What is DSPM and why is it an essential component in cloud-native security solutions?

By: Becca Gomby

Mar 26, 2024

In the rapidly advancing realm of cloud-native security, Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) emerges as a critical framework, ensuring organizations maintain robust control over their data assets. As cloud environments evolve, understanding and implementing DSPM becomes vital for better securing data defenses. In this blog post, we'll delve into the basics of DSPM, its significance in cloud-native security and how Panoptica approaches DSPM within its CNAPP solution.

What is DSPM?

Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) is a comprehensive approach to safeguarding sensitive data within cloud infrastructures. It involves the continuous assessment, monitoring, and enforcement of security policies to ensure that data remains protected against evolving threats and adheres to compliance standards. DSPM acts as a sentinel, providing real-time insights into an organization's data security posture, and enabling proactive responses to potential risks. Big picture with DSPM solutions?

You can’t protect your data if you don’t know where it is, and DSPM helps find all your data.

Why is DSPM an Important Part of Cloud-Native Security Solutions?

In the dynamic landscape of cloud-native applications, where data traverses various services and platforms, DSPM plays a pivotal role in maintaining a robust security posture. DSPM is an essential aspect of further augmenting data security in the cloud.

Visibility and Control

DSPM provides unparalleled visibility into an organization's data environment, allowing security teams to identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and potential threats across cloud services.

Real-time Risk Management

With the ability to monitor data in real-time, DSPM enables organizations to manage risks proactively, identifying and mitigating potential security issues before they escalate.

Compliance Assurance

DSPM helps organizations maintain compliance with industry regulations and data protection standards by continuously evaluating security configurations and enforcing policies.

Adaptability to Cloud Dynamics

As cloud environments evolve, DSPM adapts seamlessly, ensuring that security measures remain effective and aligned with the dynamic nature of cloud-native architectures at scale, even as new services change or are added to the system.

Threat Detection and Response

DSPM is equipped with advanced threat detection capabilities, allowing organizations to respond swiftly to security incidents and prevent data breaches in real time.

CSPM vs. DSPM

The need for DSPM arises from the recognition that data is one of the most valuable assets for organizations, and its protection is paramount in today's digital landscape. While CSPM addresses infrastructure-level security concerns, DSPM complements these efforts by focusing on securing the data itself, regardless of where it resides. By integrating CSPM and DSPM capabilities, organizations can establish a holistic security strategy that addresses both infrastructure and data security requirements, thereby enhancing their overall security posture and resilience against evolving threats.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

CSPM focuses on ensuring the security and compliance of cloud infrastructure, services, and configurations across various cloud environments (e.g., AWS, Azure, Google Cloud). It provides organizations with tools and capabilities to monitor, assess, and manage the security posture of their cloud deployments at a higher level of abstraction. CSPM solutions help identify misconfigurations, vulnerabilities, and compliance gaps within cloud resources, such as virtual machines, storage buckets, databases, and network configurations. By offering centralized visibility and control over cloud assets, CSPM enables organizations to enforce security policies, mitigate risks, and maintain compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements in the cloud environment.

Data Security Posture Management (DSPM)

DSPM, on the other hand, focuses on securing and managing the data assets themselves, irrespective of their location or storage medium. It offers organizations granular visibility and control over data throughout its lifecycle, from creation and storage to access and usage. DSPM solutions help classify, monitor, and protect sensitive data across structured and unstructured repositories, including databases, file shares, cloud storage, and endpoints. By leveraging data-centric security controls such as encryption, access controls, data masking, and activity monitoring, DSPM helps organizations mitigate data risks, prevent unauthorized access, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Unlike CSPM, which primarily focuses on infrastructure security, DSPM provides a lower-level view of data assets and helps address the specific challenges associated with data protection and privacy.

Managed and Unmanaged Data Assets – How a DSPM Solution Can Help

Organizations struggle with data sprawl due to the ease of use the cloud provides. This problem is compounded in multi-cloud environments where no single cloud provider enables a cross-cloud view of all the data assets in use by your organization. To make matters worse, cloud provider tools can show deployed workloads but can’t identify a cloud workload that may have an unmanaged data asset containing your organization’s sensitive data in it such as a PostgreSQL, MySQL, or SQLite database.

DSPM in Panoptica helps solve these challenges by automatically analyzing your entire multi-cloud inventory, discovering which managed data assets are in use, uncovering unmanaged data assets you may not have been aware of, analyzing all these data assets for risks, and incorporating the results into our unique Attack Path Analysis.

DSPM in Panoptica finds all your data so you can better protect it.

How Panoptica provides DSPM coverage within its comprehensive CNAPP solution

Panoptica, Cisco’s cloud application security solution for code to cloud, provides seamless scalability across clusters and multi-cloud environments. Panoptica’s coverage powers users to garner the visibility, context, and insights they need to better understand the most critical risks in their cloud security environments.

As a layer to this coverage, Panoptica’s DSPM solution provides deeper scanning of more services and data inventories, to help teams to better visualize and assess the sensitivity of specific assets in their cloud. Panoptica provides details on where data is stored, its level of criticality in terms of both tagging capabilities available to users as well as Panoptica’s own assessment of risks based on how data is interconnected within the cloud environment.

Panoptica’s DSPM solution enriches the ability to accurately assess the criticality of attack paths discovered with more granular detail than ever before. Panoptica’s DSPM provides context with a higher degree of prioritization and classification based on content and heuristics.

Panoptica’s DSPM solution:

  • Automatically discovers data in managed and unmanaged data assets across your cloud environment
  • Uncovers critical data-centric risks and remediation steps in your cloud environment
  • Allows administrators to self-classify data assets (PCI, PII, PHI)
Panoptica's DSPM solution

Looking Ahead

DSPM stands as a linchpin in the architecture of robust cloud-native security solutions. As organizations navigate the complexities of data protection in the cloud, understanding the fundamentals of DSPM and choosing between managed and unmanaged services become pivotal steps toward ensuring a resilient and well-guarded data landscape.

Stay tuned for more insights into the evolving world of DSPM and its impact on the future of cloud security.

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