UK-specific Cloud Guidance

posted 17 May 2016, 03:46 by Lee Newcombe

One of the things that we, as a UK chapter, are keen to deliver to our members is some local flavour to the comprehensive but generic guidance produced by the wider global Cloud Security Alliance.    To that aim, I thought it worthwhile to highlight some of the local, UK-specific, sources of security guidance to help out those of you either already working in the cloud or else exploring the potential for future cloud-based delivery of services.     Whilst aimed very much at the Public Sector, the Cloud Security Principles and associated cloud security guidance published on Gov.uk offers a considerable amount of pragmatic guidance to those looking to adopt cloud services.      The landing page for a variety of guidance documents can be found here:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/cloud-security-guidance

 

One, more hard to find, Government source of guidance relates to the security assertions that cloud providers looking to deliver to HMG clients are required to make as part of entry on to the G-Cloud procurement framework.   Those requested assertions may be a useful baseline for organisations wondering what information they should be seeking from cloud providers as part of their own due diligence exercises.    Cloud providers may wish to cover these topics in the security, risk and assurance documentation that they offer their prospective clients (perhaps under non-disclosure agreement) to assist in their decision making.   The UK G-Cloud Supplier Security Assertions can be found on Github at:

 

https://github.com/alphagov/supplier-submission-portal/tree/master/conf

 

There are long-standing concerns around cloud computing relating to data protection and privacy issues such as data sovereignty.    These concerns were recognised by the Information Commissioner (ICO) here in the UK and the ICO released guidance on the usage of cloud computing back in 2012.    The cloud world has moved on since, e.g. many cloud providers are now signed up to the model data protection clauses published by the European Commission, however the guidance is still a worthwhile read and can be found at:

 

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1540/cloud_computing_guidance_for_organisations.pdf

 

The final piece of UK-specific guidance that I’ll point you towards in this post is that offered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).   Regulatory compliance is another factor commonly touted as inhibiting the adoption of cloud services.    As such, the pragmatic nature of the draft guidance produced by the FCA should be welcomed.   It will be interesting to see what the final version of the guidance contains once it has been approved following the consultation round; but for now the draft guidance can be found here:

 

https://www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/guidance-consultations/gc15-06.pdf

 

I hope you found the more UK-focussed flavour of this post valuable – please let us know either way!

 

Lee Newcombe

Lee is a member of the Board of the UK Chapter of the CSA, a named contributor to the CSA’s “Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing” document and author of the book “Securing Cloud Services” published in 2012.

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