What’s the Difference Between CSPM & SSPM?

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) often confused. Despite the similarity of the acronym, both security solutions focus on securing data in the cloud. In a world where the terms cloud and SaaS are used interchangeably, this confusion is understandable.

However, this confusion is dangerous for organizations that need to secure data that resides in cloud infrastructures such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, as well as data in SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Jira, Zoom, Slack and many more.

Assuming that your CSPM or SSPM will secure your company’s living offsite resources is a misguided belief in a security tool designed only to secure your cloud or SaaS stack.

It is very important for decision makers to understand the differences between CSPM and SSPM, the value derived from each solution, and the two complement each other.

What Does CSPM Protect?

CSPM monitors standard and customized cloud applications deployed by customers in public cloud environments for security and compliance postures. Additionally, they typically provide compliance monitoring, DevOps, and dynamic cloud integration functionality.

Businesses use cloud platforms for many things. Whether used as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which enables a business to manage elements such as network, servers, and data storage, or as a platform that facilitates the hosting, building, and deployment of customer-facing applications, cloud platforms contain business components. important.

For example, a company might use IaaS to host its ecommerce website. By using a cloud provider, they have the flexibility to scale their web traffic capacity based on traffic flow. Peak times of day or seasons can increase their capacity, while fewer resources will be required during off-peak or off-season times.

Within the site, the company may have a separate application that allows customers to prove their identity (know your customer process – KYC). Those customers are stored in a container, where the application can access information as needed, and then authorize the user within the website. It is common practice to separate different service elements (ecommerce, in this case) into distinct elements. applications, containers, servers, and networks. This separation, enabled by using IaaS, provides greater flexibility, performance, customization, and potential security. But all of this comes at the cost of immense complexity and widening the attack surface

CSPM is in charge of monitoring the security posture of cloud services hosted on IaaS. In practical terms, this means scanning cloud settings and identifying any misconfigurations that could introduce an element of risk to the service. In circumstances where using complex architectures, using containers in the Kubernetes system, the configuration is very complex, and securing it without CSPM can lead to configuration lapses that expose data to the public.

What Does SSPM Protect?

SSPM, like Adaptive Shield, integrates with enterprise applications, such as Salesforce, Jira, and Microsoft 365, to give security teams and application managers visibility and control for their SaaS stacks. Such SaaS (Software as a Service) applications are not hosted on a corporate network or cloud infrastructure, but instead are hosted by the software provider.

Security teams have unique challenges in securing SaaS applications. Each SaaS application uses a different topology for its setup. Security teams cannot issue one-size-fits-all directives on SaaS application configurations, while they need to secure multiple applications.

SaaS applications store large amounts of company data and resources. Customer data, financial reports, marketing plans, employee profiles and more are all stored in different SaaS applications. This makes sharing and collaboration simple but also acts as a beacon for threat actors looking to monetize or sabotage company resources.

SSPM provides visibility into the settings of each application, provides a security score and notifies the security team and application owner when there is a high-risk misconfiguration.

SSPM expands its scope into easy-to-use applications for employees. SSPM provides the security team with a list of connected apps, as well as the scope of permissions that have been granted to the apps.

The security team is also concerned about users, especially privileged users, who access SaaS applications using compromised devices. SSPM provides user inventory and device inventory. This inventory displays the user, the applications associated with them, the extent of their permissions, and the cleanliness of the devices used to access the SaaS application.

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Implementing CSPM and SSPM Together

Obviously, CSPM and SSPM are an integral part of a robust cloud security platform. Any company using multiple SaaS applications with multiple users needs an SSPM solution to protect their data. At the same time, any company using cloud services such as Azure, GCP, or AWS will jeopardize its operations without a CSPM solution.

CSPM enables organizations to identify their misconfigured network, assess data risk, and continuously monitor cloud events in their cloud environment. SSPM helps organizations identify and remediate misconfigurations, manage third-party applications, detect configuration deviations, manage users, and comply with universal or industry standards.

The two security tools each cover a valuable use case. CSPM identifies vulnerable cloud configuration settings, provides compliance for security frameworks, monitors cloud services, and manages changes made to their logs.

SSPM has a similar use case, but in a SaaS environment. They offer continuous 24/7 visibility into configuration fault management, and allow security teams to monitor SaaS-to-SaaS access. It offers compliance reports of the entire stack, not individual applications, and can help IT teams optimize their SaaS license spending. It manages risk from both users and devices, as it ensures that only authorized personnel have access to SaaS data.

SSPM is also used to monitor CSPM applications. Because CSPM is a SaaS solution, SSPM can ensure CSPM configuration is set up correctly, review connected third-party applications, and provide user governance.

Working together, SSPM and CSPM ensure the security of your off-site data by providing visibility and corrective actions that close vulnerabilities and reduce risk.

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