Organizations are in the midst of their own cloud transformation. Some are cloud-first or use a hybrid environment, while many are moving toward cloud-native development and multi-cloud data centers. In addition to distributed teams collaborating virtually, DevOps teams are shifting to cloud-native, containerized workloads. They need security visibility into not only their cloud configuration and workloads but also into other server or serverless environments, virtual machines, and on-premise.
That’s where a cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) offers more transparency, as well as continuous assessment and risk mitigation across all cloud and non-cloud architectures.
What is a Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)?
Today’s hybrid, multi-cloud, and cloud-native development relies on temporary containers and workloads. This approach requires a seamless and comprehensive view across siloed environments, machines, and platforms. CWPP offers a single view with automated features that include:
- Uncovering and revealing the workloads that are present within a cloud-based or on-premise infrastructure
- Carrying out vulnerability assessments on those workloads to determine security risks
- Executing security controls to mitigate prioritized security issues
CWPP fills a gap left by an endpoint protection platform geared towards on-premises only. And, because its focus is on workload protection and not its location or type, it can provide security monitoring across a broader scope of environments.
What Security Risks Make CWPP Necessary Now?
New software development and storage technologies and approaches – like DevSecOps, CI/CD, cloud-native, and Kubernetes – attract new security risks. The emergence of CWPPs is in response to those threats. Nefarious actors leverage the more transitory nature of containerized software as well as new technology vulnerabilities and lack of experience to gain a foothold. This scenario is particularly true during initial configuration and software updates.
What are the Benefits of Using a CWPP Solution?
There are many benefits to deploying a CWPP solution. Foremost is the increased confidence in both cloud- and non-cloud security, which supports faster DevOps cycles and the transition to cloud-native development.
CWPP solutions offer greater total workload visibility and control across all environments in addition to enhanced flexibility when application demand requires scaling. Plus, when paired with other cloud security solutions like cloud security posture management (CSPM), cloud access security broker (CASB), cloud data security, and cloud compliance, end-to-end coverage, including endpoint security, can be achieved. Lastly, CWPPs enable a faster transition to the cloud by supporting legacy tool migration and vulnerability scanning.
What Capabilities Should a CWPP Include?
Based on the three core goals of a CWPP – detection, assessment, and mitigation – across all cloud and non-cloud environments, additional capabilities that any CWPP should offer include:
- Discover deployed workloads across all environments
- Manage all discovered workloads
- Compare workload vulnerability assessments against established policies
- Orchestrate security for any container type, including Kubernetes
- Additional features like system hardening and vulnerability management
- Segmentation-by-host, as well as system integrity surveillance and whitelisting
Because a CWPP is focused on workloads, it stands out from other cloud security applications and approaches, maximizing its value for iterative development and faster releases.
Steps to Maximize Protection from a Cloud Workload Protection Platform
A cloud service provider should offer some level of incident logging and reporting; however, a CWPP supports the client side through centralized monitoring. Providing adequate training during implementation is vital, together with lessening the potential for human errors by automating provisioning and configuration management. As with other cloud-related security, incorporate the CWPP into your CI/CD pipeline alongside other security tools. Use prudent identity and access management (IAM) practices and role-based access controls (RBAC). Lastly, keep privileged accounts to the bare minimum.
CWPP Parting Wisdom
While a CWPP isn’t a cure-all to cloud-related security concerns, it offers a comprehensive approach across cloud and non-cloud environments, which is invaluable. And, if your team relies on Kubernetes, it’s essential to configure a CWPP for higher-level container upkeep.
While your cloud transformation could include a host of environments, including multiple private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, and on-premises, a CWPP provides the most comprehensive view across all architectures, systems, and software. Once identified, a CWPP can provide early detection and mitigation.
Modern Cloud-Native Security Relies on Panoptica
Cisco’s Emerging Technologies and Incubation (ET&I) team is paving the way with “DevOps-friendly” cloud-native security solutions that fundamentally simplify conventional offerings. Built from the ground up to meet the needs of mission-critical modern applications, our Panoptica solution simplifies cloud-native application security, making it easy to embed into the software development lifecycle. Panoptica protects the full application stack from code to runtime by scanning for security vulnerabilities in the cloud infrastructure, microservices (Containers or Serverless), the software bill of materials, and the interconnecting APIs. And best of all, it integrates with the tools that your application development and SecOps teams are already using. Try Panoptica for free!