Cloud Security and Compliance: Meeting Regulatory Requirements in the Cloud

In 2014, Aleksander Kogan, a researcher at Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics and political consulting firm, created a personality quiz app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’. Around 270,000 Facebook users voluntarily installed and used the app. However, what they did not know was that the app not only collected their data but also gathered information about their Facebook friends, resulting in data from tens of millions of users being collected without their explicit consent. Cambridge Analytica used this harvested data to create detailed psychological profiles of the users to target them with specific political messages and advertisements.

When the scandal came to light in 2018, the public fallout with Facebook was unprecedented. The world’s number one communication platform faced massive public backlash, regulatory scrutiny, and substantial fines. The culmination of the scandal was the creation of a landmark data compliance regulation – General Data Protection Regulation, otherwise known as GDPR.

So, what is all the hype about cloud security and compliance? It is a response to the growing awareness of the critical role it plays in safeguarding data, meeting legal requirements, and maintaining a competitive edge. Non-compliance with industry standards can lead to severe legal consequences, fines, and penalties.

Popular Cloud Compliance Regulations and Standards

With the increasing adoption of cloud services for data storage, processing, and application hosting, organizations must navigate a sea of complex legal and industry-specific requirements. Let’s take a look at a few major ones.

Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023

The Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023, applies to digital personal data processing in India, whether online or offline, and extends to foreign businesses serving Indian data subjects. The primary purpose of the Act is to regulate the processing of digital personal data and respect individuals’ right to protect their data while recognizing the necessity of processing and using such data for lawful purposes. Non-compliance by data fiduciaries can result in penalties of up to INR 250 crore.

General Data Protection Regulation, 2018

The GDPR is a European law designed to harmonize data protection rules in the European Union and safeguard the data privacy rights of citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA). It has global applicability, applying to organizations worldwide that handle personal data of EEA residents, with severe penalties for non-compliance, including fines up to €20 million, or 4% of annual global turnover.

Federal Information Security Modernization Act, 2014

FISMA 2014 is a U.S. federal law enhancing government cybersecurity by requiring measures, continuous monitoring, and risk management. It fosters inter-agency collaboration and assigns the Department of Homeland Security a key role in overseeing federal information security.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996

A healthcare application possesses protected health information (PHI), which is subject to both the privacy rule and the security rule included within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). At a minimum, HIPAA could likely require a healthcare business to receive written promises from the cloud provider that it will safeguard any protected health information received or created.

Common Cloud Compliance Challenges

While cloud compliance is a critical aspect of managing data and services – or perhaps because of it – organizations that rely on cloud infrastructure often face a few challenges, prompting them to develop robust cloud compliance strategies. These challenges include:

Data Privacy and Protection

Cloud providers store and process vast amounts of data and ensuring data privacy and protection is crucial. Compliance requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA impose strict rules on how personal and sensitive data should be handled, which can be challenging to enforce in a cloud environment.

Data Location and Sovereignty

Cloud services often distribute data across multiple data centers and regions, which can raise concerns about data sovereignty and jurisdiction. Compliance regulations may require data to be stored within specific geographic boundaries and ensuring that data doesn’t leave those boundaries can be a challenge.

Data Security

Security is a major concern in cloud compliance. Cloud providers have to implement robust security measures to protect data from breaches and unlawful access. Compliance standards like ISO 27001 and SOC 2 require organizations to have strong security controls in place.

Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Environments

Several organizations operate in either multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environments, involving the use of services from diverse providers or a combination of on-premises and cloud resources. Maintaining compliance through these complex setups can be complicated.

Best Practices for Cloud Compliance

Apart from developing a robust cloud compliance strategy and establishing clear policies and procedures, organizations have to regularly train staff on compliance best practices.

  • Identify and understand the specific regulations and compliance standards that apply to your industry and geographical region to stay up to date with any changes or updates.
  • Implement data encryption and access controls based on data classification.
  • Have clear data handling policies in place, including data retention and destruction.
  • This is important. Choose a cloud service provider that offers compliance certifications and aligns with your specific compliance needs.
  • Develop and maintain clear data privacy policies and obtain user consent when necessary.
  • Conduct regular compliance assessments, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and compliance audits.

Choosing the right cloud service provider or managed cloud services provider is non-negotiable if organizations want to ensure strict compliance adherence. This is where Anunta comes in. Anunta’s advantage is two-pronged. On the one hand, we are trusted partners with all leading cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform, whose cloud environments are inherently compliant across industries. On the other hand, we hold ISO 27701, ISO 27001, and ISO 20000, and SOC Type 2 certifications that testify our dedication to our customers’ need for the highest standard in Information Security, Privacy and Service Delivery Management.

Want to know more how we can help reach out to us at marketing@anuntatech.com and we can help you set up a secure and compliant cloud infrastructure.

AUTHOR

Anunta
Anunta

Anunta is an industry-recognized Managed Desktop as a Service provider focused on Enterprise DaaS (Anunta Desktop360), Packaged DaaS, and Digital Workspace technology. We have successfully migrated 600,000+ remote desktop users to the cloud for enhanced workforce productivity and superior end-user experience.