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What is Cloud Security Posture Management?

What is Cloud Security Posture Management?

Harold Bell
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Key Takeaway

CSPM stands for Cloud Security Posture Management. It’s a security solution that helps organizations identify, assess, and remediate potential security risks or misconfigurations within their cloud infrastructure. CSPM tools provide continuous monitoring and analysis of cloud resources, ensuring adherence to best practices and compliance with security standards.

People who work in IT and cybersecurity may think of cloud security posture management (CSPM) as a toolset, but it’s more than that. A CSPM solution may do the work, but the CSPM workload is based on a collection of practices and policies. Its purpose is to make sure that an organization’s cloud assets are as secure as anything they’re hosting on-premises—supporting a robust overall security posture.

What is CSPM?

CSPM automates processes that identify and remediate cyber risks across an organization’s cloud infrastructures. Though each organization will do cloud security differently, in general, CSPM addresses itself to security risks in deployments spanning infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platforms, e.g., Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for IaaS, AWS Elastic Beanstalk for PaaS, and Amazon Chime for SaaS.

As a workload, CSPM involves risk visualization, risk assessment, compliance monitoring, and security incident response. The objective is to unify the application of cloud security best practices to cloud-native environments, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud architectures. In many cases, CSPM is integrated with DevOps processes, with the goal of building security into cloud applications before they go into production.

How does CSPM work?

The practice of CSPM, as realized by a CSPM solution, revolves around the identification and remediation of cloud security risks. The core capabilities of the solution are automation, visibility, continuous monitoring, and threat detection. A CSPM solution uses automation to remediate security problems without requiring a human being’s direct participation. 

Specifically, CSPM solutions perform the following processes:

  • Nonstop monitoring of cloud environments, scanning cloud-hosted systems for threats and anomalous events that suggest that an attack is occurring. 
  • Identifying misconfigurations in IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS platforms, as well as in on-premises, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments.
  • Automatically remediating such misconfigurations.
  • Tracking cloud security policy definitions and policy enforcement across all cloud platforms, as well as on relevant on-premises infrastructure.
  • Keeping track of regulatory compliance updates, e.g., changes in HIPAA rules—and then suggesting necessary changes to cloud configurations, new controls, and changes to existing countermeasures.
  • Conducting risk assessments based on frameworks and standards, e.g., the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cloud Security Framework

Much of the time, the CSPM solution’s automation is not complete, by design. People must participate in certain processes. For example, if a CSPM solution identifies a weakness in a cloud environment, it may alert users so they can proactively mitigate risks before problems arise. Similarly, a CSPM solution may flag multiple areas of risk, but it is up to human users to determine the priority of remediation. Or, human users may want to override recommended prioritizations based on threat intelligence and other inputs not available to the CSPM solution.

Why is CSPM important?

CSPM is important for two primary reasons: The cloud is ubiquitous, even for the most critical workloads; and, cloud security presents many challenges compared to traditional on-premises security. Today, about 50% of corporate IT workloads run in the cloud, with around 48% of corporate data hosted in the cloud as well. Ninety-four percent of enterprises use cloud services, a level of engagement leading the cloud industry to grow from $371 billion in 2020 to a projected $800+ billion by 2025. At the same time, cloud security is a top concern for three fourths of enterprises.

Misconfigurations, in particular, are a major source of risk in the cloud. Indeed, many cloud security incidents are accidental in nature: Industry research found that 88% of cloud breaches are due to human error. It can be difficult, or even impossible, to track adherence to security policies in the cloud. For instance, a software developer might move corporate data to a cloud instance to use with a new application—but then forget and leave it there once the project is finished.

Other cloud security risks include unauthorized access to data, insecure interfaces like application programming interfaces (APIs), and poorly monitored external data sharing with third parties. Account takeovers, denial of service (DoS) attacks and compliance problems can also result from deficient cloud security measures. The cloud’s two-tier security model tends to complicate the picture, as well, with cloud customers sometimes unclear on what they are supposed to defend, versus what the cloud platform is responsible for securing.

CSPM is an essential factor in mitigating these risks. CSPM’s automated detection and remediation give IT managers and security teams the ability to stay ahead of cloud-borne threats.

Benefits of CSPM

The main benefit of CSPM, as its name suggests, is better cloud security posture. With CSPM, security teams will likely experience fewer security incidents, including DoS attacks and data breaches. And, with a CSPM solution, the process of bolstering cloud security posture becomes easier and more efficient, even when the process applies to multiple cloud platforms and complex hybrid environments. The CSPM toolset also typically confers more control over security policies, leading to better security and compliance with regulations.

Conclusion

Cloud security can be challenging, but it’s a non-negotiable element of an organization’s overall cyber security program. There are simply too many systems and too much data in the cloud facing threats. CSPM enables IT and security teams to get on top of cloud security risks using automated detection and remediation. Correctly deployed, CSPM makes it possible for organizations to easily and efficiently improve their cloud security postures.

Cloud Security Posture Management FAQs

What are the key features to look for in a CSPM solution?

When selecting a Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution, prioritize features essential for robust cloud security. Look for continuous monitoring capabilities to detect and respond to threats promptly. Compliance management tools ensure adherence to industry standards and regulations. Effective threat detection mechanisms identify and mitigate potential risks in real-time. Additionally, robust risk assessment capabilities provide insights into vulnerabilities and prioritize remediation efforts. Comprehensive CSPM solutions streamline security testing processes, ensuring the cloud environment’s integrity and resilience against emerging threats. These features collectively contribute to a proactive and agile approach to cloud security management.

Can CSPM tools integrate with existing security systems?

Yes, CSPM tools are designed to integrate seamlessly with existing security systems. They often offer interoperability with a wide range of security tools and platforms, including SIEMs (Security Information and Event Management), IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems), and vulnerability scanners. This seamless integration ensures comprehensive coverage and enables organizations to leverage their existing security investments effectively. Additionally, CSPM solutions may also integrate with API security testing tools to enhance cloud security posture across multiple layers of the infrastructure, ensuring robust protection against evolving threats.

How do CSPM solutions enhance incident response?

CSPM solutions play a crucial role in enhancing incident response capabilities by providing real-time alerts and automated remediation actions. Through continuous monitoring of cloud environments, CSPM tools swiftly detect security incidents and trigger alerts to notify security teams. These alerts enable rapid response, allowing organizations to mitigate threats before they escalate. Moreover, CSPM solutions can automate remediation actions, such as isolating compromised resources or applying security policies, reducing manual intervention and response times. By streamlining incident response processes, CSPM solutions bolster the effectiveness of the computer security incident response team (CSIRT), ensuring prompt and efficient handling of security incidents in cloud environments.

How to choose the right CSPM tool for your organization?

Choosing the right CSPM tool requires careful consideration of several factors tailored to your organization’s unique requirements. Evaluate the complexity of your cloud environment, ensuring the selected CSPM solution can effectively address its intricacies. Consider regulatory compliance needs and specific security objectives to ensure alignment with organizational goals. Noname Security offers comprehensive CSPM solutions with advanced capabilities to safeguard cloud environments effectively. Request a demo to explore how Noname’s API posture management and integrated approach can address your organization’s cloud security needs, providing peace of mind and resilience against emerging threats.

Harold Bell

Harold Bell was the Director of Content Marketing at Noname Security. He has over a decade of experience in the IT industry with leading organizations such as Cisco, Nutanix, and Rubrik, and has been featured as an executive ghostwriter in Forbes Technology Council and Hacker News.

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