AcademyWhy Configuration Management is Essential to Cloud Security

Why Configuration Management is Essential to Cloud Security

Cloud configuration is the term for the processes used to create a cloud environment where all infrastructure and application elements can communicate and operate efficiently. The management of configuration can be a complicated matter, more so with hybrid and multi-cloud implementations than it was in the single-location networks of times past. Keeping track of parameters, secrets, and configuration items across environments is a massive undertaking.

Wiz Experts Team

As a result, configuration becomes more complicated in the cloud, with some items now in the hands of the cloud service provider and others changing to take note of the shared responsibility model. Add in the continuous deployment architecture of the cloud, and it very quickly becomes difficult to track configuration items, while ensuring the underlying data is secure at the same time as being available to those who need access to it.

Cloud Configuration is Complex

With cloud infrastructure being controlled by cloud service providers, only a subset of the security controls one might expect from a legacy data center are available to the cloud services customer. The cloud service provider will provide tools to manage the component tiers available to the customer, including the management of security from the account level down. Boundary controls apply at the account level and within, but not beyond. Virtual machine controls are available, but the hypervisor is not. And SaaS? You pretty much get what you’re given there, in all likelihood not a great deal more than the ability to restrict tenant access by IP.

The tools provided to manage the various cloud components, products, and services differ between cloud service providers, as well as between the individual elements themselves. Complexity is a problem in the respect of generating administrative overhead and making the life of your technology staff more difficult than they would like, but it also introduces significant security concerns. Security misconfiguration is an ever-increasing problem, with vulnerabilities introduced by misconfiguration daily. Those misconfigurations open the door for malicious actors to exploit, with Gartner predicting that 99% of cloud security failures will arise as a result of faults the customer introduces themselves. Reactive security monitoring is not sufficient for modern cloud deployments, with organizations looking to Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) to identify threats.

What is Cloud Security Posture Management?

CSPM helps organizations minimize risk by providing cloud security automation, ensuring cloud environments remain secure as they grow in scale and complexity. Cloud Security Posture Management detects and remediates misconfiguration or administrative oversight, preventing risks becoming vulnerabilities.

When deploying a new service to the cloud, many cloud components require attention. From Identity and Access Management (IAM) configuration to ensure only those who need to access cloud workloads can access them, to the network configuration and controls that ensure only permitted communications between secure endpoints are allowed. Then, platform defined controls for virtual machines and containers need attention. Given the complexity of configuration as well as the variability in the mechanisms used to achieve that configuration, and the sheer number of solution components that need complimentary configuration, it is no surprise gaps emerge.

And with those gaps come weaknesses in cloud security posture. It is all too easy to grant excessive permissions resulting in access to workload configuration or sensitive data, which may in turn result in those granted excessive permission extending the problem further, whether deliberately or otherwise. With everything in the cloud being a few mouse-clicks away from being internet connected, the consequences could be catastrophic.

CSPM technology identifies identity data, configuration information, and other sensitive content within the cloud environment, and checks it for insecure items. Most CSPMs track configuration data in real time, processing changes as they happen for continuous protection, and are tailored to an organization’s specific security requirements. Most come with pre-configured policies designed for compliance with recognized regulatory frameworks.

Manage Cloud Infrastructure Securely

Cloud Security Posture Management provides the tools you need to secure your cloud environments efficiently in a way that scales more readily than manual processes as your cloud deployments grow. 

CSPM is:

  • Scalable: By providing a suite of tools that proactively analyze configuration items in real-time, agentless CSPM solutions automatically scan new cloud deployments as they happen without any additional management overhead.

  • Consistent: By using built-in and custom policies to assess new deployments for security risks, as well as enforce established configuration baselines, engineering effort is removed from the process and results are both reliable and repeatable.

  • Responsive: CSPM solutions provide constant coverage, continuously validating configurations and generating actionable alerts instantly in the event of security risk detection.

  • Efficient: By detecting security issues early and enabling remediation of vulnerabilities before they are exploited, CSPM helps securityshift-left. Early detection improves security response, reduces cost, and builds better products and services.

Wiz provides visibility and actionable insights to enable continuous security posture improvement. Using graph and heat maps, only configuration items that need attention generate alerts, and severity context information helps teams prioritize remediation. Using agentless install and built-in and custom policies creates a tailor-made configuration management solution for your organization across AWS, Azure, GCP, OCI, OpenShift, Alibaba Cloud, and Kubernetes.

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