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For government agencies and higher education, following standards and regulations in the cloud is absolutely necessary to achieve public sector compliance. The more cloud administrators embrace them, the more secure and reliable all cloud transactions and data storage becomes.
Fortunately, cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure offer stable and secure foundations that public sector organizations can build on. There is a concept called The Shared Responsibility Model, where cloud vendors offer a physically secure environment, with redundant power, heating, and cooling, physical security including guards and video cameras and more. These physical locations, like AWS regions and AWS availability zones, meet various regulations.
It would be difficult for any enterprise to attempt to match the capacity of these resources, whether public or private sector. However, what sits on top of that infrastructure is the responsibility of the customer. The end user is responsible for following best practices when it comes to managing passwords, permissions, encryption, firewalls, storage, and traffic.
Compliance Tools on the Market
You can take advantage of existing cloud management tools to measure and enforce the use of best practices. CloudCheckr’s best practice checks—part of the Total Compliance module—can be mapped to various regulatory standards and a “compliance score” can be measured. There are numerous compliance standards required in the public sector alone, not to mention private sector such as PCI-DSS from the Payment Card Industry. Public Sector organizations may need to comply with one or more of the following: NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, FY15 FISMA Metrics, DHS CDM Program or IRS Pub1075.
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CloudCheckr’s Total Compliance tool scores all of these standards and more. An administrator can take advantage of a custom compliance dashboard by picking and choosing the standards that matter most to the organization. Those scores will be plotted over time as they work toward 100% compliance. Additionally, CloudCheckr’s SnapBack feature allows users to go back in time to see a Total Compliance report (along with other prominent reports) as it existed on any date in the past, as far as seven years ago. Those reports are Read-Only to prevent tampering and can prove quite useful in preparation for an audit.
Take the Next Steps in Cloud Compliance
Public sector entities often carry the burden of implementing a cloud-first strategy while fulfilling civic objectives within the confines of fixed budgets—all while maintaining strict regulatory compliance. But they don’t have to do it alone. Cloud management platforms (CMP) that include security and compliance functionalities can turn a burden into a no brainer.
Explore CloudCheckr free for 14 days to see how deeper insights can track, and improve your compliance score.
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