What is Cloud Security
Posture Management?

GLOSSARY

Cloud Security Posture Management is defined by Gartner as “a continuous process of cloud security improvement and adaptation to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.” Today’s Cloud Security Posture Management tools have use cases within DevOps Integrations, compliance management, risk assessment, incident response, incident visualization etc. These tools help organizations assess risk, limit misconfigurations and ensure that their existing cloud environments align with best practices within the field of cloud security.

WHAT IS CLOUD SECURITY POSTURE MANAGEMENT?

CLOUD SECURITY POSTURE MANAGEMENT DEFINITION:
Cloud Security Posture Management is defined by Gartner as “a continuous process of cloud security improvement and adaptation to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.” Today’s Cloud Security Posture Management tools have use cases within DevOps Integrations, compliance management, risk assessment, incident response, incident visualization etc. These tools help organizations assess risk, limit misconfigurations and ensure that their existing cloud environments align with best practices within the field of cloud security.

The rapid growth and increasing complexity of cloud computing has raised the stakes for today’s security professionals. One simple misconfiguration can expose an organization’s most sensitive data, leading to devastating financial and reputational consequences.

It’s not as simple as working harder to avoid misconfigurations, however. The inherent nature of the cloud lends itself to misconfiguration risk. The cloud is programmable, constantly growing and evolving with new resources and services and features new technologies that may be outside the expertise of an internal IT team. Additionally, enterprise cloud environments are becoming so large and complex that IT staff often have difficulty managing these environments effectively. It’s all too easy to make a permission error or lose track of key assets.

Additionally, the challenges of maintaining effective security during cloud migration are substantial. Many organizations must deal with configuration issues across multiple SaaS or IaaS environments. As a result, Gartner research indicates that more than 90% of all cloud security issues are the direct result of misconfigurations.

To handle these challenges, today’s enterprises need tools that assess cloud security risk posture by contrasting compliance and security best practices with the actual state of the current cloud environments.

The process by which this occurs is called Cloud Security Posture Management.


How Cloud Security Posture Management Tools Help Manage Cloud Security Risks

Cloud Security Posture Management (CPSM) is defined as a continuous process of improvement and adaption to lower the chances of a successful attack occurring within a cloud environment. A modern CPSM tool can be used in a variety of contexts to further cloud security aims. CPSM uses are found within risk assessment, incident visualization, compliance management etc., with the larger goal of maintaining robust cloud security through visibility, vigilance and constant assessment.

The key to the effectiveness of CPSM is continuous monitoring. These tools help enterprises identify the distance between security policies and actual security posture on a rolling basis. By continuously checking for security or policy violations, CPSM tools can identify misconfigurations and other problems before attackers have the chance to exploit them. CPSM tools may also be used to remediate these issues as quickly as possible, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing compliance.

Common Problems Uncovered by CPSM

Policy or security violations commonly uncovered by CPSM include the following:

  • Permission errors
  • Misconfigurations
  • Lack of encryption
  • Infrequent encryption key rotation
  • Lack of multi-factor authentication
  • Publicly exposed data storage

By rooting out these common security issues and enabling quick remediation, CPSM tools allow organizations to maintain consistent security within enterprise cloud environments, lowering the risk of successful attack.

In Conclusion

It’s never been more difficult for IT professionals to protect critical assets within the cloud. Today’s enterprise environments are large, complex and difficult to manage. New cloud services and resources are integrated with great frequency, making the task of managing risk even more demanding. Additionally, the evolving mandates of cloud security often fall outside the competency level of existing IT staff.

To meet these cloud security challenges, enterprises can deploy CPSM tools to help identify errors that would have otherwise gone overlooked. By assessing existing cloud environments against best practices in a continuous and automated fashion, organizations can greatly reduce the risk of misconfigurations and other errors that place their most critical assets at risk.

Additional Resources

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