Why you really need cloud-native application protection platforms l Adservio

As more apps move to the cloud, you need more protection than typical security tools offer. It's time for cloud-native application protection platforms.

Digital Quality
18 min
Digital Quality
Why you really need cloud-native application protection platforms l Adservio

Cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAAPs) make it easier for developers to discover security vulnerabilities in their products. Instead of relying on a bunch of independent tools linked together – creating opportunities for malicious actors to slip through – CNAPP solutions let security teams review everything from endpoints to dependencies within a single platform.

We’ve seen the benefits of adopting CNAPP solutions throughout app life cycles. Although it isn’t a foolproof approach to application security – nothing is! – we find them extremely helpful.

Below, we’ll share some of our experiences with adding CNAPP to cloud infrastructures, what you can expect from them, and which platforms implement the best security strategies.

What are cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPP)?

Cloud-native application protection platforms bring together several approaches to protecting the attack surfaces of your web and mobile apps.

Products you can expect to find within a reliable CNAPP include:

  • Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
  • Cloud Service Network Security (CSNS)

Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)

CWPPs scan workloads to help ensure your IT infrastructure can handle all requests without slowing runtimes considerably or, much worse, failing. CWPPs benefit cloud-based applications because they can tap into additional computing resources as needed. For example, the CWPP might respond to a sudden increase in users by recruiting help from virtual machines, Kubernetes, other containers, additional cloud server space, and physical machines.

A great CWPP will also improve performance and runtime visibility. For instance, a graphics-based dashboard might show you a timeline of increased usage and notify security leaders to pay close attention.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

CSPM solutions automate key tasks associated with identifying and remediating cloud-native application risks. For example, a reliable CSPM might keep applications running by:

  • Finding and fixing misconfigurations that could stunt performance and give hackers access
  • Detecting threats from suspicious activities and vulnerable code components
  • Monitoring the cloud environment for general and specific issues

Cloud Service Network Security (CSNS)

Cloud technology relies on dynamic network perimeters that can adjust with changing needs. CSNS helps ensure that scaling happens without putting applications in harm’s way.

For example, we typically see CSNS tools that use:

  • Load balancers to prevent servers from getting overburdened
  • SSL/TLS inspection to scan for suspicious packages
  • Next-generation firewalls that control exterior access
  • Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) protection that spots and blocks potential threats

What does a CNAPP security platform really do?

Gartner security leaders Dale Koeppen, Charlie Winckless, and Neil MacDonald published a highly influential report about cloud-native application protection platforms.

If you want to take a deep dive into their research, read their publication, "Gartner® Market Guide for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms."

In the meantime, we’ll distill the opinions of Gartner and its researchers into a few critical points.

According to this Gartner research, attackers have several opportunities to exploit the risk surface area of cloud-native applications. Third-party API endpoint services and SaaS API endpoint services stand out as two of the most prevalent threats.

A runtime cloud-native application risk boundary helps prevent users from attacking systems on the other side of that boundary, including:

  • Cloud Identity Services
  • Cloud Secrets Management
  • Serverless PaaS
  • Virtual Machines
  • Host operating systems
  • VM image libraries
  • Kubernetes and managed Kubernetes.

Other key findings from the Gartner report include:

  • In-workload scanning tends to work better than agentless workload scanning.
  • Few CNAPP solutions have all of the features security teams need.
  • Developers need to prioritize security, even if they see it as an obstacle to product development.
  • Cloud-native applications have growing attack surfaces, often because of software supply chains and cloud infrastructure misconfigurations.

If for no other reason, we recommend using a CNAPP solution to protect these and other assets. Doing so should also help you address other cloud security challenges, including misconfigurations, regulatory compliance, and complex cloud migrations.

CNAPP representative vendors to consider

Clearly, CNAPP solutions will play an ongoing role in cloud security. But which one should you choose? Here are some stand-out options worth considering.


Image via Wiz

Everyone’s use cases differ, but Wiz really does a great job for most organizations that want to embrace CNAPP technology. It has an extremely easy-to-use interface with clear diagrams. It’s agentless, so it doesn’t care what containers, virtual machines, buckets, or databases it encounters.

Wiz also does a great job prioritizing risks so it can nip the worst ones in the bud first. Is a workload balance issue slightly disrupting your app performance while a DDoS attack pummels your website? Wiz knows enough to focus on the DDoS attack first.

Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud

Image via Palo Alto Networks

Prisma Cloud comes with practically everything you could possibly want to secure your cloud-native applications. That’s because Palo Alto Networks rolled some of its top-performing security tools into Prisma Cloud, including features for:

  • DevSecOps
  • Cloud security posture management
  • Cloud workload protection
  • Cloud infrastructure entitlement management

What do we think Palo Alto Networks could improve on? It might help if it automatically integrated new features. We’ve seen ingestion errors occur because a new feature got rolled out without our knowledge.

Sysdig Secure

Image via Sysdig

Sysdig Secure is a no-brainer when it comes to container security. It also has a ton of features to protect your whole cloud infrastructure and performance. Users love that Sysdig Secure:

  • Gives admins an overhead view of application performance
  • Comes with runtime protection and a vulnerability runtime scan
  • Combines CSPM, CWPP, and CSNS into one security platform

Of course, Sysdig Secure isn’t perfect for everyone. It doesn’t have the most user-friendly dashboard, especially for non-technical users. It can also consume a lot of resources, which can stress your on-site and cloud-based networks.

Find the right cloud security tool for your organization

Not sure whether a single-vendor provider can offer the runtime operation, remediation, and optional capabilities your cloud-native apps need? We know it’s a lot of information to analyze, and we’re here to help.

Reach out today so we can talk about your organization’s unique needs. Then, we can help you find a solution that keeps your cloud-native apps as safe as possible.

Published on
July 13, 2023

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