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The Cloud Security Alliance’s Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ) is used by many organizations to assess their vendors’ cloud security controls. 

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The CAIQ (pronounced “cake”) presents various yes or no questions that measure a cloud provider’s compliance with the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM), which is the CSA’s cybersecurity control framework for cloud computing. Essentially, the CAIQ is a questionnaire version of the CCM. It acts as a tool for bi-directional mapping between the two according to the controls that they adhere to. 

What is the Cloud Security Alliance? 

Founded in 2008, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) defines standards, certification and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. It has over 80,000 members worldwide. 

What is contained in the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM)?

The CCM is made up of 133 control objectives structured across 16 domains that cover key aspects of cloud technology. They include:

  1. Application and Interface Security
  2. Audit Assurance and Compliance
  3. Business Continuity Management and Operations Resilience
  4. Change Control and Configuration Management
  5. Data Security and Information Lifecycle Management
  6. Datacenter Security
  7. Encryption and Key Management
  8. Governance and Risk Management
  9. Human Resources 
  10. Identity and Access Management
  11. Infrastructure and Virtualization Security
  12. Interoperability and Portability 
  13. Mobile Security
  14. Security Incident Management, E-Discovery and Cloud Forensics
  15. Supply Chain Management, Transparency and Accountability
  16. Threat and Vulnerability Management

The CAIQ’s questions are broken up according to these 16 domains. 

Why is the CAIQ useful for organizations? 

As more and more organizations move their data to the cloud, they are understandably concerned about how cloud providers manage risk and protect data. This is because many security gaps can exist when third-party cloud and SaaS vendors are involved. For example, we continue to see many cloud computing attacks, as well as unfortunate instances of exposed data buckets resulting from misconfigured servers on the cloud. 

These significant risks are why Moshe Ferber, chairman of the Israeli chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance, has said that the biggest challenge for organizations today is to understand how to evaluate their cloud providers. 

The CAIQ addresses this challenge by assessing the security of cloud providers while aiming to create commonly accepted industry standards to document security controls. In doing so, it offers a way for organizations to evaluate potential cloud providers prior to entering a business agreement.

How can a Panorays customer use the CAIQ? 

Using Panorays, your organization can take advantage of a completely automated version of the CAIQ to assess your cloud providers. Doing so allows you to 

  • Eliminate manual questionnaires. No more endless emails and phone calls. All interaction takes place on the platform, saving you time and effort. 
  • Add business context to CAIQ. Your providers receive only the questions that are relevant to their particular business relationship.
  • Continuously monitor the provider’s attack surface. The combination of CAIQ together with uncovering security gaps provides you with a full view of your provider’s risk. 

Learn more about automating your third-party security evaluation using CAIQ.

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