How to Start a Cloud Governance Framework in Your Organization
Article Compliance March 28, 2019

How to Start a Cloud Governance Framework in Your Organization

Effective Cloud Governance is the Key to Cloud Success 

 

Effective cloud governance is made up of three main pillars: Point-In-Time Compliance, Change Monitoring, and Automation. Like a stool with three legs, if any one of the pillars is weak or not addressed, there is no stability and everything comes tumbling down. It’s important to protect your Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure workloads by getting compliant and staying vigilant to avoid breaches, fines, and other issues.

 

Cloud Governance Solutions

 

Point-In-Time Compliance

Enterprises need the ability to measure their security compliance status at a point in time. This can be done with industry-standard best practice checks that automatically and periodically look for common vulnerabilities. These misconfigurations should be fixed in order of relevance, based upon the industry that the business operates in. Therefore, the results of these cloud governance best practices should be scored according to regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NIST, CIS, among others.

If there is a security breach, or simply a standard audit, being able to prove a level of compliance will help avoid significant fines and penalties. A reliable compliance tool will allow auditors to go back in time, as far as seven years, to see non-mutable (i.e. read-only) reports. You can accomplish this with CloudCheckr’s SnapBack™ feature for Total Compliance.

 

Change Monitoring

Compliance tools can help establish a secure infrastructure, but that doesn’t guarantee security. The cloud is, by its nature, ever-changing. Because infrastructure was secure on a specific day and time, administrators should not assume that their job is done.

All cloud platform providers share a version of the AWS Shared Responsibility Model, which requires IT administrators to protect their part of the cloud. While a data center may be easier to lock-down, simply due to the limitations of physical access, the cloud is different. An enterprise may have multiple cloud operators, each with varying levels of administrative access. It is not uncommon for a user to make an Amazon S3 bucket public, despite cloud governance policies.

 

Administrators need to monitor changes and receive alerts when misconfigurations are introduced—especially dangerous ones.

 

In addition to cloud-native tools like Amazon CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch, cloud administrators will want tools to analyze such logs and proactively send alerts when issues are detected. Those alerts should integrate with their organization’s standard tools, such as PagerDuty, ServiceNow, Jira, Slack, email, SNS, AWS Lambda, and more.

 

Automation

As long as humans are involved, there will be mistakes. Human error can stem from typos, misunderstandings, or even poor training. Even if you have perfect accuracy, the sheer scale of cloud computing makes manual administration impractical. To ensure cloud governance, automation must be adopted. A reliable cloud management platform can not only detect vulnerabilities but, if given permission, can fix them automatically, without human intervention. Automated Self-Healing can deliver on the promise of a secure cloud all day, every day.

 

Governance Solutions for Success

Successful, modern businesses need these three components for an effective cloud governance solution. First, they must be able to take a snapshot of their existing infrastructure security posture. This will allow them to identify any errors and fix them. They need to score their compliance to avoid penalties and more importantly, prevent security breaches. Next, administrators need to be alerted to changes to their security configuration that could negatively impact their compliance. Finally, they should leverage automation to help fix misconfigurations before they become breaches. Without any one of those three pillars, security is only temporary.

 

Next Steps

CloudCheckr provides integrated security configuration and activity monitoring for your multi-cloud environment. As a launch partner in the new Amazon Web Services Competency Program for Cloud Management Tools, our AWS competency status in Cloud Governance ensures CloudCheckr is delivering cloud operations and governance best practices up to and beyond AWS standards. With hundreds of automated configuration and security checks, CloudCheckr is purpose-built to strengthen your cloud security posture and help you meet compliance mandates. Reach out to request a live 30-minute demo or try cloud management by CloudCheckr free for 14-days.

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