What should you cover during a cloud security audit?

RiskXchange What should you cover during a cloud security audit RiskXchange The leader in Third-Party Cyber Risk Management

RiskXchange generates objective and quantitative reporting on a company’s cyber security risk and performance for your cloud security audit.

The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) highlights that 73 percent of cyberattacks involved cloud assets during 2020, which is a dramatic increase from the 27 percent recorded in 2019. Not only does this show that cloud security incidents and breaches are commonplace but are now in fact in greater numbers than on-premises attacks.

As businesses all over the world increase their dependency on digital infrastructures and the cloud, it’s never been as important as it is now to regularly assess your organisation’s cloud security posture. Although it’s important to ensure the assessment is relative to the size of your organisation, and relevant to your industry, there are some standard practices recommended for use in a cloud security audit.

Let’s take a closer look.

Assessing your cloud providers’ security posture

The first step is to always check and double check the security posture of the cloud provider you intend to use. In addition to reviewing their security protocols and policies, your organisation will need to find a way to independently determine risk based on data-driven insights. This process can easily be automated via a tool like RiskXchange’s instant risk ratings.

Just as credit ratings provide insight into financial stability of an entity, cybersecurity ratings provide insight into organisational cybersecurity health and practices to prevent data and security breaches.

Cybersecurity ratings grade your security performance by how well information is protected within your network. It is extremely important, in today’s digital age, to protect your data and to prevent security breaches with cybersecurity ratings – they are now as important as your organisation’s overall finances and reputation.

A cloud security audit helps you understand your attack surface

A cybersecurity audit can also pinpoint exactly where exposure and vulnerabilities exist across your organisation’s entire attack surface. As cloud strategies rapidly evolve, cloud security has become a difficult hurdle to overcome for many security teams. Traditional cybersecurity assessment practices just don’t mesh when it comes to the cloud. Hackers are well aware of this and often exploit weaknesses that can arise when cloud assets aren’t effectively and continuously monitored. Compromised systems, unpatched software, open ports, and other vulnerabilities provide open doors for bad actors.

Luckily, attack surface monitoring technology has today evolved to keep up-to-speed with cloud risk and is a pivotal part of any good cloud security audit. By continuously monitoring and analysing your organisation’s cloud ecosystem, your security team or external cybersecurity firm can identify gaps in your organisation’s security controls and define risk across your company’s cloud assets. By using instant risk ratings, your business will be able

to prioritise assets that may cause risk and help redirect focus onto remediation efforts. What’s more, due to the fact that your cloud may include hidden assets common to shadow IT, you will be able to pinpoint those risks and sync them with organisational security policies.

Utilise robust access controls

Access management violations are some of the most common cloud security risks today. While cloud providers allow administrator-level access to trusted account managers, if those credentials fall into the wrong hands, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that your data may be at risk.

You can also take the following steps to reduce risk on your cloud:

· Ensure strong password policies

· Include multi-factor authentication

· Audit permissions regularly

· Monitor user activity as they interact with cloud assets

Utilise external sharing standards

There’s no denying that the use of a cloud is convenient. It makes sharing and accessing information across the entire organisation quick and simple, especially during a time of increased remote working by employees. However, this type of access brings about a great deal of risk. A cloud security audit should include a heavy review of your company’s data loss prevention policies. You can limit the sharing of sensitive information or even quarantine off sections to those who don’t have access. Therefore, securing the most sensitive data at all times.

Smarter patches

Maintaining a regular patching cadence is key to making sure your cloud environment is secure. However, gaining a handle on patch management can be a tough challenge for security teams. With the average time it takes to patch a vulnerability standing at about 35 days, it has never been so important to remain on top of all potential threats. With instant security ratings, organisations are able to quickly identify unpatched systems, prioritise which patches are the most critical, and allocate resources where they are needed.

Get in touch with RiskXchange to find out more about a cloud security audit.

How RiskXchange can help

RiskXchange is one of the firms leading the fight against cybercrime, coming up with novel solutions to everyday problems experienced at the hands of hackers.

With full visibility over your eco-systems’ entire attack surface in near real-time, you can regularly monitor and mitigate risks to prevent unnecessary exposures. Our passive data collection methods are effective and have no impact on your network performance. Using data-driven insights to prevent breaches is the best way to reduce an attack surface and prevent cyberattacks.

About RiskXchange

RiskXchange provides a powerful AI-assisted, yet simple automated and centralised 360-degree cybersecurity risk rating management approach. We generate objective and quantitative reporting on a company’s cyber security risk and performance, which enables organisations with evolving business requirements to conduct business securely in today’s open and collaborative digital world.

RiskXchange is an information security technology company, which helps companies of all sizes fight the threat of cyber threats by providing instant risk ratings for any company across the globe. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles within companies such as IBM Security.