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Accelerate Vulnerability Detection and Response for AWS with Tenable Cloud Security Agentless Assessment

Tenable Cloud Security Agentless Assessment: Vulnerability Detection and Response for AWS with

Learn how to leverage our latest cloud security discovery feature, Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment, to enhance the way you can scan for software vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in the cloud.

Historically, vulnerability scanning in the cloud has been accomplished by way of using network-based scanners like Nessus or an agent-based approach with Nessus Agents. For years, Tenable has been the gold standard for security practitioners who want fast, comprehensive and accurate vulnerability scans backed by world class vulnerability research. Our customers have asked for easier ways to configure and manage their Nessus scans in the cloud and, in 2020, we released Tenable.io Frictionless Assessment, which was our first step into transforming Nessus to become more cloud-focused.

Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment for Amazon Web Services (AWS), introduced today, takes the groundbreaking work that Tenable.io Frictionless Assessment laid out and completely upgrades it for a truly seamless cloud native scanning solution.

A common problem security professionals run into within the cloud is attempting to apply traditional vulnerability management concepts to cloud workloads — especially ephemeral workloads. Auto scaling enables cloud instances to spin up and spin down, which means traditional scan windows could miss assets needing to be assessed. Service account credentials for scanning are a pain to manage in the cloud, and it can be a challenge to get different teams to standardize and adopt endpoint agents or simply use images approved by the security team. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and, with Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment, we set out to build a unique technology that overcomes these obstacles.

It’s clear that removing obstacles that extend the time to discover and detect vulnerabilities, in general, has a significant impact on the amount of risk carried by an organization. Agentless Assessment aims to enhance the abilities of security teams to gain complete visibility into cloud configurations and perform comprehensive vulnerability assessment in a quick and efficient way, giving our customers a better shot at reducing that risk, faster.

Agentless Assessment and Live Results for AWS

Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment for AWS enables cloud security teams to use the power of Nessus for vulnerability and misconfiguration assessments without the need to install scanners or agents, configure credentials on target hosts or set up scan policies. Using a proprietary approach, it enables users to onboard their cloud accounts within minutes and scan all assets for software vulnerabilities and cloud posture misconfigurations without any impact on compute speed or costs. The speed at which we’re able to collect data, coupled with our event-driven approach, dramatically improves Tenable’s ability to ensure our customers are confident in the vulnerability information we’re providing. In the process, we’re helping cloud security teams and developers quickly identify security weaknesses and providing actionable recommendations on what should be done to fix them.

Furthermore, when a new vulnerability detection is published to our vulnerability research feed, Tenable.cs Live Results allows security teams to identify potential vulnerabilities within their existing collected inventory without needing to execute a new scan. This near real-time detection and unique approach to vulnerability assessment enables users to reduce their mean time to remediate issues. As a result, it provides the crucial data security teams need to make informed decisions about how to prioritize their remediation efforts.

Additional benefits of Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment include:

  • Ease of deployment: Agentless Assessment is API driven, so the deployment is a breeze with a single integration point: a read-only role to check for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in one fell swoop.
  • Two solutions in one: Scan for vulnerabilities and cloud infrastructure configurations with a single tool.
  • Limited scan overhead: There are no agents to deploy or bake, no scan templates, and no policies to define. Data simply flows into Tenable.cs.
  • Gold standard vulnerability detection: The Tenable Research vulnerability and threat feeds, trusted by thousands of organizations around the globe, are utilized by Agentless Assessment.
  • Continuous vulnerability assurance: When new vulnerabilities are identified and detections are created, the Tenable.cs Live Results feature immediately rescans and re-assesses all stored inventories against the most updated vulnerability feed.
  • Safety: The scans are read-only, no write permissions are required.
  • Flexibility: The tool allows users the ability to run continuous Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) event-driven scans, scheduled scans, or simply execute manual scans on an ad-hoc basis.

Additionally, Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment makes it easy for cloud security teams to ensure AWS cloud workloads are configured correctly by providing pre-built policy templates for detecting risks in runtime, such as:

  • Identity-based (e.g., overprivileged admins)
  • Insecure storage configuration or access activities (e.g., wide open and/or unencrypted Amazon Simple Storage [S3] buckets in AWS, etc.)
  • Insecure instance creation and deletion
  • Insecure network configurations and activities
  • And many more…

How to use Agentless Assessment for AWS

Step 1. Onboard all of your AWS accounts in minutes. 

Getting started is super fast and easy. All you need is a read-only role, easily deployed via our provided CloudFormation template. For multi-account AWS environments, we make a CloudFormation StackSet available that will automatically deploy the needed role at all sub accounts that are within scope.

Source: Tenable, August 2022

Step 2. Take AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) snapshots

This is a prerequisite because the Agentless Assessment process reads installed package data from the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) storage snapshots. You can create snapshots manually or you can automate the process using AWS Data Lifecycle Manager (DLM). Although snapshots can be created manually, Tenable recommends that you automate this process. For further guidance, see:

Source: Tenable, August 2022

Step 3. Start Agentless Assessment scans

With Agentless Assessment, there are no scan templates to configure, you’ve already deployed the role so you have no credentials to set up. You create a new Tenable.cs AWS project, select EC2 as the AWS service to be scanned, and launch the scan on demand or on a schedule. At this point, data simply flows into Tenable.cs and vulnerabilities are presented within the unified findings workspace.

Source: Tenable, August 2022

Step 4. Achieve up-to-date visibility of all your cloud assets that is easily searchable

As data flows into Tenable.cs, users can leverage existing functionality to prioritize vulnerabilities for remediation. Agentless Assessment uses the same great Tenable Research vulnerability feed, so users immediately have access to the Vulnerability Priority Rating for advanced risk prioritization. Furthermore, this is where we take advantage of Live Results. Now that we have data flowing into Tenable.cs, new vulnerability checks will be evaluated against the inventory we’ve already collected.

Source: Tenable, August 2022

What’s next?

Existing Tenable customers can now get early access to Tenable.cs Agentless Assessment for AWS. The new functionality is scheduled for general availability at the end of September. In Q4, Tenable expects to release Agentless Assessment for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), along with additional enhancements around container security.

Learn more

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