Cloud-native organizations need an efficient and automated way to identify the security risks across their cloud infrastructure. Sergei Shevchenko, Prevasio’s Co-Founder & CTO breaks down the essence of a CSPM and explains how CSPM platforms enable organizations to improve their cloud security posture and prevent future attacks on their cloud workloads and applications.
In 2019, Gartner recommended that enterprise security and risk management leaders should invest in CSPM tools to “proactively and reactively identify and remediate these risks”. By “these”, Gartner meant the risks of successful cyberattacks and data breaches due to “misconfiguration, mismanagement, and mistakes” in the cloud. So how can you detect these intruders now and prevent them from entering your cloud environment in future? Cloud Security Posture Management is one highly effective way but is often misunderstood.
There are many solid reasons for organizations to move to the cloud. Migrating from a legacy, on-premises infrastructure to a cloud-native infrastructure can lower IT costs and help make teams more agile. Moreover, cloud environments are more flexible and scalable than on-prem environments, which helps to enhance business resilience and prepares the organization for long-term opportunities and challenges.
That said, if your production environment is in the cloud, it is also prone to misconfiguration errors, which opens the firm to all kinds of security threats and risks. Think of this environment as a building whose physical security is your chief concern. If there are gaps in this security, for example, a window that doesn’t close all the way or a lock that doesn’t work properly, you will try to fix them on priority in order to prevent unauthorized or malicious actors from accessing the building.
But since this building is in the cloud, many older security mechanisms will not work for you. Thus, simply covering a hypothetical window or installing an additional hypothetical lock cannot guarantee that an intruder won’t ever enter your cloud environment. This intruder, who may be a competitor, enemy spy agency, hacktivist, or anyone with nefarious intentions, may try to access your business-critical services or sensitive data. They may also try to persist inside your environment for weeks or months in order to maintain access to your cloud systems or applications. Old-fashioned security measures cannot keep these bad guys out. They also cannot prevent malicious outsiders or worse, insiders from cryptojacking your cloud resources and causing performance problems in your production environment.
The main purpose of a CSPM is to help organizations minimize risk by providing cloud security automation, ensuring multi-cloud environments remain secure as they grow in scale and complexity. But, as organizations reach scale and add more complexity to their multi- cloud cloud environment, how can CSPMs help companies minimize such risks and better protect their cloud environments?
Think of a CSPM as a building inspector who visits the building regularly (say, every day, or several times a day) to inspect its doors, windows, and locks. He may also identify weaknesses in these elements and produce a report detailing the gaps. The best, most experienced inspectors will also provide recommendations on how you can resolve these security issues in the fastest possible time.
Similar to the role of a building inspector, CSPM provides organizations with the tools they need to secure your multi-cloud environment efficiently in a way that scales more readily than manual processes as your cloud deployments grow. Here are some CSPM key benefits:
Efficient early detection: A CSPM tool allows you to automatically and continuously monitor your cloud environment. It will scan your cloud production environment to detect misconfiguration errors, raise alerts, and even predict where these errors may appear next,
Responsive risk remediation: With a CSPM in your cloud security stack, you can also automatically remediate security risks and hidden threats, thus shortening remediation timelines and protecting your cloud environment from threat actors.
Consistent compliance monitoring: CSPMs also support automated compliance monitoring, meaning they continuously review your environment for adherence to compliance policies. If they detect drift (non-compliance), appropriate corrective actions will be initiated automatically.
Using the inspector analogy, it’s important to keep in mind that a CSPM can only act as an observer, not a doer. Thus, it will only assess the building’s security environment and call out its weakness. It won’t actually make any changes himself, say, by doing intrusive testing. Even so, a CSPM can help you prevent 80% of misconfiguration-related intrusions into your cloud environment. What about the remaining 20%? For this, you need a CSPM that offers something container scanning.
If your network is spread over a multi-cloud environment, an agentless CSPM solution should be your optimal solution. Here are three main reasons in support of this claim: