An Effective Way to Establish Regulatory Compliance in the Cloud

by Jul 6, 2021

Establishing and maintaining regulatory compliance in the cloud is an increasingly common requirement for modern organizations. Complying with regulatory standards regarding data privacy and handling has become increasingly important in the 21st century. 

Companies that choose to ignore the guidelines pertaining to their industry or the type of data resources they possess face serious financial penalties and risks to their reputation. It behooves all enterprises to be aware of the regulations that apply to them and ensure they are being followed.

What is Regulatory Compliance?

Regulatory compliance is the process of putting in place the measures necessary to comply with the regulations, laws, and guidelines that govern the operations of a business. 

These regulations and guidelines vary based on a combination of the industry and the type of data being processed. Some organizations are required to comply with multiple sets of regulations, further complicating their efforts. 

One example of regulatory standards is the HIPAA rules for companies in the United States operating in the healthcare industry. Strict rules govern how sensitive health-related data can be transferred and stored. Information needs to be encrypted at all times to guard against a possible data breach.

The European Union’s GDPR is another set of guidelines aimed at strengthening the rights of individuals to control how their data is collected, used, and stored.

One mandate of the GDPR is that a person can request their data be removed from corporate databases. This means that there needs to be a process in place to find and delete the data in question, including from past backups.

The bottom line with regulatory compliance is that companies need to tailor their data processing procedures to conform with the standards that apply to their industry or face repercussions as fines. 

Client or Provider: Who is Responsible for Regulatory Compliance in the Cloud?

Managing computer systems and infrastructures in the cloud introduces another level of complexity when compared to an on-premises environment.

Sometimes, there can be a gray area concerning whether responsibilities are to be met by the client or provider. This type of misunderstanding can be devastating when applied to regulatory compliance. 

Maintaining the security and compliance of cloud systems is a responsibility shared by the customer and provider. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) shared responsibility model is representative of the way the majority of cloud platforms share responsibilities.

It clearly defines the role that the customer plays in securing their data, which is critically important from a compliance perspective.

The roles of customer and provider shift based on the cloud model in use. There is more responsibility put on the customer in an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) implementation than in a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. But in all cases, it is the responsibility of the client to secure and protect their customer data. 

This includes ensuring that the encryption options are set correctly, assets are classified appropriately, and Identity Access Management (IAM) tools are used to restrict access to sensitive data. If the proper provisions are not taken to comply with regulatory standards, the offending company is responsible and will endure any penalties. 

Understanding Your Environment with a Comprehensive Tool

The responsibility for protecting sensitive data resources is placed squarely on the company purchasing and using cloud resources rather than the vendor. What this means for data management is that there needs to be a method of identifying all sensitive data stored in an environment so it can be properly addressed. It’s hard to protect your data resources if you’re not sure where they are stored.

SQL Compliance Manager offers a comprehensive tool for maintaining regulatory compliance in an on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid SQL Server environment. It provides powerful auditing capabilities that can help identify the sensitive data that needs to be protected.

The tool can then monitor the protected data in real-time and immediately alert the appropriate team if suspicious activity occurs. Customizable alerts are available for over 200 SQL Server event types and can be emailed directly to a technical resource or stored in an event log.

SQL Compliance Manager helps meet regulatory guidelines including customizable templates to apply the correct auditing settings to servers and databases. The templates cover HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and other sets of standards so teams can quickly compare their current settings and make any required modifications.

The tool also provides a tamper-proof audit repository and flexible reporting to satisfy the needs of internal and external auditors. 

SQL Compliance Manager provides teams the necessary functionality to adhere to regulatory standards in the cloud. It is still the customer’s responsibility to ensure the proper steps are taken to protect the data. This task is greatly simplified and strengthened through the use of this dedicated compliance application.

Try SQL Compliance Manager for Free!