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Optimize And Extend Cloud Security Posture Management

With businesses shifting some of their most important operations and major infrastructure to the cloud, new vulnerabilities and risks have emerged. To mitigate these challenges, organizations are turning to two security solutions that compliment each other — Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) — crucial solutions that together offer an impressive amount of protection. 

Whether you're just beginning to explore CSPM or looking to enhance your current security measures, this blog offers crucial insights into optimizing your cloud security posture management and extending and enhancing that protection leveraging ASPM. We’ll go over what these different platform provide and how you can integrate the two for a comprehensive cloud application security solution from code to cloud. 

What Is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

Cloud Security Posture Management, known as CSPM, is a crucial component within modern cloud-based data security. As Microsoft defines it, “CSPM identifies and remediates risk by automating visibility, uninterrupted monitoring, threat detection, and remediation workflows to search for misconfigurations across diverse cloud environments or infrastructure”. The cloud-based systems that CSPM impacts include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). 

History of CSPM 

Though it has become increasingly central to cloud security, CSPM is relatively new. This approach entered the scene a decade ago when cloud service providers began incorporating integrated security and compliance management tools within their platforms. However, as organizations increased their reliance on cloud services and had more complex environments to account for, so did the need for a more comprehensive approach to improve a company’s security posture. 

The demand for enhanced cloud security marked the advent of CSPM. A major turning point came in 2015 when the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) developed the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM). This was the first framework to provide security controls explicitly for CSPMs, cementing CSPM's significance in the cybersecurity landscape. 

In a few short years, CSPM has quickly become a cornerstone of cloud security, offering a robust way to monitor, manage, and improve an organization's security posture in cloud environments. From its inception to its current application, CSPM's evolution demonstrates its crucial role in addressing the complex cloud security challenges many organizations face today. 

CSPM Capabilities Needs to be Extended

Despite the effectiveness of CSPM, enhancing and extending your Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) has become more critical and necessary to account for modern cloud risks and threats. What’s driving this urgency to expand cloud security is the exponential surge in the number of users and organizations migrating their operations to the cloud, and the increasing number of vulnerabilities associated with the pre-production development environment that feed directly into production cloud deployments. 

This is resulting in misconfigured and oft-ignored environments that account for the majority of security incidents. While data breaches are often the loudest and most attention-grabbing security incidents, error-driven mistakes and accidents account for the majority of security incidents and can result in ongoing compromises and unaddressed risk via critical vulnerabilities in cloud security posture management. Due to this elevated risk, looking to expand and optimize your CSPM is crucial to safeguard your business from cloud-based risks and ensure data security posture management. 

An effective and well-implemented CSPM can mitigate: 

Misconfiguration: One of the most common security risks, misconfigurations can provide a gateway for unauthorized access or accidentally exposing cloud databases 

Legal and Regulatory Compliance Issues: Without a way to manage or secure their cloud, organizations may inadvertently violate legal and regulatory guidelines, leading to penalties and potential investigations. 

Unauthorized Access: Inadequate security measures can leave the door open to unauthorized users gaining access to confidential data and finding their way deeper within an organization. 

Insecure Interfaces/APIs: Poorly designed or unprotected APIs are prime targets for attackers who are looking to exploit cloud-based vulnerabilities to compromise a company. 

Account Hijacking: With improper account security, attackers can gain control over cloud accounts and carry out malicious activities. 

Lack of Visibility and Clarity: With the use of cloud-based environments and an ever-expanding digital footprint, it’s easy for companies to lose track of their assets and systems, which can lead to security, oversight, and miscommunication issues. 

External Data Sharing: Unaccounted and unsecured data-sharing across environments and with third-parties can lead to breaches and leakage of confidential information. 

Improper Use of Identities and Cloud Entitlements: Not having the right identity access management and security in place can lead to account takeover attacks. 

Compliance and Regulation Issues: Ensuring compliance and regulation adherence is difficult to maintain with such a complex and sprawling cloud environment. 

Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: Attackers can leverage these kinds of attacks against third-party and on-premise cloud environments to disrupt your services and even impact your business operations. 

These issues and others can be addressed with an optimized CSPM solution. 

Predictions And Challenges for CSPM In The Future 

As organizations continue to integrate cloud services into their operations, the demand for a robust Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) will continue to grow. Threats are continuing to grow and malicious actors now have the cloud as a key target, as well as the upstream software supply chain that delivers applications into the cloud for deployment. The need to track and protect against vulnerabilities and misconfigurations from code to cloud in this complex environment poses new challenges for the CSPM category and a failure to maintain a strong code to cloud cybersecurity posture can lead companies to fall victim to attack.. 

For cybersecurity leaders to properly understand how to best secure their organizations and address their cloud-based risks, they should be on top of recent trends and be prepared for what could be in store in the future. One key prediction is that CSPM will increasingly align with DevOps as more organizations adopt a DevSecOps approach. This will integrate security directly into the pre-production development process in efforts to improve security as well as create efficiencies and streamline operations. 

A key development involves the emergence of the Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) category, and its integration/merger with CSPM. ASPM, as defined by Gartner, offers a way to continuously manage application risk across the entire software life cycle, from development to deployment. This is done by ingesting data from multiple sources, and finding insights that allow for more effective interpretation, detection, correlation, and remediation. It provides a consolidated and comprehensive view of an entire application or system’s risk status and security posture.  

By integrating CSPM and ASPM, organizations can achieve code-to-cloud security coverage and traceability, extending CSPM into the pre-production development environment while allowing for proactive mitigation of security risks before deployment. 

The future of CSPM will largely be pushed forward by the integration of complementary platforms, practices, and solutions such as ASPM. As the landscape continues to evolve, keeping pace with these changes will be crucial for organizations seeking to safeguard their operations in the cloud. 

Why You Should Expand Security Posture Management

The expansion of Security Posture Management which encompasses both Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) can offer a number of benefits for businesses that are navigating the digital landscape. 

The benefits of this integrated approach include improved visibility and coverage within application and cloud environments, more efficient remediation, root cause identification, as well as vulnerability correlation and prioritization. Depending on the ASPM tool, organizations can leverage intrinsic testing tools and rely on key software supply chain security such as CI/CD pipeline security, Software Composition Analysis and securing developer environments including secret scanning in source code.

Potentially most importantly ASPM alongside CSPM provides a more streamlined operational approach to managing cloud and application security in an integrated fashion. Organizations have largely suffered operational and complexity challenges from having too many point solutions dedicated to individual elements of application security or cloud security. However, by opting for CSPM and ASPM, organizations can consolidate application security silos and instead find a consolidated and comprehensive security approach that allows organizations to detect, prioritize and respond to threats more effectively. 

With these tools in hand, AppSec and DevSecOps teams can find more in-depth insights and actionable recommendations and issue prioritization, while also maintaining constant monitoring of your cloud resources and pre-production development environment, respectively. This continuous visibility allows for early detection and remediation of potential threats, ensuring that your cloud application security is much more proactive rather than reactive. 

Another major advantage of integrating CSPM and ASPM solutions is the simplification of the regulatory compliance process. With regulations continually evolving and becoming increasingly complex, maintaining compliance can be challenging. Together, CSPM and ASPM solutions can help automate and streamline the process often by improved enforcement of application security controls. This helps keep your organization in line with regulatory standards while minimizing the time and resources spent on compliance tasks. 

Lastly, the integration of CSPM and ASPM provides a unified structure for managing vulnerabilities across multiple cloud, developer, and application environments throughout the development lifecycle. This will reap operational dividends due to streamlined prioritization, issue classification and triaging processes.  

In summary, expanding your security posture management with CSPM and ASPM can yield significant benefits. By providing enhanced visibility, prioritization, vulnerability management, and improving compliance, they allow your organization and development team to grow and scale without compromising on security.  

Optimize And Extend Your Cloud Security Posture Management Today

A modern approach to cloud application security requires that Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) become key elements in a broader cybersecurity strategy. By optimizing and extending your CSPM with ASPM, you can better secure your environment from code to cloud, have a more comprehensive view of your developer and cloud environments, and proactively mitigate and reduce the risk.

If you’re looking to expand your CSPM with an ASPM, we recommend considering Legit Security. Our ASPM solution can provide your organization with comprehensive coverage needed to properly identify, prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities from code to cloud. 

To learn more about Legit Security, schedule a product demo or check out the Legit Security Platform.

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Published on
August 14, 2023

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