Cloud Security Assessments

How Do Cloud Security Assessments Work?

Cloud security assessments evaluate an organization’s cloud environment by defining what needs checking, using standards like ISO 27001 or NIST for guidance, and then checking that. However, that’s a very basic definition. 80% of organizations are seeking more comprehensive cloud security assessments. 

If you aren’t willing to skip other risk assessment processes at your business, you shouldn’t consider skipping cloud risk assessments either! Plus, understanding your baseline risk is essential for evaluating and improving your security posture effectively.

Matt Mulcahy, Vice President, Client Experience, ProSource

This process can also reveal where your organization may inadvertently violate compliance standards. For instance, an assessment may show you that your cloud infrastructure’s access controls are much lower than what they should be for your industry.

Additionally, protecting your cloud infrastructure can domino affect your overall network security. Keeping your cloud more secure means bad actors are less likely to use it as an entryway into your larger IT network.

So, this article offers more details about cloud security assessments. We’ll go over the steps and how often you should perform one. We’ve also included a handy cloud security assessment checklist you can use the next time you conduct one.

Cloud Security Assessment Steps

1. Scope Definition

The process begins by defining the scope of the assessment. This step involves identifying which cloud services, assets, and data need evaluation. Selections are based on criticality and exposure. For example, data storage areas containing sensitive information might be prioritized for review based on criticality.

2. Data Collection

Security professionals gather data about your current security measures. They generally focus on configurations, identity and access management, encryption methods, and network security practices.

3. Vulnerability Identification

Techniques such as penetration testing or vulnerability scanning are employed to detect potential security issues in the selected cloud services, assets, and data. Since 31% of executives report that their biggest challenge is identifying security threats, this step is arguably one of the most important. 

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4. Risk Assessment

The potential risks associated with identified vulnerabilities are analyzed. This analysis involves assessing the likelihood of exploitation and its potential impact on your organization. 80% to 90% of high-impact vulnerabilities are easy to exploit. Your risk assessment can show you if and where these high-impact vulnerabilities are in your organization.

5. Recommendations

Security experts provide recommendations to mitigate identified risks. They may advise patching vulnerabilities, improving configurations, enhancing security policies, or some combination thereof.

6. Report Generation

The security team creates a detailed report that outlines the findings, risks, and recommendations. This report helps your stakeholders understand your cloud security posture and the steps needed to improve it.

7. Follow-Up

Usually, a follow-up assessment is scheduled. Follow-ups are to ensure that all recommendations were correctly implemented and that they actually helped improve your organization’s security posture.

How Often Should You Perform a Cloud Security Risk Assessment?

For most organizations, a cloud security assessment should be performed once a year at minimum. However, certain regulations around certain industries may require more frequent assessments. 

Here are a few other examples of when you may need to perform an assessment. Please note that your organization may need more than one assessment per year at more than one of the following frequencies.

At least once a year Standard operational environments
Every 6 months High-risk data handling
Quarterly During the rapid deployment of new technologies
As needed After a security incident or major update

What is a Cloud Risk Assessment Tool?

A cloud risk assessment tool evaluates the potential risks associated with using cloud services. This tool helps organizations identify, analyze, and manage risks in their cloud environments. It can also help you establish a tailored disaster recovery plan by showing you where your biggest risks are and what may take the longest to recover from. 

The best approach is to combine both advanced cloud security tools and human cybersecurity intelligence. Having both will cover the most bases during your assessment.

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Cloud Risk Assessment Checklist

As you go through your cloud security assessment steps, it’s important to remember key factors. To help you navigate that, download our cloud security assessment checklist to have on hand throughout your process.

Download the Checklist Now

ProSource Makes It Faster & Easier to Complete Your Cloud Security Assessment Checklist

Preventing cloud data breaches doesn’t have to be complicated. Still, it does require attentive experts who can go through each step meticulously. You’re not out of luck if you don’t have access to such experts in-house.

ProSource can provide the cloud experts you need to complete your next assessment without a hitch. We employ a 100% certified, U.S.-based IT staff who are more than happy to walk you through your assessment, point out vulnerabilities, and guide you through remediating them.

Reach out to us today to get started.