Netskope named a Leader in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge. Get the report

close
close
  • Why Netskope chevron

    Changing the way networking and security work together.

  • Our Customers chevron

    Netskope serves more than 3,000 customers worldwide including more than 25 of the Fortune 100

  • Our Partners chevron

    We partner with security leaders to help you secure your journey to the cloud.

Still Highest in Execution.
Still Furthest in Vision.

Learn why 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ named Netskope a Leader for Security Service Edge the third consecutive year.

Get the report
Netskope Named a Leader in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge graphic for menu
We help our customers to be Ready for Anything

See our customers
Woman smiling with glasses looking out window
Netskope’s partner-centric go-to-market strategy enables our partners to maximize their growth and profitability while transforming enterprise security.

Learn about Netskope Partners
Group of diverse young professionals smiling
Your Network of Tomorrow

Plan your path toward a faster, more secure, and more resilient network designed for the applications and users that you support.

Get the white paper
Your Network of Tomorrow
Introducing the Netskope One Platform

Netskope One is a cloud-native platform that offers converged security and networking services to enable your SASE and zero trust transformation.

Learn about Netskope One
Abstract with blue lighting
Embrace a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture

Netskope NewEdge is the world’s largest, highest-performing security private cloud and provides customers with unparalleled service coverage, performance and resilience.

Learn about NewEdge
NewEdge
Netskope Cloud Exchange

The Netskope Cloud Exchange (CE) provides customers with powerful integration tools to leverage investments across their security posture.

Learn about Cloud Exchange
Netskope video
The platform of the future is Netskope

Intelligent Security Service Edge (SSE), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Cloud Firewall, Next Generation Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Private Access for ZTNA built natively into a single solution to help every business on its journey to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.

Go to Products Overview
Netskope video
Next Gen SASE Branch is hybrid — connected, secured, and automated

Netskope Next Gen SASE Branch converges Context-Aware SASE Fabric, Zero-Trust Hybrid Security, and SkopeAI-powered Cloud Orchestrator into a unified cloud offering, ushering in a fully modernized branch experience for the borderless enterprise.

Learn about Next Gen SASE Branch
People at the open space office
Designing a SASE Architecture For Dummies

Get your complimentary copy of the only guide to SASE design you’ll ever need.

Get the eBook
Make the move to market-leading cloud security services with minimal latency and high reliability.

Learn about NewEdge
Lighted highway through mountainside switchbacks
Safely enable the use of generative AI applications with application access control, real-time user coaching, and best-in-class data protection.

Learn how we secure generative AI use
Safely Enable ChatGPT and Generative AI
Zero trust solutions for SSE and SASE deployments

Learn about Zero Trust
Boat driving through open sea
Netskope achieves FedRAMP High Authorization

Choose Netskope GovCloud to accelerate your agency’s transformation.

Learn about Netskope GovCloud
Netskope GovCloud
  • Resources chevron

    Learn more about how Netskope can help you secure your journey to the cloud.

  • Blog chevron

    Learn how Netskope enables security and networking transformation through security service edge (SSE)

  • Events and Workshops chevron

    Stay ahead of the latest security trends and connect with your peers.

  • Security Defined chevron

    Everything you need to know in our cybersecurity encyclopedia.

Security Visionaries Podcast

The Intersection of Zero Trust and National Security
On the latest episode of Security Visionaries, co-hosts Max Havey and Emily Wearmouth sit down for a conversation with guest Chase Cunningham (AKA Dr. Zero Trust) about zero trust and national security.

Play the podcast
The Intersection of Zero Trust and National Security
Latest Blogs

Read how Netskope can enable the Zero Trust and SASE journey through security service edge (SSE) capabilities.

Read the blog
Sunrise and cloudy sky
SASE Week 2023: Your SASE journey starts now!

Replay sessions from the fourth annual SASE Week.

Explore sessions
SASE Week 2023
What is SASE?

Learn about the future convergence of networking and security tools in today’s cloud dominant business model.

Learn about SASE
  • Company chevron

    We help you stay ahead of cloud, data, and network security challenges.

  • Leadership chevron

    Our leadership team is fiercely committed to doing everything it takes to make our customers successful.

  • Customer Solutions chevron

    We are here for you and with you every step of the way, ensuring your success with Netskope.

  • Training and Certification chevron

    Netskope training will help you become a cloud security expert.

Supporting sustainability through data security

Netskope is proud to participate in Vision 2045: an initiative aimed to raise awareness on private industry’s role in sustainability.

Find out more
Supporting Sustainability Through Data Security
Thinkers, builders, dreamers, innovators. Together, we deliver cutting-edge cloud security solutions to help our customers protect their data and people.

Meet our team
Group of hikers scaling a snowy mountain
Netskope’s talented and experienced Professional Services team provides a prescriptive approach to your successful implementation.

Learn about Professional Services
Netskope Professional Services
Secure your digital transformation journey and make the most of your cloud, web, and private applications with Netskope training.

Learn about Training and Certifications
Group of young professionals working

Addressing Configuration Errors With CSPM and SSPM

Oct 26 2021

Even though cloud computing isn’t all that new anymore, learning how to use it effectively can be overwhelming. It’s unfortunately very easy to make mistakes. We know the vast majority of cloud security failures are configuration mistakes of some kind or another, so developing the discipline of correct configuration — aided by properly implemented cloud security posture management (CSPM) and SaaS security posture management (SSPM) — is the best thing an organization can do to ensure that they use the cloud safely and securely.

When further analyzing CSPM and SSPM, there are specific factors to consider to fully understand how to take advantage of each, especially when facing such configuration errors.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

CSPM has emerged as a robust product category to help organizations cope with today’s cloud complexities. CSPM allows organizations to interrogate the security posture of the workloads they have deployed into a public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud.

But what are they interrogating against? There are several baselines — minimum security control recommendations established by industry groups like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) — plus many CSPM vendors also have their own baselines. These baselines all look for common issues. For example, one of the most common mistakes that we see over and over again in public clouds is a storage object that is open to the world (in AWS, that would be an S3 bucket, or in Azure, that would be a blob). Anybody who can point their browser at this object can then read the contents of what has been stored.

Public cloud resources are generally closed by default. The only entity with initial access to the object is the person who created it. However, let’s say a storage bucket is created and an application needs to read from it. An organization may not take the time to go through all the pain of writing a complicated bucket access policy, which is a little pile of JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) code. For expediency, the default access control list can be quickly changed to grant the world read access — and then it can be returned to the default just 30 minutes later.

What happens next is pretty predictable — 30 minutes have passed, and the bucket’s owner’s attention has drifted elsewhere. Now, that bucket of sensitive information is just sitting there, tempting anyone who might happen to discover it. Open storage bucket mistakes happen all the time for similar reasons. Eventually, someone or something will come along and find it. Attackers can download tools from the internet that scrape the S3 namespace looking for such opportunities. Fortunately, a CSPM can automatically check bucket permissions to make sure nothing is misconfigured and left open.

SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)

Did you know that software as a service (SaaS) actually eats up more budget than IaaS? According to research (paywall) by Gartner, Inc., most organizations spend one and a half to two times as much on SaaS as they do on IaaS and PaaS, yet for one reason or another, the security of SaaS hasn’t historically received the same amount of attention. Maybe this is because, up until very recently, SaaS has been exceptionally self-service. 

While there’s a lot of SaaS out there, most of an organization’s mission-critical data resides in a shortlist of strategic applications. These typically have their own security controls; they may be wildly different in quantity and degree (e.g., Office 365 has far more built-in controls than Dropbox), but they still require proper configuration. Unlike IaaS, where objects that are created are “closed” by default, the opposite is true with SaaS.

For example, the default configuration of an Office 365 tenant is such that if users have access to a file, they can share that file with anyone in the world. Whoever finds the link can forward it to anyone else in the world. Microsoft decided to facilitate sharing — it wants it to be as easy as possible for individuals to collaborate. It’s a business decision, but it has ramifications, so it’s very important to think clearly and deliberately about how to configure native SaaS controls.

This is where the new SSPM product category steps in. I first noticed this was an emerging market last year, and I placed it within the 2020 Gartner, Inc. cloud security Hype Cycle (subscription required) — giving it the SSPM name. Today, many security vendors are adding SSPM capabilities as part of their larger SaaS protection offerings. As organizations finally begin to grapple with the fact that they’re spending a lot of money on SaaS and storing a fair amount of critical business information in a handful of strategic SaaS applications, having the tools to properly govern these platforms is critical in order to fully benefit from SSPM.

Getting Started

A logical starting point for verifying the correct cloud configuration is to use the native tools from your cloud providers. All the major IaaS/PaaS providers offer a CSPM, and a handful of SaaS providers offer SSPM. These tools may be considered adequate for single-cloud companies — however, most companies these days are truly multicloud.

It’s more sensible to rely on independent, provider-neutral CSPM and SSPM tools for a number of reasons. A single CSPM for all IaaS/PaaS and a single SSPM for all SaaS ensure that posture is consistent and repeatable across your entire cloud ecosystem. Posture management tools sit alongside your cloud deployments, and because they rely on cloud APIs to investigate your configuration, you don’t need to schedule any production downtime or lengthy integration phases to begin deriving value from them.

Increasingly, CSPM and SSPM vendors are adding automatic remediation capabilities, but don’t enable this immediately. Instead, spend time with the tools to verify that their suggestions are applicable. Once you’ve gained some trust that the tools have adapted to your specific environment, then consider enabling automatic remediation.

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, organizations need to maintain an adequate security posture. By deploying an effective CSPM and SSPM strategy, organizations can continue to observe and prevent cloud security failures rooted in configuration errors.

This article was originally published at Forbes Tech Council.

author image
Steve Riley
Steve Riley is a Field CTO at Netskope. Having worked at the intersection of cloud and security for pretty much as long as that’s been an actual topic, Steve offers that perspective to field and executive engagements and also supports long-term technology strategy and works with key industry influencers. Steve has held technology roles for more than three decades, including stints at Gartner Inc., Riverbed Technology, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Corp.

Stay informed!

Subscribe for the latest from the Netskope Blog