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Cloud Vulnerability Management Best Practices For 2024

With most organizations moving their workload to cloud-based platforms, vulnerability management has become a top priority for all decision-makers. As the demand for cloud-native environments is increasing, the number of security issues and growing threats are also increasing.

According to an Orca Security report, attackers are using known vulnerabilities as initial access in 78% of routes. So it is essential to assess the cloud environment regularly for security issues, and cloud vulnerability management is the only way to address it.

It is quite different from traditional vulnerability management that was previously used in organizations where all the monitoring and remediation were done manually. CVM (Cloud Vulnerability Management) continuously looks for security risks in the cloud environment and remediates them whenever detected.

If you are also planning to introduce cloud vulnerability management and want to know about it in detail, this guide will help you out. This guide also tells you about cloud vulnerability management tools, best practices, and how CloudDefense.AI CWPP can help you out.

First, let’s start by knowing about cloud vulnerability assessment;

 

What Does Vulnerability Management Mean In Cloud Computing?

Vulnerability management in cloud computing can be defined as a continuous approach or process in identifying, analyzing, prioritizing, and remediating security issues in cloud computing.

Basically, in cloud infrastructure, vulnerability management serves as a framework that helps in managing and having control over cloud computing and applications. The main goal of most tools is to provide effective cloud vulnerability management for AWS/Azure/GCP or other public clouds where you have shifted your workload.

It not only minimizes any security risks by rectifying common vulnerabilities but also makes sure all the security loopholes through which attackers can get into the framework are adequately blocked.

It has become a critical pillar in modern cloud security threats as it actively detects all the threats and solves them effectively. Modern cloud computing is so vast and complex that components like IoT devices, configuration Firewalls, and workload containers could lead to security issues.

Cloud vulnerability management automation takes four primary steps to ensure security in the cloud environment. At first, it identifies vulnerability by scanning the type, and then it assesses the degree to which the detected risk might cause danger to the infrastructure. Then prioritizes which security risk should be first addressed, and finally, it remediates the issue. It confirms the rectification process through rescanning and then reports it.

Some Common Cloud-Based Vulnerabilities

When you employ cloud vulnerability management in your cloud workspace, it is best to know about the cloud-based vulnerabilities that need to be identified and managed. Here are some common cloud-based vulnerabilities that need to be addressed to prevent any security breaches;

Misconfiguration in containers:

One of the common vulnerabilities is a misconfiguration in containers, and it has led to severe breaches in the cloud platform.

These misconfigurations are glitches that have arisen due to a lack of required secure settings or leaving the cloud platform with public access. Security group misconfiguration is another type of vulnerability that occurs in a security system and leads to direct access to the cloud platform.

Improper authentication:

Poor authentication process in the cloud security system is another common vulnerability that often leads to security breaches. Lack of multi-factor authentication and poor password strength are some serious cloud vulnerability management challenges.

Moreover, when there is no proper access control, any authorized user who shouldn’t be allowed to get access may be able to get into the cloud system. 

Noncompliance: 

Noncompliance with industry standards like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and SOC 2 is one leading cause of vulnerabilities in the cloud platform. These cloud vulnerability management policies ensure that your cloud workload is appropriately secured.

When the cloud security provider and customer improperly manage the security settings, it leads to glitches, and attackers take advantage of them to gain access to the server.

Bad network configuration: 

It is essential that your cloud network should be configured appropriately; otherwise, it would risk data security. The security team should be careful with providing port access to private networks because if it is left open by default, then anyone can access the sensitive data.

The security team should provide access to specific ports that are needed to access, and all the other ports should be disabled for connection to private networks.

Poor access management to sensitive data: 

Cloud platforms contain many specific applications that can help anyone to get access to many sensitive data. So it is vital that you should never create a group credential or ID for all the applications.

Instead, it would be best if you created specific credentials for specific applications, and only authorized personnel can get access to them. A marketing or network user shouldn’t have access to applications that contain sensitive financial data.

Improperly secured APIs: 

Insecure APIs serve as one of the primary ways for attackers to gain access to cloud platforms and steal all the essential data. Not every cloud provider secures APIs properly, and these insecure APIs lead to providing pathways for attackers to get access to the cloud platform. Attackers always look for APIs that lack proper authorization and authentication and exploit them for illicit means.

DDoS attack: 

DDoS attack or distributed denial of services is another common vulnerability that occurs in the cloud environment. In this vulnerability, the attackers flood the infrastructure with numerous requests and make servers unresponsive so that authorized requests can’t be processed. 

This vulnerability mainly occurs when the cloud provider doesn’t have proper DDoS protection or DDoS security is kept off.

Features That Make Cloud Vulnerability Management Important 

When it comes to cloud vulnerability management solutions, there are certain features that make it vital for the cloud infrastructure as it ensures optimum protection. So let’s take a look at those features that makes cloud vulnerability management important;

Optimum security protection: 

Cloud vulnerability management is responsible for constant monitoring and detecting threats in your system. They ensure all the data and applications are completely protected; it identifies the threats and remediates them efficiently. By employing effective cloud vulnerability management techniques,  the vendor ensures better security for your cloud infrastructure. 

Effective prevention: 

Another vital feature that makes cloud vulnerability management imperative for cloud applications and data is effective preventative measures. Whatever the attack intensity is directed at your cloud application and crucial data, cloud vulnerability remediation can easily prevent and block them.

Cost-effectiveness: 

Manual monitoring, managing, and detecting threats in the cloud infrastructure is an expensive and cumbersome task. However, having cloud-vulnerable management for cloud security makes it very cost-effective to secure all the cloud applications and data stored in the system.

Through constant monitoring and quick remediation of threats, cloud vulnerability management saves you from colossal fixing costs and losses if the infrastructure is exploited.

Saves time: 

Having cloud vulnerability management saves a lot of time by helping you to detect and solve vulnerabilities in the first place. When you don’t continuously monitor your cloud infrastructure, it can lead to glitches that can be exploited by attackers.

The time then you will have to spend to remediate the after-effect of the vulnerability will be a lot, and it will also incur a lot of resources and expenditure. But when your data and application in the cloud are monitored by cloud vulnerability management, you can save a lot of time.

Best Cloud Vulnerability Management Practices

You can’t expect to have a successful vulnerability management platform in your cloud environment without opting for best practices. These practices not only enhance perfection but also maximize the security of your infrastructure. Here are some best cloud vulnerability management practices; 

Constant cloud vulnerability scanning: 

You should utilize the capability of continuous cloud vulnerability scanning to scan and detect vulnerabilities at their early stage. These scanners should be backed by a comprehensive and updated list of vulnerabilities so that it is able to detect the threats at their earlier level.

For best effectiveness, the scanner should have the ability to detect any logic errors, shelve any false positives and commence behind the login scan. Establishing vulnerability code checking in the pipelines using SAST and IaC is another effective way to ensure continuous cloud vulnerability scanning.

Systematic penetration test: 

Carrying out systematic penetration tests on the cloud infrastructure is another smart practice to ensure effective cloud vulnerability management.

It helps you carry out deep scanning where it exploits the path of detected vulnerability and analyzes the degree of damage that can happen again from such attacks. Doing scan and penetration tests at regular intervals will also help you to adhere to specific security and ensure the optimum security of the infrastructure.

Vulnerability scanning during integration: 

Employing continuous vulnerability scanning during the development stage of an application is an intelligent way to maintain complete protection.

When you opt for this practice, it allows cloud providers to adhere to standard security standards at every stage and make sure there are no loopholes that can be exploited after deployment.

Prioritizing the vulnerabilities: 

Another great practice you should follow for best cloud vulnerability management is prioritizing the vulnerabilities. It is a highly effective practice because it helps you detect the vulnerability that can do maximum damage and quickly fix it before remediating others.

Utilizing a common vulnerability scoring system is a great way to carry out this practice because it allows you to prioritize vulnerabilities according to the extent of the threat.

Complete cloud infrastructure visibility: 

Having complete visibility of your cloud infrastructure through proper assessment is a good practice that you should opt for. When you have complete visibility of all the cloud assets, it will help the security teams to detect any risks at the earliest and also help them to know how they originated.

Implementing automation through AI and ML: 

One of the best cloud vulnerability management practices is implementing automation through AI and ML. It allows the security team to scan through the infrastructure and focus on the result; rather than spend time looking for all vulnerabilities. AI and ML analyze a lot of data sets, including historical data, and help the scanner to detect a lot of vulnerabilities, including new ones.  

What Are The Tools That Helps To Manage Cloud Vulnerabilities?

When it comes to managing cloud vulnerabilities, there are certain that you can utilize to look for vulnerabilities in your cloud infrastructure. These tools are highly effective as they can prioritize the vulnerabilities according to their impact. Here are some top vulnerability management tools you can checkout;

CloudDefense.AI: 

Get ahead of your attackers using CloudeDefense.AI and ensure optimum protection of your application and sensitive data. Considered among the best, with CloudeDefense.AI agentless scanning, you can easily detect any vulnerability in your infrastructure and remediate it automatically.

Unlike others, this tool offers a deep scan of the infrastructure to prevent backdoor entry and auto-shrinking of common breaching points. Since this tool has complete visibility of your cloud infrastructure, it can quickly locate a new CVE and how it can impact your assets.

Qualys VMDR: 

Qualys VMDR is a renowned tool that has benefited many businesses by identifying different vulnerabilities and rectifying them at the earliest. It utilizes both virtual and passive network scanning to provide comprehensive visibility to the cloud assets and identify any threat.

This tool has the capability to allow security teams to get deep into networks, configuration, and other data so that any vulnerability can be fixed before they are being exploited.

Rapid7 InsightVM: 

If you are running a small business without having a modern security system to protect your cloud infrastructure, Rapid7 InsightVM is the cloud vulnerability management you should utilize.

It offers a robust cloud vulnerability management that can not only help you identify risks at all endpoints and also prioritize them. It offers some top-of-the-line features like Project Sonar, integrated threat feed, and IT-integrated remediation projects to make sure assets are appropriately protected.

Orca Security: 

Offering agentless cloud vulnerability management, Orca Security provides comprehensive coverage to your cloud infrastructure and helps you to mitigate new vulnerabilities.

Orca Security Solutions covers every layer of your cloud platform and combines all the information to help the security to prioritize and recognize risks. It also provides you with a modern query builder through which you can easily query the entire platform and look for vulnerabilities along with context and risk level.

Intruder: 

With Intruder’s effective online vulnerability scanner, you can discover all the vulnerabilities in your cloud infrastructure before the attackers. 

It monitors risks across all the cloud systems and endpoint devices and provides you with intelligent results so that you can reduce your attack surface. One of the enormous advantages of this tool is that it makes compliance audits through Cyber Essentials and ISO27001 an easy affair.  

How Can CloudDefense.AI CWPP Help To Manage Cloud Vulnerabilities?

CloudDefense.ai cloud workload protection platform serves as a popular choice for most businesses who want to manage cloud vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. Whether you are looking to secure virtual machines, Kubernetes, or serverless applications, with CloudeDefense.AI CWPP can offer effective and flexible protection to all.

When you have this tool integrated into your platform, you won’t have to worry about cloud vulnerability management for a hybrid environment because it will offer consistent visibility of the security across all workloads.

Moreover, its security integration across the application lifecycle prevents any breaches or threats across every level. CloudeDefense.ai offers you an easy-to-read and customizable single UI through which you can see vulnerability status, prevent vulnerability, prioritize risks, and monitor container registries.

Whether you have a single or multi-cloud platform for your application and data, you can conveniently secure them from a single solution. SOC teams of most organizations love this tool because it maps incidents to the MITRE ATT&Ck frame and also provides complete forensic data that helps the team to identify and track the breaches.

While going through this guide, some queries must have arrived in your mind. Here are some common queries asked by users, along with their answers;

FAQ

What are the four areas of cloud security?

The four primary areas of cloud security are cloud data visibility, access to cloud data, control over cloud data, and compliance. They serve as the central part of cloud security, and the cloud security solutions work together to provide comprehensive protection against threats.

What is the difference between CVE and CWE?

Common vulnerabilities and exposure and common weakness enumeration are crucial aspects that help in strengthening the security and defending the system from any vulnerability.
While both aid in security but they are quite different to each other. CVE is a list of publicly disclosed computer security threats and this list acts as a reference point for identifying and managing all the threats. Whereas CWE is a community developed list of hardware and software weakness types. It serves as a measuring standard for software to identify weaknesses and prevent them. 

What are the four requirements of every vulnerability management program?

Vulnerability management programs have become an essential aspect for most organizations, and the plans are executed through four foundational steps. At first, they provide training, and then vulnerability assessment activity is conducted. During the second step, all the vulnerabilities that are discovered are recorded, and then at the end, they are categorized and prioritized.

What are the cloud security protocols?

There are numerous cloud security protocols in the industry, but the most common ones that are widely utilized are SSL/TLS, IPSec, and SSH. The SSL/TLS is the most popular choice for web applications, and they are incredibly straightforward to implement. Even though it offers a decent level of security to web applications, it is not suitable for all types of applications and does not offer the same security level as others.

Conclusion

In this detailed guide, I have defined cloud vulnerability management and what are the primary features that you should look into. Cloud vulnerability management serves as the primary way to keep your cloud infrastructure and prevent any breach that would lead to a severe loss of data and resources.

Here I have also mentioned some best practices that you follow to make sure you have best-in-class cloud vulnerability management for your infrastructure. There are many vulnerability management tools in the industry, but if you are looking for top-end protection, getting the service of CloudDefense.AI would be a smart move.

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Abhishek Arora
Abhishek Arora
Abhishek Arora, a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at CloudDefense.AI, is a serial entrepreneur and investor. With a background in Computer Science, Agile Software Development, and Agile Product Development, Abhishek has been a driving force behind CloudDefense.AI’s mission to rapidly identify and mitigate critical risks in Applications and Infrastructure as Code.
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