Cloud Security

AWS CSPM: A Comprehensive Guide 101

Due to the enormous financial benefits of shifting to the cloud, cloud computing has emerged as a key defining element in information security’s present and future state. Security must be integrated into this transition to succeed because the cloud represents a significant shift for almost all enterprises. As the cybersecurity industry continues to grow, we […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

August 14, 2023 | 6 min read

Due to the enormous financial benefits of shifting to the cloud, cloud computing has emerged as a key defining element in information security’s present and future state.

Security must be integrated into this transition to succeed because the cloud represents a significant shift for almost all enterprises. As the cybersecurity industry continues to grow, we have reached a position where various levels of cloud expertise are required of every cybersecurity professional.

This article will dive deep into AWS CSPM and its benefits, challenges, and available tools.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is AWS CSPM?
    1. Key Features and Capabilities of AWS CSPM
  2. AWS CSPM Best Practices
  3. Real-World Use Cases and Examples
  4. Challenges of AWS CSPM
  5. What are the AWS CSPM Tools?
  6. Conclusion

What is AWS CSPM?

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools can evaluate the actual control plane of cloud environments used for risk detection, risk visualization, operational monitoring, DevOps integrations, and compliance evaluation. A CSPM platform should continuously monitor the security risk associated with the cloud and, if necessary, adjust the configuration of the cloud environment to enable other features. 

Additionally, these technologies provide reports, recording, and threat detection. Additionally, they typically offer automation to deal with problems ranging from security settings to cloud service configurations pertaining to governance, compliance, and security for cloud resources. It can be extremely helpful to have a continuous monitoring engine that flags the over-allocation of rights and permissive traffic policies because many cloud platform settings are related to networking and IAM configuration.

Key Features and Capabilities of AWS CSPM

A complete overview of a company’s whole cloud infrastructure can be provided via CSPM tools. Applications and workload configurations are included in this real-time visibility, along with other assets and configurations. 

The CSPM tool automatically detects new cloud deployments and connections as they are put into place and assesses their potential threat level. It must be able to provide automation, reporting, logging, and detection that handle security in relation to compliance and regulatory requirements. 

A CSPM solution should provide continuous real-time monitoring that helps address security concerns relating to misconfigurations and multi-cloud governance issues across the aforementioned sectors for organizations deploying cloud architectures in highly regulated industries like healthcare, energy, and finance.

AWS CSPM Best Practices

Administrators may get a comprehensive overview of all activity across the company’s cloud assets by integrating CSPM with a SIEM platform. This method makes finding and fixing misconfigured assets and other potential security flaws in the cloud environment more straightforward.

The effective deployment of the new cloud security typology depends on properly integrating any CSPM solution with other DevOps technologies. A shared method for reporting and real-time dashboards benefits all SecOps, DevOps, and technical infrastructure teams.

Any organization adopting the CSPM should use the Center of Internet Security cloud benchmarks as a useful benchmark. This strategy aids in ensuring that company policies continue to adhere to the changing requirements of the constantly altering global cloud environment.

Analyze the various cloud security threats to prioritize the most important ones. Allow the CSPM to fix lower-priority problems automatically; notifications should only be sent when serious dangers are identified. This method avoids alert fatigue, and the cloud administration staff is free to concentrate on issues that automation cannot resolve.

Real-World Use Cases and Examples

Lets now look at some cases where CSPM would be the most beneficial for your organization:

Use Case: After intense pressure from your CEO to migrate, your company quickly migrated to the cloud. Speed came at the expense of specific other criteria. You’re already using the cloud, but you must ensure it is secure from the ground up and has built-in accountability. Is MFA activated? Do you have cloud-wide logging and auditing enabled? How can a safe baseline be locked so you can continuously scan for abnormalities and raise the alarm when you spot one?

Following the public accessibility of an S3 bucket, a prominent name in the media was recently compromised. Your security staff became concerned about it, and you’re now looking for a means to tighten up your security posture. You must first find every one of your data stores.

Whether or not your data has a specific home, you need to figure out where it is right now. How do you ensure all the necessary controls are in place once you know where your data is? Is the public able to access your data? Are all of your data stores encrypted? Do you have secondary audit enabled, in particular? You worry that if all safety measures aren’t performed, your name could end up in the newspaper soon.

AWS CSPM would fit your needs perfectly. Let us look at a few more use cases for AWS CSPM:

  • Detection of Threats: A CSPM can proactively find hazards in various cloud settings. Organizations can assess and reduce risk exposure thanks to continuous threat detection, which provides centralized visibility into configuration errors and suspicious activity.
  • Incident Response: A CSPM solution’s ability to identify signs of compromise, such as an attacker altering IAM assumed roles, disabling encryption, and notifying the company of misconfiguration vulnerabilities, is another essential feature. Organizations may rapidly and effectively view any risks detected centrally using incident response capabilities.
  • Compliance: For HIPAA, SOC2, and other laws, CSPMs can also provide ongoing compliance monitoring and reporting. This assists enterprises in enforcing internal security standards and preventing compliance issues when using public cloud services.
  • Security of infrastructure: A CSPM can find errors in configuration files regarding safeguarding infrastructure. In addition to preventing firms from deploying apps into unsafe cloud environments, this aids enterprises in understanding how various cloud services interact.

Challenges of AWS CSPM

  • Resources are Publicly Exposed: Attackers seek out public resources because they are an easy way to conduct network reconnaissance within a company and move laterally to sensitive and mission-critical resources. Misconfigurations using these resources are, therefore, very dangerous. Such errors include repeating secrets and keys or utilizing AWS’s wildcard resource-based access policy.
  • Shared Resources Across Accounts: Cross-account access, or resource sharing, is a feature that some cloud service providers offer cloud infrastructure administrators. This method risks unintentionally giving access to many users, including external ones. An easy way for this configuration error to result in a data breach.
  • Data Storage Without Encryption Keys: Data storage is made more secure via encryption. Sensitive information may become accessible to criminal actors, who may then leak it or use it for ransomware if you are unaware of which data resources lack encryption.
  • Disabled MFA: MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) is a safe authentication technique that verifies users using two different factors. These factors include credentials, SSO, OTP, location, biometric information, a security question, and other elements. Unlike the SolarWinds attack, MFA guarantees that attackers who discover a user’s login credentials do not obtain access to the system.
  • Violation of Recommended Practices: Along with the aforementioned risks, cloud service providers and security professionals offer recommended practices for effectively implementing cloud computing to prevent mistakes. To safeguard your cloud infrastructure from a breach, it is strongly advised that you follow trends, follow advice, and adopt these practices.

What are the AWS CSPM Tools?

AWS CSPM Tools address bottlenecks when managing Amazon Web Service’s cloud security posture. These solutions aggregate alerts, do compliance checks, and support automated remediation of cyber threats. AWS CSPM tools prioritize AWS assets, identify risks, and ensure that workloads receive comprehensive threat monitoring and protection. They also provide insights via threat analysis and help users quickly scale up or down applications and optimize performance according to business requirements.

PingSafe is a complete cloud security tool that can also help you with AWS CSPM. Let’s take a look at why it is the best for you:

  • Exhaustive coverage of possible misconfiguration with all popular services covered (GCP, AWS, AZURE, Digital Ocean)
  • Out-of-the-box policies to identify configuration drift in various cloud services.
  • Perform IaC deployment/configuration checks against CIS benchmark, PCI-DSS, etc.
  • Monitor IaC scripts for misconfigurations (GCP, AWS, AZURE).
  • Real-time detection of cloud credentials leakage like IAM keys, Cloud SQL, Service accounts, etc., on public repositories.
  • Enable detection and investigation of AWS CloudTrail and GCP Audit Logs for misconfigurations and threats.

Some other AWS CSPM tools in the industry are AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon Macie, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, and Security Hub. Popular application security tools such as the AWS Shield, Amazon Inspector, AWS Web Application Firewall, and AWS Secrets Manager are available.

Conclusion

AWS CSPM is crucial for viewing assets and automating compliance risk detection. Comprehensive solutions that holistically examine cloud settings and identities and their rights, workloads, containers, and more improve accuracy in recognizing and prioritizing risk and expediting its repair.