gives you a start in cloud compliance, there is still a whole lot that your organization is solely responsible for.
Automating Cloud Compliance with CNAPP
Fortunately, the same tools that are revolutionizing security risk prioritization and remediation for the public cloud can have an equally outsized impact on your compliance efforts.
Cloud Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP) maintain constant visibility across your organization’s multi-cloud footprint. Building on a foundation of asset and service inventory, these platforms watch for changes in cloud deployments and trigger based on misconfigurations, excessive permissions, unpatched vulnerabilities, internet exposure, and more. From there, these platforms map to a wide range of compliance frameworks, including:
- Security frameworks such as CIS and CSA CCM
- Laws and regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR
- Industry benchmarks such as NIST 800-53 and PCI-DSS
Then, you can drill down into the specific issues where your team has fallen short, assign them to stakeholders across the organization to resolve, and then track their progress over time.
Ongoing reporting against any of the major frameworks that allow you to demonstrate, on a moment’s notice, compliance over time, and a valuable tool for tracking your team’s progress towards compliance improvement goals. No more painful periodic audit efforts or expensive third-party contractors. Your team can now prove cloud compliance at any time, against any framework.
Continuous Cloud Compliance with Zscaler Posture Control
Is proving compliance in your public cloud deployment challenging and unnecessarily burdensome? Zscaler can help.
Posture Control, Zscaler’s CNAPP platform, provides continuous compliance across a broad range of frameworks, along with the ability to tune each policy and framework to meet your needs and easily create your own frameworks.
If this sounds like something you can benefit from, check out our cloud security virtual workshop as we deep dive into how you can enable continuous cloud compliance with Posture Control.