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IT Infrastructure Security and Regulatory Compliance
By Steven Wolford, Director of Information Security, 6fusion
Closing a series of politically inspired posts on IT infrastructure security, I’d like to paraphrase Groucho Marx “Regulatory Compliance is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” This is especially true in highly regulated industries and IT environments involving security and the cloud.
Industries worldwide have been forced to understand and struggle to comply with rapidly evolving governmental regulations and industry standards meant to address transparency, privacy, and consumer protection. The list of acronyms seems to be growing even as each tries to evolve to meet current IT security concerns, threats and technologies. PCI, GLIBA, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, NIST, FISMA, and many more, each has it’s own take on what the trouble is, how it is diagnosed (often incorrectly), and how to remedy the problem.
It is unfortunate that the many oversight organizations feel that businesses must be forced to protect the data, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its own and it’s customer’s information. It is even more unfortunate that businesses incorrectly equate regulatory compliance with IT security, particularly security in cloud. Weave IT in the cloud into the mix and this goes from bad to ugly. Many regulations and standards were slow to meet the disruption caused by cloud adoption leaving the business unsure if they could adopt cloud resources or if they did adopt cloud resources were they going to be identified as being non-compliant.
How then to give your business confidence in compliance and have a level of comfort in it’s IT infrastructure security? Frameworks to the rescue. Many of the major security frameworks have been updated to account for cloud technology and include crosswalks of the major security regulations. SAS 70 has morphed into SSAE 16, ISO has updated the venerable 27000 series, and ISACA has issued COBIT cloud guidance.
At least one new framework is designed specifically for cloud users, the Cloud Security Alliance Cloud Control Matrix (CSA CCM). The CSA CCM is gaining in popularity given its foundation in cloud resources and the strong relationship with many regulatory requirements. In order to avoid applying the wrong remedies the CCM offers a wonderful matrix to help select the right control based upon the particular standard or regulation as well as the specific service model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). The controls are grouped into 13 domains and include 98 unique controls.
Do yourself a favor, instead of looking for a reason to declare security in the cloud issues, let the art of CCM help you create an environment that meets your IT infrastructure security requirements and is compliant with the regulations and standards your business is obliged to meet.