Public cloud brings tremendous advantages to enterprise IT teams, including significant flexibility and agility, along with economies of scale. It allows the organization to set up the required infrastructure much faster than on-premises and provides unmatched business scalability and extra security capabilities. The benefits of agility and efficiency come with the challenge of securing assets and workloads in the cloud. The rapid adoption of public clouds—AWS, Azure, GCP—and an increasing number of cloud services, has created an explosion of data and identity complexity with unmanaged risk.
Why is it essential to maintain a secure posture?
Despite high-profile data breach incidents, the disciplined use of the public cloud is secure. The secret to adequate public cloud security is improving the overall security posture. Secure posture has an inverse relationship with cybersecurity risk; as security posture improves, risk decreases. Cloud infrastructures are constantly changing; enterprises need to continuously monitor multicloud environments and identify gaps between stated security policies and actual security posture. Proper security not only reduces the possibility of a data breach, but it also minimizes the damage if an attack was successful in gaining access to your cloud environment.
When a major organization has a security breach, it always hits the headlines. Security breach examples include the following:
The Capital One data breach in 2019 was one of the most devastating data breaches of all time. The attack occurred due to a misconfiguration error at the firewall’s application layer. Impact: 80,000 bank account numbers; exposure of more than a million records with personal information, including Social Security number.
The Instagram breach involved a partner, Chtrbox, that had left a database exposed on Amazon Web Services. Impact: 50 million "influencer" records exposed.
Maintaining a secure posture ensures that enterprises have a systematic approach toward risk and possible exposure. It also establishes a guideline for prioritizing risks and how to respond to and remediate risk.
Hence, CloudOps and security teams tasked with securing the organization’s multicloud environments have focused on Cloud Security Posture Management or CSPM. CSPM is described as “a continuous process of cloud security improvement and adaptation to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.”
Keeping up with the rate of change
There are many elements to public cloud security posture management. Considering the above factors, we have outlined a few of the best practices to maintain a healthy and secure posture in a public multicloud environment.
Gain visibility into disparate, multicloud infrastructure (single pane of glass)
- Cloud service providers (CSPs) offer native monitoring tools that can be helpful to an extent. Still, they have limitations, especially when it comes to getting detailed context and visibility across multicloud environments. The first step is to get complete, comprehensive visibility into multicloud infrastructure and security posture.
- Enterprise can’t maintain a security posture without a complete overview of IT assets. They need to discover and track all assets and inventory (both current and historical) with configuration status.
- Misconfiguration errors are ranked as the second-most significant cloud security threat.
- In the competitive cloud environment, CSPs are constantly changing and improving their services. Thousands of settings and configurations increase the likelihood of a human error resulting in misconfiguration.
- While the attacks are getting more frequent and sophisticated, SecOps teams need to effectively monitor the cloud environment to detect configuration errors, policy violations, and associated risks in multiple accounts, regions, and cloud providers.
Automate governance and remediation
- Continuously monitor cloud security posture against established best security practices and benchmarks, such as those from the Center for Internet Security (CIS) to detect vulnerabilities and policy violations.
- Benchmark and check cloud resource configurations against popular compliance frameworks such as PCI DSS for retail and HIPAA for healthcare.
- Set up industry-specific private benchmarks and apply them to specific cloud accounts.
- Remediate any discovered issues automatically or with minimal manual intervention.
- Embed compliance checks with existing DevOps deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to detect and correct compliance deficiencies in early-stage testing environments.
- Distribute the cloud security responsibility across the organization to critical stakeholders, ensuring security and compliance in a dynamic environment.
- Implement and enforce policies on cloud ownership, responsibility, and risk acceptance by outlining expectations, significance, and control of cloud use.
- Prioritize efforts according to security risk and business impact. Focus efforts on issues that can affect critical cloud assets and can publicly expose data or assets.
- Automatically assign owners/teams to security incidents through ITSMs, such as ServiceNow or Zendesk.
Industry trends show a substantial migration of workloads to the public cloud, and the rapid adoption of cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings signifies that it will continue for quite some time. As organizations increase their public cloud footprint, they will encounter cloud-specific risk, security, and compliance threats, which are challenging to address without the right tools and processes.
“Nearly all successful attacks on cloud services result from customer misconfiguration, mismanagement, and mistakes. Security and risk management leaders should invest in cloud security posture management processes and tools to proactively identify and remediate these risks."
Zscaler CSPM can help enterprises maintain a secure posture in a multicloud environment. It helps to continuously monitor cloud risk through identification, prioritization, and remediation based on common frameworks, regulatory requirements, and organization policies. By extending these solutions directly into the development process, security teams can proactively identify and remediate cloud risks before production.
Benefits of Zscaler CSPM
- A complete view of multicloud security posture – Zscaler CSPM provides an “at-a-glance” comprehensive picture of your cloud inventory, the location of assets across global regions, and complete visibility into the public cloud security posture of all assets and resources.
- Continuous monitoring – Zscaler CSPM continuously monitors and assesses cloud assets and resources for misconfigurations and non-standard deployments. The scan data is synchronized for new and updated assets. The dashboard provides precise analysis and evidence of security and compliance issues and offers remediation methods to mitigate problems.
- Automated security using REST APIs – Zscaler CSPM fully supports REST APIs for seamless integration with the CI/CD toolchain. It helps DevSecOps teams with real-time assessments of potential risks and exposures so that they can mitigate risks before deploying apps into production.
The public multicloud environment has many advantages and, as long as enterprises use it for these advantages, it will continue to be exploited and targeted. However, implementing the right tools and strategies can support the enterprise to maintain a secure cloud posture.
Learn more at zscaler.com/cspm