Netskope named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge. Get the Report.

  • Platform

    Unrivaled visibility and real-time data and threat protection on the world's largest security private cloud.

  • Products

    Netskope products are built on the Netskope Security Cloud.

Netskope delivers a modern cloud security stack, with unified capabilities for data and threat protection, plus secure private access.

Explore our platform

Netskope Named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for SSE Report

Get the report

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

Learn more

Prevent threats that often evade other security solutions using a single-pass SSE framework.

Learn more

Zero trust solutions for SSE and SASE deployments

Learn more

Netskope enables a safe, cloud-smart, and fast journey to adopt cloud services, apps, and public cloud infrastructure.

Learn more
  • Customer Success

    Secure your digital transformation journey and make the most of your cloud, web, and private applications.

  • Customer Support

    Proactive support and engagement to optimize your Netskope environment and accelerate your success.

  • Training and Certification

    Netskope training will help you become a cloud security expert.

Trust Netskope to help you address evolving threats, new risks, technology shifts, organizational and network changes, and new regulatory requirements.

Learn more

We have qualified engineers worldwide, with diverse backgrounds in cloud security, networking, virtualization, content delivery, and software development, ready to give you timely, high-quality technical assistance.

Learn more

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

Learn more
  • Resources

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

  • Blog

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

  • Events & Workshops

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

  • Security Defined

    Everything you need to know in our cybersecurity encyclopedia.

Security Visionaries Podcast

Bonus Episode: The Importance of Security Service Edge (SSE)

Play the podcast

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

Read the blog

Netskope at RSA 2022

Meet and speak with Netskope security specialists at RSA.

Learn more

What is Security Service Edge?

Explore the security side of SASE, the future of network and protection in the cloud.

Learn more
  • Company

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

  • Why Netskope

    Cloud transformation and work from anywhere have changed how security needs to work.

  • Leadership

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

  • Partners

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

Netskope enables the future of work.

Find out more

Netskope is redefining cloud, data, and network security to help organizations apply Zero Trust principles to protect data.

Learn more

Thinkers, builders, dreamers, innovators. Together, we deliver cutting-edge cloud security solutions to help our customers protect their data and people.

Meet our team

Netskope’s partner-centric go-to-market strategy enables our partners to maximize their growth and profitability while transforming enterprise security.

Learn more
Security Defined Cybersecurity Encyclopedia What is CSPM? Cloud Security Posture Management

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

4 min read

What is Security Posture Management?

Security posture is a reference to the cybersecurity strength of an organization, which includes an assessment of its ability to detect and respond to security threats. Logically, this means that security posture management deals with the oversight and control of an organization’s detection and response to threats by means of security posture management software.

A security posture includes an array of tools and strategies used to guard networks, devices, users, and data from all kinds of threats, including:

  • Compromised/stolen credentials
  • Breaches
  • Data loss
  • Network performance attacks
  • Misconfiguration/Configuration drift
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • And many others

The better an organization is at minimizing its risk profile, responding to potential threats, and adhering to security compliance standards, the more robust the security posture is.

 

What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

Now that we understand what security posture is, Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) refers to a suite of security tools and practices meant to identify and correct misconfiguration issues between organizations and the cloud. More specifically, services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and other Cloud Service Provider (CSP) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud environments.

This is different from SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) which deals with the configurations of SaaS applications, rather than the infrastructure and platform services that CSPM covers.

CSPM definition

Why do you need CSPM?

The use of cloud services is on the rise as more businesses move their businesses away from on-premise data storage and web hosting in favor of cloud-based infrastructure. The security risks associated with misconfiguration are numerous. In fact, 48% of misconfigurations in the cloud lead to the exposure of sensitive data. This puts your data, your users, your devices, and your systems all at risk of intentional and unintentional breaches.

Even if you configure your cloud infrastructure correctly, over time they can drift away (either intentionally or unintentionally) from their original setups. This is known as “misconfiguration drift” which happens when users reconfigure permissions or other settings in order to make exceptions for specific work needs, such as moving data from one place to another. The problem is that these changes leave other assets exposed, even if unintentionally. Eventually, these changes add up, leading to an unsecure cloud posture that leaves assets and systems open to those who would otherwise not have access to them.


Blog: Addressing Configuration Errors with CSPM and SSPM


 

How does Cloud Security Posture Management work?

Cloud security posture management uses security policies, monitoring capabilities, and automated and guided remediation tools in order to enforce established configurations and log any issues with those configurations. This includes user access, data storage rules, application use, and settings changes.

Cloud Security Posture Management - Inline CASB

As you can see in the diagram above, the user accesses the IaaS platform, which is governed by the settings and rules enforced by the CSPM. Any data moved between the IaaS to a SaaS application runs through a cloud access security broker (CASB) in order to ensure compliance with data handling standards. Once the data reaches the SaaS applications, the rules and standards set by the SaaS security posture management (SSPM) take over.

 

What are the key capabilities of CSPM?

1. Continuous assessment
Cloud security posture management isn’t just a one-time process. The key component of CSPM is the continuous detection and assessment of your cloud posture to weed out any misconfigurations within your infrastructure.

2. Automated remediation
CSPM saves time, money, and resources by providing automated and guided remediation over minor and common misconfiguration issues. This way analysts are able to spend more time handling complex security issues.

3. Asset classification
CSPM identifies assets that live within your cloud infrastructures and classifies how they are currently configured. This allows security teams to set up configurations that make sense for their work needs, assets, data, users, and devices.

4. Maintain compliance standards
There are a whole litany of compliance standards that companies must adhere to, including HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and many others. CSPM helps security administrators maintain compliance when handling user data when operating in the cloud by providing predefined compliance templates to easily adhere to major regulations.

 

What is the difference between CSPM and SSPM?

SaaS security posture management (SSPM) also deals in evaluating cloud security posture. The only difference between CSPM and SSPM is the scope of evaluation. CSPM evaluates the security posture of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms, while SSPM evaluates posture as the smaller Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application level.

Other than the scope of the evaluation, the capabilities and benefits of the platforms are nearly identical.

 

What is the difference between CSPM and CASB?

Perhaps this isn’t the right way to look at this. CASB and CSPM aren’t interchangeable within a cloud security infrastructure. Instead, a cloud access security broker (CASB) works hand-in-hand with CSPM in order to enforce security policies within the cloud. More specifically, a CASB acts as the policy enforcement point between different cloud services and the users accessing them.

CSPM supplements these enforcement capabilities of the CASB by continuously monitoring, evaluating, and remediating configuration issues between users and IaaS platforms. Using both services enables administrators to maintain their security policies on all levels of their cloud infrastructure and prevent configuration drift.


Blog: Correctly Configure Your Cloud Settings: It’s More Than Just Settings
Webinar: Optimized Security for Multi-Cloud IaaS Environments


 

Resources

Optimized Security for Multi-Cloud IaaS Environments

Optimized Security for Multi-Cloud IaaS Environments

Demo-Continuous security assessment for AWS

Continuous security assessment for AWS

Subscribe to the
Threat Labs Report

Get the monthly Threat Lab Report as soon as it’s released.