Tag Archive for: Cloud security

Zero Trust: Shift Back to Need to Know

Cyberattacks on government agencies are unrelenting. Attacks on government, military, and contractors rose by more than 47% in 2021 and can continue to climb. Today’s cybercriminals, threat actors, and state-sponsored hackers have become more sophisticated and continue to target government data and resources.

The recent Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity directs federal agencies to take decisive action and work with the private sector to improve cybersecurity. The EO puts it bluntly:

“The United States faces persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns that threaten the public sector, the private sector, and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy. The Federal Government must improve its efforts to identify, deter, protect against, detect, and respond to these actions and actors.”

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also issued a memorandum for agencies to improve investigative and remediation capabilities, including:

  • Centralizing access and visibility
  • More defined logging, log retention, and log management
  • Increased information sharing
  • Accelerate incident response efforts
  • More effective defense of information

In light of continued cyber-attacks, the EO requires bold and significant investments to protect and secure systems and data. This represents a cultural shift from a somewhat relaxed security environment created over time as legacy systems continued to grow and migrate legacy systems to cloud resources.

Security concerns only grew with the rapid shift to remote work. Agencies had to scramble to redefine infrastructure to accommodate remote workers, which significantly increased the attack surface.

For governmental agencies, hardening security requires a return to “need to know” using zero trust security protocols.

Zero Trust Security: What Is It?

Zero trust is a security framework that requires authentication and authorization for all users on the network. Traditionally, networks have focused on security at the edge, managing access points. However, once someone penetrated the security framework, threat actors were able to access additional network resources. As a result, many attackers were able to escalate privileges and escalate the damage they caused.

Zero trust requires users to be re-authorized at every connection to prevent unauthorized and lateral movement for users on the network. This prevents access to resources except for those with a need to know and need to access.

Current Cloud Security Measures Can Fall Short

The rising adoption of cloud services has changed the makeup of most agency infrastructures. Currently, lax cloud security measures can expose organizations to risk and harm and incremental improvements are not keeping pace.

Factors that leave openings for threat actors include:

  • Gaps in information technology (IT) expertise and challenges in hiring
  • Problems with cloud migration
  • Unsecured application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Vulnerabilities in third-party providers
  • The complexity of security in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments

Zero trust is an important weapon in the battle against cyber threats, yet there has not been universal adoption. The recent Cost of a Data Breach report from the Ponemon Institute reports that only 35% of organizations employ a zero-trust framework as part of the cybersecurity protocols. This leaves agencies and businesses open for attacks.

Besides protecting networks and data, there’s also a significant financial benefit for deploying zero trust. While breaches can still occur even when zero trust is in place, the average cost to mitigate breaches for organizations with a secure zero trust framework was $1.76 million less than those without zero trust deployment.

Zero Trust and the Return to Need to Know

Intelligence agencies have employed the practice of “need to know” for years. Sensitive and confidential data is restricted to only those that have a specific need for access. In cybersecurity, zero trust includes the concept of least privilege, which only allows users access to the information and resources they need to do their job.

Contrast the zero trust with the practice of edge security which is in wide use today. Edge security is like putting a security perimeter around the outside of your home or building. Once inside the perimeter, visitors are free to move from room to room. The principle of least privilege only gives them access to the rooms—and things within each room—if they have a need to know.

With zero trust in place, visitors won’t even be able to see the room unless they are authorized for access.

Building a Zero Trust Architecture

Building a zero-trust architecture requires an understanding of your infrastructure, applications, and users. By mapping your network, you can see how devices and applications connect and pathways where security is needed to prevent unauthorized access.

A zero-trust approach requires organizations to:

  • Verify and authenticate every interaction, including user identity, location, device integrity, workload, and data classification
  • Use the principle of least privilege using just-in-time and just-enough-access (JIT/JEA) with adaptive risk policies
  • Remove implicit trust when devices or applications talk to each other along with instituting robust device access control
  • Assume breach and employ micro-segmentation to prevent lateral movement on a need-to-know basis.
  • Implement proactive threat prevention, detection, and mitigation

Mitigating Insider Threats

Zero trust also helps mitigates threats from insiders by restricting access to non-authorized resources and logging activity within the network.

When we think about data breaches, we generally think about threat actors from outside our network, but there’s also a significant threat from insiders. The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) from Verizon suggests that as many as 22% of all data breaches occur from insiders.

According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), risks to IT systems are increasing, including insider threats from witting and unwitting employees.

Managing Complex Network Environments

As organizations have grown, network environments have become incredibly complex. You need a deep understanding of all of the appliances, applications, devices, public cloud, private cloud, multi-cloud, and on-premises resources and how they are connected.

RedSeal automatically maps your infrastructure and provides a comprehensive, dynamic visualization. With RedSeal, you can identify any exposed resources in the cloud, visualize access across your network, demonstrate network compliance and configuration standards, and prioritize vulnerability for mitigation.

For more information about implementing zero trust for your organization, download the complimentary RedSeal Guide: Tips for Implementing Zero Trust. Learn about the challenges and get insights from the security professionals at RedSeal.

Ransomware Realities: Exploring the Risks to Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Hybrid cloud frameworks offer a way for companies to combine the scalability of public clouds with the security and control of their private counterparts. Pandemic pressures have accelerated hybrid adoption. According to recent survey data, 61 percent of companies currently use or pilot hybrid clouds, while 33 percent have plans to implement hybrid options in the next two years. Meanwhile, research firm Gartner points to growing cloud ubiquity across enterprise environments driven by hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge environments.

Along with increased uptake, however, is a commensurate uptick in ransomware risks. With attackers leveraging the distributed nature of remote work environments to expand their attack impact, organizations must recognize potential challenges and develop frameworks to mitigate ransomware threats effectively.

What Are the Ransomware Risks of a Hybrid Cloud Environment?

Because hybrid clouds rely on a combination of public and private solutions, overall ransomware risks are effectively double.

Consider the recent ransomware attack on payroll provider Kronos. As noted by CPO Magazine, after details of the Java diagnostic tool Log4JShell vulnerabilities were made public on December 9th, hundreds of thousands of ransomware attacks were launched worldwide. One likely victim was Kronos, with the company’s private cloud forced offline after a ransomware attack leading to weeks of remediation. Private clouds are also under threat as attacks shift from outside to inside — even a single disgruntled employee with administrative access could wreak havoc on internal clouds by simply ignoring email protection warnings or clicking through on malicious links.

Public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Azure, have begun publishing articles and offering resources to help mitigate the impact of ransomware in the cloud. While large-scale public cloud services have yet reported no major ransomware attacks, it’s a matter of when, not if, these attacks occur.

In practice, successful attacks on public or private clouds can lead to severe consequences.

Systems Downtime

Ransomware attackers encrypt key files and demand payment for release. As a result, the first line of defense against increasing attack impact is shutting down affected systems to focus on remediation. Cybercriminals may also pair ransomware efforts with dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attacks which force systems offline by overloading them with traffic volumes and resource requests, even as ransomware is deployed behind network lines.

Depending on the scale and severity of the attack, it could take days or weeks for IT teams to discover the full extent of the damage, remediate the issue and bring systems back online.

Monetary Loss

As noted by Dark Reading, the average ransomware payout hit $570,000 in the first quarter of 2021, more than $250,000 more than the 2020 average of $312,000.

But initial payouts are just the start of the problem. Even if attackers return control of critical files, companies must still spend time and money identifying the vulnerabilities that made ransomware attacks possible in the first place. Then, they must spend even more money remediating these issues and testing their new security frameworks.

There’s also the potential risk of costly data loss if enterprises choose not to pay and instead look to decrypt data using available security tools — or if they pay up and attackers aren’t true to their word. If security solutions aren’t able to remove ransomware before the deadline or criminals can’t (or won’t) decrypt data, companies are left with the daunting and expensive task of building data stores back up from scratch.

Reputation Damage

Eighty-eight percent of customers won’t do business with a brand they don’t trust to handle their data. Ransomware is a red flag when it comes to trust. Even if such attacks are inevitable, customers want to know that companies took every possible precaution to prevent data loss and need the confidence that comes with clear communication about the next steps.

As a result, the loss of data due to ransomware or the inability to articulate how information recovery will occur and how data will be better defended going forward can damage organizations. After a ransomware attack, businesses often face negative impacts on reputation, reduced customer confidence, and revenue losses.

Legal Challenges

Evolving regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all include provisions around the safe collection, storage, and use of data. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to fines and legal challenges if ransomware attacks are successful.

Hybrid Cloud Security Measures

While it’s not possible to eliminate ransomware in hybrid cloud environments, there are steps you can take to reduce overall risk.

1. Deploying Offline Backups

If ransomware attacks are successful, malicious code can encrypt any connected devices. These include physically attached devices such as universal serial bus (USB) sticks or hard drives along with any online, cloud-connected drives across both public and private clouds.

To help mitigate this risk, it’s worth deploying secure offline backups that are not connected to internal hosts or external data sources once backup processes are complete. Consider a private cloud backup. To reduce ransomware impact, companies are best served by establishing a data backup schedule that includes provisions for device connection, data transfer, and device disconnection once the backup is complete. By utilizing multiple offline devices that are regularly backed up and then disconnected, businesses can ensure that data remains available even if primary systems are compromised by ransomware.

2. Implementing Two-Factor Authentication

Frustrating attacker efforts to gain network access can significantly reduce the risk of ransomware. Best bet? Start with two-factor authentication (2FA). While it remains relatively easy for attackers to compromise passwords using both social engineering and brute-force attacks, implementing 2FA solutions that leverage one-time text codes or biometric data can help protect networks even if account credentials are breached. What’s more, failed 2FA checks that accompany correct account information can signal to information technology (IT) teams that attack efforts may be underway, in turn allowing them to respond and remediate threats proactively.

Even more protection is available through multi-factor authentication (MFA) strategies that combine text codes and biometrics to frustrate attackers further. It’s also vital to create strong password policies that mandate regular password changes and include rules around required password length and the use of special characters or symbols to increase overall protection. While passwords remain one of the least secure forms of data defense, they’re not going anywhere. As a result, companies must address common password problems before they lead to compromise.

3. Disabling Well-Known Ports

While attackers are constantly developing new methods and leveraging newly-discovered vulnerabilities to distribute ransomware code, they’re also creatures of habit. If specific attack vectors continue to see success, they won’t abandon them simply because something new comes along.

Case in point: Ports connected to cloud services, such as ports 137-139, 445, and 3389, are common attack targets. By disabling these ports, businesses can remove some of the most-used ransomware distribution pathways, in turn forcing attackers to take more circuitous routes if they want to compromise and infect public and private cloud systems.

4. Turning off RDP

The remote desktop protocol (RDP) allows users to connect with another computer over a network connection and provides a graphical user interface to help streamline this process. The problem? Attackers can exploit insecure RDP deployments — which typically use transmission control protocol (TCP) port 3389 and UDP port 3389 — to access user desktops and, in turn, move laterally through corporate systems until they find and encrypt critical files.

While it’s possible to protect RDP with increased security measures, the collaborative nature of cloud deployments often makes it simpler to disable RDP up-front to reduce total risk.

5. Updating to SMB 3.1.1

The Server Message Block (SMB) provides a way for client applications to read and write to files and request server resources. Originally introduced for the disk operating system (DOS) as SMB 1.0, SMB has undergone multiple iterations, with the most current version being 3.1.1. To help protect cloud services from potential ransomware attacks, businesses must upgrade to version 3.1.1 and ensure that version 1.0 is fully disabled. Failure to do so could allow hackers to reactivate version 1.0 and leverage the WannaCry vulnerability to compromise systems and install ransomware.

6. Ensuring Encryption is Used for All Sessions

Encryption helps reduce the risk of compromise by making it harder for attackers to discover and exploit critical resources. Ideally, companies should use transport layer security (TLS) v1.3 for maximum protection. Much like SMB, it’s also important to disable TLS 1.0. Why? Because if TLS v1.0 is enabled, attackers could force your server to negotiate down to TLS v1.0, which could, in turn, allow an attack.

It’s also a good idea to boost encryption efficacy by using SSHv2.0 and disabling Telnet port 80 to frustrate common attacker pathways.

7. Prohibiting Macro-Enabled Spreadsheets

Macro-enabled Excel spreadsheets have long been a source of ransomware and other malicious code. If attackers can convince users to download and open these spreadsheets, criminals are then able to install malware droppers that in turn connect with command and control (C&C) servers to download ransomware.

Recent efforts see attackers sending emails to unsuspecting users indicating they’ve been the victims of credit card fraud. Customers call in, are directed to access a malicious website, and then download a macro-enabled spreadsheet that creates a ransomware backdoor on their device. To reduce the risk of ransomware, it’s a good idea to disable the use of macro-enabled spreadsheets across both in-house Microsoft Office and Office 365 deployments.

8. Increasing Total Visibility

Attackers rely on misdirection and obfuscation to install ransomware and encrypt key files. As a result, visibility is critical for security teams. The more they can see, the better they can pinpoint potential weaknesses and identify vulnerabilities.

The challenge? Increasing hybrid cloud adoption naturally leads to reduced visibility. With companies now using multiple private and public clouds to streamline operations, the sheer number of overlapping services and solutions in use makes it difficult to manage and monitor hybrid clouds at scale. To help address this issue, businesses need cloud security tools capable of delivering comprehensive and dynamic visualization that continually interprets access controls across cloud-native and third-party firewalls to help continuously validate security compliance.

9. Recognizing the Role of Due Diligence

No matter where your data is stored, you’re ultimately responsible for its protection. This is true regardless of the service you use. While your cloud provider may offer load balancing, availability, or storage services that help protect your data, due diligence around hybrid cloud security rests with data owners.

This means that if your provider suffers a breach, you bear responsibility if key security processes weren’t followed. As a result, it’s critical to vet any cloud security services provider before signing a service level agreement (SLA) and ensure robust internal backups exist if cloud providers are compromised, or last-mile connection failures interrupt cloud access.

Controlling Ransomware Risks in Your Hybrid Cloud

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to eliminate ransomware in hybrid clouds. Instead, effective cybersecurity in the cloud needs to focus on controlling the risk that comes with distributed data environments.

This starts with the basics, such as ensuring robust encryption, turning off commonly-used ports, and updating SMB and TLS software. It also requires the use of 2FA and MFA solutions coupled with staff education to ensure they recognize the impact of insecure passwords and practices — such as downloading compromised Excel spreadsheets — cloud security as a whole.

Finally, companies must recognize that ultimate responsibility for secure handling, storage, and use of data rests with them — and that the right cloud security services provider can make all the difference when it comes to reducing risk and enhancing defense in the hybrid cloud.

Want more info on ransomware? Check out this white paper on digital resilience and ransomware protection strategies.

Keep it Separate, Keep it Safe: How to Implement and Validate Cloud Network Segmentation

The distributed nature of cloud computing makes it a must-have for business, thanks to on-demand resource availability, network connectivity, and compute scalability.

But the cloud also introduces unique security challenges. First is a rapidly-expanding attack surface: As the number of connected third-party services powered by open-source code and APIs increases, so does the risk of compromise. According to the 2021 IBM Security X-Force Cloud Threat Landscape Report, more than 1,200 of the 2,500 known cloud vulnerabilities had been found within the proceeding 18 months. Additionally, 100 percent of penetration testing efforts by IBM X-Force teams found issues with cloud policies or passwords.

Cloud network segmentation offers a way for companies to reduce the risk of cloud threats. By dividing larger networks into smaller subnets — each of which can be managed individually — businesses can boost protection without sacrificing performance. Here’s how it works.

Why Is Cloud Network Segmentation Valuable to Network Security?

Cloud segmentation is part of larger defense-in-depth (DiD) security practices that look to lower total risk by creating multi-layered frameworks which help protect key data from compromise. DiD is built on the concept that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” security solution — since, with enough time and patience, attackers can compromise any protective process. By layering multiple security measures onto network access points or data storage locations, however, the effort required for compromise increases exponentially, in turn reducing total risk.

And by breaking larger cloud networks down into smaller subnets, the scale of necessary defense decreases, making it possible for teams to differentiate lower-risk subnets from those that need greater protection. Segmentation offers practical benefits for businesses.

Reduced Complexity

Segmenting larger cloud frameworks into smaller cloud networks allows teams to reduce the overall complexity that comes with managing cloud solutions at scale. Instead of trying to find one policy or process that works for cloud networks end-to-end — without introducing security risks to protected data or limiting users’ ease of access — teams can create purpose-built security policies for each network segment.

Increased Granular Control

Segmentation also offers more granular control over network defenses. For example, teams could choose to deploy next-generation firewall tools, such as those capable of discovering and analyzing specific user behaviors, or implement runtime application self-protection (RASP) functions on a case-by-case basis.

Improved Responsiveness

Smaller subnets additionally make it possible for IT professionals to identify and respond to security issues quickly. Here’s why: Given the geographically disparate nature of cloud services — one provider might house their servers locally, while another might be states or countries away — tracking down the root cause of detected issues becomes like finding a digital needle in a virtual haystack. While it’s possible using advanced detection tools and techniques, it could take days or weeks. Segmentation, meanwhile, allows teams to identify and respond to issues on a segment-by-segment basis quickly.

Enhanced Operations

Network segmentation also helps companies enhance operations by aligning with cloud security best practices such as zero trust. Under a zero trust model, user identity is never assumed; instead, it must be proven and verified through authentication. Segmentation makes it possible to apply zero trust where necessary — such as gaining access to network segments that store personally identifiable information (PII) or intellectual property (IP) — in turn helping streamline cloud access without introducing security risk.

How to Implement Network Segmentation

Network segmentation isn’t a new concept — companies have been leveraging physical segmentation of networks for years to reduce the impacts of a potential breach. As the name implies, this type of segmentation uses physical controls such as firewalls to create separate subnets and control traffic flows.

Cloud segmentation, meanwhile, comes with a bigger challenge: Creating network segments across digital environments that may be separated by substantial physical distance. As a result, cloud segmentation was often deemed too complex to work since the sheer amount of unique cloud services, solutions, and environments combined with the dynamic nature of cloud resources meant it was impossible to effectively portion out and protect these subnets.

With the right strategy, however, it’s possible for businesses to both segment and secure their cloud networks. Here, logical rather than physical segmentation is vital. Using either virtual local area networks (VLANs) or more in-depth network addressing schemes, IT teams can create logical subnetworks across cloud services that behave as if they’re physically separate, in turn increasing overall defense.

Worth noting? Validation of these virtual networks is critical to ensure protective measures are working as intended. In practice, this means deploying tools and technologies that make it possible to visualize access across all network environments — local or otherwise — to understand network topology and explore traffic paths. Validation also requires the identification and remediation of issues as they arise. Consider a subnet that includes multiple cloud services. If even one of these services contains vulnerabilities to threats such as Log4j, the entire subnetwork could be at risk. Regular vulnerability scanning paired with active threat identification and remediation is critical to ensure segmentation delivers effective security.

Closing the Cloud Security Gap with RedSeal

Cloud solutions offer the benefit of any time, anywhere access coupled with scalable, on-demand resources. But clouds also introduce unique security challenges around user access, data protection, and security threat monitoring.

As a result, protecting data in the cloud requires a defense-in-depth strategy that creates layers of protection rather than relying on a single service or technology to defend against evolving threats. Cloud network segmentation is one key component in this DiD strategy — by logically segmenting cloud services into smaller and more manageable networks, companies can reduce complexity, increase control and improve responsiveness.

But segmentation alone isn’t enough; enterprises also need the ability to visualize multiple micro-networks at scale, identify potential issues and quickly remediate concerns.

Ready to get started? Discover how RedSeal can help visualize, verify and validate your cloud network segmentation. Watch a Demo.

Future-Proofing Your Security Infrastructure

Cybersecurity is getting more complicated every day. Why is this happening? Organizations are seeing their infrastructure becoming more complex, attack surfaces growing dramatically, and threats from cybercriminals evolving. What’s more, the reliance on public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments — coupled with more remote workers — has expanded the security perimeter for many organizations.

Even before COVID burst onto the scene, cybercrime was on the rise. Instead of a lone hacker sitting in a dark basement, contemporary cyber threat actors are part of organized crime rings.

All these trends underscore the importance of future-proofing your security infrastructure to combat major security threats and protect your mission-critical data.

Cyberattacks Are on the Rise: Data Tells the Tale

From Solar Winds to the Colonial Pipeline attack, cybercriminals have been making headlines in recent years. In addition, statistics reveal that cyberattacks are an ever-growing problem:

Attacks are more prevalent, and they are getting more expensive. The average cost of a data breach now exceeds $4.2 million per incident and can cause recurring problems for years. On average, more than $2.9 million is lost to cybercrime every minute.

Despite increased spending on cybersecurity and best efforts by chief information security officers (CISOs) and information technology (IT) teams, nearly 80% of senior IT leaders believe their organizations lack sufficient protection against cyber-attacks. With the rising threat, every organization needs a strategy to future-proof its infrastructure.

What is Future-Proofing?

Future-proofing your cyber security creates a robust foundation that can evolve as your organization grows and new cyber threats emerge. This includes continually assessing your infrastructure for security gaps, proactively identifying threats, and remediating potential weaknesses.

Future-proof planning encompasses the totality of your security efforts. Failure to plan puts your entire organization at risk. You simply cannot afford to be left unprotected against current and future threats.

What Can (and Can’t) Be Future-Proofed within Your Technology Infrastructure?

What makes future-proofing technology challenging is that we don’t know exactly what the IT landscape will look like in the future. A few years ago, who knew we would see the explosion in the number of remote employees  — often working on unprotected home networks.

The good news is that the cloud has given us tremendous flexibility and helps us future-proof without overspending right now on capacity we may or may not need. With nearly infinite scalability, cloud applications have allowed organizations to adapt and grow as necessary. However, it’s also put more sensitive and proprietary data online than ever before and made IT infrastructure more complex.

To future-proof your infrastructure, you need an approach for visualizing, monitoring, and managing security risks across every platform and connection. This lets you expand your security perimeter as your network grows and proactively identify new exposure as you evolve.

How Can Organizations Prepare for the Future?

Security needs to be part of every company’s DNA. Before you make any business decisions, you should run through security filters to ensure the right safeguards are in place. It takes a security culture that goes beyond the IT departments to future-proof your organization.

With data in the cloud, there’s a shared security responsibility. For example, public cloud providers take responsibility for their cloud security, but they are not responsible for your apps, servers, or data security. Too many companies are still relying on cloud providers to protect assets and abdicating their part of the shared security model.

Between multi-cloud, hybrid cloud environments, and a mix of cloud and on-prem applications, it’s become increasingly difficult to track and manage security across every platform. Many security tools only work in one of these environments, so piecing together solutions is also challenging.

For example, do you know the answers to these questions:

  • What resources do we have across all our public cloud and on-premises environments?
  • Are any of these resources unintentionally exposed to the internet?
  • What access is possible within and between cloud and on-premises environments?
  • Do our cloud deployments meet security best practices?
  • How do we validate our cloud network segmentation policies?
  • Are we remediating the riskiest vulnerabilities in the cloud first?

An in-depth visualization of the topology and hierarchy of your infrastructure can uncover vulnerabilities, identify exposure, and provide targeted remediation strategies.

You also need a cloud security solution to identify every resource connected to the internet. Whether you’re using AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, or other public cloud resources along with private cloud and on-prem resources, you need a holistic view of security.

Traditional security information and event management (SEIM) systems often produce a large volume of data, making it unwieldy to identify and isolate the highest priority concerns. You need a network model across all resources to accelerate network incident response and quickly locate any compromised device on the network.

Another necessity is continuous penetration tests to measure your state of readiness and re-evaluate your security posture. This helps future-proof your security as you add resources and new threats emerge.

Create a Secure Future for Your Organization

Creating a secure future for your organization is essential. As IT infrastructure and connectivity become more complex, attack surfaces continue to grow, and cybercriminals evolve their tactics, the risks are too great for your company, customers, and career not to build a secure foundation. You need to do more than plan your response to an incident and must know how to prevent cyberattacks with proactive security measures.

Secure all your network environments — public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises — in one comprehensive, dynamic visualization. That’s Red Seal.

RedSeal — through its cloud security solution and professional services — helps government agencies and Global 2000 companies measurably reduce their cyber risk by showing them what’s in all their network environments and where resources are exposed to the internet. RedSeal verifies that networks align with security best practices, validates network segmentation policies, and continuously monitors compliance with policies and regulations.

Contact Red Seal today to take a test drive.

Mitigating Cloud Security’s Greatest Risk: Exposure

Cloud security is complex and distributed. Implementing security controls across on-premise environments traditionally sits with the information security team, but in the cloud, the responsibility could be distributed across developers, DevOps and InfoSec teams. DevOps and developers don’t primarily focus on security, and the impact is often seen as an increase in misconfigurations introducing the risk of breaches.

These security challenges in the cloud have become so prevalent that Gartner has defined cloud security posture management (CSPM) as a new category of security products designed to identify misconfiguration issues and risks in the cloud. CSPM tools today are relied on to provide visibility and compliance into the cloud infrastructure but still haven’t been able to address this issue at scale for InfoSec teams. These teams require solutions that can provide risk-based prioritized remediations in an automated way to handle the cloud scale and complexity. To determine which issues to remediate first, the InfoSec teams need to identify critical resources with unintended and accidental exposure to the internet and other untrusted parts of their cloud.

Calculating Exposure Considering All Security Controls

Whether they are on-prem or in the cloud, security professionals worry about getting breached. One recent report said 69% of organizations admit they had experienced at least one cyber-attack that started by exploiting an unknown or unmanaged internet-facing asset. Bad actors can now simply scan the perimeter of your cloud, look for exposed things and get into your network this way.

Cloud security providers (CSPs) like Amazon Web Service and Microsoft Azure have attempted to solve security by developing their own sets of controls, ranging from implementing security groups and network access control lists (NACLs) to developing their own native network firewalls.

Cloud-first companies often rely on these native tools from the CSPs, but for others who aren’t as far along on their cloud journey, making the transition from traditional on-prem to cloud workloads means pulling along their network security practitioners with them. These teams, who often aren’t cloud experts, are responding by deploying third-party firewalls and load balancers in the cloud due to their longstanding familiarity with them from the on-prem world.

Furthermore, the rise of application containerization with Kubernetes (and its corresponding flavors from AWS, Azure and Google Cloud) allows additional security controls such as pod security policies and ingress controllers.

These security controls are invaluable tools for security teams scrambling to secure their sprawling cloud environments and some under the control of development and DevOps teams. Still, they are largely unaccounted for by current CSPM tools when attempting to assess unintended exposure risk.

Current CSPM Solutions Don’t Accurately Calculate Access

Existing solutions look for misconfigurations at the compute or container level but don’t truly understand end-to-end access from critical resources to an untrusted network. They are essentially calling into the APIs of CSPs, and so if the setting in AWS for a particular subnet equals “public,” the tool believes there is exposure to the internet. That’s not necessarily true because a security team may have other controls in place, like a 3rd party firewall or Kubernetes security policy that successfully prevents access, or the security control is not in the path to the critical resources and not protecting them.

The result is that already short-staffed security teams are spending their days chasing security issues that do not impact the organization the most. The question to ask of today’s CSPM products is whether they are repeating data from CSPs based on their settings or accurately calculating effective reachability to their critical resources (and through which specific controls). Security teams need accurate and complete information to inform their remediation options, which can identify CSP-native security groups to specific ports and protocols controlling the access that may allow exposure to occur.

Increasing cloud complexity is making security as challenging as ever. The ability to quickly identify at-risk resources would go a long way in preventing many potential data breaches. Still, the approach that current tools take is incomplete and disregards much of what security teams are already doing to address the problem. Tools need to account for all security controls in place if security teams are to have truly accurate information on which to act.

For more information on RedSeal Stratus, our new CSPM solution, check out our website or sign up for our Early Adopters program.

Why Cloud Network Segmentation Is Critical to Defense-in-Depth (DiD) Security Model

Cloud computing is hotter than ever before. The reason is quite simple: business organizations find it easier to integrate cloud solutions with their ongoing business operations. In addition, cloud solutions are often more cost-effective than deploying in-house servers and developing custom Information Technology (IT) enterprise tools.

According to Markets and Markets, the global cloud computing market is on track to grow from roughly $445 billion in 2021 to $947.3 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3%. More organizations are shifting their pivotal business activities to secure cloud networks. And the growth of innovative cloud technologies in the market adds fuel to the fire of worldwide enterprise cloud adoption.

As more organizations continue to migrate their workloads and applications to the cloud, security issues will become more prominent, requiring a dynamic solution that offers secure communication pathways between complex IT environments. Cloud network segmentation and defense in depth (DiD) security model can provide a way forward.

The Cloud Introduces Unique Security Challenges

Despite its growth and promise,  cloud computing poses many unique cybersecurity challenges. In cloud computing, data is stored with a third-party cloud solutions provider and accessed over the internet. This setup limits the visibility and control over data. Along with that, most cloud computing security risks are associated with cloud data security. A 2021 Statista survey reveals that data loss is one of the top cloud security concerns for 64% of the respondents.

On a similar note, the latest survey from Cloud Security Alliance queried 1900 IT and security professionals from a variety of organizations and found that 58% of the respondents are concerned about security in the cloud. Over 10% of the respondents reported cloud security incidents in the past year with security misconfigurations and cyberattacks such as denial of service being the most common causes.

What is Cloud Network Segmentation?

Network Segmentation is a proven network security technique that divides a network into smaller, manageable sub-networks that enable network security teams to compartmentalize the sub-networks. Once the network has been divided into smaller yet easily manageable segments, the security team can deliver high-end security tools and services to each segment.

But the common misconception is that network segmentation cannot work in the ecosystem due to the dynamic nature of clouds. This dynamic nature coupled with the unlimited scalability of the clouds attracts businesses towards cloud computing. But many believe that it has turned more complex to manage. Some believe that segmentation demands rigid policies defined by Internet Protocols (IPs), suitable for on-premises networks, but not for Software-Defined Networking (SDN). In popular opinion, smaller, structured, and secured zones never work in a dynamic environment like cloud networks.

Contrary to popular notions, today, many business organizations are implementing cloud network segmentation to enhance their cloud security and ensure compliance. It proves that network segmentation can be done in clouds, and it doesn’t need to be so rigid.

What is Defense In-Depth Security Model?

Defense-in-Depth (DiD) security model is the latest cybersecurity strategy that devises a multi-layered defensive mechanism to protect your valuable data and information. During an event of a cyberattack, if one defensive mechanism fails, the next one comes forward to prevent the cyberattack. This cybersecurity approach, with deliberate redundancies, identifies various cyberattack vectors and augments the comprehensive security of a system.

DiD is also popularly known as the ‘castle approach’ as it reminds us of the layered guarding of a medieval castle. To successfully infiltrate a castle, you must face many challenging obstacles such as moats, barricades, ramparts, drawbridges, towers, and bastions. Similarly, a hacker or malware must tackle several cybersecurity barriers to launch an attack on a network or an IT system guarded with Defense In-Depth security model.

Digital technology has stirred up the way we live, work and play. Today, almost every enterprise all over the globe is hurrying up to set its foot in the digital world. But, unfortunately, the digital world is highly vulnerable to various types of cyberattacks. On top of that, a single cybersecurity method can’t successfully protect a digital ecosystem from this plethora of cyberattacks. It is where the Defense-in-Depth security model comes into play.

Defense-in-Depth security model–a multi-layered cybersecurity approach–can significantly improve the security of every segment of IT system from a computer to an enterprise’s Wide Area Network (WAN) that accommodates 50,000 users. When an enterprise deploys different lines of defenses such as firewalls, Intrusion Detection (IDS), and Prevention Systems (IPS) together, it can effectively eliminate the vulnerability of relying on a single cybersecurity solution.

How Does Cloud Network Segmentation Support a Defense In-Depth Strategy?

Cloud network segmentation, at its heart, is a Defense-in-Depth cybersecurity approach. It can effectively reduce the risk of data breaches as it wraps layer upon layer of security around IT systems and data. This multi-layered cybersecurity strategy prevents malicious malware from spreading across every network in a business organization. It can also efficiently block hackers from quickly accessing networks and eliminate the possibility of sensitive data from being exposed.

A handful of cloud security solutions providers bring hybrid cloud security solutions like DiD that can precisely meet your business standards, requirements, and goals.

Build a Solid First Line of Defense with RedSeal

In today’s Digital Age, we witness the rising intelligent integration of cloud computing in the enterprise sphere. In this highly competitive scenario, Cloud Network Segmentation and Defense-In-Depth Security Model, without a doubt, boost the performance, security, and reliability of your network.

RedSeal gives a boost to your enterprise’s cyber resilience in a transparent yet straightforward way. We help business organizations boldly face the challenges of escalating cyber complexity and threats. At RedSeal, we help clients understand the intricacies of their network and the risks associated with it.

Visit us to know more about how our cloud security solutions can help you quickly validate your security policies and prioritize issues compromising your most valuable network assets.

Visibility: The key to proper Cloud Security Posture Management

Cloud security has become increasingly complex and distributed. The rapid transition to remote work and increased cloud adoption have changed the IT landscape dramatically, which has produced new vectors for cyber attacks and data breaches. Today’s cyber criminals aren’t necessarily trying to knock down doors. Organizations are actually leaving many of them open themselves. According to Gartner, through 2023, “…at least 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.”

This is an unsettling prediction, but not entirely surprising given realities that teams face today. The overwhelming complexity of the cloud systems asks for both expertise in both application development and security, which is perhaps unreasonable. The placement of security controls has moved away from security teams and into application development teams.

CSPM: The industry’s response to cloud complexity

To deal with this complexity and constant change, a new market segment has emerged broadly referred to as Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), which is typically used by security organizations that want the equivalent visibility and security that they’ve had with on-premise environments.

Current CSPM technology aims to help security teams understand what resources they have in their cloud environments, what security controls are in place, how it is all really configured–and to automate as much of it as possible. And while it is largely successful in accomplishing these feats, CSPM in its current form isn’t without its limitations. As we’ve learned in the past with our approach to securing on-premise networks, visibility plays a fundamental role.

The importance of visibility

It’s not uncommon for organizations to lose track of their cloud deployments over time, considering it only takes a developer and a department credit card to spin up a cloud environment. Nowadays developers are empowered to innovate at speed and scale but who is actually keeping track of these newly-created multi-cloud VPCs, VNETs, and VCNs? Even more worrisome–who is responsible for securing them?

There are always unknowns when networks grow and change, but we also know that tools that provide visibility can give security teams a more accurate, dynamic and comprehensive look at what resources they have, how they are connected and the risks associated with them.

Unfortunately, many CSPM tools present their findings in static, tabular forms and it can be challenging to get an understanding of the relationships between resources, such as between multiple accounts and whether they’re shared or not. Teams are often being asked to secure unmonitored cloud environments and can benefit from a visual, interactive model of their organization’s cloud resources.

This visibility allows security teams to gain full awareness of their cloud footprint and reduce their overall attack surface by understanding the interconnectivity between their resources. Some CSPM tools can show connectivity where there is traffic, but security teams want to calculate how an instance gets to the Internet, what security points it goes through, and through which port and protocols.

Understanding end-to-end access

Current CSPM solutions remain insufficient when it comes to accurately calculating access that can lead to data breaches. Many tools simply call into the APIs of CSPs looking for misconfigurations at the compute and container levels but they don’t fully understand “end-to-end” access. For example, they may only look at a setting in AWS that states a particular subnet is “public” so therefore it’s exposed. That’s not necessarily true because there may have other security controls in place, such as 3rd party firewalls or their own Kubernetes security policy.

For example, perhaps a network security engineer who doesn’t understand native AWS and Azure firewalls instead decides to use a 3rd party firewall from a vendor they’re already familiar with. If that firewall is blocking access to the public-facing Internet, current CSPM tools won’t recognize it, and security engineers can spend their days chasing false positives simply due to a lack of accurate information involving access.

Prioritizing exposed resources

With increased cloud complexity comes increased risk–there were over 200 reported breaches in the past 2 years due to misconfigured cloud deployments. Several of the largest data breaches occurred when cloud misconfigurations left critical resources exposed to untrusted networks, so prioritization efforts should begin there. Unintended access and Shadow IT can also lead to cloud leaks, and so by establishing an “exposure first” security approach, cloud security teams can identify key vulnerabilities and prevent costly breaches.

CSPM is a key ally in the fight to secure the cloud, but security teams need additional visibility and improved accuracy that is still lacking in many

For more information on RedSeal’s CSPM solution, RedSeal Stratus, check out our website. Or sign up for the Pilot program.

RedSeal Opens Stratus Early Adopter Program to Security Teams Struggling with Cloud Security

Stratus — a SaaS-based Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution — addresses dangers of exposure and unintended access issues; Free webinar and demo on December 8

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RedSeal today introduced its Stratus Early Adopter Program, which provides select customers and prospects the opportunity to evaluate the company’s new SaaS-based Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solution. The new Stratus SaaS offering is focused on providing visibility to cloud and Kubernetes inventory and determining exposed resources in cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Implementing security controls for cloud environments now extends beyond the responsibility of traditional network security teams, and today includes application developers and DevOps teams. These controls must also consider workload containerization such as Kubernetes, and native offerings from Cloud Security Providers such as Amazon Web Services. As a result, there is exponential growth and pervasiveness of misconfigurations, which put high value resources at risk of unintended exposure to the Internet.

Current members of the Stratus Early Adopter Program represent enterprises ranging from banking and financial services firms, to federal government agencies and high-tech companies. These users have reported benefiting from Stratus’ ability to easily see both exposure and conductivity in and across all accounts in a single view.

Security challenges in the cloud have become so prevalent that Gartner has defined CSPM as a new category of security products designed to identify misconfiguration issues and risks in the cloud. As a CSPM, RedSeal Stratus helps security teams better manage this increased risk by:

  • Immediately identifying which resources are unintentionally exposed to the Internet due to misconfigurations
  • Visualizing their complete AWS cloud architecture to truly understand connectivity between and within cloud resources
  • Understanding their Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) inventory and identifying overly permissive user and service accounts

“Everyone knows that visibility is critical for CSPM to meet its full potential, but very few vendors are delivering on this promise,” said Bryan Barney, RedSeal CEO. “What makes visibility so powerful is the true calculation of access and exposure, and not simply the reliance on CSP settings. With RedSeal Stratus, we are now providing the most accurate, reliable and actionable approach to calculating access and exposure in the cloud.”

RedSeal Stratus is currently focused on AWS cloud environments. Recognizing the demand for better security posture management across Microsoft Azure and Kubernetes environments, Stratus will evolve to support these platforms early next year, making Stratus a complete, robust CSPM solution. Participants of the Stratus Early Adopter Program are eligible for a free 6-month subscription to RedSeal Stratus, with up to 3,000 EC2 instances.

Stratus Webinar and Demonstration

RedSeal will be hosting a free webinar for customers and prospects interested in joining the Stratus Early Adopter Program. The online event will take place on Tuesday, December 8th at 11:00am PST and will provide an exclusive overview of RedSeal’s new SaaS-based CSPM solution. The webinar will cover how RedSeal Stratus can help security teams better manage increased cloud security risks with:

  • Complete and up-to-date visualization of cloud infrastructure
  • Detailed knowledge of Amazon EKS accounts and policies
  • Out-of-the-box dashboard that identifies resources that exposed to the Internet

Click here to register for the free event.

About RedSeal

RedSeal — a security solutions and professional services company — helps government agencies and Global 2000 companies see and secure their on-premise networks and cloud environments. RedSeal Stratus, the company’s SaaS CSPM solution, gives an integrated view of cloud security posture through visualization of cloud-native and Kubernetes controls, and shows which resources are unintentionally exposed to the Internet. RedSeal’s Classic product brings in all network environments — public and private clouds as well as on-premises. This award-winning security solution verifies that networks align with security best practices, validates network segmentation policies, and continuously monitors compliance with policies and regulations. It also prioritizes mitigation based on each vulnerability’s associated risk. The company is based in San Jose, Calif. Follow RedSeal on Twitter and LinkedIn.

State and Local Cybersecurity Threats in 2021: Weathering the Storm

Recent pandemic pressures have created the perfect storm for state and local cybersecurity breaches. With some staff still working from home, state and local agencies face the challenge of deploying defense at a distance over networks, connections, and applications that are often insecure, unencrypted, and in many cases unapproved. What’s more, ransomware has surged — a significant problem since less than 40 percent of state and local staff members have received training on how to prevent cyberattacks.

The result is an increasing volume of local and state government cybersecurity threats, which are occurring across the country. For example, GovTech reported that an issue with third-party software exposed more than 38 million health records across states, including Texas, Indiana, Maryland, and New York. Another case reported by Healthcare IT News detailed a smaller-scale breach in California caused by a single employee that occurred over ten months and exposed both patient and employee data.

With hybrid work here to stay and cyberattacks on the rise, government organizations need to improve cybersecurity practices. They must focus on protecting against breaches that can compromise data, impair operations, and cause significant expenses.

Identifying the Biggest Barriers in Effective Defense

Before agencies can deploy better cybersecurity measures, they must identify critical vulnerabilities and threat vectors. And while every state and local government faces unique data handling and security challenges, three barriers to effective defense are common: visibility, accessibility, and resiliency.

Visibility

Traditionally, state and local governments have been behind the curve when it comes to technology adoption. As noted by research firm Deloitte, however, evolving citizen expectations around access and ease of use “will require uprooting outdated systems and practices and replacing them with new models.” As a result, agencies are now looking to expand their agility to streamline service availability and improve collaboration. To meet these goals, many have integrated and deployed cloud-based software, platforms, and infrastructure.

While these solutions offer improved agility and efficiency, they introduce significant new security risks. IT teams can not keep track of every app and service in use, which reduces visibility while simultaneously expanding the total attack surface.

Accessibility

For most state and local governments, the problem here isn’t too little access for employees that require it — it’s too much for those that don’t. One common example of excessive access occurs when staff complete one project and move to another. In many cases, their existing permissions aren’t revoked. Instead, new access is simply layered on top of the old, which creates a security risk. And with insider threats often more challenging to detect than their external counterparts, it’s now critical for agencies to identify, control, and correct for excessive access.

Resiliency

Most state and local governments have familiar security controls such as firewalls and antivirus scanners in place to catch potential threats. However, many lack the tools and tactics required to remediate issues when they occur, mitigate the amount of damage done and get services back up and running.

The result is IT environments that are primed to respond but struggle with resiliency. To effectively manage evolving threat landscapes, state and local governments need security plans and policies covering all aspects of an attack — from initial compromise to identification, isolation, remediation, and restoration.

Exploring the Issue of State and Local Breaches

So what do these breaches look like in practice? Let’s explore the impact of three recent scenarios.

1) New York State, January 2020

In January 2020, New York state officials found themselves up against a massive cyberattack that disabled access to databases used by the state’s civil service, environmental department, and police force. Likely the work of foreign actors, the hack went unreported for months, even as officials looked to restore critical access.

As noted by Security Today, the state received word about a potential flaw — and available patch — for its Citrix-based systems in December 2019. Unfortunately, the state did not install the patch in time to prevent the issue. As a consequence, more than 80,000 state devices were vulnerable to malware compromise. While it appears attackers didn’t access any citizen data, the state had to cover the costs of a three-week forensic investigation of more than 40 servers.

2) Multiple Municipalities, June 2021

Local government cybersecurity teams often look to save time and money by using the same services as other municipalities. It makes sense: They’ve been proven to work with government systems and generally have a track record for reliability.

However, if service providers become compromised, the results can be far-reaching. As reported by ZDNet, that’s what happened across dozens of municipalities in the US when a Massachusetts software provider used misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets. As a result, more than 1,000 gigabytes (GB) of data and 1.6 million files were exposed. Compromised data included email addresses, physical addresses, and driver’s license information, along with deed and tax records.

3) Oldsmar, Florida, February 2021

A cyberattack on Oldsmar, Florida in 2021 didn’t compromise data access or expose files. Instead, it nearly poisoned the town’s 15,000 residents. On February 5th, a plant operator at the local water treatment facility received an alert that someone had gained remote system access. The attacker opened multiple applications and services and then increased the concentration of sodium hydroxide — also called lye — to 100 times its normal level. Fortunately, operators were able to retake control and cancel the change quickly and prevent disastrous consequences.

Grant Funding for State and Local Governments

The good news is some new help is on the horizon for local and state government cybersecurity, thanks to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. The plan includes $1 billion in cybersecurity grants to help local and state governments boost their defense. If approved, the new program would offer $200 million worth of grants in 2022, $400 million in 2023, $300 million in 2024, and $100 million in 2025. In addition, the plan funds creation of a response and recovery fund at the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which would give an additional boost to cybersecurity efforts.

Mitigating the Impact of Cybersecurity Threats

Mitigating the impact of local and state cybersecurity threats depends on a strategy of defense in depth. In practice, this requires a three-step approach: Identification, evaluation, and implementation.

Identification focuses on finding potential threats in current cyber defenses — such as those tied to open source software, authorized apps, excessive access, and unintended exposure to the Internet. Evaluation includes internal and external assessment of existing security policies to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what vulnerabilities state and local governments need to prioritize. Finally, implementation looks to deploy security solutions that directly address key concerns, such as comprehensive cloud security services that provide visibility into public, private, and hybrid stacks simultaneously to empower threat detection and response.

Battening Down the Hatches

State and local governments now face a trifecta of security challenges: remote work, ransomware, and worker education. The combination creates ideal circumstances for malicious actors. By taking advantage of ideal compromise conditions, attackers can breach government networks, access critical services, and exfiltrate citizens’ data.

The result is a growing need to batten down the digital hatches by creating and implementing an in-depth strategy to help build robust, reliable, and resilient security infrastructure. To prevent risks and a host of unwanted outcomes, state and local governments need to prioritize cybersecurity.

Ready to boost cyber resiliency and better weather the storm? Click here to see a demo of RedSeal’s cloud security solution in action.

Join us!

Hear from Shannon Lawson, CISO, City of Phoenix, how the state and local agency leaned toward hardening their environment from attacks, recognized exposures, secured infrastructures, mitigated risks, and stayed compliant. The live webinar is January 18, 2022. Register now and don’t miss out!

Why Cloud Security Posture Management Is Essential to Your Overall Security Plan

I think we’d all agree the last year and a half has brought disruption, and cloud security wasn’t exempt. The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically expanded attack surfaces as companies transitioned to remote work and embraced the cloud. But let’s be clear: the cloud is not a magic bullet. Yes, the cloud is relatively new and exciting, and it does prevent some of the old security mistakes. And yes, the cloud does close off some previously vulnerable spaces. But at the same time, it opens up new ways to do things wrong.

This is where a strategy called cloud security posture management (CSPM) comes in. The goal of CSPM is to find and reduce attack surfaces, and then eliminate misconfigurations through continuous monitoring of cloud infrastructure. This is important, because more than 99% of cloud breaches have their root cause in customer misconfigurations and mistakes, according to Gartner.

House on fire

I like to use the analogy of a brick house. Even if a house is made of perfect bricks, is it immune to falling down? No. Naturally, when you build a house, you want to make sure the bricks you’re using are solid. But even then, the house can still fall if built incorrectly. Cloud innovators push an approach called “shift left” (meaning detecting problems sooner in the build process), but this is no replacement for checking the final result. After all, no matter how carefully you check a building’s blueprints, the final structure will inevitably be different.

CSPM automates the process of ensuring the individual bricks are OK, but more importantly, makes sure the house as a whole is constructed properly, so it won’t collapse when the big bad wolf (or a squad of hackers) comes along and tries to blow it down.

But what makes CSPM so compelling from a security standpoint is that it’s proactive, not reactive like endpoint management or extended detection and response (XDR). These are analogous to fire alarms for your building. Alarms are necessary for sure, but you have to actually prevent some fires, not just wait and react. So, while firefighting is critical, part of your budget should be for tools that prevent fires in the first place and plan ahead for resilience of your infrastructure when a fire does break out.

CSPM is all about being proactive and putting the right processes in place so that fewer fires start, and spread less when they do happen. Sure, mistakes and misconfigurations will still happen. CSPM recognizes this reality, but proactively hunts for the ingredients that drive security fires rather than just accepting that they can’t be stopped.

The fantasy of DevSecOps

Your developers are not security gurus. The framework called DevSecOps advocates adding security practitioners into the software development and DevOps teams. DevSecOps strives to find a happy balance between development teams that want to release software quickly and security teams that prioritize protection. But, to me, this is too optimistic a notion – it glosses over the fundamental differences that must exist between security thinkers and app developers. Developers think “how can I make this work?”, but security is about thinking backwards – “how can this be abused?”

Security is also fundamentally a big-picture problem, where all interactions have to be considered. Getting back to the building analogy, CSPM lets you compare the final structure to the blueprints used to construct it. It allows you to examine the building to see whether there are any flaws or points of structural weakness that the bad guys can exploit to get in. Humans aren’t good at continuous detail checking, but it’s a great job for automated software.

Context is king

Context is everything. The blueprints don’t tell you whether you’re building on sand or building on bedrock. CSPM provides that critical context not just for one section of your structure but for the entire building and its surroundings.

CSPM also automatically determines whether all the cloud applications and services across your entire organization are configured correctly and securely. It’s simply not possible to hire enough security professionals to do that on their own. It’s not that people you have aren’t good; it’s that you’ll never have enough people who are experts in all the rapidly changing cloud languages and configurations.

Bad guys are actively hunting for new openings in your cloud. CSPM is quickly becoming one of the best ways to close the gaps in your security posture and shut the door on those who intend to do you harm.

Check out RedSeal Stratus – our new CSPM tool that offers the worlds most accurate, reliable, and actionable approach to calculating access and exposure. You can join the pilot program now!