Most organizations process personal and confidential information with the help of cloud computing, which has made handling vast volumes of data undeniably easier. But there are challenges that these companies must face to ensure the safety and protection of this kind of information. Since everything is online, it makes data breaches even more of an imminent threat. Once an organization’s security infrastructure goes down, it risks losing customer credibility.
That is why data protection laws and standards need to be continuously reinvented. One of these newer additions to the roster of regulatory frameworks a company must adhere to to ensure data security is the ISO/IEC 27018 security standard. It is an extension of the ISO 27001 regulatory framework, introduced in 2014, and it provides proof of how any organization handles personally identifiable information (PII) protection in public clouds.
The cloud offers businesses and consumers many advantages, including cost reductions, flexibility, and mobile information access. However, with the amount of information already present and being uploaded every second, it is natural for concerns regarding privacy and data security to be raised, particularly concerning personally identifiable information (PII). Any data that can be used to identify a specific user is considered PII. Names, phone numbers, and your mother’s maiden name are some of the more prominent examples. However, others that people might need to consider include IP addresses, banking data, and medical records. In conjunction with ISO/IEC 27018, ISO/IEC 27001, has therefore been published to enable Cloud Service Providers with infrastructure that has achieved certification to the standard to reassure current and prospective clients that their data is secure and won’t be used for any purposes without their express consent.
But what does this standard entail? Who should get certified for it? And what are the benefits associated with it? If you have been looking to bolster your cloud security and implement ISO 27018, this blog is for you! Our primary objective with this article is to educate you about this recently introduced extension of a well-established regulatory framework and elucidate why you should team up with Akitra to get certified for this compliance standard.
What is the ISO/IEC 27018 Security Standard?
ISO/IEC 27018 is the worldwide standard for safeguarding private data in cloud storage. It includes PII (Personally Identifiable Information), and it is a code of conduct for vendors of public cloud services.
ISO 27018 accomplishes two tasks:
- provides additional beneficial implementation advice for the controls defined in ISO/IEC 27001 (adding to ISO 27002); and,
- provides additional advice on the public cloud’s PII protection needs.
The ISO 27002 standard does not address these further restrictions, hence, making this extension a necessary addition to the ISO 27001 security standard..
What are the Primary Objectives of ISO/IEC 27018 Compliance ?
ISO 27018 Compliance provides stipulated guidance on various information security categories, with accepted recommendations and best practices. The standard targets companies that offer public cloud services and handle personal information.
Its main goals are to:
- Assist the public cloud PII processor in fulfilling their duties, especially if they have a contract to supply public cloud services;
- Open up the process so potential users of cloud services can obtain safe, well-managed cloud-based PII processing services;
- Assist consumers and cloud services in creating contracts for handling PII; and,
- Provide cloud service users with an audit and compliance process.
What is PII and Why Should it be Protected?
PII is any information that you can use to identify a person. Any kind of personal information comes under PII, including but not limited to:
- the name of a person;
- their birth year;
- their residence;
- the IP address of their bank;
- their medical records;
and much more.
There are many reasons why PII is preferably stored in the cloud. Rather than storing on-site, cloud storage reduces operational costs. When working remotely also makes information more accessible. Cloud data storage, however, carries the risk of your data being breached. A cloud service provider must demonstrate to their clients that they have robust security measures.
When cloud service providers process your company’s personal data, they are classified as processors under ISO 27018 Compliance. Even when a cloud service provider handles your data on your behalf, your organization continues to be regarded as the data controller. Data processors and data controllers are both legally required to secure PII. Therefore, it is the responsibility of both your organization as well as its cloud service provider to ensure the protection of your personal information.
A variety of techniques are used to secure PII, some of which you may already know. The most important ones are outlined as follows:
- reducing data collection and storage;
- establishing a schedule for securely destroying data;
- encrypting data for both transmission and storage;
- limiting data access;
- complying with applicable rules regarding employee training; and,
- putting a strategy for information governance in place.
Benefits of Implementing ISO/IEC 27018 Compliance
These are some of the major benefits:
- Increases customer and stakeholder confidence in your company by giving them the assurance that their personal information is secure;
- Helps you gain a competitive edge over your rivals by ensuring that your personal information is protected to the greatest standard;
- Decreases the danger of negative press as a result of data breaches, protecting your brand;
- Reduces risks by making sure that they are recognised and that safeguards are in place to manage or mitigate them;
- Reduces the likelihood of fines for data breaches by ensuring that local requirements are followed; and,
- Promotes the expansion of your company by establishing uniform rules for all nations, which makes it simpler to conduct business internationally and establish yourself as a desired supplier.
Recent Changes in the ISO/IEC 27018 Security Guidelines
Information security is evolving at warp speed. To keep its pace, ISO has made certain changes to the 27018 framework since 2014. In 2019, ISO introduced some minor revisions, including:
- a general background section; and,
- revising it from an international standard to a document.
In 2020, the framework further underwent some technical changes and most of the items are essentially the same.
ISO 27018 Compliance with Akitra!
Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that the organizations they work with are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk. Compliance certification fills that need.
Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our service helps customers become certified for ISO 27018 along with other frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, ISO 27017, HIPPA, GDPR, PCI DSS, CMMC, FedRAMP, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, and other frameworks such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, etc. Our compliance and security experts will also provide the customized guidance you need to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently.
The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and cost savings — including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.
Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!
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