Cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools continuously monitor, identify, score, and remediate security and compliance concerns across cloud infrastructures as soon as problems arise.
CSPM is increasingly being combined with cloud workload protection platforms (CWPP) and cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) as part of comprehensive cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPP); however, cloud security posture management’s ability to detect and remediate cloud misconfigurations makes standalone CSPM solutions a worthwhile investment for small businesses and enterprises alike.
Here are our picks for the top cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools in the market today:
- Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud: Best overall
- Check Point CloudGuard: Best for compliance
- Lacework: Best for behavioral analysis
- CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security: Best for threat intelligence
- Cyscale: Best for cloud security mapping
- Trend Micro Trend Cloud One Conformity: Best for configuration recommendations
- Ermetic: Best for privileged access management
Top CSPM Software Comparison
Cloud security posture management tools can come with a wide range of capabilities, including support for different cloud infrastructures and business sizes, and specialized security features and integrations. Here’s how our top CSPM solutions compare across a few key categories:
|Risk or Compliance Scoring||Automation||Advanced Data Governance and Security Capabilities||CIEM Capabilities||Pricing|
|Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; starting at $18,000 for a 12-month 100 credit subscription through AWS Marketplace.|
|Check Point CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; starting at $625 per month for 25 assets through AWS Marketplace.|
|Lacework||Yes||Yes||Limited||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; starting at $1,500 per month plus $0.01 usage fee per Enterprise Cloud Security Platform unit used.|
|CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; starting at $14.88 for a 12-month subscription through AWS Marketplace.|
|Cyscale||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; Pro plan starts at $10,000 for a 12-month subscription through Azure Marketplace.|
|Trend Micro Trend Cloud One Conformity||Yes||Yes||Limited||Limited||The Cloud First plan, offered directly through Trend Micro, is $217 per month per account, billed annually for users with 26 to 50 accounts.|
|Ermetic||Limited||Yes||Limited||Yes||Dependent upon selected partner and other factors; Commercial plan starts at $28,000 for a 12-month subscription through AWS Marketplace.|
Jump ahead to:
- Top Cloud Security Posture Management Solutions
- Key Features of CSPM Tools
- Benefits of Working with CSPM Solutions
- How Do I Choose the Best CSPM Tool for My Business?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Bottom Line: Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tools
Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud
Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is a CNAPP solution with top-tier cloud security posture management features for hybrid, multicloud, and cloud-native environments. The solution offers its full feature set and capabilities across five different public cloud environments: AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, and Alibaba. It should be noted that Prisma Cloud is one of the few solutions that provide features that work for both Alibaba and Oracle Cloud.
Prisma Cloud stands out from most CSPM competitors for a number of reasons, including its flexible implementation options, multiple third-party and vendor integrations for security and compliance, machine-learning-driven threat and anomaly detection, and code scanning and development support features. It is one of the few solutions that offer comprehensive code-scanning capabilities that are also easy to use. Customizations and automation are also fairly straightforward to implement through this platform.
Pricing information for Prisma Cloud is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, Prisma Cloud Enterprise Edition costs $18,000 for 100 credits and a 12-month subscription from AWS Marketplace. Prisma Cloud Enterprise Edition is the only version of Prisma Cloud with specific CSPM features.
- Automated workload and application classification with full lifecycle asset change attribution
- Configuration assessments based on more than 700 policies and 120 cloud services
- Automated fixes for common misconfigurations
- Custom policy building and reporting capabilities
- Network threat detection, UEBA, and integrated threat detection dashboards
- Takes a comprehensive approach to data normalization and analysis across multiple sources that goes beyond many competitors
- Machine-learning-driven anomaly-based policies are available to users
- Palo Alto Networks Enterprise Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and the WildFire malware prevention service integrate with Prisma Cloud, supporting robust data security capabilities
- Palo Alto Network’s approach to pricing is not straightforward; customers can quickly go over their budget, depending on how many Capacity Units they require
- This solution is not ideally suited to smaller businesses, especially since it lacks some spend-tracking functionality
Check Point CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management
Best for Compliance Features
Check Point CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management is one component of the CloudGuard Cloud Native Security platform that specializes in automated, customizable solutions for cloud security posture management. It is designed to support security and compliance functions in cloud-native environments, offering its full capabilities to AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba, and Kubernetes users, and limited functionality to other cloud users.
Many users select this CSPM for its impressive compliance capabilities, which include rule-based, ML-driven telemetry mapping based on dozens of compliance frameworks and CloudBots for the automated enforcement of compliance policies. Other standout features in this solution include AI/ML-driven contextualization that comes before risk scoring activities, risk management in IDEs, and advanced infrastructure-as-code scanning.
Pricing information for CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, one month and 25 assets worth of access to CNAPP Compliance & Network Security cost $625 through AWS Marketplace. AWS Marketplace also offers plans with 12-month, 24-month, and 36-month subscriptions and the ability to purchase 100-asset bundles. CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management is typically purchased as part of CloudGuard CNAPP Compliance & Network Security.
- Security hardening and runtime code analysis
- Auto-remediation is provided through a compliance engine
- IAM-driven just-in-time user access
- Security assessments are available for more than 50 compliance frameworks, 250 cloud-native APIs, and 2,400 security rulesets
- Workload and software supply chain security capabilities
- Threat intelligence support is included as a complimentary add-on for all CloudGuard Cloud Security Posture Management users
- Governance and compliance policies features, especially CloudGuard’s telemetry mapping, are incredibly advanced
- CloudBots offer low-code, open-source automation that is easy to use
- Limited support and features for Oracle Cloud users
- CloudGuard’s licensing bundles have large minimums that are not friendly to smaller business budgets and requirements
Best for Smart Behavioral Analysis
Lacework is a CNAPP platform that combines cloud security posture management with vulnerability management, infrastructure as a code (IaC) security, identity analysis, and cloud workload protection for AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Kubernetes configurations. Instead of primarily relying on compliance policies for risk and security management, Lacework depends on smart behavioral analysis to determine baselines in your cloud environment and assess anomalies and risks based on those standards.
Lacework’s machine-learning-driven approach allows the platform to automate cloud security management not only for behavioral analytics but also for threat intelligence and anomaly detection. Other effective features in this tool include agent and agentless operations and reporting features, such as push-button and multiple format options, that make it easy to share findings with all kinds of stakeholders in the business.
Pricing information for Lacework is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, Lacework starts at $1,500 per month with an additional $0.01 usage fee per unit used through Google Cloud Marketplace. CSPM functionality is offered as part of the Lacework Polygraph Data Platform.
- Cloud asset inventories with daily inventory capture
- Prebuilt and custom policy options
- Push-button, customizable reports
- Attack path analysis and contextualized remediation guidance
- Severity and risk scoring
- Lacework Labs is an internal research team that identifies new threats and prioritizes ways to optimize the Lacework platform
- The solution is highly customizable, especially through features offered in the Polygraph behavioral engine
- Advanced risk contextualization is available with this tool, allowing users to match various types of misconfigurations with identified anomalous activities in their environment
- Limited third-party integrations and support
- Somewhat limited data governance capabilities
CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security
Best for Threat Intelligence
CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security offers advanced CSPM features for hybrid and multicloud environments alike. It is specifically compatible with three major public clouds: AWS, Azure, and GCP, offering threat detection, prevention, and remediation features to users of these three services. CrowdStrike’s solution primarily takes an agentless approach to CSPM, with continuous discovery and intelligent monitoring available to simplify risk management and response in cloud environments.
But CrowdStrike’s CSPM solution truly differentiates itself with a strategic take on and deep expertise in threat intelligence. Its adversary-first approach to threat intelligence, with policies based on more than 50 indicators of attack and 150 adversary groups, supports guided remediation and makes it quicker and easier for teams to identify and fix their most pressing security issues.
Pricing information for CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, the Falcon CrowdStrike CSPM portion of Falcon Cloud Security costs $14.88 for a 12-month subscription, with the option to pay for additional units, through AWS Marketplace. Users also have the option to purchase access to Falcon CWP and CWP On-Demand through AWS Marketplace.
- TTP/IOA detections driven by machine learning and behavioral analytics
- Adversary-driven threat detection and intelligence
- Guided remediation support for misconfigurations, guided by industry and organizational benchmarks
- One-click reconfiguration capabilities for unprotected resources
- DevOps, SIEM, and other cloud security integrations
- This solution integrates well with CrowdStrike’s vast collection of cybersecurity solutions.
- CrowdStrike’s expertise in XDR and EDR solutions makes it possible for CSPM customers to benefit from unique features like cloud threat hunting.
- The platform takes a comprehensive and focused approach to threat intelligence, with identity-driven real-time detection.
- Little to no code scanning capabilities
- Limited public cloud scope for CSPM, with full features only available for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure
Best for Cloud Security Mapping
Cyscale brands itself as a contextual cloud security posture management solution, offering cloud security management features that support AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Alibaba configurations. With multiple dashboards, an easy-to-navigate interface, and a structured approach to onboarding both new customers and their individual teams, Cyscale heavily emphasizes the user experience aspect of its solution.
Cyscale offers some of the best mapping features for cloud assets and security controls, like regulatory standards and organization-specific policies. The way it works is that cloud infrastructure issues are mapped to everything from established policies to larger regulatory standards; from there, users have the ability to set custom thresholds to determine which assets are meeting their security and compliance requirements. Cyscale’s approach to mapping is particularly effective for organizations that are frequently audited and need a quick way to visualize problems and possible steps for remediation.
Pricing information for Cyscale is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, the Pro plan starts at $10,000 for a 12-month subscription and up to 1,000 assets through Azure Marketplace. Users also have the option to purchase the same plan for one month for $1,000. The Scale plan, which includes more features and up to 5,000 assets, costs $50,000 for a one-year subscription and $5,000 per month for month-by-month access.
- Cloud asset inventorying, mapping, and security scoring
- More than 500 built-in security controls and policies
- In-app consultancy and remediation guidance
- Data retention exports for up to one year in PDF and CSV formats
- Exemptions with an exemption approval process are natively offered
- Beyond support for multiple public clouds, Cyscale also integrates with identity providers such as Okta and Azure Active Directory
- The asset discovery and mapping approach Cyscale takes from the outset with new customers makes this one of the best CSPM solutions for user experience and visibility
- Offers some of the most straightforward onboarding and deployment procedures in the CSPM market
- Cyscale can be very expensive, especially for businesses with smaller budgets
- What constitutes a single asset can be confusing to users, especially for new users who are attempting to predict costs
Trend Micro Trend Cloud One Conformity
Best for Configuration Recommendations
Trend Micro’s Trend Cloud One Conformity is a leading CSPM solution that mostly focuses on Google Cloud Platform, AWS, and Microsoft Azure configurations, excelling by offering detailed explanations, guidance, and support to new users. Committed to bringing prospective buyers knowledge before they commit, Trend Micro is one of the few CSPM vendors that offers a complimentary public cloud risk assessment to anyone who wants additional guidance on security, governance, and compliance before building their cloud infrastructure in AWS or Azure.
Trend Cloud One Conformity also comes with detailed configuration recommendations that are based on a cloud design and infrastructure standard known as the Well-Architected Frameworks. With this collection of principles as the backbone for its recommendations, users can easily check how their configuration decisions align with pillars such as security, operational excellence, reliability, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and sustainability. Configurations can either be updated manually or auto-remediated based on those rules.
Pricing for this Trend Micro solution depends on the source from which you access it. This is one of the few options on this list that can be purchased directly through the vendor, however. The Cloud First plan, offered directly through Trend Micro, is $217 per month per account, billed annually for users with 26 to 50 accounts. Cloud Ready and Cloud Native packages are also offered, and a 30-day free trial is available as well. Learn more about Trend Cloud One Conformity pricing here.
- Remediation guides and auto-remediation
- Filterable auditing for misconfigurations
- Exportable and customizable reports
- Continuous scanning against compliance and industry standards
- Free public cloud risk assessments
- One of the best options for straightforward, easy-to-setup auto-remediation
- The solution integrates with multiple service ticketing and communication tools, including Slack, ServiceNow, Jira, PagerDuty, and Microsoft Teams
- The Conformity Knowledge Base offers an extensive self-service collection of remediation guides to users
- Limited CIEM capabilities
- Features are limited to three public clouds: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform
Best for Privileged Access Management
Ermetic is a CNAPP solution that equally emphasizes cloud security posture management and cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure configurations and users. The addition of advanced CIEM features makes this one of the best CSPM options for monitoring humans and their impact on infrastructural and configuration decisions.
Its identity-driven features include multicloud asset management and detection, risk assessments based on identity entitlements, and IAM-focused policy recommendations. It is also one of the few CSPM software options that include privileged access management (PAM) and just-in-time access management features for its users.
Pricing information for Ermetic is not transparently listed on the vendor’s website; it varies depending on which partners and features you choose to work with. For example, the commercial plan for Ermetic CIEM and CSPM starts at $28,000 for a 12-month subscription and up to 120 billable workloads when purchased through AWS Marketplace.
- Auto-remediation with an identity-driven strategy
- Remediation is available for both unused and excessive user privileges
- Combined CSPM and CIEM functionality
- IaC snippets in Terraform and CloudFormation
- Built-in templates and customizable options for policies
- One of the best CSPM options for users who also want comprehensive CIEM functionality
- One of the only CSPM solutions that offer privileged access management
- Capable integrations with SIEM and ticketing solutions, such as Splunk, IBM QRadar, ServiceNow, and Jira
- At least based on the information provided by AWS Marketplace, this is one of the most expensive options in the CSPM market
- Limited to AWS, Azure, and GCP
Also see the Top Cloud Security Companies
Key Features of CSPM Tools
CSPM features can vary greatly, especially depending on if it’s offered as part of a greater CNAPP or cloud security suite of solutions. In general, it’s important to look for the following features when selecting a CSPM solution:
Infrastructure-level risk monitoring and assessments
All CSPM solutions should include some form of risk and configuration assessments, making it easier for users to identify and assess risks. Most tools include risk scoring, risk mapping, or some other kind of risk visualization to help users of all backgrounds quickly identify configuration problems and how to solve them.
Threat detection and intelligence
Threat detection is an important piece of cloud security posture management, and threat intelligence is often a bonus that transforms discoveries into actionable remediation tasks. CSPM solutions typically use industry or organizational benchmarks, specific policies, behavioral analytics, or a combination of these factors to effectively detect and mitigate cloud security threats. A growing number of CSPM solutions also use machine learning to power and further automate the threat intelligence and detection process.
Remediation and recommendations
Unlike some other cloud security tools that simply identify problems for your team to fix, most CSPM solutions include specific recommendations and can remediate issues on their own. Depending on your specific requirements, your team can set up custom organizational policies or utilize built-in regulatory frameworks and best practices as baselines. From there, users often have the option to manually remediate or rely on auto-remediation when issues are discovered.
Advanced data governance and compliance management
Because public clouds and cloud applications are constantly changing and play by their own rules, data governance and compliance management features are very important to the configuration management part of CSPM. Nearly all CSPM tools allow users to build their own or use prebuilt policies and rules for compliance management. Some of the most common regulatory frameworks that CSPM tools build off of include HIPAA, GDPR, NIST, PCI-DSS, CIS, ISO, and SOC 2.
Many aspects of CSPM are driven by automation, especially for tools that rely on agentless performance. Automated workflows are used to identify and prevent cloud, app, and data misconfigurations that can cause security and compliance problems. Some of the most common types of CSPM automation are used to automate policy enforcement, classification, and remediation.
Benefits of Working with CSPM Tools
CSPM software offers many benefits to users who are looking to enhance their cloud security. These are some of the top benefits that come from implementing cloud security posture management:
- Increased infrastructural visibility: Constant security and compliance monitoring is a standard aspect of CSPM tools. This real-time approach to threat detection and risk monitoring leads to increased visibility for stakeholders with varying levels of cybersecurity experience and infrastructural expertise.
- Security support for multiple environments and ecosystems: Most CSPMs work with at least the Big Three public cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP), and others work well with Oracle Cloud and Alibaba. CSPM vendors’ experience with public cloud environments gives users additional peace of mind when storing data and workloads in public cloud environments.
- Automation that simplifies security management: Automation is interwoven into many parts of the CSPM lifecycle, simplifying risk detection and remediation efforts for complex and sprawling cloud environments.
- Proactive security and compliance recommendations: Instead of only correcting problems after they arise, CSPM solutions can proactively detect configurations and infrastructure designs that are potentially harmful. They can also make suggestions for security posture improvements.
- Enhanced compliance policies and enforcement: Cybersecurity teams can certainly create their own compliance policies, but it’s difficult to enforce these policies across all parts of cloud infrastructure. CSPM tools take some of this burden off of your team, helping them to create and enforce policies that meet your organizational, regional, and industry-specific requirements.
How Do I Choose the Best CSPM Tool for My Business?
Choosing the best CSPM tool for your business requires you to look closely at your specific cloud setup and security requirements. First, consider the size of your cloud infrastructure and the budget you have in mind. While some solutions may seem slightly more affordable than others in this market, many of them have per-unit and capacity-based pricing that can scale up quickly if you’re not careful. CSPM solutions also usually have unit minimums that may exceed the requirements of your organization, meaning you’re paying for more than you actually need with no alternative from that vendor.
Next, consider the unique compliance and security requirements of your business. Do you operate in a region where GDPR is in effect? Do HIPAA or SOX regulations apply to your data? Do you work with third-party cloud environments or applications with their own security rules and procedures? Uncovering the answers to these questions will help you identify a CSPM tool that supports your compliance frameworks and other unique requirements.
Finally, consider any other features that would particularly benefit your team. Automation is included in nearly all CSPM tools, but some have more extensive automation capabilities for steps like remediation and analytics. Many tools also have some form of artificial intelligence baked into their operations. Regardless of the special features that you determine are most important to your team, look for a tool that implements them in an easy-to-use fashion.
More on third-party risk: 10 Best Third-Party Risk Management Software & Tools
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is cloud security posture management?
Cloud security posture management, otherwise known as CSPM, is the strategy behind the tools that support security and compliance management in cloud computing environments. Boasting some overlapping features with risk management and cloud-security-focused tools, cloud security posture management software is designed to identify, assess, prioritize, and manage risk at an infrastructure- and configuration-level in the cloud.
What is the difference between CASB and CSPM?
Cloud access security broker (CASB) and CSPM tools are both effective solutions for managing cloud security, but they each focus on different aspects of that security, with some overlap. CASB tools are dedicated to data-level security and user access controls, while CSPM focuses more heavily on infrastructure-level security, compliance, and configuration management.
Is CSPM a part of SASE?
CSPM solutions are often used in combination with secure access service edge (SASE) technology, but CSPM is not officially a part of SASE. CSPM focuses more on the features and functionality needed to secure cloud environments, while SASE solutions support secure access to the resources in those environments through managed services and specialized features.
The top cloud security posture management solutions in this list were selected through a thorough examination of their individual feature sets, their scalability, pricing options, user experience, and their general performance on user- and expert-aggregated review sites. Over two dozen solutions were reviewed in order to create this curated CSPM product guide.
Bottom Line: Cloud Security and Posture Management (CSPM) Tools
The best CSPM solution for your business depends less on how these solutions perform in aggregated reviews and more on your specific cloud environment, security, and compliance requirements. It’s important to look for a platform with built-in features for compliance frameworks that apply to your industry and/or region. To make the best decision for your business, we recommend first identifying your top compliance and cloud security concerns and then reaching out to vendors to determine what support and features they offer in those areas.
Read next: Cloud Security Best Practices
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