As the use of cloud-based applications is increasing with time, so does the requirement to systematically secure these applications and the workloads that power these applications. Cloud workloads are deployed in multi cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud environments, and it leads to unique security requirements that can’t be catered to by traditional security policies.
Moreover, the number of ransomware attacks by cyber criminals is increasing, and it is becoming difficult for enterprises to prevent security breaches. This is where the cloud workload protection platform or CWPP comes into play which is designed to provide optimum security to the workloads and applications.
The main objective of CWPP is to monitor cloud workloads and applications across platforms and safeguard them from cyber-attacks. If you are planning to introduce CWPP for your cloud-native applications, then this guide will give you a complete idea about the cloud workload protection platform.
So, let’s begin by knowing about;
What is a Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)?
The cloud workload protection platform, or CWPP, can be defined as a security technology or tool that continuously monitors and protects the cloud workload and applications from any security threats.
According to Gartner, CWPP is a technology that safeguards public, hybrid, and multi-cloud workloads, which include virtual machines, containers, serverless functions, and bare metal servers. It provides unified protection to a wide range of cloud workloads across multiple providers and complex architecture.
Many organizations are integrating CWPP with their cloud platforms because it helps them to get consistent visibility and address security threats before they make any further damage to the system. As the cloud infrastructure of an organization scales with time, the number of potential vulnerabilities increases.
Cyber attackers exploit these vulnerabilities and cause severe damage. So it becomes vital for organizations to utilize cloud workload protection platform solutions to protect the native applications and associated workloads in the cloud. CWPP works in a simple manner where it monitors all platforms under its supervision, detects potential security threats, and notifies the responsible security team of the organization.
With CWPP, there are two ways to protect the cloud workloads; one is micro-segmentation, and another one is bare metal hypervisors. Micro segmentation is a network security technique where the data center is divided into distinct security segments, and security control is defined for each segment.
At the same time, bare metal hypervisor acts as a virtual software that helps in creating and managing virtual machines on hardware. These virtual machines are isolated from each other, so if one of the machines is attacked, it won’t affect the other.
What is A Cloud Workload?
A cloud workload indicates the storage, networking, memory, and other cloud-based resources along with processes utilized by cloud applications and services to work smoothly.
It serves as the primary aspect of cloud functionality because it contains all the resources and processes that are needed to ensure smooth functioning. A cloud workload contains many components, and these components are;
- An API serves as an essential part of the cloud workload, which provides an instance of the cloud application to the customer.
- A virtual machine that serves as the main base for running the application.
- A computing component that is responsible for running the back-end processes.
- Database that contains all the information of the organization.
- Containers that carry executable units of software.
- A web server.
- The front end of the business application.
Besides these, there are many other components that are also included in the cloud workload. In modern days, cloud workloads run at the abstraction layer as it has enabled better and more efficient usage of cloud servers. Nowadays, multiple virtual machines can run on a single physical, and it has allowed multiple cloud application users to use the servers concurrently.
Why is CWPP Important?
The usage of cloud computing has become a key driver for today’s business growth as it is helping them to deliver applications and services with proper scalability and speed. The cloud workload serves as the primary component of these applications and services as it facilitates them to work smoothly.
So utilizing cloud workload security is critical because it not only automates the identification of unknown vulnerabilities but also scans each layer of the workload to look for CVEs. Moreover, it will protect the workloads from getting affected because if any component is attacked, then the service or application won’t be able to function securely. There are other reasons that make CWPP necessary for a cloud platform, and they are;
- Most organizations utilize multiple cloud vendors and work on a multi-cloud environment to cater to their requirements. However, this makes the job difficult for the security team to see, manage and protect the data and application. However, CWPP can solve this problem as it is built for a multi-cloud environment and can secure workloads at runtime.
- There are many organizations that still have legacy infrastructure and applications, and it is quite a challenge to move all the functionality to the cloud. This hybrid platform causes a lack of visibility and control that ultimately puts the data and application at risk. But CWPP solves this as it provides complete protection in a hybrid environment.
- According to most researchers, most of the cloud applications contain 60-70% open-source code and/or previously written code and it is done mostly to speed up application development. So it often leads to inconsistency in the security protocol. It ultimately causes restrictions for implementing control at application runtime, which ultimately leads to vulnerability in the cloud workload and application. However, organizations were able to address this issue by introducing CWPP, as it can analyze and secure workloads at application runtime.
How Does CWPP Work?
A CWPP solution works as a cloud infrastructure security where it protects all the server workloads from any kind of threat regardless of their nature and granularity. The working of CWPP might involve a lot of granular steps, but here I will try to define its working in a simple manner;
- In the beginning, a CWPP solution looks for all the workloads that are present in the cloud-based environment and on-premises infrastructure.
- Once it has located all the workloads, it commences the vulnerability assessment process, where it looks for potential security threats within the workloads. The assessment is done based on the known vulnerability and security policies implemented by the organization.
- Now, if any vulnerability comes up during the cloud threat detection, CWPP comes with an effective solution where it assists the security team in implementing control. To fix the issue during cloud workload risk assessment, CWPP can also implement integrity protection and allow lists as a solution.
- Besides solving known vulnerabilities, CWPP also provides protection against security threats that commonly arise in the cloud and hybrid workloads. For common cloud workload intrusion prevention, CWPP comes up with runtime protection, network segmentation, and malware assessment and fixing.
Benefits of Cloud Workload Protection Platform in Vulnerability Management
When it comes to cloud workload protection platforms in vulnerability management, it has a lot of benefits on offer that helps in keeping the cloud workload secured. These benefits include;
Highly flexible and scalable:
One of the primary benefits of using CWPP for organizations is that it is flexible with the scalability of the workload environment. When an organization scales up its resources to cater to the high demand for services, CWPP can adapt with scalability without compromising on the security of the workload.
Automatic configuration into DevOps:
Using CWPP, developers have the ability to integrate security into DevOps practices and optimize the process. As CWPP solution can natively integrate into CI/CD pipelines, it helps the CWPP tools to get automatically configured and make sure the application is completely secured.
Since modern applications work on multi-cloud and hybrid environments, it gives rise to unique security requirements. CWPP helps in catering to those security requirements by allowing you to deploy customized security control that not only offers protection but also complete cloud workload visibility.
Workload behavior governance:
Governing the workload behavior is an integral part of workload protection and through this governing process it aids to workload security through detection and response. While governing the workload behavior, it looks for any breach in the workload at runtime and provides response to the security team.
Complete visibility from a single interface:
Nowadays, many organizations utilize a multi-cloud environment to cater to their application and service requirements. It becomes problematic for security teams to employ cloud workload monitoring for all the workloads concurrently. But cloud security for workloads solves the issue by offering you a single interface from where you can monitor all the workloads.
Comparatively low cost of ownership:
CWPP solutions are relatively cost-effective in comparison to the cost you would have to invest in securing on-premises workloads. Most CWPP solutions offer usage-based costing to all organizations, and it helps in saving a lot of money in the long run.
Effective cloud vulnerability management:
A key benefit of employing CWPP in the cloud environment is its effective cloud vulnerability management through cloud workload hardening. It curbs vulnerability and threats by identifying all the malicious and excess applications, permission, requests, accounts, codes, and many others.
The ability to meet compliances such as SOC 2, FISMA, ISO 27001, PCI DSS and HIPAA by cloud workload protection platform in the cloud environment makes them highly useful. This capability allows them to detect compliance violations along with vulnerabilities. CWPP solutions keep them updated with the latest compliances to make sure your cloud application and workloads have the optimum protection against security threats.
Key Features of a CWPP
Nowadays, modern businesses utilizing cloud platforms are constantly under threat from attackers who try to exploit vulnerabilities in the workload and disrupt the system.
A cloud workload protection platform is the best way to protect the cloud application and the workloads associated with it. CWPP is filled with many key features which help it to provide endpoint protection and security at every layer. The primary features you will also get with CWPP are;
- Complete vulnerability scanning.
- Micro segmentation technique.
- Security for Kubernetes and containers.
- Security integration at runtime.
- Adequate security at CI/CD pipeline and DevOps.
- Security compliance and posture.
- Application whitelisting.
- Cloud network security.
- Cloud workload anomaly detection and visibility.
- Cloud workload intrusion prevention.
- Application protection.
3 Strategies To Get The Most From A CWPP
When it comes to getting the most out of your newly implemented CWPP, you can’t rely on ordinary strategies. You have to utilize some meticulously designed strategies. Here are three strategies that you can utilize;
Collaborative Security Approach
A collaborative security approach is an effective way to get the most out of your CWPP. You should conduct cybersecurity training for your employees at regular intervals and encourage them to perform safe cyber practices, which will reduce the chance of vulnerabilities. You should conduct these cybersecurity training sessions at regular intervals, which will help the employees to learn and ability to handle new security threats.
Adopting a Zero Trust Security Model
To make sure your CWPP offers optimum protection for your applications and workloads, you need to adopt a zero-trust security model. You should make a proactive approach to cloud security so that there is a minimal possibility of security breaches. Through the zero-trust model, you should consider every device and person who tries to access your cloud environment and workload as a threat. Every device and user should pass through the security authentication process before they gain entry. Functions, processes, and data that are not needed by employees should have limited access.
Staying Updated With the Latest Threats
Staying updated with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities is another effective strategy to get the most out of your CWPP. When you keep the security tools and protocols up to date with the latest threats, it helps in strengthening the security and preventing any threat. Administrative controls and endpoint security controls should be updated on a regular basis as new security emerges because it will help the CWPP solution quickly prevent any potential breach.
CWPP vs CSPM: What is the Difference Between a CWPP and Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?
CWPP and CSPM are popular cloud cybersecurity solutions that work to protect the cloud environment and also enhance the security level. CSPM and CWPP can be utilized together to provide a comprehensive protection to the cloud workload. Although both solutions have the same aim, they are pretty different from each other.
The main job of the CWPP solution is to offer protection to the cloud and on-premises workload along with the application and services dependent on it. Whereas CSPM only aims to solve issues that originate from cloud security misconfiguration.
When it comes to protection for the cloud environment, CSPM mostly looks for threats across the cloud infrastructure by detecting misconfiguration in security settings, compliance regulations, and security policies. However, CWPP is mostly about internal protection because it looks for threats in the software and workloads that might hamper the stability. It focused on protecting the workloads that are utilized by the services and application in the environment.
How Can CloudDefense.AI Help With Its CWPP Solutions?
Without a shadow of a doubt, CloudDefense.AI has emerged as one of the finest vendors for agentless CWPP solutions to businesses. Whether you are looking to secure your VMS, containers, Kubernetes, or applications across all your hybrid and multi-cloud environments, CloudDefense.AI can help you out with complete security.
Using our CloudeDefense.AI’s CNAPP solution, your DevOps and cloud infrastructure can easily adopt the architecture they desire while maintaining complete protection. It offers adequate CI/CD security where it not only supports all your application components but also utilizes a trust View scan to make sure all the components originate from authorized sources.
The flexible agentless scanning and also the option of agent-based protection also make CloudDefense.AI an appropriate security solution for your cloud workloads and applications. With this agentless solution, you won’t have to worry about runtime defense as it ensures security as part of the deployment and also unifies protection from a single agent.
What is the difference between CWPP and CASB?
Cloud access security broker acts as a security gateway to a cloud environment where it makes sure users’ actions are authorized and compliant with the security policies. On the other hand, CWPP’s main aim is to protect all types of workloads associated with the cloud application and services of the organization.
What are the significant types of cloud platform services?
There are three types of cloud platform services available in the industry, and they are infrastructure as a service, software as a service, and platform as a service. Each of them can work on different cloud platforms depending upon the requirement.
What are the components of cloud workload security?
The primary components of cloud workload security are vulnerability management, network security, access control, and threat detection and prevention. Each component are important for cloud security and they are essential to ensure adequate protection to the whole cloud workload.
What workloads are suitable for the cloud?
It is believed workloads based on-premises systems are suitable for the system, but in reality, it is not actually true in most cases. Workloads that utilize AI, data analytics, and governance are excellent for the cloud because they can leverage the CloudDefense.AI’s CWPP solution to keep them secure.
CWPP solution serves as a great choice if you want to protect your workloads and applications in the cloud. Nowadays, every business is gradually implementing cloud workload protection platform solutions for their hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Through this guide, I hope to have been able to furnish all the details regarding CWPP and give you a broad idea of how it can protect your workloads.