Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

Apr 15, 2021

What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is defined by Gartner as “a continuous process of cloud security improvement and adaptation to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.” CSPM helps organizations protect their cloud infrastructure by automating the identification and remediation of risks across all three cloud infrastructures; IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS. Because it works automatically and continuously, CSPM can correct issues immediately and without human intervention.

CSPM focuses on identifying policy and security violations that include lack of encryption on databases or data storage, poor enforcement of account permissions, data storage exposed to the internet, and misconfigured network connectivity. CSPM can also be used for tasks including compliance monitoring, incident response, DevOps integration, risk visualization, and applying best practices across hybrid, multi-cloud, and container environments.

How CSPM Works

The dynamic, complex nature of cloud environments makes them increasingly difficult to secure, and lack of visibility into how many cloud resources are running and how they are configured can lead to misconfigurations. CSPM delivers centralized visibility of these environments, providing users with a single source of truth across all accounts. 

CSPM elevates the detection of risk, threats, lack of encryption, extra account permissions, and modern tools can prevent malicious code from being deployed. While delivering continuous, proactive threat detection, it also reduces alert fatigue by focusing on areas that are most likely to be exploited and prioritizing vulnerabilities.

Cloud services attacks are commonplace, and breaches can usually be attributed to misconfigurations, the majority of which are accidental. CSPM compares configurations against specific internal and external benchmarks to ensure violations are detected and remediated quickly. CSPM can be used to integrate security procedures with DevOps processes, simplifying IT team tasks such as defining service configurations and cloud security settings. CSPM can also be viewed as a value-add asset that can identify which technologies are used most and which ones are underutilized, ensuring organizations are most effectively leveraging their resources. 

Why CSPM is Important

A common misconception is that maintaining cloud security is the job of the cloud hosting provider. While providers are responsible for securing the infrastructure cloud stack, users are responsible for their cloud configuration and securing their own applications and data – resulting in a model of shared responsibility. However, traditional security measures are ineffective in the cloud because there is no perimeter to protect, and manual processes cannot keep pace with cloud velocity. Additionally, today’s cloud environments are simply too large for manual processes, making the automation found in CSPM a far superior option.

Data security is a primary concern among organizations utilizing the cloud, especially among healthcare providers, financial institutions, and government agencies. With more and more sensitive data being moved to the cloud, maintaining a robust security posture is essential to staying in compliance and assuring customer confidence. CSPM offers a powerful, cost-effective combination of risk monitoring and automatic remediation that minimizes the instance of data leakage and breaches, ensures stringent compliance requirements are met, and keeps data safe.

The Benefits of Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

With cloud use continuing to accelerate, the risk of mistakes leading to serious security issues is growing as well, highlighting the need for a comprehensive security solution. CSPM delivers on four fronts – prevention, detection, response, and prediction – to deliver very real benefits.

Monitors and Assesses Cloud Environment Continuously

CSPM continuously scans cloud environments to ensure compliance policies are followed, detects deviations or drifts from the intended configuration, and executes actions automatically to remediate drift.

Assesses Data Risk

Not all data risks are brought about with malicious intent – sometimes it’s simply a case of human error or cloud vendor oversight. While unintentional, these instances can still leave a network exposed and vulnerable; CSPM proactively detects and remedies data risks to minimize the chance of exploitation.

Offers Cost Savings

Managing complex cloud environments is a costly proposition. CSPM has minimal overhead costs and is more efficient than sourcing and utilizing security professionals with sufficient skills. There is the added benefit of CSPM’s ability to seamlessly manage these environments, which helps avoid costly vulnerabilities and breaches.

Delivers Unified Visibility

Complex multi-cloud environments include multiple consoles and data from multiple vendors, creating an obvious security challenge. CSPM provides unified visibility to reveal hidden threats and automatically prevent misconfigurations, all with greater speed and efficiency than on-premise tools and processes.

Identifies and Fixes Misconfigurations

CSPM measures cloud networks against organizational benchmarks and industry best practices to identify misconfigurations, alert security teams about the issue or, in some cases, automatically fix the vulnerability and remove the risk.

Monitors Account Permissions

Because cloud environments are fluid, it is important to have least-privilege permissions to keep users from accessing resources that are not permitted or are outside the scope of their roles. CSPM continuously monitors for these events, using an organization’s security policies as the baseline.

The Need for Next-Generation Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

As organizations shift to Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and increasingly rely on cloud solutions, Cloud Security Posture Management Solutions must adapt to market trends. Accurics maintains that a new approach to CSPM is necessary. Misconfigurations must continue to be detected in development and secure posture maintained in runtime, but instead of automated remediations being applied in runtime where they increase configuration drift, all remediations should be applied via the IaC. This reduces security exposure by fixing problems before deployment, and eliminates the problem of deployments introducing configuration regressions.  Next-gen CSPM from Accurics addresses these concerns with capabilities such as Policy as Code, Security as Code, Remediation as Code, and Drift as Code – so organizations can fully leverage the benefits offered through the future of cloud security.

Next-Generation Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

Also See

Cloud Security

Kubernetes Security

Policy as Code

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