Technology has advanced over the years. With technological advancement, new ways of storing data have been invented. These ways have been proven to be more secure and safer.
For example, traditional data storage involves having data on paper. This wasn’t safe as the documents could easily get damaged. Thankfully, new data storage methods don’t include using paper. As a result, organizations have shifted to these new ways. One of these ways is cloud-based data storage.
However, even though cloud-based data storage is better than older storage methods, it has a negative side. For instance, the more organizations embrace cloud-based storage, the increased cases of data breaches.
In fact, there are costs your organization could undergo due to a data breach. Some of these costs are fines, lawsuits, clients’ loss, damaged reputation, as well as loss of revenue. Moreover, there’s still the possibility of human error which can also cause the said costs.
Due to how these costs can negatively impact many organizations, security management measures have been invented to avoid damage. One of the security management measures is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). CSPM has been proved to be efficient through its practices and benefits. This feature discusses cloud security posture management in depth. It looks at CSPM, its best practices, and its benefits. Keep reading to learn more.
CSPM is a process that involves monitoring possible security risks and automatically fixing some of the detected issues. Other problems can be resolved manually. Some of the security concerns that CSPM can detect include:
- Extra account permissions, which means many people have access to your data hence an increase of information getting out;
- Lack of encryption which is needed for data safety;
- Improper encryption key management and many more;
- Misconfigured network connectivity;
- Many account permissions;
- Lack of multi-factor authentication; and
- Not monitoring activities such as database access, network flow, and privileged use activity.
After detecting these issues, you may wonder what happens next. The good news is that CSPM offers solutions that are used to deal with these issues. The following are some CSPM solutions:
- Scanning for any improper setting or misconfiguration that could result in data leaking to the public;
- Monitoring the creation of new buckets;
- Identifying the footprint for your cloud environment;
- Conducting risk assessments;
- Ensuring that operations such as crucial rotations are performed as needed; and
- Remediation, which is done either automatically or by clicking a button.
Yet to take advantage of these solutions, there are practices you have to keep in mind when using CSPM.
Best Practices For Cloud Security Posture Management
Below are some of the best practices of CSPM per technology experts:
Make Responsibilities Clear Regarding Security
Not being transparent with the responsibilities you’re supposed to take over often leads to misunderstandings. The misunderstandings are brought about by issues such as crossing boundaries or disappointments because of failing to meet expectations. These misunderstandings can happen anywhere, like in your home or organization. Misunderstandings can also arise when using CSPM.
Using CSPM involves two parties; the service provider and the organization consuming the service (your organization). Therefore, there’s a need to be clear on the responsibilities of each party regarding security.
For example, the company providing the cloud services is held responsible for the safety of the cloud. On the other hand, your organization is responsible for the security of the cloud. You’ll avoid gray areas and vulnerabilities by being clear on which protection each party is responsible for. As a result, there’ll be mutual understanding and both parties can work together smoothly.
One of the issues known to cause data breaches is misconfiguration. Despite having CSPM, misconfiguration can take place because of various factors which include:
- How easy it’s to make infrastructural changes to your cloud. You may prefer having a cloud that’s not too complicated for coding. However, this will increase the risk of a data breach because the easier it’s to program your cloud, the easier it’s to have misconfigurations.
- Combination of microservers with new technologies. For technological purposes, you may want to add new technologies, such as Kubernetes. But doing so means more resources are used to manage, which may lead to misconfigurations.
- Having many accounts, resources, and regions on your cloud environment. This can lead to confusion about where a vital resource was stored or a developer’s creation of a wrong resource.
If these factors aren’t detected soon, misconfiguration could go on for a while. The longer misconfiguration lasts, the higher the risks. On the brighter side, you can take precautions to avoid misconfigurations. These precautions are:
- Setting up a baseline for configurations;
- Checking for deviations often;
- Occasionally monitoring changes; and
- Finding the source of these changes by checking which settings may have been modified, when, by whom, and where.
Organize Training Aimed At Boosting Cloud Awareness
You may assume that data breaches come from outside your organization. Nonetheless, data breaches can also come from within your organization. This can be because of actions done without knowing they’re harmful. The following are some of the activities done within your organization that could result in a breach of data:
- Using informal undocumented channels;
- Sharing data outside the organization;
- Using unauthorized apps and devices;
- Social engineering; and
- Stealing a company’s device.
One of the ways you can prevent damage from these actions is by organizing training whereby you’ll be trained about various topics. The training will cover areas such as:
- Consequences of remote working include theft of devices and the use of unsecured data;
- Procedures and policies of internal security; and
- How to react to external attacks.
Apart from the training, your organization can also implement some preventive actions. Some of them are:
- Monitoring if the procedures and policies of internal security are being adhered to;
- Limiting the use of USMB and peripheral;
- Monitoring and detecting any data created on the organization’s systems and networks;
- Using strong encryption; and
- Having remote wipe options.
Automate Processes In Cloud Security Management
One of the reasons most organizations prefer automating processes is to save time. This is because computerized processes take less time than manual processes.
Another reason for having automated processes is to reduce the risk of human error. Human error is caused by complications and tiresomeness of some procedures. Cloud security posture management can also have automated processes.
Automated cloud security management processes reduce mistakes, mismanagement, and customer misconfiguration. Additionally, computerized processes enhance the efficiency of using CDPM.
Leverage The Tools Of Cloud Security At All Processes
Cloud security has various tools that are used in different processes. To ensure the maximum advantage of these tools, you need to leverage them well. One way of leveraging them is understanding the categories they belong to. The following are some categories in which cloud security tools serve different purposes:
- Endpoint protection tools for they offer protection against unknown and known malware attacks;
- Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions that encrypt and retain data logs;
- Configuration management and access control tools detect possible risks in configurations and codes;
- Security file sharing tools offer audit and automation of workflow; and
- Cloud data security posture manager (DSPM) solution that deals with cloud data assets discovery, classification of data, monitoring data vulnerabilities, and fixing any issues as quickly as possible.
With a CSPM system, you should expect to receive multiple violation alerts. But you may not be sure which alerts need more attention than the rest. Quantifying risk alerts will allow you to determine which ones you must prioritize first. As a result, you’ll prevent severe impact caused by critical risks.
In case you don’t know how to quantify risks, you can use the following recommendations:
- Separate the violations that are likely to impact your cloud’s assets since some of these violations may allow unauthorized access or expose your data to the public; and
- Hire a cloud security expert who’ll conduct critical security checks.
Identify Compliance Violations And Misuse
It’s essential to monitor violations and misuse happening in your cloud environment to avoid the costs that come with data breaches. As mentioned earlier, data breaches can cost your organization’s performance either through its finances or reputation. Therefore, you should monitor any violations to avoid these costs. You can do so by:
- Checking who has access to your cloud data and whether it’s safe with them or not;
- Reviewing the permissions granted to users;
- After that, check whether the permissions granted align with their roles; and
- Coming up with recommendations that can be used in case of compliance violation and misuse.
Come Up With A Cloud Governance Program
A cloud governance program is a program that consists of policies, rules, activity monitoring, directions, and control over your cloud environment. The Cloud governance program aims to create balance by ensuring that the users’ needs are still met despite the strict security rules.
There are factors you should consider when structuring your cloud governance program. Some of these are:
- Exceptions. It’s good to define what they are, how and when they can be used, and by whom;
- Discussing target environments in terms of the settings they apply in; and
- Having controls, especially those offered by the Center for Internet Security (CIS).
When you conduct these practices, there are benefits you’ll enjoy from cloud security posture management.
Benefits Of Cloud Security Posture Management
Here are some benefits your organization will enjoy from using CSPM. Keep on reading to learn more.
It Offers Instant Detection Of Threats
One of the causes of a data breach isn’t detecting any issue in your cloud as soon as possible. Nevertheless, if you use CSPM, you’ll be notified of any problems in your cloud security system.
CSPM has tools that instantly detect threats on all cloud-native deployments. These tools detect threats through monitoring, which detects unauthorized access and activities on the cloud. Moreover, instant detection of threats will allow your organization to deal appropriately with attempted cyber-attacks and insider threats. This is because you’ll know what you’re dealing with and not guess.
It Offers A Single Source Of Truth
Whatever it is, it’s easier to work using a single source instead of multiple sources. For example, CPSM has a dashboard that offers risk visualization across multi-cloud environments. Since you use a single CSPM to access these cloud environments, it’s easy for your security teams to identify misconfigurations and vulnerabilities on your system.
Apart from identification, your security team can also easily offer remediation to these misconfigurations and vulnerabilities before threat actors act up on them.
You’ll Be Able To Maintain Compliance
As stated above, you can have the training to reduce data breaches from within your organization. You’re taught what you need to comply with in these training sessions. Yet despite the training sessions, you’re not guaranteed compliance. It can be challenging to tell which areas are being complied with and which aren’t, especially if you don’t have a system that monitors compliance.
Thanks to CSPM, you can monitor compliance using the security framework and regulatory standards in your cloud environment. The information received from monitoring will help you identify areas that are lacking compliance and, after that, adjust the necessary strategies used in cyber security. These strategies aim at increasing compliance hence reducing violations.
It Has Automated Processes Such As Remediation
One of the said advantages of CSPM is the instant detection of threats. But you may ask what’s next after detecting threats. Well, CSPM has automated remediation.
Automated remediation offers incident response after getting violation alerts. Incident response ensures that security violations don’t advance to cause a more severe impact on cloud security. As a result, your organization will be safe from undergoing costs such as lawsuits and fines.
It Offers DevOps Optimization
Through instant threat detection and automated remediation, DevOps is optimized. These two actions minimize the resistance that occurs between security teams and DevOps. As a result, there’s increased transparency and ease of access. Moreover, CSPM tools are integrated with DevOps tools to make the incident response process more efficient.
Summing It Up
Technology advancement has resulted in progress in various sectors. One of these sectors is how you store data. Traditionally, data was stored in paper form, which could easily be damaged or accessed by intruders. Nevertheless, thanks to technology, you have the option of storing data in a cloud space.
Even though cloud storage is better, it also has its negative side. For instance, there’s still a risk of data breaching. Data breaching can have a severe impact on your organization. Therefore, there’s a need to have security management systems such as cloud security posture management.
If your organization hasn’t adapted to the use of CSPM, you could use this post to understand what it is, its best practices, and its benefits. All the best.