A walk through of what the cloud security posture management (CSPM) landscape will look like this year.
Wiz Experts Team
8 min read
With an ever-increasing array of threats, attack techniques, and solutions, the cloud security landscape is always changing—and 2024 will be no exception. But what exactly will cloud security posture management (CSPM) look like in a year slated to bring cutting-edge innovations? Let’s take a walk through the landscape.
A refresher: What exactly is CSPM?
CSPM is a set of processes and tools that identify and prevent misconfigurations and security policy enforcement gaps to nip data/infrastructure breaches and regulatory non-compliance in the bud.
According to Gartner, "CSPM consists of offerings that continuously manage IaaS and PaaS security posture through prevention, detection, and response to cloud infrastructure risks. The core of CSPM applies common frameworks, regulatory requirements, and enterprise policies to proactively and reactively discover and assess risk/trust of cloud services configuration and security settings.”
Let’s consider four specific cloud computingchallenges that CSPM tools address and learn how they address them:
The cloud is a complex amalgam of different functions. Since organizations use solutions from multiple sources, misconfigurations are commonplace. Misconfigurations can easily become back doors that cybercriminals weaponize to access and disrupt organizational functions. CSPM tools detect these misconfigurations for automated and immediate remediation.
The shared responsibility model
The shared responsibility model outlined by major CSPs presents several challenges. One key challenge is that customers don’t know their specific security responsibilities. CSPM solutions reveal gaps in customers’ security posture, which helps customers understand their specific roles.
A wide attack surface
Today’s wide range of endpoints (everything from laptops to smart lighting) brings unparalleled convenience and computing power. But devices that connect to the cloud can easily become threat surfaces that cybercriminals exploit to move laterally within organizational networks. By regularly monitoring cloud assets for suspicious activities and insider threats, CSPM tools detect anomalies (e.g., unrestricted inbound and outbound ports) and potential security breaches (e.g., packet sniffing attempts) to alert necessary teams for immediate incident response.
The size and complexity of the cloud
The cloud’s vast size also means that it is incredibly complex. The scope of the cloud complicates granular coverage of all ports, endpoints, components, and APIs. CSPM solutions help automate coverage via scans, simplifying cloud governance.
What makes good CSPM software?
Prior to 2010, on-premises legacy storage was the norm, and manual checks assessed the security of workloads. In 2010, cloud computing gained significant momentum, introducing new data security challenges and leading to the introduction of CSPM tools around 2015.
The earliest CSPM companies proved their mettle at the time. But their tools did not cover every resource in the infrastructure and were unable to provide contexts for events. These legacy CSPM tools were also time-consuming and could not handle the scale and complexity of the cloud. Case in point: They operated in isolation and did not seamlessly integrate with existing workflows and tools.
As cloud environments became increasingly diverse, highly scaled, and complex, early CSPM software didn’t cut it anymore. Modern CSPM solutions introduced the granularity and automation required to monitor and secure the current cloud computing landscape, with all its possibilities.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific features and functionalities that the best CSPM tools offer.
The global CSPM market is forecasted to reach a value of $8.6 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 15.3% from 2022.
Key features of modern CSPM tools
Automation and AI-driven analysis: An ideal modern CSPM tool should automate security checks and the detection of anomalies and misconfigurations. AI-driven analysis provides meaningful context that aids decision-making during remediation. An optimal CSPM tool should also enable you to configure security policies and automate policy enforcement.
Agentless scanning and detection: Top CSPM tools don’t require you to install software agents. Agentless scanning enables the CSPM solution to fully cover all cloud resources, including virtual machines, containers, and serverless resources without interfering with host functions.
DSPM and KSPM: Look for a CSPM tool that merges data security posture management (DSPM) with Kubernetes security posture management (KSPM). While DSPM bolsters data security, KSPM ensures the security of Kubernetes, which has become an integral platform for large-scale deployments. When a CSPM tool combines both, you can have confidence in your comprehensive coverage.
CI/CD scanning and attack path analysis: Seamless integration with your CI/CD pipeline is a must-have that allows you to identify issues (such as code misconfigurations and vulnerable third-party code and resources) from the earliest stages of development and all the way through the software development life cycle.
Optimal solutions also have tools (such as graph-based algorithms) for scanning possible attack paths, and they should be able to swiftly track and report or remediate lateral movement or suspicious activity in the cloud environment.
Contextual reporting and analytics: Reporting isn’t useful without clear prioritization of vulnerabilities. That’s why the best CSPM tools prioritize issues based on their severity levels while providing actionable guidance for remediation (e.g., recommendations for configuration changes, policy enforcement, and best practices to mitigate identified risks).
Compliance and governance: An ideal CSPM tool must be able to assess compliance with security policies and regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. It should be able to generate compliance reports you can present during external audits and seamlessly integrate with other compliance frameworks and tools.
User-friendly interface and centralized reporting: CSPM tools can be complex and confusing to set up and deploy. Industry-leading tools are easy to configure and set up and provide an interface so straightforward that people with little to no technical expertise understand how to navigate them. The best tools also boast outstanding customer support and a unified dashboard where reports of scans conducted on all parts of your multi-cloud environment are displayed in a simplified and graphical format.
The table below summarizes the evolution of CSPM and the differences between modern and legacy CSPM tools.
So which CSPM tool works best for your security needs? Let’s take a look at six solutions.
The CSPM vendors described below are listed in the order of their G2 score. Read on to learn about their features, compatibility with cloud platforms, user-friendliness, and other crucial capabilities.
Wiz burst onto the cloud security scene in 2020, founded by veterans of the Israeli Defense Force with a mission to simplify and improve cloud security posture. They quickly gained traction with their unified platform, consolidating CSPM, KSPM, CWPP, vulnerability management, IaC scanning, CIEM, and DSPM into a single, intuitive interface. This resonated with businesses struggling with the complexity of managing security across multiple cloud providers and disparate tools.
Today, Wiz boasts a diverse customer base encompassing Fortune 500 companies, fast-growing startups, and everything in between. They've secured the likes of Slack, BMW, DocuSign, Mars, Salesforce, and Priceline, demonstrating their versatility across industries and cloud environments.
Wiz's core focus remains steadfast: providing unparalleled visibility into cloud security risks, prioritizing vulnerabilities based on potential impact, and empowering developers to build secure applications without sacrificing speed. This customer-centric approach, coupled with their unwavering commitment to innovation, has propelled Wiz to a $10 billion valuation and cemented their position as a leader in the evolving cloud security landscape.
Unified security platform: Wiz incorporates several security frameworks such as CIEM, DSPM, KSPM, CWPP, and CDR into a single, agentless solution. Wiz CIEM scans cloud entitlements and auto-generates least-privilege policies across your cloud, and Wiz DSPM provides AI controls for data leakage and poisoning prevention. Wiz’s KSPM solution is the first of its kind to receive the CIS certification for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), and it secures Kubernetes clusters from build time to real time. Wiz CWPP secures VMs, containers, and serverless functions with the Wiz Runtime Sensor, scans entire workloads in minutes for swift risk discovery, and reduces your attack surface. Wiz CDR provides full workload visibility and monitoring, isolates vulnerable cloud resources, and serves as a last line of defense to detect and discontinue attacker movement in your cloud environment.
AI-driven attack path analysis: Wiz’s AI pipeline risk assessment detects vulnerabilities (e.g., data exposure, malware risks, and identity misconfigurations), then the Wiz Security Graph correlates identified risks to provide your security team with a visual display of attack paths that can lead to lateral movements targeting high-value assets, such as sensitive data stores and admin IDs.
Context-sensitive monitoring and alerting: With AI pipeline vulnerability monitoring, Wiz provides instant, workload/environment-sensitive threat detection for proactive remediation. The Wiz Security Graph prioritizes misconfigurations by risk level using operational, business, cloud, and data context, enabling security teams to ignore unnecessary vulnerabilities and facilitating efficient security posture management.
Integrated security stack: Built-in, customizable Wiz policies and compliance frameworks monitor all aspects of your cloud environment and IaC code for swift and comprehensive CSPM.
User-friendly interface: The Wiz AI security dashboard requires minimal technical knowhow, easing security management while providing a prioritized AI-powered risk inventory for swift laser focus on the most critical risks.
Precise automated detection and remediation: With data-sensitive CSPM rules and more than 1,400 cloud misconfiguration rules and non-stop compliance monitoring for over 100 frameworks, Wiz AI-SPM detects and remediates vulnerabilities in your cloud environment.
Microsoft Defender for Cloud emerged in 2015 as Azure Security Center, initially focused on securing Azure resources. Recognizing the increasing adoption of multi-cloud environments, Microsoft evolved the service in 2017, expanding its capabilities and rebranding it as Microsoft Defender for Cloud. This marked a shift towards a broader vision: providing unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid and multi-cloud workloads.
Driven by the growing complexity of cloud security challenges, Defender for Cloud has continuously expanded its reach, offering native CSPM capabilities for Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud while supporting threat protection across these platforms.
Trend Micro Hybrid Cloud Security emerged from Trend Micro's established strength in on-premises security. As cloud adoption grew, they strategically acquired cloud security expertise and launched Hybrid Cloud Security in 2015 to unify on-premises and cloud protections. Since then, it has evolved significantly, adding advanced threat detection, centralized management, and flexible deployment options. Today, Trend Micro Hybrid Cloud Security offers comprehensive security for hybrid environments, encompassing cloud workload protection, data security, and more.
Check Point is the creator of CloudGuard, a cloud native application protection platform (CNAPP) tool that provides complete security visualization of applications and workflows. CloudGuard unifies the security of all your cloud native endpoints and supports all cloud areas, such as infrastructure, native services, serverless architecture, Kubernetes, IAM, and networks. One of its best features is that it provides a set of predefined policies based on different regulatory standards.
Prisma Cloud (formerly RedLock) is a CSPM tool that provides proactive security and compliance management for cloud environments. Prisma Cloud offers capabilities like continuous security monitoring, compliance checks, and automated remediation across public and private clouds. It shows compliance and alerts with extreme detail and supports most security standards while providing automatic remediation.
Formerly known as DivvyCloud, InsightCloudSec by Rapid7 identifies several challenges associated with the cloud—from misconfigurations and policy violations to IAM challenges. As a native, no-code automation solution, InsightCloudSec helps streamline the remediation process, offering solutions to fix compliance drift immediately.
As we head into the new year, it’s important to understand the current CSPM solutions landscape. This article presents the benefits of CSPM, key functionalities of CSPM solutions, and profiles six leading tools. It’s more critical than ever to choose an efficient and cost-effective solution that will ensure your cloud environments are secure, up to date, and resilient against potential risks. See for yourself why Wiz tops the list of CSPM solutions: Schedule a demo today.
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