What are CIS Google Cloud Computing Platform Benchmarks? From A to Z

CIS Benchmark for Google Cloud Platform is a guide to help organizations optimize the security and compliance posture of their Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to protect valuable data, comply with regulations and improve visibility to prevent critical security and compliance risks. It simply provides controls that aim to mitigate risks across all layers of the cloud stack.

Aphorism of the article: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” - Benjamin Franklin

If you’re using Google Cloud, CIS Benchmark for GCP is a perfect starting point to evaluate your configurations and assets against best practices for security. You can be up and running with the assessment in a few hours once you download the benchmark for free. 

In this article, we’ll explain the framework (cutting the jargon as much as possible) and give you a simple and powerful way to automate your CIS benchmark controls for GCP. Let’s dive in!

What are CIS Benchmarks?

Rolled out and regularly updated by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), the CIS Benchmarks are a set of best-practice security configuration guidelines to help organizations safeguard their IT systems against cyber threats.

Developed by a global community of IT security professionals and subject-matter experts in a collaborative process, the consensus-based guidelines in the CIS Benchmarks outline security best practices for over 25 different vendor products. This includes cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. 

The best practices in the CIS Benchmarks provide essential security considerations when launching a new product, creating a service deployment plan, or ensuring that existing deployments and configurations are secure.

download security frameworks guide

What are CIS Google Cloud Computing Platform Benchmarks? 

CIS Benchmarks for GCP is a set of cloud benchmarks aiming to serve as a security guide for organizations designing their infrastructures on the Google Cloud Platform. These benchmarks can be used to strengthen and build a set of security standards and processes for organizations to protect their assets and data in their Google Cloud environments.

By applying the recommended configuration settings in the CIS Benchmark for GCP, you can:

  • Strengthen your guard against common cyber threats
  • Protect your systems
  • Enhance your overall security posture
  • Do everything above in a cost-effective manner

The benchmark is completely free to download from the CIS website.

What types of IT system controls does the CIS Benchmark for GCP cover? 

The GCP CIS Benchmark covers a variety of IT system configurations, including the following:

  • Networking
  • Storage
  • Identity and access management
  • Operating systems
  • Mobile devices
  • Logging and monitoring
  • Virtual machines
  • Kubernetes engine configurations
  • Cloud SQL database services

GCP CIS Benchmark example

For example, admins on your GCP environment can follow the best practices on the CIS Benchmark for GCP guidelines to help them implement a strong password policy. Other tactics to improve your security on the cloud from the identity and access management perspective include:

  • Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Security Key Enforcement
  • Ensuring KMS encryption keys are rotated every 90 days
  • Ensuring cloud KMS Cryptokeys are not anonymously or publicly accessible  

You might also like the Admin’s Guide to Google Workspace Security.

What are the benefits of the GCP CIS Benchmark?

The CIS Benchmark for the Google Cloud Platform outlines the best configuration settings for security, developed by industry experts, ensuring a top-notch kick-off for secure cloud environments. By implementing the CIS Benchmark for CIS, your organization can leverage several cybersecurity benefits, including the following.

1. Expert-proven security guidelines

CIS Benchmark for Google Cloud Platform provides organizations with a framework of security configurations that are consensus-based, expert-vetted, and proven. Modern companies using Google Cloud can quickly adopt and execute the guidelines in the framework and benefit from the expertise of a global IT and cybersecurity community instead of going through a bunch of trial-and-error scenarios.

  • Wider applicability and accessibility than regional security standards and laws
  • Globally recognized by governments, businesses, and academic institutions

2. Cost-effective method of security optimization

The CIS Benchmark for GCP documentation is freely available online for anyone to download and start implementing right away. You can easily get up-to-date security instructions for all kinds of IT systems to protect your Google Cloud environment and design secure infrastructures at no cost. 

3. Hand-in-hand with regulatory compliance frameworks

As we mentioned before, CIS benchmarks are globally recognized by governments, businesses, research, and academic institutions alike. Therefore, it also aligns with the major security and data privacy frameworks, including the following:

  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

You can take a big step towards achieving compliance with these security and privacy frameworks by implementing the CIS benchmark for GCP. Moreover, you can minimize the risk of falling out of compliance due to misconfigured IT systems.

Check out the top cybersecurity frameworks.

Automate your CIS benchmark controls with Resmo

Security is not a set-and-forget thing; it’s a continuous process. Consider the dynamic and shifting nature of the cloud. Cloud environments are fluid-like; there’s always some change happening in some asset. However, it might take a considerable amount of time to continuously and manually evaluate your GCP configuration against the CIS Benchmarks.

GCP CIS Benchmark on Resmo

Instead, you can use Resmo’s managed GCP CIS Benchmark pack to automate the evaluation process. It allows you to:

  • See your compliance score
  • View impact descriptions and remediation instructions for controls
  • Overview changes over time
  • Know which controls fail or pass
  • Export your results in PDF or HTML formats to share, save, or use as compliance evidence

Resmo is a continuous SaaS and cloud asset visibility, security, and compliance solution. You can easily create an account with the free trial to start assessing your SaaS and cloud security posture.

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