Close the Loop: How to Reduce Cloud Security and Compliance Risk in Highly Regulated Industries
Part 2 of a 2-part series on improving cloud security and compliance.
The digital landscape for today’s distributed organizations is growing in complexity, which makes security and compliance with regulatory mandates increasingly challenging. From FedRAMP, FISMA, and HIPAA to PCI security standards, SOC 2, and DoD requirements, the list keeps expanding in numbers and complexity.
As discussed in part one of this series, once you’ve identified which assets and security and compliance mandates are most critical to your organization, the next best step to addressing them is to adopt a closed-loop strategy that integrates security and compliance. As the name implies, a closed-loop strategy is a continuous process for addressing security and compliance. Elements of this approach include:
- Assessment: Perform diagnostics on all security and compliance measures and the overall security and compliance posture of the organization. As the threat landscape evolves, there is a need to evaluate and assess your security landscape continuously. Unfortunately, IDS/IPS systems often fail in this category. While the first level of defense is assessing security, you must also assess your compliance in relation to new or evolving compliance mandates. Incorporating security and compliance threat intelligence in this evaluation process is essential if you want an accurate assessment of critical assets.
- Risk Prioritization: Identify and prioritize the security and compliance gaps found for the most critical assets since you may not be able to address all issues.
- Remediation: Act on the results of your assessment and monitoring efforts to prioritize and fix incidents and alerts to maintain a golden posture continuously for the various assets.
- Continuous Monitoring: Keep continuous watch over assets and their security and compliance posture and flag incidents and raise alarms to deal with critical issues as soon as possible.
The closed security loop is analogous to home security. An assessment tells you what cameras, sensors, and motion detectors you need to secure the premises. Doors and windows provide the first level of security protection. Monitoring gives you real-time data on the status of all security systems and whether an intruder has broken in. Remediation, such as 911, alarms, and alerts, are triggered when threats are discovered. However, in a closed-loop security and compliance strategy, continual improvements are built into the system. Each stage rolls into the next and starts over at the beginning, with each assessment tagging opportunities for continuous improvement.
Four Essentials for Closed-Loop Success
As cloud usage and IT footprints continue to grow and evolve, they are subject to “Three Vs” – velocity, variety, and volume. The velocity of change today is driven by rapid innovation. The variety of IT solutions and components continually expands to keep up with customer demand. Meanwhile, the sheer volume of data, transactions, and connections grows exponentially. Under these conditions, how can you keep this loop closed? Here are four ways:
- Closed-Loop Automation: Many previous manual security interventions – patching, log analysis, reporting – can now be reliably automated, lowering the potential for manual error and ensuring security readiness is upgraded consistently in real time.
- Built-in Compliance: As a part of security monitoring, include built-in compliance checks to your enterprise as well. Any new data, user, or application may pass security checks yet violate compliance regulations.
- Automation Detection and Response through Continuous Remediation: In combination with automated security and built-in compliance, real-time remediation keeps systems continuously secure and compliant by integrating both using automated AI/ML-driven detection and response platforms and solutions.
- Zero Trust and Micro-segmentation: Micro segmented security allows you to divide permissions and authentications into secure, protected subsets, spanning cloud, on-premises, and even multi-cloud. This offers greater enterprise-wide protection while affording easier access for authorized personnel, with fewer attack surfaces.
Cloud is a powerful tool. At first glance, the shared responsibility model cloud may appear complex and fraught with potential vulnerabilities by some highly regulated organizations. However, by using a closed-loop strategy, in conjunction with real-time assessment and monitoring, automation, and remediation, organizations have an opportunity to modernize their IT environment with cloud innovation while improving security and compliance.
Whether organizations are moving legacy operations and assets to the cloud for the first time, or they need a more stringent yet responsive security and compliance process in their current cloud infrastructure, the Unisys closed-loop strategy provides better protection, centralized and continual assessment for the toughest security and compliance demands. Each reassessment tags areas for improvement. Remediation is immediately triggered on any alert. To learn more, visit us online or contact us today.