Businesses now have the ability to achieve unparalleled scalability and flexibility through the use of cloud computing. However, this advancement also introduces new security vulnerabilities. Navigating the landscape of cloud service providers (CSPs) can be challenging, with the utmost importance placed on data security and privacy. In this context, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) STAR Program offers a framework to evaluate and understand the security stance of a CSP.

What is CSA STAR Certification?

Utilizing the standards of the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (ISO 27001) management system standard in conjunction with the CSA Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) version 4.0, the CSA STAR Certification is an independent third-party evaluation of a CSP's security. A CSP must either have an active ISO 27001 certification or have the STAR Certification assessment completed concurrently with an ISO 27001 certification review in order to be eligible for the STAR Certification. An authorized cloud security alliance certification organization must carry out the independent evaluation.

The assessment includes a maturity level evaluation of the CSP for every CCM security domain. Every domain receives a specific maturity score based on five management criteria, which are as follows:

  • Communication and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Skills and Expertise
  • Ownership, Leadership, and Management
  • Policies, Plans and Procedures, and a Systematic Approach
  • Monitoring and Measuring

The Essence of STAR: Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk

STAR stands for Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk, which are the program's main goals. Since its 2011 launch, the STAR program has grown to become the most extensive cloud assurance program globally. It cultivates an ecosystem of resources, standards, and best practices to improve security and trust in the cloud computing space.

The Pillars of STAR: A Multi-Faceted Approach

The STAR program is a multifaceted strategy based on six main pillars rather than a single, monolithic entity:

  • Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM): This document serves as the foundation, encompassing a comprehensive list of security measures across sixteen domains. These domains include but are not limited to data security, incident response, and access control.
  • STAR Assessment Portfolio: The well-known CSA STAR Self-Assessment is one of the assessment procedures offered by the STAR Assessment Portfolio.
  • STAR Registry: The public can access a list of cloud service providers that have completed STAR assessments. This makes a provider's security posture and controls visible to prospective clients.
  • Assurance Education: The CSA offers training courses and instructional materials to give professionals the skills they need to identify and control cloud security threats.
  • STAR Enabled products: This pillar aims to incorporate security best practices into cloud products supplied by technology companies.
  • STAR Extended: This pillar examines how cloud security is changing and adds new security factors as threats and technologies advance.

Benefits for All: Building Trust in the Cloud

For CSPs, the CSA STAR Certification is an addition to the ISO 27001 certificate. Through the ISO 27001 accreditation, the CSP can externally indicate that they have an active security program in place that assists in identifying, reducing, and keeping an eye on information security threats within the parameters of their management system. Customers and business partners can be even more reassured by the CSA STAR certificate that their company has reached a baseline maturity level in handling internal operations related to the 16 distinct security domains in the CCM. Furthermore, after certification, the CSP can raise its overall maturity level by finding more ways to improve its management system and approach to the CCM security domains through evaluation.

Let’s Conclude 

The CSA STAR program plays a critical role in fostering trust and transparency within the cloud computing industry. It provides a standardized framework for assessing security protocols, benefiting both cloud service providers and their clientele. As cloud technology continues to evolve, the STAR program will undoubtedly adapt to meet new challenges, cementing its pivotal role in upholding the future of cloud computing.

If you are looking to achieve cloud security alliance certification or CSA star certification, then contact INTERCERT. INTERCERT offers a comprehensive suite of services to help organizations navigate the STAR program and achieve their desired level of cloud security assurance. Learn more about their offerings on their website