Separation of powers in infrastructure security is crucial to reducing the risk of a single point of failure or vulnerability. This is achieved by assigning different aspects of the infrastructure, such as availability, scalability, and security to different teams or individuals.
The importance of platform and security engineers in organizations
When it comes to the infrastructure of an organization, two critical roles are the platform engineer and the security engineer. These individuals are responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning and protection of the organization’s technology infrastructure.
A platform engineer’s main responsibility is to design, build, and maintain the technology infrastructure that supports the organization's applications and services. This includes hardware, operating systems, databases, networking, and other components that the platform engineer must ensure are configured and managed to meet the organization's needs.
The tasks of a platform engineer include:
- Designing and implementing hardware and software systems to meet the organization's needs
- Automating the deployment and management of infrastructure components
- Debugging and solving infrastructure issues
- Developing and maintaining infrastructure documentation and processes
- Ensuring the security and protection of data
The goal of a platform engineer is to provide the organization with an infrastructure that is highly available, scalable, and secure. This allows the organization to deliver the applications and services quickly, reliably, and at scale. To achieve this, platform engineers use DevOps practices and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools.
A security engineer is responsible for maintaining the security of an organization's computing systems and network infrastructure. This involves designing and implementing security controls and protocols, conducting security assessments, responding to security incidents, implementing security policies and procedures, staying up-to-date with security trends and technologies, and collaborating with other teams.
The tasks of a security engineer include:
- Designing and implementing security controls and protocols, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies.
- Conducting security assessments and penetration testing to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities
- Responding to security incidents, and conducting investigations
- Implementing security policies and procedures, such as access control and data protection policies
- Keeping up-to-date with the latest security trends and conducting research on new threats and mitigation techniques.
- Collaborating with other teams to integrate security into the organization's infrastructure and processes
The goal of a security engineer is to ensure that the organization's computing systems and data are protected from security threats and minimize the risk of security incidents. To do this, security engineers need to have a strong background in computer science, network security, and cryptography, and they often hold certifications in security technologies and standards, such as the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).
In order to keep up with the speed of platform engineers and their IaC tools, security engineers also need Security as Code (SaC) and Policy as Code (PaC) tools.
Benefits of enforcing separation of power in cybersecurity infrastructure
Separation of power is an important aspect of cybersecurity infrastructure where different responsibilities are assigned to different individuals, teams, or systems. This helps to mitigate the risk of a single point of failure or vulnerability and increase the overall security of the infrastructure.
For example, if a single master system is responsible for configuring and reviewing the infrastructure using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Policy as Code (PaC) it becomes a potential target for attackers. An attacker could compromise the entire infrastructure, and any configuration drift may go undetected as the attacker could also modify the PaC checks. This creates a single point of failure, which is often referred to as the “God” system.
By enforcing separation of power, organizations reduce the risk of a single point of failure and enhance their cybersecurity posture. This helps to ensure that critical systems and data are protected against unauthorized access or misuse, and the infrastructure is properly maintained and updated. In short, separation of power helps to create a more secure environment for organizations.
What is xSPM: a comprehensive solution for infrastructure security
xSPM, or extensible security posture management, is a set of practices and open source tools that help organizations manage the security and compliance of their complete infrastructure, including on-premises, cloud, and SaaS services. This approach ensures that security is integrated into all aspects of an organization's infrastructure, from code creation to runtime.
The traditional security tools and approaches are limited in their scope, either designed for on-premises data centers or cloud-native applications, but not both. With an xSPM solution, organizations have a comprehensive solution that provides a unified view of their infrastructure security, allowing for continuous monitoring and the identification of potential security threats and vulnerabilities. .
An xSPM solution includes several key components, including cloud native application protection (CNAPP), cloud security posture management (CSPM), cloud workload protection platforms (CWPP), cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM), Kubernetes security posture management (KSPM), SaaS security posture management (SSPM), and edge computing security posture management (ECSPM). Each component plays a crucial role in ensuring the overall security and compliance of the infrastructure.
In conclusion, xSPM is a must-have solution for organizations that want to improve their overall security posture. By implementing xSPM, organizations detect configuration drifts and minimize the risk of successful attacks and data breaches ensuring the security and compliance of their complete infrastructure.
Enforcing separation of power in cybersecurity with xSPM
xSPM helps organizations enforce the separation of power in their cybersecurity infrastructure by providing a clear framework for defining, managing, and monitoring roles and responsibilities. With the help of policy as code (PaC), xSPM creates a digital security/compliance contract between parties which ensures continuous security and compliance across the infrastructure.
For example, xSPM tracks vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in critical systems and ensures changes to these systems are reviewed by multiple individuals, reducing the risk of a single point of failure or vulnerability. This real-time visibility provided by xSPM helps organizations detect configuration drifts and respond quickly to potential security threats.
The open source nature of xSPM and its ability to unify Security as Code and Policy as Code across the different infrastructure layers makes it possible to effectively enforce the separation of powers from CI/CD to runtime. This provides organizations with the control they need to manage their infrastructure securely and responsibly without losing speed through security.
Want to improve your infrastructure security and reduce the risk of a single point of failure? Download our white paper "Building a Stronger Security Posture with Extensible Security Posture Management (xSPM)" and learn how xSPM can help you create a more secure environment for your organization. Ready to get started? Sign up for a free Mondoo platform account today.