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Identity Security Posture Management - The Latest Addition to the Security Posture Alphabet Soup

Updated: Oct 26


The term “security posture” has been around for quite some time. The first formal mention of security posture appeared in the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) document titled “Guide for Conducting Risk Assessments” in 2012, with the term first formally defined by them in 2015. According to NIST’s most current definition, the term security posture refers to “the security status of an enterprise’s networks, information, and systems based on information security resources (e.g., people, hardware, software, policies) and capabilities in place to manage the defense of the enterprise and to react as the situation changes.”


Interestingly, the term “security posture” has recently evolved to include products that aim to improve an organization’s security posture, including cloud security posture management, data security posture management, and identity security posture management. As their names imply, each focuses on improving the security posture of different elements of a customer’s environment to proactively detect weaknesses and misconfigurations that could provide a digital attack path for adversaries.


Of the three, the most well-known is cloud security posture management. Cloud security posture management (CSPM) assesses the security posture across multi-cloud environments by maintaining a current inventory of the cloud assets for proactive analysis and risk assessment to detect any misconfigurations. Some of the most common misconfigurations that CSPM solutions can uncover include unsecured data storage, excessive permissions, unchanged default credentials and configurations, and disabled cloud security controls.


The next set of solutions that came into the mix was in the data security posture management category. Data security posture management (DSPM) provides visibility as to where sensitive data is, who has access to it, how it has been used, and the security posture of the data stored. It does that by assessing the current state of data security, identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities related to data, implementing data security controls to mitigate these risks, and regularly monitoring and updating the data security posture to ensure it remains effective. As a result, DSPM enables businesses to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data.


A missing piece of this entire security posture management puzzle is the need to focus on identity security posture management. Like CSPM and DSPM, identity security posture management (ISPM) solutions like AuthMind enable organizations to proactively manage and protect their identities. It involves monitoring and analyzing an organization’s identity security posture to detect weaknesses and misconfigurations in its identity security stack, including active directory, identity providers, privileged access management, and identity governance and administration. ISPM solutions can also secure specific identities, such as service accounts or users with superuser access to identity security systems.


Comprehensive identity security posture management solutions go beyond protecting an organization’s identity security stack and securing specific identities. They also provide real-time visibility into all identities, human-to-machine, machine-to-machine, managed or unmanaged, assets, and the access flows related to them. This enables IT and security teams to continuously detect and remediate identity risks that aren’t addressed by the identity infrastructure or existing security controls.


Securing identities is crucial in today’s cybersecurity landscape because any identity can provide an initial entry path to your hybrid or cloud environment for adversaries to steal data or spread malware. Identity security posture management complements both CSPM and DSPM by providing an identity-centric perspective that helps organizations proactively manage and protect their identities to “manage the defense of the enterprise,” as it was so well stated in NIST’s definition of security posture.