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Security Posture Explained

Security posture is the overall defensive strength of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure, which comprises hardware, software, practices, policies, and personnel.

Wiz Experts Team
7 aANyg+

What is security posture?

Security posture is the overall defensive strength of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure, which comprises hardware, software, practices, policies, and personnel. 

A strong security posture is an investment in your business's future. It protects your valuable assets, mitigates financial risks, and builds trust with customers and partners. In a world where cyber threats are constantly evolving, it's no longer optional – it's a necessity.

There are different subsets of security posture, each focusing on a specific aspect of an organization's overall security. Here are some of the most common:

  • network security posture

  • data security posture

  • application security posture

  • cloud security posture

While all types of cybersecurity posture are crucial for a holistic defense, more organizations are encountering the need to focus more on cloud security posture. Cloud security posture refers to the overall strength and effectiveness of your security controls and defenses within your cloud environment. There are a few core reasons why cloud security posture has grown in importance:

  • Greater reliance on cloud infrastructure: Businesses are rapidly migrating to the cloud for its scalability, agility, and cost efficiency. This shift means a larger attack surface resides in the cloud, making robust cloud security paramount.

  • Unique vulnerabilities in the cloud: Unlike traditional on-premises environments, cloud platforms introduce different security challenges. Shared responsibility models, complex configurations, and API integrations create new attack vectors that require specialized attention.

  • Increased compliance pressure: Regulations like GDPR and HIPAA heavily emphasize data protection, placing significant pressure on companies to secure their cloud environments where sensitive data often resides. 

What is a security posture assessment?

A security posture assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization's security controls and defenses to identify vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and risks. It's like taking a snapshot of your organization's security at a specific point in time to see how strong it is against cyberattacks.

Here are some of the things that a security posture assessment typically looks at:

  • Security controls: This includes things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software. The assessment will look at how well these controls are configured and whether they are actually working to prevent attacks.

  • Security policies and procedures: This includes things like your password policy, incident response plan, and data security policy. The assessment will look at whether these policies are up-to-date and whether they are being followed by employees.

  • Vulnerability management: This involves identifying and patching vulnerabilities in your systems. The assessment will look at how you are scanning for vulnerabilities and how quickly you are patching them.

  • Security awareness and training: This involves educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices. The assessment will look at what kind of training you are providing your employees and how effective it is.

What is security posture management? 

Security posture management comprises the solutions, tactics, tools, and practices that enterprises employ to tackle their most pertinent threats. Security posture management is especially important now that companies are adopting dynamic, complex, and multi-cloud environments that feature a revolving door of new vulnerabilities and challenges.

Security posture management solutions can empower multiple branches of an organization, including security, compliance, data, IT, and dev teams. It can also help the C-suite and board of directors gain a high-level understanding of the risks their enterprises face, the mitigation strategies in place, and potential security improvements for the future. 

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) is especially relevant in today's IT infrastructure landscape. According to Gartner, the CSPM market revenue will exceed $3 billion in the next four years, achieving a compound annual growth rate of more than 25%. By 2027, only 20% of vendors will not have a CSPM solution as part of their offering.

Security posture management tools

The following are the most critical security posture management tools every enterprise needs to protect themselves from today’s myriad of threats.

Cloud security posture management (CSPM)

CSPM tools help you identify and address vulnerabilities like misconfigurations and suboptimal identity and access management (IAM) across hybrid cloud environments. CSPM capabilities include built-in configuration rules, continuous scanning, risk-based prioritized lists of challenges, and compliance assessments.

Data security posture management (DSPM)

DSPM tools protect sensitive data such as nonpublic personal information (NPI), personally identifiable information (PII), sensitive personal information (SPI), protected health information (PHI), business secrets, and intellectual property (IP). DSPM capabilities should include data lineage tracking, data risk prioritization, and data privacy and compliance heatmaps.

The repercussions of neglecting DSPM can be severe, as seen in McLaren Health Care’s data breach in 2023 when more than 2 million personal and medical records were compromised.

Kubernetes security posture management (KSPM)

KSPM tools offer complete visibility and protection across containers and Kubernetes clusters. KSPM secures both cloud-managed and self-managed Kubernetes; it also provides in-depth views and remediation capabilities for Kubernetes misconfigurations, excessive privileges, and public exposure of API servers. 

These tools empower you to tackle container security early in your SLDC by protecting container images, YAML files, and Docker files.

SaaS security posture management (SSPM)

SSPM tools secure the various SaaS solutions that enterprises might procure from different cloud service providers (CSPs). The underlying infrastructure of SaaS solutions is often under the stewardship of third-party vendors, which means enterprises need to be extra careful about misconfigurations, suboptimal access controls, and regulatory failures. 

SSPM lets you confidently onboard third-party security tools without compromising your overall security posture. 

Application security posture management (ASPM)

Applications have never been easier to build and deploy, with the agile approach often focusing on operational velocity and relegating security as a secondary priority. Because of this, ASPM should be an integral component in every security stack. 

ASPM tools allow you to build applications at a speed and scale to edge past the competition while staying fortified against multiple security challenges.

Artificial intelligence security posture management (AI-SPM)

AI-SPM is a relatively new security tool of unparalleled importance, as almost 80% of organizations see AI as a key ingredient for success between now and 2025. As a result, companies are beginning to weave AI tools into their operations, which then introduces new security challenges. 

AI-SPM can secure AI pipelines, prioritize and remediate AI misconfigurations, and protect your libraries of training data. 

A few simple best practices for improving your security posture

Below are the seven best ways you can strengthen your overall security posture, accelerate digital operations, and lower incoming threats. 

1. Identify every IT asset in your environment

A robust security posture can’t contain any blind spots. That means you have to identify every resource across your IT environments to enable scanning and prevent vulnerabilities from festering. 

2. Take a project-based approach

Separate all discovered IT resources into projects. Role-based access control (RBAC) and zero trust principles like least privilege should define how users can access and influence each of these projects.

3. Address high-risk issues first

All IT environments, even the most fiercely protected, are rife with security challenges. Make sure you consider a variety of business, cloud, and workload contexts to prioritize these challenges properly. Design your security ecosystem and practices in a way that targets vulnerabilities in order of criticality. 

4. Make compliance a priority

Implement built-in compliance frameworks to abide by industry and federal rules and regulations. Depending on your circumstances, choose from pre-designed templates, build compliance policies from scratch, or customize existing frameworks.

5. Shift left without neglecting the right

Embrace a shift-left approach to integrate security as early as possible in your SLDC. Note: Your shift-left program shouldn’t neglect the latter stages of the SLDC, so make sure your security encompasses build to runtime—and everything in between. 

6. Nurture threat intelligence programs

The best way to keep your security posture strong is to: 

  • Stay educated on new threats

  • Understand the different risks that various branches of your organization face

  • Leverage data from remediation efforts to optimize future security

  • Ensure that all teams regularly share threat intelligence data 

Keep in mind that security is the responsibility of all employees across your organization.

7. Choose a vendor with a unified, risk-based solution

Sidestep the traffic in ultra-crowded security solution markets by choosing a vendor that offers a unified and risk-based approach to security. Wiz, for instance, is a single-vendor solution that can help protect even the most complex and dynamic cloud environments with ease and efficiency. 

How Wiz can improve your cloudsec posture

Several internal and external factors will continuously challenge your cloud security posture, and a siloed security approach will actively weaken it.

One way to help defend your IT environments from potential threat is by selecting a single cloud security solution that weaves in CSPM, DSPM, KSPM, AI-SPM, and other cloudsec tools into a unified platform

Wiz is one such solution that help bolster your organization's security posture by offering:

Visibility and Awareness:

  • Comprehensive Inventory: Wiz provides a complete picture of your cloud environment, including infrastructure, data, and applications across all major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP, and more). This helps you understand your attack surface and identify potential vulnerabilities.

  • Real-time Monitoring: Wiz continuously monitors your cloud resources for security misconfigurations, anomalies, and threats. This proactive approach allows you to detect and address issues before they become major problems.

  • Risk Prioritization: Wiz uses intelligent risk scoring to prioritize the most critical security risks, enabling you to focus your efforts on the issues that matter most.

Threat Detection and Prevention:

  • Vulnerability Management: Wiz identifies known vulnerabilities in your cloud resources and prioritizes patching based on criticality and exploitability. This helps you close security gaps and prevent attackers from exploiting them.

  • Threat Intelligence: Wiz leverages threat intelligence feeds to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and proactively adapt your security controls.

  • Anomaly Detection: Wiz uses advanced machine learning to detect suspicious activity and potential threats in your cloud environment, even if they haven't been seen before.

Automated Remediation and Compliance:

  • Automated Remediation: Wiz offers automated remediation capabilities for certain misconfigurations and vulnerabilities, significantly reducing your manual workload and speeding up security improvements.

  • Compliance Management: Wiz helps you comply with various security regulations and standards by providing pre-built compliance controls and reporting tools.

  • Continuous Improvement: Wiz offers recommendations for improving your overall cloud security posture and provides ongoing assessments to track your progress.

Taking a risk-based approach with Wiz can help you efficiently and meticulously tackle the security threats that pose the most danger to your organization.

Get a demo to assess your security posture with Wiz and begin a new chapter in your CloudSec posture management journey. 

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