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    With cloud computing, are audits a must?

Cloud computing has become a very important part in today’s organizations. But how important is it to audit them?

According to the SP800-145: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

With increased fame in the last year, cloud computing has become an essential part for the proper functioning of all users. This, however, is a risky process as the user’s data are being hosted by different organizations. Therefore, no matter what the circumstances might be, cloud computing will forever be a necessity.

A cloud computing audit is done to get a clear picture of the design and operational effectiveness in the areas of communication, security, system development, data and risk management, and commitment to transparency and ethical behaviors.

So how is it done?

You will need a proper audit. The auditor must be a proactive and trusted partner that can identify risks in order to optimize the benefits. An auditor never gets involved until it is time to audit.

A skilled auditor will start by conducting several tests depending on the types of procedures needed. Each control area has a set of procedural tests to be done separately before combining them for optimal analysis. Here are a few examples:

  • To audit communications, an auditor would study policies and procedures and check whether these are available to all employees. The auditor must examine the Terms of Use to assess those recognizing responsibilities.
  • To audit in the category of risk assessment, one must inspect the company’s documents on the same, to determine mitigation activities if found.
  • To audit system operations, the auditor must study the monitoring tools used to follow up on traffic and alerts, and check the successful alerts sending.

These are a simple part of several other categories. However, it is important as well to study the audit objectives.

Cloud computing audit objectives

It is essential while planning an audit to know what the objectives we are working for are. Auditors rely highly on objectives to conclude the evidence they gather. While setting up an audit, you might want to consider a strategic objective. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Setting a strategic IT plan.
  • Defining the information architecture.
  • Knowing the IT processes and relationships.
  • Communicating management objectives.
  • Knowing and managing IT risks.
  • Studying the vendor management security controls.

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