Building Trust in Your Cloud Provider
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Building Trust in Your Cloud Provider: What Businesses Need to Know

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When moving business systems and data to the cloud, one of the most important decisions is picking your cloud service provider. You are trusting an outside company to store and protect your critical information. So how do you know you can trust them?

One key is to understand the cloud provider’s security practices and compliance with industry standards. You want to see solid security protections for your data and systems. Things to look for include encryption technologies to protect data and secure access controls.

The people at ProTrain say that the provider should also comply with security frameworks like SOC 2 that show their controls have been audited. AWS SOC 2 certification, for example, means an independent auditor verified AWS meets key trust principles around security, availability, and confidentiality.

Understanding the Shared Responsibility Model

With infrastructure as a service like AWS, cloud security is a shared responsibility between you and your provider. The SOC 2 report will show exactly what’s covered under the shared model.

Generally, your cloud provider is responsible for the security of the cloud itself. This includes protecting their data centers, hardware networks, and everything under the hood you don’t directly manage as the customer.

Customers are responsible for the security of the systems and data they put into the cloud. So you need to use security features correctly, control who can access your systems and data, and protect the application codes or endpoints you manage.

Key Cloud Security Controls to Check

You can take steps to ensure your provider manages their share of security duties:

Data Protection

Your provider should use encryption and key management to protect your data, both at rest and in transit between their data centers. Check their SOC reports for audited controls here.

Access Controls

There should be strong identity, authentication, and access mechanisms in place. Multi-factor authentication prevents unauthorized cloud access.

Network Controls

The vendor must demonstrate secure network architecture with firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and segregation of customer data and systems from others.

Vulnerability Management

Regular scanning for system vulnerabilities and timely software patching is essential. Ask providers when they last updated systems and fixed flaws.

Incident Response

Clear incident response plans and prompt notification policies keep you informed of potential exposures. Review reporting timeframes and responsibilities.

Audits and Certifications

Besides the SOC 2 report, look for compliance with standards like ISO 27001, FedRAMP, HIPAA, and PCI DSS where appropriate. Independent audits validate security practices.

Ongoing Communication Around Risks

Your relationship with your cloud vendor is a partnership built on trust. Maintaining open communication channels helps you stay up to date on emerging risks or changes at their end.

Securing Your Side of Shared Security

While assessing vendor security is critical, customers have a key role, too. Managing your side of responsibilities helps minimize risk:

  • Properly configure cloud services, storage permissions, user access controls.
  • Classify data sensitivity and enable encryption controls.
  • Continuously monitor systems and data use patterns for anomalies.
  • Develop and test incident response plans for cloud disruptions or data exposures.
  • Provide security training to staff using cloud environments.

Conclusion

As cloud adoption speeds up, the shared responsibility model is essential for businesses to understand. Evaluating providers, assessing internal practices, and maintaining open communication enables a trust-based partnership. Cloud’s advantages are clear, but realizing the benefits requires diligence around controls by vendors and customers alike. Implementing audited security frameworks provides the transparency needed by all parties. With cloud now powering key operations, taking steps to validate controls and protect critical systems and data is fundamental. A trusted provider relationship sets the stage for securely migrating more workloads with confidence.

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