Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is a market category for IT security products that identify cloud misconfiguration issues and compliance threats. One of the main goals of CSPM programming is to constantly analyze cloud architecture for security policy gaps.
CSPM is a new category of security technologies that may help automate security and give compliance assurance in the cloud, according to Gartner, the IT research and consultancy group that created the term. CSPM tools inspect and compare a cloud environment to a defined set of best practices and known security threats. Some CSPM technologies will notify the cloud customer when a security risk has to be addressed, while others will employ robotic process automation (RPA) to take care of concerns automatically.
Organizations that have embraced a cloud-first strategy and wish to extend their security best practices to hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments generally employ CSPM. While CSPM is most commonly associated with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud services, it can also be used to mitigate compliance risks and minimize configuration errors in Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud environments.
Key features of CSPM
Let’s take a closer look at what CSPM can do. CSPM services can take advantage of automated capabilities to resolve issues without the need for human intervention or delay, while also performing continuous monitoring as follows:
- Determine the size of your cloud environment and keep an eye out for new instances or storage resources, such as S3 buckets.
- In multi-cloud setups, give policy visibility and enable consistent enforcement across all providers.
- Examine your computer instances for misconfigurations and incorrect settings that could expose them to attack.
- Examine your storage buckets for any misconfigurations that could allow public access to data.
- HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR are examples of regulatory compliance regulations that should be audited.
- Assess risk using frameworks and external standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (NIST).
- Check that operational operations (such as important rotations) are being carried out as planned.
- Automate remediation or remediation with a single click.
Why is using CSPM Important?
A cloud may connect and disengage with hundreds or even thousands of other networks during the day. Clouds are powerful because of their dynamic nature, but they are also difficult to protect. The difficulty of safeguarding cloud-based systems gets increasingly significant as a cloud-first attitude becomes the norm. Traditional security does not operate in the cloud because there is no border to safeguard human processes, they cannot occur at the scale or speed required, and visibility is extremely difficult to achieve.
While cloud-based computing saves money in the long run, the security component can eat into the ROI since there are so many moving parts to handle — microservices, containers, Kubernetes, serverless operations, and so on. The famed cybersecurity skills gap is particularly pertinent here, as new technologies emerge quicker than organizations can locate security specialists with relevant experience.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC), in which infrastructure is managed and provisioned by machine-readable definition files, has emerged alongside these new technologies. This API-driven approach is critical in cloud-first environments because it allows for quick infrastructure changes while also making it easy to program in misconfigurations that leave the environment vulnerable. According to Gartner, misconfigurations account for 95 percent of all security breaches, costing businesses almost $5 trillion between 2018 and 2019.
The greatest vulnerability of all lies behind all of these problems: a lack of visibility. There are hundreds of thousands of instances and accounts in settings as complicated and fluid as the typical enterprise cloud, and understanding what or who is running where and doing what is only conceivable through sophisticated automation. Without it, vulnerabilities caused by misconfigurations can go undiscovered for days, weeks, or even months, or until a breach occurs.
Cloud security posture management solves these concerns by continuously monitoring cloud risk through prevention, detection, response, and prediction of where risk will appear next.
Working with CSPM
Cloud infrastructure assets and security configurations are discovered and visible using CSPM. Across several cloud settings and accounts, users can access a single source of truth. Misconfigurations, metadata, networking, security, and modification activity are all found automatically when the cloud is deployed. A single console is used to administer security group settings across accounts, regions, projects, and virtual networks.
By comparing cloud application configurations to industry and organizational benchmarks, CSPM lowers security risks and speeds up the delivery process, allowing violations to be recognized and remedied in real-time. Misconfigurations, open IP ports, illegal changes, and other issues that expose cloud resources can be corrected using guided remediation, and guardrails are offered to help developers avoid making mistakes. Storage is constantly monitored to ensure that the appropriate permissions are in place and that data is never unintentionally made public. In addition, database instances are monitored for high availability, backups, and encryption.
With targeted threat detection and management strategy, CSPM proactively detects risks across the application development lifecycle, cutting through the noise of multi-cloud environment security alerts. Because the CSPM concentrates on the areas that adversaries are most likely to target, vulnerabilities are prioritized based on the environment, and vulnerable code is stopped from reaching production, the number of warnings is reduced. Using real-time threat detection, the CSPM will continuously monitor the environment for malicious activity, unauthorized activity, and unauthorized access to cloud services.
CSPM decreases friction and complexity across many cloud providers and accounts by reducing overhead. Agentless posture management, which is cloud-native, gives centralized visibility and control over all cloud resources. Security operations and DevOps teams will have a single source of truth, and security teams will be able to prevent compromised assets from moving through the application lifecycle.
To improve visibility and collect insights and context concerning misconfigurations and policy breaches, the CSPM should be connected with the SIEM.
The CSPM should also connect with existing DevOps toolsets, allowing for quicker remediation and reaction inside the DevOps toolset. Reporting and dashboards allow security operations, DevOps, and infrastructure teams to share information.
Benefits of CSPM
The two types of risk are a purposeful and unintended risk. The majority of cloud security solutions are focused on the intentional: foreign attacks and hostile insiders. Unintentional errors, such as leaving sensitive data in public S3 buckets, can – and do – cause significant damage.
In November 2020, for example, a poorly-configured S3 bucket exposed at least 10 million files, including sensitive information from travelers and travel agents. That’s just the latest in a long line of high-profile data breaches that have hit some of the world’s most prominent corporations and governments in recent years.
Instead of needing to monitor various consoles and normalize data from multiple suppliers, Cloud Security Posture Management strives to prevent unintended vulnerabilities by offering consistent visibility across multi-cloud systems. Misconfigurations are automatically avoided, and time-to-value is shortened.
Because the alerts originate from a single system rather than six or more, CSPMs reduce alert fatigue, and false positives are reduced thanks to artificial intelligence. As a result, security operations center (SOC) productivity improves.
Because CSPMs are constantly monitoring and assessing the environment for policy compliance. Corrective procedures can be taken automatically if drift is detected. Of course, with continuous scans of the entire infrastructure, CSPM discovers hidden dangers, and faster detection implies faster treatment.
Additional Benefits of Enterprise CSPM
CSPM technologies can make risk visualization, incident response, and DevOps integration easier by giving increased visibility across many cloud partners, in addition to monitoring for compliance. Other advantages of CSPM implementation in the organization include the capacity to:
- Danger detection by continuously monitoring cloud environments in real-time
- Detect policy violations across different cloud providers
- Analyze data risk in real-time
- Automate provisioning, detection, and remediation
Differences between CSPM and other cloud security solutions
- Assessment of the Security of Cloud Infrastructure (CISPA) The initial generation of CSPMs was known as CISPA. CISPAs primarily focus on reporting, whereas CSPMs encompass automation at all levels, from simple job execution to complex artificial intelligence.
- Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPPs) CWPPs enables unified cloud workload protection across different providers, protecting all types of workloads in any location. They’re built on technologies like vulnerability management, anti-malware, and application security that have been updated to match the demands of modern infrastructure. CSPMs are designed specifically for cloud environments, and they evaluate the complete environment rather than just the workloads. CSPMs also include advanced automation and artificial intelligence, as well as guided remediation, so users are not only aware of an issue, but also have a plan to address it.
- Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) Security enforcement points between cloud service providers and cloud service customers are known as cloud access security brokers. Before providing traffic access to the network, they make sure it complies with policies. Firewalls, authentication, malware detection, and data loss prevention are often provided by CASBs, whereas CSPMs provide continuous compliance monitoring, configuration drift prevention, and security operations center investigations are typically provided by CSPMs. CSPMs do more than just monitor the present state of the infrastructure; they also generate a policy that describes the desired state of the infrastructure and guarantees that all network activity is consistent with that policy.
Why do misconfigurations happen and how can they be avoided?
Customer mishandling of many connected resources is the most common cause of misconfigurations. There might be a lot of moving parts to keep track of and manage with cloud-based services. Misconfigurations of the environment are common, especially with API-driven integration methodologies. Because it only takes a few misconfigurations in the cloud to make an organization exposed to attack, misconfiguration exposes a company to the risk of a data breach.
A misconfiguration is frequently the result of a lack of visibility. A misconfiguration of cloud resources is more likely if a company does not understand how its resources interact with one another.
One of the most prevalent mistakes is providing public access to storage buckets or containers in the cloud that can be assigned to storage classes individually. When access to storage buckets is left open, anyone with the knowledge of where to search can assault them.
Since its inception, Cloud Security Posture Management companies have progressed from simply detecting and notifying customers of misconfigurations to now being able to automatically correct them. Zscaler CSPM, Orca Security, and Trend Micro Cloud Conformity are three CSPM suppliers to consider.
- The Zscaler CSPM tool works with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and other SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS platforms. Misconfigurations can be detected and corrected automatically with this utility. Zscaler stated its aim to buy Cloudneeti in 2020 to integrate CSPM into its platform.
- Orca Security is a cloud security platform for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud services. Orca Security combines the features of CSPM and the cloud workload protection platform (CWPP). In a multi-cloud environment, the purpose is to enable visibility and analysis.
- Trend Micro paid $70 million for Cloud Conformity to include CSPM in the Cloud One Conformity product. Cloud One Conformity works with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure Cloud environments to ensure security, governance, and compliance in public clouds.