As dependence on the cloud has continued to increase throughout the new century, the CSA recognised 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 organisations 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 standardised 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 standardised set of terms and concepts.