Nearly 90% of businesses have taken a multi-cloud approach, and 97% of IT leaders intend to expand cloud systems. The shift to cloud platforms translates to a more efficient, scalable and cost-effective means of business operation. However, while cloud services can yield incredible benefits, they can also present multiple layers of risk.

Cloud risks include cloud infrastructure misconfigurations, improper data sharing, compromised accounts and vulnerability exploitation. Fifty-seven percent of enterprises say that it’s “challenging” to effectively safeguard data across all cloud environments. In taking control of your cloud security, consider a comprehensive cloud security assessment.

In this article, discover a 10-point checklist designed to help you own your cloud security assessment and fortify your digital domain.

Cloud security assessment: Ahead of starting

Ahead of starting a cloud readiness assessment, gather relevant information about your cloud environment. This includes:

  • Information about your cloud provider(s)
  • Details pertaining to third-party vendors
  • Technical information about existing security solutions and configurations

Cloud security assessment: 10-point checklist

1. Initial scoping. The first step in your cloud security assessment is understanding your cloud environment’s current state. Document security configurations, policies and procedures pertaining to your cloud environment. This information will guide your assessment objectives.

2. Identification of assets. Identify all assets stored in your cloud environment. This includes customer data, financial records, employee information, credentials, trade secrets and more.

3. Data classification. Categorize data based on sensitivity levels. Data classification aids in identifying high-risk assets and in developing an action plan for enhanced protection.

4. Threat assessment. Pin-point the potential threats to cloud data. This could include external threats, like cyber criminals, and internal threats, like malicious insiders who aim to sell information to competitors.

5. Vulnerability testing. During your cloud security assessment, assess the ease of unauthorized access to data. Evaluate access control mechanisms, including user authentication, authorization and privilege management.

Also, check all configurations to ensure that there aren’t any exploitable weaknesses. Bring in experts, as needed, to simulate attacks in your environment.

6. Third-party testing. If you work with third-party vendors who have access to your cloud environment or who interact with your cloud data, ensure that they comply with your organization’s security standards and that they maintain robust cyber security measures. Consider third-party tests to uncover hidden vulnerabilities. This can offer an additional layer of cyber security assurance.

7. Comprehensive reporting. Prepare a detailed report describing the security status of infrastructure and applications. Offer comprehensive risk descriptions.

8. Implement controls. Consider upgrades for technical controls. Leverage the latest cloud security tools and technologies. Also, be sure to account for non-technical controls (like employee training).

9. Retest. After addressing issues and implementing upgraded technical controls, conduct a final cloud security assessment to validate the effectiveness of the security modifications.

10. Long-term security strategy. Develop a dynamic cloud security strategy that can adapt in conjunction with your business’s cloud needs, the threat landscape and technological advancements.

If one doesn’t exist yet, ensure that you retain a robust incident response plan that’s specific to your cloud environment. Test this plan via exercises and drills in order to ensure its effectiveness.

Further cloud security assessment insights

Cloud security is a continuous process. Remaining vigilant is critical in maintaining a cyber secure environment. Conduct regular cloud security assessments and stay up-to-date on the latest in cloud computing.

For more cloud security insights, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage. Lastly, to receive more timely cyber security insights and cutting-edge analyses, please sign up for the cybertalk.org newsletter.