The modern application landscape is complex. The interconnected nature of everything makes it difficult to identify all the potential security vulnerabilities. One way to reduce risk and protect your applications is by implementing a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP).
This article treats this issue in detail how it works, the benefits, and what you need to know before selecting one for your business needs.
What Is a Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform?
A cloud-native application protection platform is a simplified and comprehensive security solution that enables organizations to benefit from the cloud-native ecosystem and secure their cloud-based business applications.
CNAPPs are a sign that the software industry is moving in new directions.
Unlike their standalone counterparts, CNAPPs can help you keep your cloud secure by focusing on vulnerabilities early in the app development process.
Standalone options have covered these areas before, but none have significantly focused on security during this stage.
CNAPPs involve scanning infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates for configuration settings before deployment or looking at pods/clusters for container image vulnerabilities on platforms like Kubernetes.
Why Do I Need a CNAPP?
As cloud-native applications grow in popularity, so does the number of vulnerabilities that come with hosting on the cloud.
Your business needs an application protection platform for these types of vulnerabilities because they are becoming increasingly complex and more challenging to handle.
There are many benefits to using one at your organization, including:
- Simplified management overhead/time commitment required of staff members
- Reduced risk exposure from data leaks
- Built-in fraud detection capabilities that can help prevent fraud before it occurs
- Continuous monitoring offers better insight into what's happening on your network at any given time
- Complete visibility into everything occurring within your cloud-native applications
What I Need to Know Before Selecting a CNAPP
When selecting an application protection platform for your business, it is essential to understand what features each solution provides.
Here are some of the key elements to look at when comparing platforms:
- Whether it offers complete visibility into cloud-native apps (not just network scans)
- How many types of attacks it protects against
- How frequently do security updates occur
- If there is maintenance required to keep up with changes, etc.
- Whether ease of use/interface design will allow staff members to configure policies without professional assistance
- The cost involved after installation fees (some companies make you pay for ongoing support)
- The number of apps it can manage
Critical components of CNAPP
CNAPPs combine several critical elements of cloud-native security that can quickly deploy for protection with no additional costs.
- Network monitoring
- Continuous/real-time analysis
- Automated incident notifications
- Pre-configured policies that are easy to set up and maintain
- User-friendly interfaces designed with non-technical staff members in mind, those who don't have a lot of IT resources available to them
- Full integration into existing security products like SIEMs and IPS/IDS solutions
- Easy-to-set-up custom rules using pre-configured templates that include: user access, file integrity monitoring, network segmentation, etc.
Who Should Use This Kind of Protection Platform, and Why?
Cloud-native apps deliver an improved user experience and are accessible remotely.
However, while this is great for productivity and offers convenience, it also opens the door to potential issues that need to be addressed to keep data safe.
Using a CNAPP will continuously help keep cloud-based applications running smoothly and ensure your network remains protected from a security standpoint — even if no malicious activity has been detected yet.
The Future of CNAPPs
In recent years, there has been a large influx of security solutions developed to respond to the changing needs of organizations for cloud-native applications and their protection.
This is because we've seen an increase in:
- The number of employees working remotely, which means more users are accessing data via apps on demand rather than storing them locally/on-premise for more extended periods
- Companies moving towards hybrid IaaS models such as multi-region deployments with multiple public clouds
- Businesses using managed private clouds like Microsoft Cloud, IBM Cloud, Citrix Cloud, etc., alongside existing on-premise systems
Creating DevOps pipelines capable of managing cloud-native apps and their security requirements is also becoming a challenge for many organizations.
To successfully integrate security across the DevOps pipeline, you must consider all aspects.
This includes workload images; infrastructure automation and orchestration; cloud control plane configuration; and runtime environments in clouds.
The cloud-native application protection platform should be able to:
- Provide robust API integration for asset discovery
- Integrate with DevOps pipeline tools to assess IaC templates
- Provide complete protection during runtime for all types of workloads
As we can see, using the right cloud-native application protection platform will help keep data safe and business operations running smoothly.
These platforms offer many beneficial features and capabilities that make them worth considering for organizations, big or small.
To learn more about how they work, or to find out which security measures your business needs, contact one of our security professionals.
We'd be glad to help your business!