Creating an Effective Cloud Security Policy: Guide and Template

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A robust cloud security policy is imperative for any organization that relies on cloud services to store and process sensitive data. It improves security by establishing clear standards and procedures for protecting cloud resources, detailing the roles involved in safeguarding data, and promoting a security-conscious culture. Moreover, having a documented cloud security policy is a requirement of some compliance regulations and audits.

This document provides guidance for creating an effective cloud security policy: It details the sections to include and provides examples to illustrate. Feel free to adapt it to meet your organization’s unique legal and compliance requirements.

Keep in mind that your cloud security policy is part of a broader security strategy. It should align with and complement your other security policies and practices, including network security and data protection policies, to create a robust defense against threats and vulnerabilities.

Cloud Security Policy Template

  1. Purpose

The creation of a cloud security policy begins with defining its stated purpose that outlines the overarching goals and objectives. This stated purpose will serve as the foundation that will guide the selection of specific security controls, procedures, and strategies that will meet the organization's needs and regulatory requirements. It ensures that the policy is focused, relevant, and aligned with the organization's overall security strategy, providing a clear direction for the policy's development and implementation. 


The purpose of this policy is to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data handled through cloud computing services. It establishes a structured framework of responsibilities and measures to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and adherence to security guidelines in the realm of cloud computing.

  1. Scope

The scope of a cloud security policy delineates its coverage, It specifies the cloud services, data, users, geographic locations, and security controls to which the policy applies within an organization.


This policy pertains to systems managing the data defined in the "2.1. Information Types" section of this document and encompasses all relevant cloud services. It applies to servers, databases and devices regularly used for email, web access or work tasks, covering both new and existing installations. Every user engaging with company IT services is subject to this policy, and its security control requirements are universally applicable to all approved cloud systems.

2.1. Information Types

The purpose of this section is to provide a comprehensive list of information types that fall under the purview of the proposed policy. You need to label your stored and processed data accurately using best practices for data classification. 


This policy is applicable to all information deemed sensitive data by the company's data classification policy. The sensitive data types covered by this policy include:

Identity and authentication data

  • Passwords
  • Cryptographic private keys
  • Hash tables

Financial data

  • Invoices
  • Payroll data
  • Revenue data
  • Accounts receivable data

Proprietary data

  • Software test and analysis
  • Research and development

Employee personal data

  • Names and addresses
  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver's license numbers
  • Identification card numbers
  • Financial account numbers, including codes or passwords providing access to the account
  • Medical and health insurance information

3. Ownership and Responsibilities

This section of the cloud security policy is vital for ensuring that individuals and teams understand their roles in securing cloud resources, establishing clear accountability, and preventing gaps that increase the risk of security incidents. 

You should list all roles related to cloud security actions and controls and describe the associated responsibilities. If you aren’t sure how to begin compiling the list, consider the following questions:

  • Which individuals or teams use cloud services and need to be aware of security policies?
  • Who is responsible for configuring and maintaining security settings in the cloud environment?
  • Who ensures that cloud deployments align with relevant compliance requirements and internal policies?
  • Who is responsible for making decisions regarding the selection of cloud solutions?


  • Cloud Security Administrator: Responsible for configuring and maintaining security settings and controls within the cloud environment, including access management, encryption and monitoring.
  • Data Owner: The individual or team accountable for the organization's data stored in the cloud, including data classification, access control and data retention policies.

4. Secure Usage of Cloud Computing Services

This section outlines the requirements for the acceptable use of cloud services. To prepare it, you should take the following steps for each cloud service:

  • Identify service users, both internal and external.
  • Document the type of cloud service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), with detailed specifications.
  • Specify the types of data to be stored in the service.
  • Detail required security solutions and configurations, such as encryption, monitoring and backups.
  • Compile a history of past security incidents involving the chosen cloud provider.
  • Request documentation of available security certifications.
  • Secure copies of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and other agreements with the cloud provider.

4.1 Approved Services

Provide a summary of your cloud-based infrastructure, including a catalog of endorsed services aligned with their respective departments. Describe the process for approving service adoption. Consider including a list of unauthorized services.


Only the approved cloud-based solutions listed in Section 4.1 are permitted for use. Unauthorized software installation on organization-owned devices and IT infrastructure components is prohibited. The cloud security administrator must authorize third-party cloud services before use; any unauthorized services must trigger alerts and access blocks.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) — IT department
  • Microsoft Azure — IT department

Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • Office 365 — All departments
  • Salesforce — Sales and Marketing departments only

5. RiskAssessment

The risk assessment section dictates parameters and responsibilities related to identifying, evaluating and prioritizing the security risks associated with cloud services. 


The Cloud Security Administrator and the IT Security team are responsible for conducting risk assessments. A risk assessment must be performed:

  • Upon the implementation of a new cloud service
  • After significant upgrades or updates to an existing cloud service
  • Following any changes to the configuration of a cloud service
  • In response to a security event or incident
  • Quarterly for all existing cloud services

In addition, an outside risk assessment specialist will conduct a risk assessment every six months. 

6. Security Controls

This section details both the organization’s internal security controls and those provided by the cloud service provider. Examples of security controls include server access rights, firewall rules, VLAN ACLS and network segmentation. 

Group the controls into logical categories, such as access control, data protection, incident response and compliance. Provide a clear description of the purpose and scope of each control. If applicable, reference any mandates or industry standards (e.g., ISO 27001, NIST, GDPR) the controls help satisfy.


Control 23: Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

  • Description: Implement MFA for all users accessing cloud services to enhance security by requiring multiple forms of authentication before granting access.
  • Responsibility: IT Security Team
  • Reference: NIST SP 800-63B, Section 5.1
  • Requirements: All users with access to cloud resources must enroll in the organization's MFA system before gaining access. Permissible MFA methods include SMS codes, mobile app authentication, hardware tokens and biometrics. Training and guidelines will be provided to users on how to set up and use MFA methods correctly. Temporary bypass of MFA for specific scenarios such as account recovery is allowed.

6.1. Security Control Assessment

Outline the frequency at which security controls undergo regular assessments of their effectiveness and vulnerabilities. 


The Cloud Security Administrator is responsible for conducting a comprehensive assessment of security control configurations on a quarterly basis. The assessment will include reviewing all settings and configuration of security controls for all cloud environments. It will also include investigating all instances of failed access attempts to identify weaknesses in the security controls.

7. Security Incident Recovery

This section should explain how employees should report suspicious activity and security incidents, including whom to contact and through what channels. 

It should also outline how incidents should be categorized based on severity, impact and nature; provide the escalation process; and describe the procedures for containing, investigating, mitigating and recovering from security incidents. 

The incident response team should be clearly defined, with each member's roles and responsibilities spelled out. Also include contact details for relevant external parties, such as lawyers, law enforcement and cybersecurity specialists.

Example (Excerpt) 

The incident response team (IRT) is responsible for handling and mitigating security incidents that involve cloud environments. All IRT members are required to undergo regular training and exercises to ensure preparedness and familiarity with the incident response process.

The IRT Manager is Alex Smith (, 212-121-1234). Responsibilities:

  • Oversees the incident response process
  • Coordinates communication with external parties
  • Ensures compliance with regulatory requirements

In the event of a security incident, the following external contacts may be engaged:

  • Legal counsel: XYZ Law Firm (Contact:
  • Law enforcement: Local Police Department (Contact: 911)
  • Forensic specialists: CyberForensics Inc. (Contact:
  • Cybersecurity specialists: SecureTech Solutions (Contact:

8. Awareness

In this section, specify the target audience for security training, the training frequency and delivery methods, and who will oversee the training. Describe the process for addressing non-compliance and emphasize incident reporting procedures. Stress the importance of updating the training to adapt to evolving security threats and best practices. In addition, detail how you will maintain records of completed training and measure its effectiveness.


  • Target audience: Training is required for all individuals with access to cloud resources, including but not limited to employees, contractors and third-party vendors.
  • Frequency: Security awareness training shall be conducted annually for all personnel and upon onboarding for new employees.
  • Delivery methods: Training may be delivered through a combination of online courses, webinars and in-person sessions, as appropriate for the target audience.
  • Assessment: Effectiveness assessments, including periodic quizzes and surveys, shall be conducted to evaluate the training program's impact and identify areas for improvement.

9. Enforcement

This section details how the security policy will be enforced, the consequences of non-compliance, and the responsible parties overseeing enforcement efforts.


The IT security team, in collaboration with Human Resources, will enforce the security policy through routine assessments. Employees who fail to comply with the policy or fail testing will have their accounts suspended and they will be required to pass security training for the account to be activated again.

10. Related Documents

This section should list any other documents relevant to the security policy, including any policy that concerns security, compliance, incident reporting and security training. Examples can include the following:

  • Password policy
  • Data protection policy
  • Non-compliance handling procedures
  • Incident response plan

11. Revision History

A revision history provides transparency and accountability by documenting any changes or updates made to the policy over time. Be sure to document each policy modification and its rationale.


VersionRevision Date AuthorDescription



Blake Parker, Cloud Security AdminInitial version
1.106/01/2023Blake Parker, Cloud Security AdminUpdated training frequency


This cloud security policy template provides a solid foundation for crafting an effective cloud security policy tailored to your organization's specific needs. The policy should address security concerns related to cloud computing in a practical and adaptable way, so that your organization can properly safeguard its sensitive data today and tomorrow.

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