Not being able to assess and validate compliance and security efforts within various cloud computing models is one of the biggest challenges cloud computing now faces. First, when a business tries to query a cloud provider, there may be lots of misunderstanding about what is really being asked for. For instance, when a business asks if the provider conducts periodic vulnerability assessments, and the provider responds affirmative they could be acknowledging an annual review, a quarterly review, or a daily vulnerability assessment. Perhaps they check yes when really all they perform is an annual penetration test. Too much ambiguity.
Additionally, cloud providers can't spend all of their time fielding questions about how they manage their infrastructure. And, regrettably, not many public cloud providers offer much transparency into their controls. And no, SAS 70 audits don't really account for much of anything when it comes to security.
As we noted in that post CloudAudit.org, has emerged with what it hopes will be part of the solution. The group is developing a common way for cloud computing providers to automate how their services can be audited and assessed and assertions provided on their environment for Infrastructure-, Platform-, and Software-as-a-Service providers.
Jim Reavis of the CSA and I are excited to announce that CloudAudit is now an official project of the Cloud Security Alliance! The CloudAudit working group's activities will now fall under the organizational and administrative auspices of the CSA. The M.O.U. was signed at a meeting during RSA Europe after discussions held previously amongst available available participating members. The reason for moving CloudAudit under the CSA are simple:
1) The CSA enjoys a well-balanced membership of volunteers from the enterprise, service providers and industry 2) Most of the CloudAudit leadership are also key team members of the CSA 3) CloudAudit's namespaces & CompliancePacks are all derived from the CSA's Cloud Control Matrix 4) A single licensing scheme and roadmap simplifies both organizations' needs 5) The CSA's other initiatives (CAI, TCI, etc) all align with CloudAudit and will enjoy a tighter coupling 6) The CSA has the infrastructure and organizational membership needed to drive CloudAudit.
The working group's objectives and structure will likely not change but we'll enjoy greater coverage, exposure, involvement and focus from the community.
I see this as great news for CloudAudit and am happy to see the effort has found a home with the Cloud Security Alliance. It makes a lot of sense to see the two unified, and CloudAudit now part of CSA could mean even broader adoption for the burgeoning standard.
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