Cloud Security

What is Agentless Cloud Security?: Easy Guide 101

Risk detection in the early days needed a tool or an agent to be introduced into the environment for the security team to understand their on-prem infrastructure and secure it thoroughly. With the growing use of the cloud nowadays, agentless cloud security is becoming more and more realistic. In this blog, you will learn all […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

August 10, 2023 | 7 min read

Risk detection in the early days needed a tool or an agent to be introduced into the environment for the security team to understand their on-prem infrastructure and secure it thoroughly. With the growing use of the cloud nowadays, agentless cloud security is becoming more and more realistic.

In this blog, you will learn all about Agentless Cloud Security. To assist you in choosing what’s best for your company, we’ll compare agentless cloud security vs. agent-based cloud vulnerability management options in this post. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Agentless Cloud Security?
  2. Agent-based Vs. Agentless Cloud Security
  3. What are the Benefits of Agentless Cloud Security?
  4. Agentless Cloud Security Tools in the Market
  5. Conclusion

What is Agentless Cloud Security?

Agentless Security is a method of resource protection that avoids placing agents on every resource. Agentless security solutions often monitor and scan endpoints from the “outside” instead of directly running utilities on them. They can do this by reviewing network-available data and analyzing the configuration information that controls resources. Additionally, some agentless solutions interface with the APIs of cloud providers to acquire more information about workloads without deploying agents alongside those workloads.

Key Features:

  • Agentless scanning works across all platforms: There are no OS compatibility demands or issues when using agentless cloud security to locate and scan assets. This allows it to scan switches, routers, and other linked IoT devices without interfering with their functionality.
  • Reduces administrative costs: Systems for agentless cloud security can be quickly and readily installed on workloads due to their portability. Because it lowers management overheads, this is hugely advantageous for enterprises managing hundreds of thousands of virtual computers.
  • Scalability: Agentless cloud security can be scaled easily from a single server to a big data center. For essential settings, it typically uses scalable, lightweight protocols that aid in establishing network connections with cloud assets for thorough agentless cloud security.
  • The environment is not negatively impacted: In contrast to an agent-based strategy, agentless scans take a snapshot of the resources with each scan, which means that the resources aren’t changed. The environment won’t be affected by any changes made to the agentless scanner because security teams won’t have to maintain resources. The volume snapshot technique agentless deep scanning uses ensures your system’s performance won’t be harmed. This is because, rather than utilizing the computing capacity of the cloud system, the connectors merely read data through APIs and do scanning independently.
  • Coverage of Network Scanning: While protecting many endpoints, agentless cloud security offers total insight into the cloud network. This makes it possible to accurately scan all host assets, connected devices, running apps, and their dependencies for vulnerabilities. As a result, continuously updated and automatically updated asset identification and scanning have no blind spots.

Agent-based Vs. Agentless Cloud Security

Agent-Based Security uses the pull communication approach. In systems based on agents, the client acts as the central server, requesting data from the agents as needed. After an automated process, agents typically need to be deployed on each system. Once the agents are set up, the central server can send queries to them for status updates and the outcomes of security-related activities.

Push-based communication is the foundation of agentless cloud security. The connected software in agentless systems periodically sends data to a remote system. Agentless cloud security solutions perform well for baseline security monitoring because of the adaptability of this configuration. You can set them up to scan the entire infrastructure without installing them on every subsystem. However, in order to organize scanning and patch release, a central system must be accessible.

Since agent-based and agentless cloud security is now in use, you might be unsure which one to pick. If you want complete security, you should utilize both. Even so, knowing their advantages and disadvantages can help you decide when to employ each one.

To sum up, agentless cloud security has a variety of enticing qualities, such as:

  • Quicker setup and deployment: Security scans can be run without direct access to every host.
  • Reducing expenses on maintenance.
  • Higher scalability and more initial visibility.
  • Ideally suited for networks with lots of bandwidth.
  • Need for a center host to carry out actions.

The following advantages of agent-based systems over agentless cloud security:

  • Enable thorough host scanning and monitoring: Agents can carry out more sophisticated host component and service scanning.
  • It can act as a firewall since it can restrict network connections according to filtering criteria.
  • Provides runtime protection
  • Offers security safeguards, such as being able to block assaults and patch live systems.
  • Ideal for DMZ areas, networks with low bandwidth, or laptops that may be unable to access the network. The agent can be installed on computers without network connectivity.

Now that you have read about the pros and cons of agent-based and agentless cloud security, you can decide how to protect your infrastructure. 

What are the Benefits of Agentless Cloud Security?

Agent use raises friction issues, which agentless cloud security eliminates. Simply put, agentless scanning brings your data to the scanner rather than the scanner coming to you. It requires minimal upkeep and manual labor. It also causes lesser environmental disruption. Since agents use computational resources, less incursion equals less burden or application disturbance. 

Another big advantage of agentless cloud security is expanded coverage. The method is better suited to cloud requirements like halted machines or fleeting workloads that operate briefly. Agentless solutions regularly inspect these assets. Other benefits of agentless security solutions include more flexibility, a streamlined and central interface, and cost savings.

Agentless Cloud Security Tools in the Market

  • PingSafe: Leading cloud security platform PingSafe has in-depth knowledge of the assault methodology. PingSafe helps businesses of all sizes and industry sectors transform cloud security and eliminate all undiscovered and exploitable vulnerabilities with lightning-fast speed and scale.

Key Features:

  1. Cloud Misconfigurations: It has auto-remediation of misconfigurations. Graph-based visualization of detected misconfigurations across resources, lateral movement paths, and impact radius.
  2.  Flagging Security Defaults: Continuous visibility on the security posture of new or existing cloud services and highlighting security gaps and best practices.
  3. Infrastructure as a Code: Perform IaC deployment/configuration checks against CIS benchmark, PCI-DSS, etc. CI/CD integration support to block merge and pull requests with hardcoded secrets.
  4. Vulnerability Management: Identify cloud resources/assets with known CVEs (Intelligence gathered from 10+ sources with exhaustive coverage). It provides a Zero-day vulnerability assessment. 
  5. Threat Watch: Dashboard to stay updated with all the zero-day vulnerabilities and related issues across your environment.
  6. VM Snapshot Scanning: Agentless scanning of VMs for vulnerabilities and reporting of software bill of materials (SBOM)
  7. Offensive Security Engine: Replicate the attacker’s mindset to simulate zero-day attacks harmlessly to give more extensive security coverage. This helps organizations reduce dependency on external security researchers and bug bounty hunters.
  8. Private Repository Scanning for Secrets: Detect and remediate more than 700 different types of credentials in your organization’s private repository. It continuously monitors all developer’s repositories to identify sensitive data leakage belonging to the organization.

Pros:

  1. PingSafe offers a coherent platform that effortlessly integrates with your multi-cloud environment to give you a consolidated view of your security posture. 
  2. This integrated approach dramatically simplifies Your security management routine, saving significant time. Your security staff can now focus on more critical responsibilities because of the enormous reduction in manual supervision required by PingSafe’s security management simplification. 
  3. PingSafe strengthens your overall security framework and establishes itself as a critical component of cloud security protocol as it improves your team’s operational effectiveness.

Cons: 

  1. No cons.
  • Orca Security: Orca Security is a cloud security platform that provides agentless data gathering, vulnerability management, compliance dashboards, and continuous monitoring. Through its CSPM feature, which provides visibility into cloud environments, it also identifies threats and weaknesses.

Key Features: 

  1. One of Orca Security’s most advantageous features is its user-friendly design, making navigating and prioritizing important issues simple. 
  2. The ability to filter findings based on best practices like CIS and GDPR, as well as the automated scanning tool and compliance dashboard, are also highly regarded. \
  3. Orca prioritizes vulnerabilities and findings to concentrate on high-priority items and offers excellent asset visibility. 
  4. Its SideScanning capability is very interesting because it makes insights accessible without the need of agent technology. 
  • Prisma Cloud: The Cloud Workload Protection (CWP) and Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) components of Palo Alto Networks’ Prisma Cloud are a cloud-native security solution. These provide new tools for securing cloud systems. This is a self-service cloud solution that may be used to keep an eye on deployments, configuration errors, and attacker activity in cloud environments. It also offers a centralized interface for comparing existing policies and best practices to the cloud environments, including multi- and hybrid-cloud configurations. It covers many of the use cases for cloud security that a customer might have.

Key Features:

  1. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Security.
  2. Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
  3. CI/CD Security.
  4. Secrets Scanning.
  • Trend Micro Cloud One: Trend Micro Cloud One offers advanced server security with Workload Security for use with physical, virtual, and cloud servers. It safeguards enterprise applications and data from breaches and operational disruptions without urgent patching.

Key Features:

  1. Threats can be identified and blocked with no performance impact.
  2. Activate features for layered security and detection, including antimalware, ransomware defense, host-based intrusion prevention, device and application management, and others.
  • CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security: CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security is CNAPP supported by top-tier cloud threat intelligence with real-time visibility to prevent breaches from the endpoint to the cloud.

Key Features: 

  1. Hunts threats proactively.
  2. Quick response to cyber dangers is provided.
  3. Enables the customization of reports.
  • Zscaler: It is a Secure Access Service Edge company. Zscaler combines software-driven programs and networking. These are then included in security and access control integrated into the cloud. Services offered over the cloud are becoming more and more popular.

Key Features:

  1. Web Gateway Security.
  2. Complete SSL/TLS inspection.
  3. Filtering URLs.
  4. Visibility and control over cloud applications.
  5. Preventing malware in-line.
  6. Phishing and C2 Detection Powered by AI.
  • Netskope: When accessing cloud services, websites, and private apps from any location on any device, the Netskope security cloud offers visibility, real-time data, and threat protection.

Key Features:

  1. Adaptable access management. 
  2. Cloud encoding. 
  3. SSL/TLS examination. 
  4. Risk to third parties. 
  5. Threat Protection. 

Conclusion

You have now read all about Agentless Cloud Security. It is one of the best cloud-native security solutions, particularly with the growing use of multi-cloud and dynamic infrastructures. It uses the strength of APIs to enhance cloud estate visibility and check for vulnerabilities across cloud workloads without sacrificing performance.