In the recent past, several organizations have started employing Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions to secure their cloud infrastructure. But they were quick to realize a problem. Distinct from traditional computing frameworks, cloud environments present unique challenges. These include diverse data types, multi-tenant architectures, shared responsibility models, and decentralized control paradigms.
As data spreads across a distributed ecosystem of cloud servers and services, ensuring its security is often more intricate than realized. Resolving these issues needs a more data-centric approach. Data Security Posture Management’s (DSPM) inherent cloud-first stance evolved as a solution for cloud-centric enterprises that simplified the discovery, classification, assessment, prioritization, and remediation of data security issues.
As enterprises move forward in their cloud journey, they also realize that a DSPM vs CSPM scenario isn't about replacing one with the other, but about recognizing an opportunity to elevate their overall data security posture. In this article, we discuss the purpose of DSPM tools in modern enterprises, the way these tools function, and best practices for implementing Data Security Posture Management tools.
In modern hybrid computing, data flows between various cloud and on-prem environments, each with unique security postures. While it's replicated for testing or backup purposes, and transferred across different components, the security aspect gets increasingly intricate.
Traditional cloud security tools, which primarily focus on securing static perimeters, often fail to keep pace with this fluid data movement. DSPM’s cloud-first philosophy emerges as a solution to this predicament.
Focused on ensuring that sensitive data maintains the right security posture, Data Security Posture Management takes a data-centric approach to track and evaluate the security of data throughout its lifecycle across all cloud environments, irrespective of ephemeral replication or transference. In contrast with traditional security strategies, DSPM offers automatic visibility, risk assessment, and access analysis for cloud data, ultimately ensuring the secure disposition of sensitive information at all times.
DSPM solutions offer data-driven insights to prioritize security investments and tackle the unique security challenges of modern cloud-first enterprises. Consider using DSPM tools for your organization when:
Ensuring no data asset is left vulnerable throughout its lifecycle, DSPM tools are instrumental in tightening your overall cloud data security. Unsurprisingly, achieving a robust security posture isn’t a one-off cycle but involves a series of stages.
As a starting point, DSPM tools discover your data assets, whether known or unknown. Advanced scanning techniques, including data crawling, indexing, and metadata analysis, are employed when dealing with complex multi-cloud or hybrid environments comprising numerous, disparate data sources.
Once data is identified, classification algorithms utilize data patterns, attributes, and contextual information to accurately label data types and assess their security requirements. The classification step paves the way for tailored data protection strategies.
Post classification, DSPM solutions continuously monitor your data, tracking its movement and access within your cloud environment. Most importantly, these tools actively manage user permissions, revoke access where necessary, and maintain a detailed audit trail to monitor access events.
One of the most critical stages, here, the tool automates remediation actions in response to security incidents and policy violations. It is this stage where data protection policies are also enforced by encrypting sensitive data or masking personally identifiable information (PII) to maintain data privacy.
Thanks to the automation capabilities of DSPM tools, all stages are enforced as a continuous cycle. This ensures that no matter how much your data grows, your security measures scale alongside.
Before identifying how DSPM solutions fit into your broader cybersecurity infrastructure, make sure to check if the selected tool is augmenting your existing security mechanisms, filling in the gaps, and not overstepping its logical boundaries. Remember, each DSPM tool blends unique capabilities to your security stack and there is no one size fits all.
It's not uncommon to find unused copies or outdated versions of data scattered around. Perhaps a developer duplicated some data for testing purposes. Maybe someone unintentionally saved multiple versions of the same file. Or perhaps an automated backup process resulted in redundant data copies.
As you strive to protect sensitive data within your organization, reducing this data clutter becomes vital. Data Security Posture Management tools can be instrumental here. They follow iterative cycles to monitor the states and versions of all sensitive data across your cloud environment, ensuring no piece of data is left unaccounted for.
Most importantly, DSPM solutions take the guesswork out of data management. They identify and classify sensitive data as it moves across a hybrid landscape, match it against your data protection policies, and provide guidelines for remediation. The result? A significantly smaller and more manageable data attack surface.
But what transformations can an enterprise anticipate when including Data Security Posture Management tools in their security strategy?
Here are some key benefits:
Before choosing a DSPM tool, consider the following metrics:
Besides adopting the right DSPM solution, it is equally important to consider best practices that directly influence the security and integrity of your organization’s security posture. This is particularly important because implementing DSPM comes with its own set of challenges.
To ensure comprehensive data protection, a key point to note is whether your DSPM tool addresses all the critical dimensions of data. Some recommended practices to consider include:
Conduct extensive data profiling and metadata analysis to boost security policy formulation. This in-depth analysis unveils data attributes, schema, and relationships, empowering you to fortify your security measures effectively.
To maximize data access control precision, develop granular access control policies based on data context and user attributes. Embrace attribute-based access control (ABAC) to dynamically enforce fine-grained access controls, considering factors like location, time, and user role.
Integrate behavioral analytics and anomaly detection algorithms into DSPM tools. This enables real-time monitoring of user behavior and system activities, detecting deviations from normal patterns indicative of potential threats.
Embrace a Zero Trust security model to minimize security vulnerabilities. Challenge every user, device, and application attempting data access, irrespective of their location or network. This assertive approach minimizes your attack surface.
Apply these techniques to ensure that even if a security breach occurs, the data remains useless to attackers. While tokenization replaces original data with non-sensitive surrogate values, de-identification involves the removal or modification of personally identifiable information (PII) from datasets.
How can you respond swiftly to security incidents? Implement automated incident response orchestration. Empower your Data Security Posture Management tools to take action, isolating compromised systems, quarantining data, or initiating remediation workflows automatically.
Embarking on the journey to secure your cloud data is a daunting task. As you consider the fluid nature of data and the dynamic frequency of changes it undergoes, this problem becomes extremely formidable. Plus, there's the added complexity of understanding your cloud provider's security measures and the shared responsibility model.
DSPM becomes a critical pillar, supporting your enterprise's data security framework. It helps control security for all users, devices, and software, while providing thorough visibility into data in use, in transit, and at rest.
Advanced DSPM solutions, such as Sentra, go even further. They guarantee data security and privacy not just across different cloud providers, but also extend their protective shield to cover applications, containers, and workloads.