Cloud Security

What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Why You Need it

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) is a set of automated techniques designed to track, detect, and address security misconfigurations.

Shivankar Singh

Written by Shivankar Singh

January 2, 2023 | 5 min read

Introduction

The shift to the cloud has not solved some of the problems that existed in the pre-cloud era such as misconfigurations and compromised infrastructural assets that may lead to data breaches. In reality, as cloud environments become more sophisticated, detecting and mitigating risks and misconfigurations becomes more incredibly hard. According to Gartner research, almost all successful cloud service attacks are the result of user error, poor management, and misconfiguration.

One of the primary benefits of the cloud is that it offers superior methods for dealing with security challenges. This explains the rise of cloud security tools aimed at securing cloud infrastructure by monitoring, detecting, and preventing threats. Given the complexity of the most modern multi-cloud environments, organizations are looking for security solutions that guarantee a healthy security posture throughout their cloud infrastructure. That is why Gartner recommends that security and risk management leaders invest in Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) processes and tools. With mature cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools, cloud misconfigurations are quickly identified and remediated before they cause data breaches and exposures.

In this post, we will discuss the fundamentals of CSPM and why organizations need it for cloud security.

What is Cloud Security Posture Management(CSPM) ? 

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) is a set of automated techniques designed to track, detect, and address security misconfigurations and other vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure. CSPM tools are designed to help organizations mitigate cybersecurity threats to their cloud assets while also resolving any compliance issues. 

Cloud infrastructure configuration management (CSPM), according to Gartner, is a new category of security products that automate security and compliance assurance while also addressing the demand for appropriate control over cloud infrastructure configurations. CSPM tools are used to verify and compare a cloud infrastructure against a predefined list of security best practices and known vulnerabilities. Any security issues are immediately brought to the customer’s attention so that they can be resolved. Certain sophisticated CSPM systems may also offer automatic remediation for discovered security bugs.

Any cloud-first organization can use CSPM technologies in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud environments. Advanced CSPM tools can also be used to provide extended security solutions in multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

How Does CSPM Work?

The first step in implementing CSPM technologies is to integrate them with cloud infrastructures via a standard cloud user account. This connection provides visibility into the cloud environment allowing it to be configured, analyzed against a set of predefined security best practices and investigated for any vulnerabilities which are then remediated automatically. Users may also be notified to intervene based on the severity of the security threats.

CSPM tools improve organizations’ ability to manage, detect, and remediate risks and threats by giving them better visibility into their cloud environments. CSPM typically employs three approaches: visibility, continuous monitoring, and remediation workflows.

CSPM Uses Visibility to Secure the Cloud

CSPM solutions provide complete visibility into all cloud assets, including applications and configurations. This creates a single source of truth for security teams to easily view all deployments and discover any anomalies across multi-cloud environments via a unified inventory on the platform.

CSPM uses Continuous Monitoring to Detect Compliance Violations

CSPM solutions provide proactive threat detection of cybersecurity risks in cloud environments. CSPM continuously monitors cloud environments, with a focus on commonly known vulnerability areas that attackers are most likely to exploit, such as public S3 buckets, incorrect IAM permissions, unencrypted data, vulnerable codebase, and malicious activities such as unauthorized access to cloud resources.

CSPM tools can also be configured to perform continuous compliance monitoring against regulatory frameworks and recognized security standards such as HIPAA, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, and GDPR.

CSPM uses Automatic Remediation to Resolve Cloud Misconfigurations

Most CSPM solutions offer automated remediation workflows to ensure that detected security threats do not escalate to security data breaches. Automated security issue remediation significantly improves an organization’s incident response to active threats. For example, organizations can identify issues such as misconfigurations, open ports, and unauthorized modifications that could expose cloud resources, reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes by developers.

Why Do You Need CSPM?

CSPM tools are used to mitigate cloud misconfigurations and reduce the risk of data breaches. According to Gartner, CSPM solutions can reduce cloud-based security incidents caused by misconfigurations by 80%.

Although cloud environments are not inherently insecure, as cloud resources expand, the complexity of managing them may lead to configuration mistakes. Incorrectly configuring the cloud environment is one of the most frequent cloud errors that might result in a data breach. These are typically brought about by the inefficient management of numerous, elusive, and challenging resources. Cloud misconfigurations may also occur as a result of failing to meet the Shared Responsibility Model’s obligations. Users are responsible for security “in” the cloud, which includes configuring applications and data in cloud environments, while cloud providers are responsible for security “of” the cloud, which includes cloud infrastructure. Cloud users should therefore adopt a robust CSPM tool to help them achieve security ‘in’ the cloud.  

Other advantages of CSPM solutions include:

  • Detecting and possibly automatically remediating cloud misconfigurations and security vulnerabilities in cloud-based applications and data.
  • Establishing a comprehensive baseline for cloud security best practices and service configurations.
  • Ensuring compliance by mapping cloud security configurations to recognized security standards and frameworks.
  • Tracking changes in your organization’s sensitive data and assessing data exposure risks in real-time.
  • Collaborating with multiple cloud service providers and environments to ensure end-to-end visibility of an organization’s cloud estate and detecting policy violations.

How Can You Get Started With CSPM?

Preventive security is always easier and less expensive than responding to a data breach. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions can help in this situation. As previously stated, the CSPM tools safeguard a company’s cloud-based assets against cyberattacks, compliance errors, and data breaches.

With numerous CSPM vendors on the market today, enterprises must select a CSPM tool that is comprehensive enough to go beyond traditional CSPM capabilities. Using a vendor like PingSafe will assist the same enterprises in securing cloud configurations, protecting their private data, monitoring risks across the infrastructure cloud stack, and allowing for efficient scalability across multi-cloud environments.

You may wonder, why PingSafe?

PingSafe is an industry-leading cloud security company and the only platform with a cloud security approach based on attacker intelligence. The PingSafe platform has a thorough understanding of the attackers’ tactics, allowing it to analyze critical vulnerabilities on the Cloud and seal them before the attackers can sniff them. PingSafe’s CSPM solution is cloud-agnostic and agentless, combining its capabilities with those of a Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) to detect and prevent vulnerabilities that are most likely to be exploited. It provides visibility, analysis, and security in a multi-cloud environment and infrastructure using AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes.

 Other additional cloud security capabilities provided by PingSafe include:

  • Detecting security threats as you build on cloud : Go beyond traditional CSPM tools by using agentless analysis of company assets, and vulnerability metrics across all your Cloud workloads.
  • Prioritizing issues that matter: PingSafe allows you to remove false positives by organizing and prioritizing the security threats that really matter. No more confusion, no more wastage of resources.
  • Stimulating exploits to reinforce defense: Get an end-to-end visual map of tech inventory and stimulate zero-day attacks to stay ahead of the curve.

PingSafe’s CSPM solution promises a Multi-Cloud Environment Support Backed by Attacker Intelligence for organizations looking for robust cloud security solutions.

To see this in action, sign up for a demo today.