Cloud services are booming and adoption continues unabated. That’s a good thing, given that the efficiencies that are attached to cloud computing can unlock value and scalability and make organizations more competitive.
There is one significant caveat, however: All of this growth and adoption has created extraordinary complexity and increased risk. Many infrastructure providers offer risk assessment and configuration capabilities, but these typically only cover their own services. Organizations with hybrid or multi-cloud setups may have a lot of unprotected (or sub-optimally protected) networks and systems. Additionally, their security teams may lack the necessary expertise to handle this ever-expanding web of complexity, creating an even greater need for automated tools that can help close the gap.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some best practices you can adopt for better cloud security management.
How to Improve Your Cloud Security Posture
The rise of cloud computing has forced today’s defenders to rethink how they approach their security posture. What may have worked historically may no longer be effective in the context of distributed architecture and hybrid setups.
As mentioned above, however, many teams lack the requisite expertise to navigate the full range of infrastructure management services, cloud security tools, and all of the nuances that exist within these categories. The security risks of cloud environments can be considerable given the amount of complexity involved.
This makes reliance on the right set of software solutions even more important. One of the most relevant security tool categories for this task that we have today is CSPM — or Cloud Security Posture Management.
What is CSPM?
Cloud Security Posture Management solutions are designed to automatically assess the security of cloud environments. These assessments are made by comparing the existing state of security against best practices and uncovering any security violations. Should violations be found, they can then be remediated. All of this is done via automation, which helps lessen the need for institutional skill and expertise among organizational teams. Because almost all successful attacks on cloud environments are the result of misconfigurations, the ability to verify that configurations are following best practices is an imperative.
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is cloud security posture management,” let’s take a closer look at how software tools in this category work.
How a Typical CSPM Works
If you’re curious how CSPMs operate, here is a typical example:
- A CSPM will identify footprints and search for any shadow IT concerns (new buckets/instances).
- It will scan buckets and instances for misconfigurations and/or improper settings that could leave cloud environments a sitting duck for attackers.
- A CSPM will also help ensure policy visibility and enforcement across all cloud providers, regardless of the number.
- It can audit to ensure that compliance mandates are being met.
- Verification that operational activities are occurring normally is also a function of most CSPMs.
- Risk assessment or troubleshooting against external frameworks (such as MITRE ATT*CK or the International Organization for Standardization) can also be carried out.
Actionable Steps for Better Cloud Security Posture
Now that we’ve detailed how CSPM solutions work, let’s review some steps you can take right now to enhance your cloud security posture management.
First, you should use a tool that allows you to continually evaluate your security posture against known best practices. The right solution can also help ensure you remain in compliance against multiple frameworks simultaneously.
Next, any tool should be powerful enough to allow real-time visibility across all environments, cloud and otherwise. Maintaining visibility across multiple environments is critically important, given the ever-growing and changing nature of cloud computing. One seemingly small change can create a vulnerability that leads to devastating financial and reputational consequences.
How XM Cyber Can Help
XM Cyber’s Attack-Centric Exposure Prioritization solution can play a critical role in cloud security posture management. By launching simulated attacks on security environments that are continuous and automated, our Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM) technology offers comprehensive protection against configuration errors and other security problems tied to the growing adoption and complexity of the cloud.
XM Cyber constantly simulates and prioritizes the attack paths putting mission-critical systems at risk, providing context-sensitive remediation options. Our platform helps to eliminate 99% of the risk by focusing allowing IT and Security Operations to focus on the 1% of the exposures before they get exploited to breach the organization’s “crown jewels” – its critical assets.
XM Cyber was the first to offer protection in hybrid environments, making it ideally suited for cloud security posture management improvement. If you would like more information about how our products can help, please click here.
Shahar Solomon is Customer Operations Manager, XM Cyber