Cybersecurity is a growing concern for businesses across industries. Understanding the need to protect information on the internet, several regulations have come into existence. The most prominent ones, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO/IEC 27001:2013, and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), focus on data protection and cloud security. But the time has come for organizations to look at cloud security as an initiative that is beyond compliance.
In the realm of cloud security, ‘agents’ are deployed within the cloud architecture to perform security tasks such as scanning for threats, cloud activity, and cyber attacks. Cloud Security tools use host-based agents that are embedded within the infrastructure to perform scans. It is the technical equivalent of having a janitor making the rounds at night to check for thieves or miscreants. These tools use pull communication and are known to have longer deployment time, and require high network bandwidth.
On the other hand, agentless cloud security is a quick, easy-to-deploy security solution that helps monitor cloud devices without placing a code inside the infrastructure of every asset. Think of them as CCTV cameras for the cloud. Using push communication, agentless security scans the entire cloud infrastructure across locations without affecting users. This type of cloud security is gaining momentum among businesses that have a presence across locations and has multiple environments accessing the server.
Benefits of agentless security
- Protects multiple endpoints with better visibility without performance degradation
- Runs seamlessly across different server platforms
- Operates in a real-time environment
- Offers threat detection and system response across the entire network of assets
Should cloud security adopt an agentless approach?
Within the context of cybersecurity, both agent-based and agentless security has a role to play. Agentless cloud security is one of the easiest cloud security tools that offer 100% visibility across all cloud assets irrespective of geography and environment, thus eliminating any blind spots within the architecture. Leveraging the power of APIs, these tools scan for anomalies within the architecture without any system downtime. Similarly, agent-based security offers in-depth scanning of devices and protects the environment like a firewall. Since they are present inside the assets, networks with limited bandwidth can use them to block attacks and patch live systems.
To gain complete protection over assets, SRM leaders can choose to take advantage of both these tools together. However, agentless security is a relatively new concept. It is recommended to consider various factors such as supported CSP platforms, types of cloud security risks covered, multi-cloud deployments, and technology used while choosing an agentless security solution.
One of the most recognized players in the agentless security segment is Orca Security. Orca developed a revolutionary new technology called SideScanning™ that collects data directly from the cloud provider’s API to identify the most critical risks while guaranteeing 100% coverage.
Role of Orca in agentless cloud security
Orca’s agentless cloud security tool is used to achieve three main goals — to demonstrate regulatory compliance, to perform security due diligence, and to manage multi-cloud environments. Orca offers deeper visibility into AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud without agents’ operational costs. The solution uses SideScanning technology to check for system vulnerabilities, malware, misconfigurations, lateral movement risk, at-risk and compromised data, and identity and access management (IAM) risk. Taking cloud security to the next level, Orca protects different forms of cloud assets, including serverless, containers, VPCs, keys, storage buckets, paused or stopped workloads, VMs, and devices that cannot support agents.
Understanding SideScanning technology
Orca offers agentless cloud security with a patent-pending technology called SideScanning. With read-only access, this technology collects data externally to create a complete risk profile for the cloud. Since no information is transferred over the network, there is no loss of data, no downtime, and no impact on users.
The success of Orca’s SideScanning technology lies in its ability to reduce the need for multiple tools to perform cloud vulnerability management. The platform acts as a single agentless security tool that visualizes all cloud assets to detect security risks at every layer and prioritizes them.
Orca has been instrumental in improving cloud security for several businesses with SideScanning. Here is a use case from a financial services company that deployed Orca security to address several pain points.
A leading player in the next generation of retail finance and payments industry approached Orca with three cloud security challenges — growth of the organization resulted in ever-expanding cloud estate, restrictions in infrastructure affected vulnerabilities scan, and use of different environments across multiple countries. With zero-touch deployment, Orca managed to create 100% coverage of cloud accounts with complete viability over asset inventory. The platform has an auto-solve capacity that helps organizations put the residual risk at zero. Offering deep insights into misconfigurations and prioritized remediations, Orca helped the team reduce dependence on DevOps, thus giving them the time to focus on the product and minimize time to market.
Future of cloud security
Cloud security is an evolving discipline. According to a recent Gartner® report, Innovation Insight for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP), it is important for organizations to have a CNAPP approach to gain better visibility and have better control over cloud-native application risks. This approach does not recommend adding another tool for security, rather implementing a single tool that encompasses cloud security posture management (CSPM), cloud infrastructure entitlement Management (CIEM), and cloud workload protection platform (CWPP), among others. To that end, agentless security pioneers such as Orca have simplified cloud security with a fully integrated, easy-to-install platform that can detect and prioritize risks anytime, anywhere. While it is too soon to tell if agent-based security will take a backseat, these new-age agentless tools are paving the way for a more secure future.
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