How to Pass an Internal Cloud Audit with Flying Colors

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If you’re like most organizations, an expanding portion of your infrastructure and applications are in the cloud. In 2020, 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud in 2020 and by 2024, enterprise cloud spending will make up 14% of IT revenue globally. What’s more, the vast majority of organizations – 92% – have a multi-cloud strategy in place, which means IT organizations have a lot of cloud assets to track.

To ensure the business has the resources and computing power it needs to operate efficiently, they must make sure the cloud infrastructure is performing optimally at all times. This requires verifying that the cloud vendor is in compliance with best practices and industry standards. How can they do that? By performing a cloud audit.

What Is a Cloud Audit?

A cloud audit is a periodic assessment of the cloud computing infrastructure and performance. Being out of compliance with best practices and recommended standards can not only impact your infrastructure’s performance, it can be risky – so it’s critical to understand where there are vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and areas for potential improvement and optimization.

Performing a cloud audit provides actionable insights into whether the infrastructure is vulnerable to malicious activity such as a cyber attack or account hijacking. Misconfigurations in cloud infrastructures are common and the leading cause of cloud data breaches – but regular cloud audits can provide the visibility IT teams need to spot and correct them before an attack occurs.

Cloud audits are not only useful for improving security; they’re essential for optimizing performance. They can be used to project costs for implementing new services, such as expanded data storage and processing resources, and ensure high availability of the network and data employees need to be productive.

Another reason to perform a cloud audit is for certification. Many industry-standards agencies, such as FedRAMP, ISO or SOC, require you to audit your cloud environment and provide machine-generated documentation that proves compliance with their rules and regulations. This documentation is necessary for achieving certification, but it can be very difficult and time-consuming to obtain.

What Happens During a Cloud Audit?

Cloud providers are subject to various security and compliance requirements, and to meet them, specific controls at the service provider level must be in place. For example, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) aims to define and raise awareness of best practices for maintaining a secure cloud computing environment.

The CSA provides a Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) consisting of 197 control objectives that are structured into 17 domains that cover all key aspects of cloud technology. This matrix is a useful tool for performing a systematic audit of any cloud implementation, and is considered the de facto standard for cloud security compliance.

Audits can be performed internally or externally. Internal audits are conducted by a business’s internal staff and typically focus on performance optimization and risk management. By contrast, external audits are intended to assess an organization’s ability to comply with various industry standards and regulations. Whether conducted by a third-party auditor or your internal team, the cloud audit should examine the infrastructure’s design and operational effectiveness of controls related to:

    • Organization and administrative
    • Communication
    • Risk and vulnerabilities management
    • Logical and physical access
    • Systems operations
    • Change management

What are the Challenges of a Cloud Audit?

Having in-depth knowledge of cloud computing is one of the primary challenges of conducting a cloud computing audit. But a larger, more daunting challenge is that cloud environments are constantly changing. Cloud resources are elastic – they can be dynamically added or removed as needed. This is great for scalability and cost savings, but it makes keeping track of cloud resources difficult.

A second challenge is related to multi-cloud deployments. Various cloud providers – AWS, Google, Azure and others – have different security policies and controls. Plus, cloud environments are increasingly complex, which makes it extremely challenging to gather all of the data that’s necessary for a comprehensive audit.

To gain full visibility of the entire cloud environment and how everything fits together requires complete documentation and a birds-eye view of the cloud architecture. This level of documentation is almost always lacking, which makes a thorough audit with actionable recommendations nearly impossible.

That’s where Cloudockit comes in.

Using Cloudockit for Your Cloud Audit

Cloudockit provides automated and detailed cloud documentation and architecture diagrams to simplify and streamline your audit. It provides a complete and accurate inventory of cloud assets across your multi-cloud infrastructure, along with detailed documentation about resource groups, workloads and business applications, and all the configurations and dependencies between them.

Cloudockit enables you to create a complete Word, PDF or HTML document of both your cloud environment using built-in or custom templates, so you can quickly visualize all the details about your cloud components and applications. This includes settings, network interfaces, security groups, tags, launch configurations, warnings, and more. This makes it quick and painless to spot and zero in on misconfigurations and potential security risks. Read-only permissions, eliminate the need to give advanced permissions to your entire team for the audit.

Cloudockit produces fully editable 2D and 3D diagrams of both your cloud and on-premises environments, enabling you to easily visualize your cloud architecture in minutes. You can also edit them using Visio, diagrams.net or Lucidchart, if needed.

During your audit, you can leverage the diagrams and documentation from Cloudockit to quickly pinpoint misconfigurations or potential security issues. You can also leverage the compliance module, which provides an evaluation of all compliance rules that you have selected to monitor. The tool enables you to create and track internal compliance rules and associate industry-standard compliance and governance rules with them. A color-coordinated graph makes it easy to identify and act on non-compliance issues.

Interested in getting certified for FedRAMP, ISO or SOC? Cloudockit’s consistent and accurate documentation simplifies the process, proving that your environment conforms with all of the necessary requirements and regulations. From within the tool, you can send encrypted /pdf files directly to the agency, which meets the requirement of submitting machine-generated files that have not been manually altered. Since documentation is generated automatically, you can rest easy that it’s free of errors and up-to-date.

Cloud Audits Don’t Have to be Painful

As you continue to scale and expand your cloud infrastructure and the number of cloud resources your business relies on increases, regular audits will be essential for ensuring compliance, security and optimal performance of your cloud environment. With Cloudockit, you can rest assured that everything’s in order, while dramatically reducing the time, cost and hassle of an audit. And, as new certifications become available, you’ll have all of the required documentation and data you need to achieve them at your fingertips.

Read more about how you can leverage Cloudockit for cloud audits, compliance and security reporting, or try it for free today.

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