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5 Things You Need to Look for in CSPM

5 Things You Need to Look for in CSPM

Blog Article Published: 09/12/2023

Written by Lena Fuks, Product Marketing Manager, Aqua Security.

In a world increasingly reliant on cloud services, the protection of cloud environments is more critical than ever before. However, as these environments grow in complexity, and the risk of misconfiguration grows exponentially, safeguarding them becomes a difficult exercise. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) addresses this challenge by providing a solution for continuous cloud security and compliance. In this article, we explore the world of CSPM, and review five core features every modern CSPM solution should offer.

Cloud Security Challenges and the Need for CSPM

Increasing Complexity of Cloud Environments

The first challenge in cloud security comes from the increasing complexity of cloud environments. As businesses adopt multiple cloud services, the management of these services becomes more complex. The complexity is further compounded by the fact that each cloud service provider operates on different security protocols and standards. This often leads to a lack of visibility and control over security settings, making it difficult for organizations to maintain a robust security posture.

In addition to the various cloud services, businesses also have to manage a diverse range of devices, applications, and data. Each of these elements carries its own unique security risks. Managing these risks requires a deep understanding of the cloud environment and the ability to continuously monitor and adjust security settings.

The Growing Risk of Misconfigurations

With the increasing complexity of cloud environments comes the growing risk of misconfigurations. Misconfigurations are often the result of human error, inadequate security controls, or a lack of understanding of the cloud environment. They can lead to security vulnerabilities, data breaches, and even compliance violations.

Misconfigurations are particularly dangerous because they can go unnoticed for a long period of time. Even when detected, they can be difficult to correct because each service and element in the cloud ecosystem might have its own options and security features. This underscores the need for a solution that can detect and correct misconfigurations across the entire cloud environment.

The Rise of DevSecOps

The rise of DevSecOps is another factor contributing to the complexity of cloud security. DevSecOps is a philosophy that integrates security into every stage of the software development lifecycle. While this approach has many benefits, it also introduces new challenges.

In a DevSecOps environment, developers are often granted a higher level of access to the cloud environment. This can potentially lead to misconfigurations or other security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines in a DevSecOps environment is the main target of modern supply chain attacks, and requires continuous security monitoring and management.

How CSPM Can Help

Against this backdrop of increasing complexity and growing risk, CSPM has emerged as a critical tool for managing cloud security. CSPM is a solution that provides continuous visibility, compliance monitoring, threat detection, and security automation for cloud environments.

CSPM can help businesses overcome the challenges of cloud security by providing a unified view of their entire cloud environment. It identifies and corrects misconfigurations, monitors compliance with security standards, and automates security tasks. By doing so, CSPM helps businesses maintain a robust security posture in the cloud.

What to Look for in a Modern CSPM Solution: 5 Key Capabilities

1. Agentless Scanning

Agentless scanning technology consists of taking snapshots of running workloads and scanning them via cloud provider APIs. This method provides quick visibility into cloud workloads, risk posture management, while detecting some, but not all, risks, such as misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and more.

2. Real-Time Visibility

Real-time visibility provides instant insights into the security posture of your cloud environment. It enables you to identify and address potential threats as quickly as they arise, thereby reducing the potential damage they could cause. Real-time visibility is achieved through a lightweight agent—this allows it to detect the attacks that agentless technology misses. The sensor typically uses less than 1% of the workload’s compute resource.

Real-time visibility is especially important in today's fast-paced digital landscape. With cyber threats constantly evolving, and cloud environments constantly changing, a delay in detection could lead to significant security breaches. Another advantage of real-time scanning is that it can help identify fileless malware, which is becoming a mainstream threat.

3. Unified Inventory of Cloud Resources

A cloud resource inventory provides a centralized view of all your cloud resources, including containers, serverless functions, virtual machines, and Kubernetes clusters, across multiple clouds, making it easier to manage and protect them.

A comprehensive inventory of cloud resources can help you identify unauthorized resources, track resource usage, and optimize resource allocation. Moreover, it can also aid in compliance reporting by providing a detailed account of all your cloud resources.

4. Context-Based Insights

Context-based insights go beyond mere detection of security issues; they provide actionable insights into the potential implications of these issues. CSPM should be based on context to help prioritize the most important security risks, by correlating issues across different parameters and environments based on the severity and potential impact of detected issues.

With context-based insights, you can understand the severity of a detected issue, its potential impact on your cloud environment, and the appropriate remediation steps. This feature not only helps prioritize risks and reduce noise, but also aids in timely mitigation.

5. Cloud-to-Code Tracing

Cloud-to-code tracing, provides a visual representation of the relationships between different cloud resources, and helps connect cloud workloads to code. It traces runtime risks to the code that caused them and the developer who can fix them. This helps trace the root cause of a security issue, facilitating quicker and more effective remediation.

On the Path to CNAPP

Choosing a CSPM solution is a significant first step towards holistic cloud security. With a robust CSPM solution, you can manage cloud security more effectively, reducing the risk of data breaches and compliance issues. The five essential capabilities we covered above will help ensure that your cloud environments are secure, compliant, and ready for the future.

The CSPM solution you choose should be only one part of a broader platform for cloud native application protection. As your cloud environment grows and evolves, such a platform should offer an easy path to expand to runtime protection, as well as shift left to protect the software supply chain, and eventually, cover the whole application lifecycle (SDLC) in one Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP).

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