Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ) is a survey from
the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) to help assess cloud service security.
Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) conceived of the CAIQ to create industry
documents that outline the security controls that should exist in
different cloud services, such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS),
platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) products.
The CSA was founded in 2008 as an authority that defines standards, best practices, and certification to ensure secure cloud environments worldwide. As the world’s leading authority on cloud best practices, the CSA is dedicated to providing essential knowledge and resources designed to benefit cloud clients, vendors, entrepreneurs, governments, and any other groups that use, provide, or work with cloud-computing services.
As dependence on the cloud has continued to increase throughout the new century, the CSA recognized that this burgeoning technology could introduce major security flaws if implemented without any form of regulation. The CSA took it upon themselves to create and share documentation of commonly accepted industry standards and security controls for cloud-based services (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS). The CAIQ provides organizations with essential transparency into the tactics, technologies, and policies that are used by cloud vendors to protect sensitive data and manage risk.
The CAIQ is essentially a survey. Version 3.1 (the most updated version available) consists of 295 yes/no questions directed at cloud providers. These questions are designed to give cloud consumers and cloud auditors insight into how well the provider complies with established regulations and best practices. Another version, referred to as CAIQ-Lite, provides an easier, slightly less-thorough assessment using ~70 questions, designed for cybersecurity professionals and cloud-procurement models.
Simply put, vendor risk management teams, by using a standardized questionnaire, can reduce costs while increasing efficiencies. The CAIQ helps protect cloud-adopters from becoming exposed to unnecessary cybersecurity risk. CAIQ provides an essential service to cloud providers, as well. Vendors can use CAIQ to inform their security, and effectively showcase those offerings to customers using a standardized set of terms and concepts.
Working with third-party cloud vendors always entails some risk. In trusting vital data and processes to groups outside of the controlled environment of the business organization, cloud users lose the ability to directly ensure adequate security implementation. Even the most-trusted cloud providers may fail in certain areas, and organizations need to understand where those failings are likely to occur, and what weaknesses might be inherent in the vendor’s cloud solutions.
CAIQ assesses the security of cloud providers, and aims to create common and accepted industry standards for documentation. This offers a way for organizations to understand and evaluate cloud providers, and their security posture, before entering a business agreement.
previously mentioned, the complete CAIQ consists of 295 questions that a
cloud consumer or auditor may wish to ask a provider to gather
information on their compliance with the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM).
Consumers may wish to tailor the questionnaire to better fit their needs
and address their concerns and specific use cases, revising or cutting
out questions where needed.
is a control framework for cybersecurity used for cloud computing. It
is composed of 133 objectives structured around 16 domains. The 16
CCM can be used as a tool to systematically assess cloud implementation, by providing guidance on which security controls should be implemented by which actor within the cloud supply chain. The controls framework is aligned to the Security Guidance v4 and is currently considered a de facto standard for cloud security assurance and compliance. With CCM, providers can do the following:
Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk (STAR) is a registry accessible to the public that documents privacy controls and security cloud computing programs. It encompasses the principles of auditing, harmonization, and transparency of standards as outlined in CAIQ and CCM.
Organizations show customers, both current and potential, their compliance and security postures and their adherence to regulations, standards, and frameworks. Ultimately, this reduces complexities and alleviates the need to fill out multiple questionnaires.
Identify, prioritize, and respond to threats faster.