What Is Cloud Security Compliance and Why Should SMBs Care?

Publication date: Nov 14, 2023

Last Published: Nov 14, 2023

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The cloud has been a game-changer for small to medium-sized businesses, offering resources and capabilities that were once out of reach due to cost and complexity. However, with the advantages come new challenges, especially when it comes to cloud security compliance.

Many SMBs are still unaware of the requirements that cloud adoption brings and the potential problems that can arise from not meeting these standards. This article serves as a primer on cloud security compliance, detailing what it is, why it matters, and how to achieve it.

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What Is Cloud Security Compliance?

Cloud security compliance is an essential practice for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that leverage cloud technology. It involves adhering to various regulatory standards so that data and customer information are protected against cyber risks.

Key cloud security compliance regulatory standards include:

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): Safeguards sensitive cardholder information with requirements for network security, access controls, and consistent monitoring and testing.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Protects the privacy and security of individuals’ health information, mandating a range of safeguards, including physical, administrative, and technical measures.
  • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP): Provides a standardized approach for assessing, monitoring, and authorizing cloud products and services used by federal agencies, focusing on risk management and security controls.
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR): Controls the export and import of defense-related articles and services, impacting cloud services that manage or store covered defense information.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Regulates data protection and privacy in the European Union, affecting any organization handling the personal data of EU residents, regardless of location.

For SMBs, navigating the cloud security landscape is about knowing which standards apply to their—industry—be it finance, healthcare, or e-commerce—and understanding the actions necessary to comply.

Why Should SMBs Care About Cloud Security Compliance?

Cloud security compliance isn’t a hoop to jump through; it’s a safeguard. For SMBs, the stakes are high—non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal troubles that could cripple a burgeoning enterprise.

A damaged reputation is another real risk, eroding customer trust which can be devastating and often more challenging to repair than balance sheets. Beyond fines and trust, non-compliance may disqualify SMBs from lucrative opportunities, such as government contracts.

Yet, perhaps the most compelling reason to care is cybersecurity itself. Compliance regulations are not arbitrary hurdles; they are intended to be the bulwarks that protect organizations from cyber threats. Failure to comply with them can leave SMBs significantly more vulnerable to attacks that can lead to data breaches, loss of intellectual property, and the disruption of services.

What’s more, the ripple effect of non-compliance can extend beyond the breached business, ensnaring customers and business partners in the aftermath of a third-party data breach. A good example of this happened between 2019 and 2021 to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., whose vendor had left unsecured data on the internet and caused a breach that involved 3.3 million customers.

How to Achieve Cloud Security Compliance?

Achieving cloud security compliance always starts with the identification of the specific standards and regulations that apply to your industry and your organization. Despite the variety of regulations, they converge on several key pillars:

  • Control user access through Identity and Access Management (IAM) to ensure only authorized personnel can access cloud resources.
  • Enforce password best practices, including strong password requirements and regular updates, to enhance access security.
  • Employ encryption to protect data in transit and at rest.
  • Conduct regular risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential security gaps.
  • Evaluate and manage the security risks associated with third-party vendors and service providers.
  • Develop a comprehensive incident response and breach notification plan to act swiftly in case of a security incident.

For SMBs, finding out which controls to implement is one thing; executing them effectively is another. Many SMBs might not have a dedicated IT security team or the budget to handle complex security infrastructures. Moreover, keeping up with ever-evolving compliance regulations requires constant vigilance and adaptability, which can be a substantial burden for smaller businesses already stretched thin on operational priorities.

This is where a partnership with a specialized IT and cybersecurity service provider like OSIbeyond can become invaluable.

By providing expert Managed IT and Cybersecurity Services, OSIbeyond enables SMBs to implement robust security measures, manage risk effectively, and ensure continuous compliance with regulatory standards. This partnership allows SMBs to focus on their core business activities while securing their digital assets and maintaining customer trust.

Contact OSIbeyond today to achieve cloud security compliance in a way that aligns with your organization’s objectives.

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