What Is a Cloud Security Posture Assessment?
There are two main steps to a cloud security posture assessment. In the first, data is collected from an agency’s cloud environments, whether that is a single cloud or multicloud environment.
An agency should then work with a trusted third party to review and assess that data and pull it together into a report that presents how the agency’s cloud services and tools are set up and where the organization might have lapses. The report should also provide recommendations that can help the agency prioritize how it might want to address those security gaps.
This assessment is also an opportunity for an agency to see the benefits of cloud security posture management in general. An assessment can provide a point-in-time snapshot, but CSPM platforms can provide cloud security on an ongoing basis.
CSPM platforms connect to an agency’s Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service environments using application programming interfaces. They provide agency IT leaders with visibility into their inventory of cloud assets and continuously scan the configuration of the agency’s cloud environment and generate compliance reports.
Advisers such as CDW can help agencies test out different CSPM providers to see how they might benefit the agency’s approach to cloud security.
The Value of Cloud Security Posture Assessments and Management
There are several reasons agencies can benefit from a cloud security posture assessment.
The first is that most federal agencies are carrying a lot of technical debt associated with maintaining legacy systems. As agencies seek to move legacy systems and applications into cloud environments, it is often expedient for IT leaders to simply move over what they already have in place — the age-old “lift and shift” approach.
However, doing so means agencies are also migrating all of their technical debt. A cloud security posture assessment can help ensure an agency is clearing out that dross. By illuminating and analyzing the cloud configurations and potential security lapses that might have been hiding in legacy systems and applications, an assessment can help ensure that the new cloud environment is as secure as possible.
Another reason to conduct an assessment is that it means that IT leaders won’t overlook potential risks. As the federal government evolves how it delivers digital services to citizens and seeks to improve its customer experience to operate more like a business in some ways, it can be easy to lose focus on the potential risk associated with modernization.
Ultimately, security is always shifting, and the risks associated with cloud technologies keep evolving. An assessment can help make sure agency IT leaders don’t lose sight of that as they upgrade legacy apps.
Compliance is also always changing. For example, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently called for the Federal Information Security Modernization Act to be reformed, a move supported by Federal CISO Chris DeRusha. Assessments and ongoing compliance checks by CSPM platforms can help ensure agencies are maintaining appropriate security compliance.
Cloud security posture assessments should be conducted regularly, along with other cybersecurity audits. However, if an agency chooses to adopt a CSPM tool, it will be able to continuously scan its cloud environments to ensure they are complying with all the necessary security standards.