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How to Choose a Modern CSPM Tool to Reduce Your Cloud Infrastructure Risk

How to Choose a Modern CSPM Tool to Reduce Your Cloud Infrastructure Risk

Cloud Security Posture Management solutions have become a must for detecting and fixing misconfigurations in public clouds – from code to runtime.

As organizations eagerly adopt public cloud services to digitally transform business processes, they encounter critical cloud-based vulnerabilities their legacy tools can’t address. To find and fix these software flaws, misconfigurations and identity compromises, organizations need a cloud security posture management (CSPM) solution.

First introduced years ago, CSPM offerings have gone through several innovation cycles, and are now entering mainstream status in the cloud security market. However, as often happens with in-demand technologies, the market buzz can make it hard for security leaders to separate the signal from the noise as they evaluate the options.

Worry not – we’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we’ll explain what CSPM is, which capabilities you should look for and what questions you should ask in order to choose the right solution for your cloud security needs.

The skinny on CSPM 

For years, organizations have been boosting their usage of public cloud infrastructure, but the adoption went into overdrive during the pandemic, as IT departments scrambled to adapt to the rise in remote work.

This trend has sped up the adoption of cloud security wares, including CSPM, which automates the detection and resolution of security and compliance issues — such as misconfigurations — in applications and services developed for and deployed in public cloud infrastructures.

At first, CSPM focused on establishing a secure configuration baseline in runtime environments and monitoring them for drift. This approach sufficed when cloud infrastructure was defined and managed in runtime.

However, a significant portion of cloud infrastructure is now defined and managed as code during the development stage, a trend that’s expected to intensify – meaning that misconfigurations are also introduced during development.

Thus, as the popularity of infrastructure-as-code (IaC) grows, CSPM solutions must be able to “shift left” to detect and resolve misconfigurations during development as well – not just in runtime.

The three tenets of modern CSPM

As you evaluate CSPM offerings, make sure that they offer capabilities in these three key areas:

Securing IaC 

The CSPM solution must scan IaC during development, when code is being written, to detect and resolve misconfigurations and establish a secure baseline. This ensures that cloud infrastructure is not provisioned with risks and is “born secure.”

Important questions to ask:

  • What types of IaC, and which compliance and security standards are supported?
  • How many predefined policies are available?
  • How are breach paths identified and issues prioritized for resolution?
  • Is code automatically generated to resolve misconfigurations and create pull requests?
  • Which CI/CD tools does the solution integrate with?

Monitoring infrastructure configurations in runtime

Because users will change configurations in runtime, causing drift, the CSPM offering must continuously monitor configurations in runtime against the IaC baseline to maintain a secure environment.

Important questions to ask:

  • What runtime environments are supported?
  • Does the solution identify resource creation or termination relative to a secure baseline defined through IaC?
  • Does the solution identify changes to the configuration of a resource from its definition in the IaC baseline?
  • Does the solution apply the same set of policies in runtime that were used to assess IaC?
  • How does the solution identify potential breach paths in runtime and prioritize issues for resolution?

Remediating through IaC

The CSPM should always refer to IaC as the single source of truth, so if a change introduces risk, the cloud instance is redeployed based on the secure IaC baseline. Otherwise, the IaC is updated to reflect the change and establish a new IaC baseline.

Important questions to ask:

  • When a change is made in runtime, does the solution automatically generate the code to resolve the issue?
  • Does the solution programmatically create pull or merge requests with the code in order to update the IaC and remediate the drift created in runtime?

Want more in-depth CSPM insights?

We hope this information proves useful in your efforts to select the best CSPM solution for your organization. If you want a deeper dive into this topic, download our ebook Vulnerability Management from Code To Cloud: Your Guide to Modern CSPMs which goes into much more granular details about what to look for in a next-gen CSPM.

Download the ebook today!

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