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The CSA Cloud Controls Matrix and Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire: FAQs

The CSA Cloud Controls Matrix and Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire: FAQs

Blog Article Published: 02/17/2024

Two essential tools in the world of cloud computing are CSA’s Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) and the Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ). These tools are the backbone of the CSA Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk (STAR) program, the largest cloud assurance program in the world. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about these two cloud security tools.


What is CCM?

CSA’s CCM is your comprehensive guidebook for securing cloud technology. Developed for the unique security concerns of the cloud, CCM is a framework of controls (policies, procedures, and technical measures) that are essential for cloud computing security and can be used to assess and guide the security of any cloud implementation.

CCM encompasses 197 control objectives across 17 domains of cloud security. It also aligns with approximately 40 leading standards and regulations, saving you the trouble of juggling multiple frameworks.


What is CAIQ?

CSA has arranged CCM’s controls in both spreadsheet and machine-readable versions of yes/no questions that are easy to read and use, known as the CAIQ questionnaire. If you’re a cloud service provider (CSP), you can use either version of CAIQ to document what security controls exist in your services, providing visibility and transparency for current and potential customers.

You can also fill out a CAIQ and submit it to the STAR Registry, a publicly accessible database that documents the security and privacy controls of popular cloud computing offerings. This helps customers make informed decisions when selecting a CSP.


Why are they important?

CCM and CAIQ provide:

  • Standardization: If your organization has multiple cloud platforms and services, you can use CCM as a framework for how to build out security capabilities that apply to all of those platforms and services.
  • Specialization: CCM is the first cybersecurity framework developed specifically for the cloud. It provides a foundational layer of security that keeps cloud-specific concerns top of mind.
  • Flexibility: CCM and CAIQ can be used by both cloud customers and cloud providers.
  • Global Accessibility: CCM is not specific to any one country and is internationally recognized.
  • Agility: CCM is continuously updated and evolves with the industry.


How do you use CCM and CAIQ?

CCM and CAIQ can be used in many ways:

  • Assess your own cloud security posture.
  • Compare your organization’s cloud security strengths and weaknesses against those of other organizations.
  • Evaluate the cloud security posture of your current or potential cloud vendors.
  • Clarify the security responsibilities between CSPs and customers.


How does using CCM and CAIQ benefit me?

If you’re a cloud customer, you can use CCM and CAIQ to make sure that your CSP is secure.

If you’re a CSP, you can complete a CAIQ and submit it to the STAR Registry to solidify your position as a trusted and transparent provider of cloud services. It also helps you build, establish, and maintain a robust and internationally accepted security program.


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