Organizations in all industries harness the power of the cloud with the help of cloud-based security solutions. With new cybersecurity regulations being passed every year, cloud providers have strengthened their technologies to meet the needs of security and compliance executives as they work to merge their cloud security and privacy tactics. As a result, cloud adoption has grown dramatically – estimates predict that cloud-specific spending will grow exponentially at more than six times the rate of general IT spending by 2020.
While the cloud is positioned to revolutionize IT, it hasn’t always met with a positive association. For highly regulated industries such as financial services or healthcare, cloud technology brought up concerns about security and compliance. However, from its initial introduction to today, the cloud has come a long way, as have the tactics you can use to establish compliance, security, and privacy. So what’s changed?
Evolution of the move to the cloud
By 2020, “cloud shift” will affect more than $1 trillion in IT spending, according to Gartner. Not only does this make cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending, but it’s also indicative of a strong demand to upgrade to this technology.
From transferring money between accounts to housing personal photo albums, the cloud has become an everyday tool for users. As a consumer, instant access to information and transparency between themselves and technology providers have become crucial to the user experience.
For organizations, cloud computing enables scalability with lowered IT infrastructure costs and increased data interoperability. In the cloud, information is also easily accessible with consistent performance and reliability. Therefore, moving to the cloud benefits not only consumers, but organizations as well.
To meet demand, cloud solution vendors have bolstered technology to meet security and compliance requirements. Security and compliance are critical because nearly 25% of data in the cloud contains personally identifiable information (PII). Cloud technologies now include features such as encryption, tokenization, multi-factor authentication, and access to audit logs, which enable highly regulated industries to entrust the cloud with their data while reaping the rewards of cloud migration. Cloud security and privacy technologies help organizations meet basic regulatory requirements while enhancing security and compliance programs.
Considerations for your cloud compliance program
To move forward with a sustainable compliance program, you must align your security and compliance goals. The regulatory environment is complex, making it challenging to integrate compliance programs with security goals. Fortunately, these considerations can help you identify a program that unites security, privacy, and compliance:
- Identify which requirements impact your organization. These requirements can be mandated by specific regulations that may differ based on an organization’s jurisdiction, industry, or method of business.
- Conduct regular compliance risk assessments. Routine risk assessments are foundational for a robust compliance program. New regulatory risks emerge all the time, which mandates regular updates and revisions to your risk assessment procedures.
- Audit and monitor your compliance program. Don’t wait until the middle of a crisis to conduct an internal audit. Be proactive in identifying your security gaps and determine how to continue improving your compliance posture.
A focus on compliance helps your organization increase customer trust and loyalty while reducing the potential cost of a violation.
What’s at stake: New regulation’s sky-high fines
In addition to existing regulations like GLBA, FINRA, HIPAA, and PCI, organizations continue to face new data privacy legislation all the time. Half the battle for any privacy officer or InfoSec leader of a US organization is simply staying on top of the barrage of privacy and security legislation introduced by regulatory bodies, the federal government, and individual states.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which affects the way organizations collect, store, and use EU citizen data, can inflict fines as high as 4% of annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher. British Airways received a $230 million fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office for violating GDPR after a breach affected 500,000 airline customers. On top of that, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to settle with the FTC over privacy violations. Organizations actively face the consequences of non-compliance, which aren’t limited to fines – data breaches deteriorate the trust between organizations and customers, too.
Examining cloud security and compliance in the future
Existing and new cloud security and compliance laws surrounding personal information will continue to grow across the globe as citizens continue to demand privacy and control of their data. Cloud technology providers have recognized and delivered upon the need for expansive security measures through cloud-based technology. Partnering with these advanced cloud technology vendors will further expand the foundation of data security and compliance as new laws and regulations arise. This will enable organizations to avoid regulatory fines, simplify workflows, and increase trust while providing a path forward to success.