Consulting with a Conscience™

A cruciallogics blog

Written by Amol Joshi
on March 18, 2024

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

Many companies depend on cloud infrastructure to power up operations and deliver services. With this migration towards the cloud, organizations are expected to encounter a new set of security challenges that traditional approaches struggle to address. 

This is where Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) comes in. CSPM is like a vigilant guardian, tirelessly scanning the vast expanse of the cloud environment, ensuring fortification against potential threats. 

In this article, we will uncover all there is about CSPM and why you need it for your organization.

What is CSPM?

CSPM is a security framework designed to bolster the defenses of cloud infrastructure. It does this by identifying and remedying misconfigurations and compliance risks. This proactive approach involves constantly monitoring and automatically fixing vulnerabilities to prevent exploitation by cyber attackers. Some of the service models that benefit from CSPM include IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and platforms AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. 

A good example of CSPM in action is Microsoft's Defender for Cloud, a comprehensive security suite that uses CSPM as a core feature. This platform provides continuous monitoring across diverse cloud environments, providing organizations with real-time insights into their security posture. 

Why is CSPM Important?

As companies increasingly embrace cloud technology, security teams' tasks become more daunting. CSPM solutions assist organizations in recognizing and resolving cloud security risks, misconfigurations, and compliance concerns. 

Let's take a closer look at why CSPM is so important:

1. Enhanced Visibility

Gaining visibility into all cloud services distributed across various cloud providers can be challenging. CSPM solutions offer centralized visibility across cloud and multi-cloud environments by analyzing and normalizing data sources.

This provides security teams with a detailed inventory of cloud resources and assets. With this comprehensive visibility, organizations can effectively monitor their entire cloud infrastructure, identify potential security risks, and track changes across different cloud platforms.


2. Misconfiguration Detection

CSPM solutions excel in detecting misconfigurations within complex cloud environments. Because they continuously scan the cloud configurations against best practices and security standards, CSPM tools promptly flag any potential misconfigurations that could expose organizations to security risks. 

3. Compliance Management

Compliance with industry regulations and standards is paramount for organizations operating in the cloud. CSPM solutions monitor cloud environments for adherence to regulatory requirements and industry standards. 

By providing real-time insights into compliance status and generating compliance reports, CSPM helps organizations demonstrate compliance to auditors and regulatory bodies, ensuring adherence to relevant regulations and standards.

4. Security Posture Improvement

CSPM improves the overall security posture by identifying and addressing security gaps and vulnerabilities in the cloud. Its nature of continuous monitoring makes it possible to implement proactive security measures. Whenever potential threats are identified, the security team is promptly notified, and resources are directed to defend the systems. 

5. Automated Remediation

The purpose of having CSPM solutions is to monitor and remediate security threats in real-time automatically. Most threats that cause the most damage to organizations are usually unmonitored and undetected. But with CSPM, nothing slips through the cracks. And when automated remediation is not possible, it provides step-by-step guidance for manual remediation. 

6. Risk Assessment and Management

CSPM is always in a continuous state of analyzing the security posture of the cloud. This means security is optimized, and risks are assessed at all times as well. CSPM arranges detected risks based on priority, simplifying work for security teams. Through this, response time is minimized, and most crucial vulnerabilities are addressed promptly. 

7. Data Protection

Organizations want to retain customers and gain their trust, so it is important to implement data protection services. Cyberattackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in systems. More cyber attacks are anticipated in the future, and only companies with robust cybersecurity systems will prevail.

Attacks often lead to data breaches and leaking of crucial information, damaging the company’s image. CSPM helps organizations implement appropriate security controls and encryption mechanisms to safeguard their data.

8. Unified Security Policy Enforcement

CSPM enables organizations to enforce unified security policies and standards across their entire cloud infrastructure, regardless of the cloud platform used. It does this by providing centralized visibility and control over security configurations and policies. CSPM ensures consistency in security measures and helps organizations enforce compliance with internal security policies and industry standards.

Cloud security posture management: CredentialsHow Cloud Security Posture Management Works

CSPM prides itself on the ability to monitor cloud services across different providers continuously. Unlike traditional security approaches that rely on appliances or agents, CSPM solutions operate as API-driven products, commonly referred to as agentless security. 

It leverages established connections with cloud environment APIs to gain visibility, enforce governance, and ensure compliance with security standards and best practices. Whenever something new is deployed, it scans for threats, and if anything alarming is detected immediately alerts the security team.

The core functionality of CSPM revolves around intelligence gathering and threat detection. CSPM tools gather threat intelligence from diverse sources, including infrastructure as code (IaC) configurations, container images, and cloud virtual machine (VM) images. 

However, merely scanning these components is insufficient to provide comprehensive threat intelligence and detection capabilities. An effective CSPM solution maintains high-fidelity threat intelligence databases. Through this, it identifies the latest threats and assesses their severity levels accurately. 

Correlating and contextualizing data is crucial for understanding potential threats and prioritizing risk mitigation efforts. Cloud Security Posture Management tools detect network anomalies, insecure container images, and data breaches in cloud environments. Security teams then use this information to address threats faster.

While CSPM boasts of the ability to automate, manual intervention remains necessary for responding to complex security incidents. Some risks are beyond the capabilities of CSPM tools.

Understanding Microsoft Defender for Cloud CSPM

Between complex environments and constant threats, understanding your security posture has never been harder. Microsoft Defender for Cloud gives you full visibility and contextual insights to prioritize and remediate your most critical risks from code to cloud,  all in a single view. 

With it, you don’t have to suffer the challenges of isolated security signals. Microsoft Defender for Cloud is a Cloud-Native Application (CNAAP) with a set of security measures and practices designed to secure cloud-based applications from cyber threats.

Let’s have a look into Microsoft Defender for cloud CSPM capabilities:

Agentless Scanning

One of the fundamentals of CSPM, in general, is the ability to have full visibility of vulnerabilities in your workloads. Traditionally, the vulnerability assessment was done by an agent, a process that was reliable, but not as efficient. 

Users needed to manage and deploy agents on servers, and often, they would conflict with other types of applications. So, Microsoft Defender provided a solution that is 100% agentless. This is a way to scan your VMs, Linux, or Windows Servers without the need for an agent running on a machine. 

The solution is based on an environment that will be built by your cloud provider. For instance, if you are an Azure manager, it builds a scanning environment specifically into the Azure region where your subscription is located. Once you enable the app through Defender CSPM, this environment gets built. And, thanks to this environment, servers are scanned for vulnerabilities.

The metadata is then processed, shared, and synced back within Defender for Cloud. Within 24 hours, you will have an inventory of all these software and the full vulnerabilities that were detected. 

Agentless Container Posture Management

By enabling Defender CSPM, you can easily discover and gain visibility into the components of a Kubernetes cluster without the need for an agent. This feature allows you to access information about your Kubernetes cluster architecture through APIs, which can be queried using the Cloud Security Explorer. You can then use this information to gain valuable insights into your Kubernetes cluster.

For instance, if you want to gain visibility into Kubernetes clusters, looking at data plane components such as node parts can be very helpful. Along with that, you can take advantage of security insights so you can have predefined security situations that are relevant to Kubernetes components.

With attack path analysis, you can identify and prioritize risks and threats to the Kubernetes environment, focusing on the most critical container vulnerabilities and posture risks.

Cloud Security Graph

One of the biggest challenges faced by security teams today is the number of security issues they face on a daily basis. Since there are too many issues that Microsoft Defender displays, users have complained that it takes a lot of time and resources to address them all.

It is not easy to distinguish those urgent from non-urgent. With the help of a cloud security graph, you can analyze your blast radius. And, through this, you get insight into issues that should be solved sooner.


When there are too many teams, it becomes difficult to set accountability and ownership. To address this issue, Microsoft Defender has introduced a governance rule feature that is also part of Defender CSPM. With this feature, you can establish accountability and transparency, which are crucial in enhancing your organization's security posture.

Compliance Assessment and Management

Defender for Cloud has a feature called Regulatory Compliance which constantly evaluates your hybrid cloud environment to identify potential risks based on the controls and best practices defined in the standards you have applied to your subscriptions. You can also create your own custom regulatory compliances if you feel that something is not covered by the existing standards.

Data-Aware Security Posture

Data sensitivity awareness is important for several reasons:

  • It helps companies protect their most valuable data assets from malicious people.
  • It assists organizations in complying with data privacy regulations as set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • It reduces the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

Microsoft Entra Permissions Management

This is about Defender for Cloud building an integration with Microsoft Entra. It is cloud infrastructure entitlement management, also known as KEEM. This security solution helps organizations manage identities and manage access privileges in the cloud environment. It also creates the risk index score that reflects the risk of such users.

Visual representation of implementation of cloud security posture management.Implementing Cloud Security Posture Management

To implement Cloud Security Posture Management, several key components and considerations must be considered. This ensures comprehensive protection against potential security risks. 

These important aspects include the following:

Assessing Existing Infrastructure

Identify all cloud services, resources, and configurations across multiple cloud providers and conduct a comprehensive assessment. This gives insight into the state of the current security posture. It also identifies potential vulnerabilities that need attention. 

Choose a Suitable CSPM Solution

Different companies have different CSPM needs. As per the results of the assessment, choose a CSPM solution that caters to your organization’s needs. CSPM solutions vary in features, capabilities, and deployment options, so it's essential to evaluate different solutions carefully. 

Consider factors like the ability to monitor multiple cloud platforms, automated remediation capabilities, integration with existing security tools, and scalability to accommodate future growth.

Configuration and Deployment

Proper configuration of cloud provider APIs, monitoring policies, and compliance standards is necessary to ensure effective security.

Continuous Monitoring and Remediation

CSPM works 24/7 monitoring your cloud infrastructure and scanning for threats. This process ensures potential threats are realized before they manifest, keeping your organization safe.

Integration with Security Operations

Just because you have CSPM doesn’t mean you will do away with other security operations you had in place. Simply integrate them to allow collaboration.

Ongoing Optimization and Improvement

Because implementation is an ongoing process, it requires frequent optimization and improvement. Ensure to get regular reviews and updates to your CSPM configurations, policies and rules. This helps with adapting to evolving security threats and regulatory requirements.

Additionally, it helps identify areas for improvement and ensures that CSPM solutions continue to provide robust security posture management.

User selecting CSPM amongst other security tools.How CSPM Compares to Other Cloud Security Tools

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB ) vs CSPM

  • CASB focuses on securing access to cloud services and data as they are accessed from various devices and locations.
  • CSPM, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with monitoring and managing the security posture of cloud environments, including configurations, misconfigurations, and compliance issues.

Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) vs CSPM

  • CWPP is designed to protect workloads running in the cloud. These include virtual machines, containers, and serverless functions.
  • CSPM, however, focuses on the broader aspects of cloud security, that is, monitoring and managing cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) vs CSPM

  • CNAPP is specifically tailored to secure cloud-native applications and their associated infrastructure, such as microservices, APIs, and serverless architectures.
  • CSPM, in contrast, offers a broader approach to cloud security by focusing on monitoring and managing the security posture of the entire cloud environment.

Need Experts in CSPM? CrucialLogics is Here to Help

If you are looking for expert guidance on Cloud Security Posture Management, you have come to the right place. As a trusted Microsoft partner in cloud security, CrucialLogics is exclusively dedicated to helping organizations improve their cybersecurity, which includes enhancing the security posture in the cloud environment.

With CrucialLogics as your CSPM partner, you can rest assured that your cloud environment is in safe hands. Our expertise in leveraging Microsoft Defender for Cloud for CSPM, combined with our dedication to delivering personalized guidance and support, ensures that your organization's cloud security is strong, resilient, and future-proof.

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