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From increased scalability and time-to-market to reduced operational costs, the cloud has enabled businesses on a swift path to innovation and growth. However, the path to modernization isn’t as swift when it comes to cloud security.
Securing the cloud is a challenge in its own right due to the distributed and complex nature of the infrastructure. But securing the massive volume of data across the cloud environment is even more of a paramount concern. This is because petabytes of data are stored in thousands of data repositories across dozens of geographies and cloud instances or services.
Over the years, cloud security posture management (CSPM) has done an excellent job of protecting the cloud infrastructure. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped data breaches from happening. On the contrary, data breaches are now more of a security issue in the cloud than before. Here, data security posture management (DSPM) plays a huge role in complementing CSPM practices and offering robust data protection and compliance.
Let’s learn more about the differences between DSPM vs. CSPM and how these technologies complement each other for increased data security.
According to Gartner,
“Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) consists of offerings that continuously manage IaaS and PaaS security posture through prevention, detection and response to cloud infrastructure risks.”
To understand it better, let’s take an example of a fortress. If an invading force were to attempt to beach a fortress, they would be able to do so through any unmonitored entry points that could be vulnerable, such as hidden underground passages, unguarded walls, and less fortified secondary or rear gates. Similarly, CSPM solutions scan a cloud infrastructure for vulnerabilities, allowing information security teams to identify potential infrastructure risks and resolve misconfigurations.
CSPM solutions include a number of automated configuration checks mapped to various security controls prescribed by security and compliance standards, such as CIS, NIST, or PCIDSS. The solution scans the cloud environment (IaaS and PaaS) and its configurations for issues, such as unrestricted ports, exposed storage buckets, or weak authentication techniques. By monitoring the infrastructure continuously, CSPM resolves the issues or misconfigurations to address the risks before they could lead to security, reputational, and compliance problems.
CSPM is based on a wide range of capabilities that allow organizations to identify and resolve security risks and vulnerabilities in their cloud infrastructure. Some of the capabilities that are commonly available across various CSPM offerings include the following:
It is critical to note that CSPM tools may discover cloud storage resources or a managed database containing data, they don't discover and classify data due to the lack of an understanding of data. This means that they treat all data resources alike.
Hence, with a CSPM solution alone, you won’t know which misconfigured data asset to protect first out of the 100s of thousands of assets across the cloud environment containing petabytes of data.
According to Gartner, DSPM is the process that provides
“visibility as to where sensitive data is, who has access to that data, how it has been used, and what the security posture of the data store or application is.”
DSPM provides a data-first approach to cloud security, unlike CSPM solutions that do not know what data exists inside a cloud data asset. Let’s take the example of a fortress that we discussed above.
In the analogy of the fortress, the emphasis is on security measures, such as walls or guards that protect the castle. But what about the treasure that lies in that castle? What if the castle is successfully invaded would the treasure be safe? Not unless there’s also a strong security vault that protects the treasure.
Similarly, Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) is all about the controls, policies, and technologies put in place to protect the data across public clouds.
Overall, DSPM answers the following concerns:
The core capabilities of a typical data security posture management solution include the following:
CSPM and DSPM are two distinct approaches to cybersecurity. While the two technologies might overlap in some instances, there are some key differences that set them apart.
For starters, CSPM focuses on protecting the cloud infrastructure and its resources. This is why CSPM covers only IaaS and PaaS components, such as virtual private clouds or machines, relational databases, compute instances, lambda functions, and serverless components. From a risk management standpoint, CSPM doesn’t know which data assets need prioritization due to a lack of intelligence around data.
In contrast, DSPM focuses on the security posture of the data in public clouds. It first dives deep into the understanding of data, gaining visibility into the type of the data, its sensitivity, its geographies, its transformation over time, and how it is being accessed or used in terms of its activity. By leveraging such comprehensive intelligence around data, DSPM enables teams to improve the configuration security posture. This includes controlling access around data to prevent unauthorized access and encrypting or masking sensitive data to comply with global data privacy regulations, especially policies around cross-border data transfers and sensitive data sharing, to name a few.
Regardless of the difference between DSPM and CSPM, the two technologies are equally critical for comprehensive cloud security. CSPM may not be effective at protecting data, but it is required for the protection of computing and network resources. DSPM, on the other hand, is more effective in prioritizing data risk based on the type and sensitivity of data.
Based on a Unified Data Controls framework, Securiti’s DataControls Cloud™ helps organizations optimize and enhance the security posture across all their corporate data. Securiti offers the best of DSPM capabilities by unifying intelligence around data (at rest and in motion), access governance policies and controls, data transformation insights, data mapping automation, and the ability to reduce misconfigured data systems.
Securiti goes beyond typical DSPM solutions that support only the public cloud by delivering a unified solution that secures data across public clouds, private clouds, data clouds, and SaaS. Securiti Data Controls Cloud has been named the Gartner Cool Vendor in data security for helping customers mitigate liability around sensitive data as they pursue their digital transformation journey while reducing the cost and complexity of operations.
Request a demo to see Securiti’s DataControls Cloud™ in action.
At Securiti, our mission is to enable enterprises to safely harness the incredible power of data and the cloud by controlling the complex security, privacy and compliance risks.