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Compliance Verification- Secrets Revealed

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Compliance and security audits are usually bundled with every IT strategy and cloud computing is no exception to this – even when adopting simple email or collaboration solutions such as hosted Exchange and SharePoint. Compliance Verification┬áhas some nice tips on this. While small businesses wouldn’t usually feel the need to follow such policies and compliance audit processes, mid-sized as well as big companies strictly follow-up them up so as to limit the risks of failing IT systems.

In fact, when it comes to cloud computing, most of the processes as well as the tools used are already streamlined – indeed, multiple clients/users are using the same skeleton of software-as-a-service, thereby creating a de-facto standard process. I may be oversimplifying, but for the purpose of the explanation, let’s just say that when it comes to regulatory compliance verification, there’s a high chance that cloud service providers have already setup regulatory-compliant contracts to propose to their clients. As an illustration to this, I’m sure that you have already seen in the “Terms of Service” of most cloud service providers a section that mentions the limitations that the contract doesn’t cover. So, before proceeding to sign up to a cloud solution, a client can already proceed to the regulatory compliance, and check if one cloud provider’s solution actually fits with their in-house regulatory constraints.

But there’s also a major concern in the IT audit process – and it deals with security. This is an area that is very critical for every business. For most exclusive in-house IT infrastructure, the audit will deal with every security-related aspect of the whole IT system and how it is managed. This usually means, for mid-sized to big corporations, that there’s a whole team dealing with security aspects: from data storage to network connection as well as users. When a cloud-computing solution is introduced into the IT system, the security audit can become more challenging. Or that’s what people usually think.

Indeed, most people think that “putting” some parts of the IT system under the management of a cloud provider may put at risk the company’s integrity of data. This may make sense, at first approach, and especially if the cloud providers are using some kind of “black box” proprietary tool to secure the access to the cloud-based resources. Under such circumstances, the “cloud provider” is pretty much asking their clients to “take their word for it” without providing any kind of strong assurance.

Fortunately, serious cloud providers are using open standards to provide the necessary security-layer to its offerings. And this is where clients can determine which cloud providers they want to work with. As an example, access to cloud-based resources can be done via secure connections (via SSL, or via VPN): those are mature and standard security solutions that have already been widely adopted in the IT industry. Moreover, every serious cloud provider is bound by a contract to keep the confidentiality of his clients data and information.

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