4 Ways CSPM Can Help Improve and Scale Cloud Security
CSPM tools drastically help cloud and DevOps leaders understand team performance with regard to cloud security and compliance.
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Chances are, it wasn’t long ago that your organization started using cloud computing as an alternative to physical data centers. Even though the cloud is still a relatively recent innovation, it’s already shifted the way organizations function, allowing for IT to go beyond being a cost center and drive business innovation through greater agility and on-demand global reach.
But, whether you’re just now migrating to the cloud or have been operating in a fully cloud-native way for a while, there’s one thing that needs to be your focus, no matter what: security.
Cloud Security Posture Management, or CSPM, provides discovery and visibility into misconfigurations, threats, and other problems. CSPM tools typically are essential for getting an at-a-glance assessment into the state of an organization’s multi-cloud estate. The dynamic nature of the cloud makes it hard to secure and CSPM is the way you maintain visibility and an overall strong security posture as your cloud footprint grows in scale and complexity.
In the past, cloud security programs have focused on intentional risks such as malicious insiders or web-based attacks. But in the cloud, unintentional risks such as misconfigurations and human error are the root cause for some of the most notable cloud breaches. CSPMs look for both intentional and unintentional risks across multiple clouds with a unified view into your overall posture. If you're not yet using a CSPM service, or don’t feel you’re leveraging your current CSPM tools to their fullest, I’ve put together some of the most compelling benefits of doing so:
While there are plenty of benefits to utilizing the cloud — especially with the ease at which it enables automation and scaling around the world — the challenge is to keep track of what you have and how it’s changing so you can identify potential risks. With all the different DevOps tools and ways to interact with cloud services, visibility isn’t centralized, which is a problem. CSPM tools are able to provide deep visibility into everything all at once: all assets and all configurations across all clouds, with all user attribution. Visibility, or lack thereof, is the cloud’s major vulnerability and a CSPM is the best way to supercharge your cloud security program.
Adaptability and Agility
As cloud services become more sophisticated and offer more features, organizations wanting to utilize them to the fullest can use CSPM tools to essentially safeguard themselves as they grow and adapt their cloud environments to keep up with business needs. New services and features in the cloud mean an increase in rich, dynamic data that CSPMs can leverage for deeper insights into functionality. Organizations leveraging CSPM tools know that they can not only assess new products for compliance before deployment but that their CSPM tools will detect and alert to any issues after, allowing for quick remediation and updates. If success with the cloud depends on how well you use the platform, CSPM tools can assure you get it right.
When I talk to cloud and DevOps leaders, they consistently tell me that they struggle with understanding how their teams are performing with regard to cloud security and compliance. By definition, CSPM tools understand your cloud state and your overall security posture, and a good CSPM will give you a score based on the current state of your environment. Cloud security is no different than the agile, DevOps mentality, where change and improvements happen incrementally. Quantitative measurement of your cloud security posture gives organizations a metric to track and incrementally improve on as their cloud operation grows.
Support for a Wide Variety of Tools
Organizations and teams like to use the tools they like, but this kind of diversity in enterprise environments increases the risk for misconfigurations, visibility gaps, or even teams being unaware of what new products are being deployed. The scale of the cloud makes this impossible to track manually, which is why CSPM services cover all of the cloud environments and provide a centralized view into the security that isn’t sensitive to the different ways customers can interact with their cloud resources. With the speed of innovation in the cloud, you need to plan for tools diversity in the cloud, as well as plan for supporting new cloud services, and CSPM keeps you prepared from a security perspective.
What's Next for CSPM?
Having robust CSPM monitoring and reporting on your cloud posture is not only necessary for today, but will become even more critical in the future, as cloud services and platforms continue to grow and expand. In fact, CSPM solves more challenges than many organizations are even aware of because the cloud is still new, and the nature of these challenges changes as an organization scales its cloud presence.
CSPMs largely rely on cloud APIs, which are continuously being updated and enriched by the cloud providers, so they’re naturally going to be dynamic and evolve along with the cloud. This means cloud and DevOps teams are able to leverage richer data, gain more consequential insights, and have better protection against the biggest security risks. When it comes to cloud-native services, this additional information and insight mean that CSPM will increasingly provide a level of true workload protection that wasn’t available before.
CSPM tools won’t just scan cloud infrastructure in the traditional sense. They’ll scan cloud-native workloads both in development and runtime, in addition to being your tool for protecting cloud services as diverse as containers or cloud data lakes. At the end of the day, all of these insights and all of this flexibility allow DevOps teams to be proactive rather than just reactive. CSPM ends up providing the intelligence to DevOps teams needed to do things like predict where problems may occur or where the next potential risks are most likely to lie.
Finally, CSPM tools will provide value beyond just monitoring public cloud infrastructures. CSPM can provide value by expanding its protection and compliance assessments to pipelines and even to software and applications, like SaaS tools, creating the foundation for a solid cloud-enabled enterprise.
Organizations utilizing cloud services may think they’re secure already simply because their assets are in the cloud, or because they’ve implemented some Infrastructure-as-code controls. But unless you have a full understanding of what you really have in the cloud, where drift is happening, and which assets are your most vulnerable, you aren’t maximizing the full value of the cloud and you’re going to have trouble scaling security along with the cloud.
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