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CheckRed Editorial

CSPM
15 December 2022

It is time for enterprises to deploy agentless scanning for cloud security posture management

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Most of us are aware of the numerous benefits of using cloud environments for business operations. They provide tremendous strategic value, efficiency, flexibility, and can be scaled up to fit your needs. Nevertheless, these very benefits make the cloud infrastructure complex and dynamic. The number of users and teams utilizing the cloud keeps increasing, and workloads get added and deleted frequently.

How does this affect security posture? The cloud’s dynamic nature makes it difficult for security teams to keep up. Traditional practices have become outdated, and do not deliver all the coverage and visibility that is vital to protect the cloud. One of these traditional practices that have played an important role in cloud and SaaS security are agents. They consist of specific software modules that are installed within the server or machine that needs to be monitored. These agents then collect and convey security information, giving security teams the knowledge to manage security posture. Today, agents are not as relevant and come with multiple limitations.

Do enterprises need to reevaluate their use of agent-based security practices?

The short answer is yes. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the limited coverage and visibility that agents provide. As they are installed only on a specific device, they cannot be implemented in other parts of the cloud environment. With the number of resources constantly changing within the cloud infrastructure, there is a great chance that a resource does not have an agent, causing major security gaps. On the flip side, adding agents at all touchpoints only creates room for more security risks, high costs, and poor workload performance.

Security agents are usually given high privileges within the cloud environment to make sure that they detect security risks. This, of course, makes them more vulnerable and susceptible to misconfigurations and other security threats. Adding all these limitations together, it is quite evident that security agents are complex and quite difficult to manage. The cloud requires an innovative approach that is designed to keep pace with its dynamic nature. This is where agentless scanning comes in.

What is the agentless scanning approach?

Agentless scanning is a cloud-native approach for monitoring and protecting cloud environments. It makes effective use of cloud APIs to inspect and collect security information. Agentless scanning methods communicate directly with the cloud platform, and do not interfere with or modify any device, server, or machine. The cloud APIs make it incredibly easy for the agentless scanners to gain complete visibility of the cloud. This method also simplifies cloud security management for enterprises that use hybrid or multi-cloud environments. Agentless scanners are deployed only once and start scanning in minutes, saving time and costs, while providing a wide range of benefits.

Better coverage → Better security

Agentless scanning eliminates the agent-based problem of poor coverage. The increased visibility enables security teams to gain a more comprehensive understanding of all resources in the cloud environment. The agentless scanners are connected to the cloud at a single touchpoint and can easily collect all relevant data about cloud workloads and other resources. Unlike agents, you do not need to install any software on each and every resource, giving security teams complete visibility and more time to focus on important matters.

Insightful information → Greater risk detection

Agentless scanning approaches do not just audit all your cloud resources, they are also able to analyze data and provide contextual insights into your cloud environments. There is a vast amount of data available that is relevant to much more than singular cloud resources. Security teams can monitor, identify, and prioritize risks based on their severity levels. This includes information related to identity and access, privileges, publicly exposed data, and misconfigurations. The agentless scanners also track harmful combinations of issues that can lead to large-scale security risks.

No installation → No impact on resources

Agentless scanners only capture information when they scan the cloud, they do not modify any of the resources or workloads. This is unlike the agent-based approach that includes installation (and sometimes frequent updates) of software. If the agentless scanners require any updates, it can be done without impacting the cloud environment they are connected to. Agentless scanning does not depend on any of the compute resources, thereby ensuring uninterrupted and smooth performance of cloud operations.

Protect your cloud with cloud-native, agentless scanners

Enterprises need to embrace a cloud security approach that matches the robustness, efficacy, and scalability of the cloud. Relying on the outdated, agent-based approach can lead to complications that can harm everyday business operations. The agentless approach is an excellent way to improve your security posture.

CheckRed’s centralized platform reduces security complexities with agentless scanners and empowers your security teams with the right tools.

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