As more organizations migrate business critical workloads to the cloud, adopt SaaS applications to run their organizations or outsource platform and operations management to cloud hosting providers, it is essential to ensure that these new cloud partners have the controls in place to protect access to your data and ensure system resiliency. One common mechanism for ensuring this is by using the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) questionnaire – called the Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire, or CAIQ for short – for assessing security controls in infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and software-as-a service applications.
While not required by law to abide by the results of a CAIQ audit, the CAIQ assessment is widely utilized by organizations looking for a standard approach to evaluating the security controls of a cloud provider. This blog reviews the third-party risk management considerations in the CAIQ and examines how Prevalent’s integrated platform for assessment and monitoring can help facilitate those requirements.
The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ) provides a set of questions across 16 control domains that the CSA recommends should be asked of a cloud provider; for example, those that offer IaaS, PaaS or SaaS applications. The CAIQ was developed to create a commonly accepted industry standard to document security controls, and therefore provides questions that can then be used for cloud provider selection and security evaluation. As of the writing of this blog, the current CSA CAIQ standard is v3.1.1.
The CAIQ contains a series of 295 yes-or-no questions that can be customized to fit an individual cloud customer’s needs. The questionnaire is designed to support organizations when they interact with cloud providers during the cloud providers' assessment process by giving organizations specific questions to ask about the providers operations and processes. As well, cloud providers can use the CAIQ to proactively outline their security capabilities and security posture in a standardized way using the terms and descriptions considered to be best practices by the CSA.
CAIQ assessments have been designed to follow one of two approaches:
The aim with this approach is to enable organizations to select the most appropriate model that best fits their needs for assessing their cloud service providers.
For the purposes of this blog, we will not review every question that Prevalent helps organizations measure against in the CAIQ, but an examination of the requirements shows that Prevalent can help assess against at least 36 questions specific to third parties.
Prevalent has created two surveys, one representing the full CAIQ, and the other CAIQ-Lite. The full CAIQ survey has been split into individual control groups representing the 16 control domains. This is to allow for customization of the survey to suit the needs to individual customers dependent on their appetite for their assessing cloud providers. The Prevalent approach to hosting both questionnaires in our Third-Party Risk Management Platform has several benefits:
CSA standards require robust third-party risk management practices. Prevalent can help address the requirements in the CAIQ by:
As your organization seeks to migrate more workloads to the cloud, assessing third parties will be essential. Prevalent can help by centralizing vendor assessments across a range of requirements. Learn more about how Prevalent can help with your CAIQ compliance initiatives.