What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

As the cloud gains popularity with both individuals and organizations, it brings some new and unique security challenges. Some people say that the cloud is not secure while others insist that it is secure. In reality, neither of these opinions are fully correct. The truth is a bit more nuanced than that, and that’s where we come to the importance of cloud security posture management. Sometimes called CSPM for short, this is software that is intended to maintain the security of the cloud, and it is effective when used correctly.

The Importance Of Proper Cloud Configuration

To understand why a CSPM program is necessary, you need to understand a little bit about the importance of cloud configuration. Cloud networks are generally customized for those who use them, and this makes each one unique. Many people mistakenly assume that their cloud provider will handle all the security issues and that they do not need to do anything. However, the settings of the cloud network can make a big difference.

More secure networks tend to run more slowly, and that is why cloud networks will give users the option to run a less secure instance. If you aren’t dealing with any sensitive data, this can be a good option. However, it’s generally worth a slight slowdown to go ahead and employ those precautions. The catch, of course, is that the network will only do what its settings tell it to do…and you are the one who must take responsibility for those.

Settings Make The Difference

The settings and other configuration options are what make the difference between a secure cloud and a non-secure cloud. Many cybersecurity authorities (like Gartner) agree that most cloud breaches are caused by an improperly configured network. Thus, it is the fault of the user and not the cloud itself. You see, the cloud can be just as secure as any other network, but only if it is configured properly.

What Does Cloud Security Posture Management Do?

This type of software is used to maintain a high-security posture over the entire cloud instance. It prevents anyone from changing the settings to a low-security configuration, which is very useful. Hackers can use all sorts of malware to impersonate an admin and change settings, so you want something that blocks all changes, even from users that seem legitimate and authorized.

Because of the highly decentralized nature of the cloud, it can be very hard to maintain network visibility. With so much going on, and so much virtualization taking place, the whole thing becomes too complex to manage without special tools. Thus, apart from keeping your settings in a high-security state, this kind of software will also give you ways to view and manage the entire network from one convenient panel.

Benefits Of CSPM Software

We have already talked about the two most well-known benefits of this software, those being tighter security and greater network visibility. However, we should mention that most of these programs are equipped with threat detection capabilities as well. It wouldn’t make much sense to produce security software without the ability to detect known threats, now would it? Using real-time detection methods, these programs can catch most unauthorized users (i.e., intruders) before they have time to do any damage.

These programs also integrate well with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software. The only real difference between them is the fact that cloud posture management software is focused specifically on the cloud while SIEM is a broader solution for entire systems and networks. The use of a SIEM will enhance the ability of your cloud software to detect threats, effectively creating a second layer of armor.

Look For Automated Solutions

When choosing cloud security software, it is important to look for something that is as automated as possible. There are cheaper programs out there, but most of them will not really automate any of their functions. Thus, they won’t really save your IT team any time or effort. If someone has to constantly monitor the software, then it really isn’t helping you all that much. In the end, it is worth the extra money to invest in something that will save you money on labor costs.

A Few Real-Life Examples

We already told you that most cloud breaches happen because of a misconfiguration or other user errors. Most prominent cybersecurity groups echo this statement, but let’s see if we can find some real-life examples to prove that common belief.

For starters, we might mention the 2019 Capitol One breach, which basically exposed an entire clouds’ worth of data. This whole thing was carried out by a small group of hackers, one of which was arrested after bragging on social media. In any case, it has been determined that network misconfiguration was the number one cause. This instance was particularly vulnerable because there were misconfigurations in both the cloud itself and its accompanying firewall.

Another good example would be the FedEx breach of 2018. The company was making use of an Amazon cloud server, but they failed to secure the “buckets.” In case you don’t know, these are just containers for documents which are used kind of like external hard drives. Unfortunately, many people do not bother to configure them with a password. When FedEx failed to do this, about 119,000 sensitive documents were compromised. In this case, the hackers didn’t really have to do any hacking… FedEx basically gave them the data on a silver platter because some careless IT person failed to protect the buckets with a password.

Conclusion

As you can see, cloud security posture management can be a great tool for securing the cloud. If there is one thing we want you to learn from this article, it is this: The cloud is only as safe (or as unsafe) as the people who manage the network settings. To learn even more, feel free to call PCH Technologies anytime at (856) 754-7500.