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CSPM essentials – what you need to know?


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.

Cloud Security: A real-world analogy

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.

What a CSPM is

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.

What a CSPM is not

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.

Why you need an agentless CSPM across your multi-cloud environment

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:

1. Closing misconfiguration gaps: It is especially applicable if you’re looking to eliminate misconfigurations across all your cloud accounts, services, and assets.

2. Ensuring continuous compliance: It also detects compliance problems related to three important standards: HIPAA, PCI DSS, and CIS. All three are strict standards with very specific requirements for security and data privacy. In addition, it can detect compliance drift from the perspectives of all three standards, thus giving you the peace of mind that your multi-cloud environment remains consistently compliant.

3. Comprehensive container scanning: An agentless CSPM can scan container environments to uncover hidden backdoors. Through dynamic behavior analyses, it can detect new threats and supply chain attack risks in cloud containers. It also performs container security static analyses to detect vulnerabilities and malware, thus providing a deep cloud scan – that too in just a few minutes.

Why Prevasio is your ultimate agentless CSPM solution

  • Multipurpose: Prevasio combines the power of a traditional CSPM with regular vulnerability assessments and anti-malware scans for your cloud environment and containers. It also provides a prioritized risk list according to CIS benchmarks, so you can focus on the most critical risks and act quickly to adequately protect your most valuable cloud assets.
  • User friendly: Prevasio’s CSPM is easy to use and easier still to set up. You can connect your AWS account to Prevasio in just 7 mouse clicks and 30 seconds. Then start scanning your cloud environment immediately to uncover misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, or malware.
  • Built for scale: Prevasio’s CSPM is the only solution that can scan cloud containers and provide more comprehensive cloud security configuration management with vulnerability and malware scans.

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