Oct 21 2022

The Vital Multicloud Security Solution That’s Keeping Financial Services Firms Safer

Cloud security posture management helps companies find and fix misconfigurations in the cloud.

Banks and credit unions remain reluctant to go all-in on the cloud. Their primary concern? Security and compliance. According to a recent Bain survey, 50 percent of banks pointed to potential problems in these areas as a roadblock to cloud adoption.

The study also noted, however, that worries about cloud security are often unfounded, as cloud platforms’ security has kept pace with, and in some cases shot ahead of, on-premises protection. But even as financial services firms recognize the increasing ability of cloud providers to defend their data, a new challenge has emerged: multicloud.

With many organizations now opting for a mix of powerful public and specialized private clouds, ensuring security and compliance across a disparate mix of services is paramount. Cloud security posture management (CSPM) solutions offer a way to help firms manage security risks and make the most of multicloud. Here’s how.

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What Is Cloud Security Posture Management?

CSPM refers to a set of tools and technologies that help organizations detect, identify and eliminate misconfigurations in cloud-based data that could introduce security risks.

Consider a multicloud environment. Banks might use private, on-premises clouds to handle sensitive data and public clouds for large-scale storage of less critical information. At some point, however, the data on these clouds overlaps as it is transferred from one to the other for storage, analytics or verification. 

Misconfigurations in cloud services can create points of compromise when these clouds meet, in turn increasing the risk of compromise. “When it comes to cloud security, all you hear about are worries around some type of misconfiguration with a service or data repository,” says Josh Hamit, CIO of Altra Credit Union in New Jersey. “There are concerns.”

CSPM solutions help financial services firms find and correct these misconfigurations before they put data at risk.

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How CSPM Helps Financial Services Firms

Hamit says that Altra began its move to the cloud in 2019, just before the pandemic hit. “We just started down that path in 2019, something that teed us up for the pandemic,” he says. “We wanted to ensure we had a solid posture, so we started using CSPM tools,” including a Microsoft solution that “gives you this pipeline of different security settings and configurations.”
Key benefits of CSPM include:

•    Visibility. Inventories for all assets and instances in the cloud provide banks with the big picture when it comes to resource management.

•    Compliance. Assessing current practices against key frameworks such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard helps firms pinpoint potential misconfigurations before they cause regulatory concerns.

•    Network security. Identification of nonencrypted instances and evaluation of network policies help reduce total risk.

•    Identity access management. Ongoing assessment of user access and privileges reduces the risk of unauthorized data use or transfer.

What’s Next for Banks in the Cloud?

According to the 2022 Enterprise Cloud Index survey, 82 percent of financial firms say that a reliable, interoperable multicloud cloud model is ideal, so most banks and credit unions will continue their journeys to multicloud environments. 

At the same time, the survey also found that half of banks cited challenges with cloud security, while 46 percent pointed to difficulties integrating data across multiple clouds.

“You can’t go out there and make assumptions that standard controls will work in the cloud,” says Hamit. “For example, you have to consider user access. Who has access, and how much can you lock that down? Can you adopt a least-privilege methodology? Multifactor authentication?” 

CSPM tools make it possible for banks to manage and monitor misconfigurations across any cloud at any time, in turn setting the stage for better security that doesn’t derail productivity.

Hamit puts it simply: “You can’t transfer responsibility to cloud vendors for data. You can hold them accountable for certifications and qualifications, but at the end of the day, we’re accountable for that information in the cloud. CSPM tools offer fast, actionable data that you can address quickly to reduce security risk.”

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