Modern cloud workloads contain many vulnerabilities, and security is an aspect that’s often neglected when deploying these workloads. CWPP or Cloud Workload Protection Platform solutions are tools designed to accelerate business transformation without compromising workload security or integrity. Regardless of the location of these workloads or volumes, CWPP tools can apply various techniques and facilitate seamless migrations from on-premise to third-party or cloud data centers.
This guide will cover Cloud Workload Protection Platform and its applications, capabilities, and benefits.
Table of Contents
- What is CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform)?
- How is CWPP different from CSPM?
- Why is CWPP Important?
- What are the Capabilities of CWPP?
- How does CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform) Work?
- How does CWPP secure Cloud Deployments?
- What are the CWPP Best Practices?
- What are the Benefits of CWPP?
- What are the CWPP Use Cases?
- What are the CWPP Tools available in the market?
What is CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform)?
A cloud workload comprises database instances, containers, virtual servers, nodes, and traditional hardware. Any resources hosted on the cloud are also considered workloads, and CWPP solutions are designed to protect these assets.
Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) helps organizations save workload capabilities and includes various features like vulnerability management, system hardening, host-based segmentation, application allow lists, and system integrity monitoring. One of the primary objectives of Cloud Workload Protection Platform is to improve visibility and enable security control management across multi-cloud environments using a single console.
How is CWPP different from CSPM?
CSPM strengthens cloud security posture by identifying and remediating vulnerabilities and misconfigurations across cloud platforms and services. CSPM tools offer continuous monitoring of cloud environments, provide enhanced visibility into security risks, and alert users about compliance violations
CSPM solutions can also help organizations report security audits and seamlessly integrate into CI/CD pipelines and container orchestration platforms throughout the software development lifecycle. They also provide security intelligence and offer insights on adopting risk-based approaches to threat remediation.
CWPP is designed to safeguard individual cloud workloads and automatically block incoming attacks. CWPP solutions adopt a workload-centric approach to security vulnerability management and threat remediation. Cloud Workload Protection Platform can enforce security policies and safeguard enterprises from ransomware, malware, and other threats. They also prevent unauthorized access to workloads, maintain regulatory compliance requirements, and provide encryption, data loss prevention, and backup and recovery services for existing and new workloads.
The core layers of CWPP are dedicated to hardening, vulnerability, and configuration management. Container images are hardened according to industry standards, and information security teams can patch systems promptly. Cloud Workload Protection Platform adds network firewalling and micro-segmentation and secures communications across data centers by encryption network traffic.
Why is CWPP Important?
Organizations need CWPP because migrating all workload functionalities from legacy infrastructures to the cloud is complex. Many companies rely on several cloud vendors and work with multi-cloud environments. With increasing layers of complexity, it can be a challenge for security personnel to figure out how data flows across all these environments and if any irregularities exist. Cloud Workload Protection Platform enables the rapid development of cloud apps in CI/CD pipeline and is designed to secure cloud workloads during runtime.
What are the Capabilities of CWPP?
One of the best ways to protect an organization is to combine CWPP with other cloud security solutions. CWPP can provide end-to-end coverage and endpoint security for comprehensive protection. It balances speed, performance, and ease of use and increases cost efficiency.
For organizations, Cloud Workload Protection Platform offers the following capabilities:
- Container application security and micro-segmentation
- Cloud-based intrusion prevention, detection, and network security
- Whitelisting services
- CI/CD pipeline security
- Runtime security
- Container and Kubernetes security orchestration
- Vulnerability scanning
How does CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform) Work?
CWPP conducts a vulnerability assessment of cloud workloads within organizations. They audit and check for compliance violations and ensure that workloads follow compliance regulation requirements according to the company’s standards.
Cloud Workload Protection Platform can protect integrity and memory, allow lists, and conduct host-based intrusion prevention on workloads. It uses various techniques to provide anti-malware protection and offers many other use cases for businesses.
For example, organizations can integrate CWPP continuously into their Ci/CD workflows and enhance DevSecOps methodologies. Cloud Workload Protection Platform can work with CSPM solutions, making managing cloud assets for administrators much more manageable. CWPP tools can also analyze cloud-based cyber security attacks and remediate them effectively by enhancing the capabilities of security operations center (SOC) teams.
How does CWPP secure Cloud Deployments?
CWPP secures cloud deployments by scanning for vulnerabilities at runtime and uses anti-malware solutions. It uses host-based intrusion prevention and identity-based micro-segmentation to provide flexible protection to virtual machines (VMs), containers, Kubernetes apps, and serverless functions.
Cloud Workload Protection tools can do consolidated log management and workload behavior monitoring, two essential aspects of cloud workload security. It can configure workloads to make them more secure and monitor all aspects of their control from a single pane of glass across every cloud environment.
What are the CWPP Best Practices?
- Use automation – Human error is one of the leading causes of misconfigurations in complex hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Mistakes can happen during software updates or initial configurations. Human error can be reduced by leveraging automated provisioning and configuration management by using IaC scripts.
- Implement Role-based Access Control (RBAC) – Role-based access control defines specific roles within cloud workloads, creates new accounts, and prevents them from being compromised by limiting privilege escalations. It limits the attack radius for cyber threats and can grant access privileges to only authorized accounts on a need-to-access permission basis.
- Centralized Monitoring and Visibility – Multi-cloud and hybrid architecture can ensure consistent cloud coverage using centralized monitoring and visibility tools. They provide holistic overviews of workloads and consolidate logs in a single location. It also makes it easier to generate data visualizations, extract insights, and make predictions of cloud workload security for organizations.
- Runtime Container Security – Runtime container security will secure containerized applications and protect cloud-native workloads. Endpoint security can be made highly effective by using runtime security features such as automatic blocking and quarantining, signature-based intrusion detection, and also include automated configuration management.
What are the Benefits of CWPP?
A good CWPP solution is essential for acquiring a holistic view of cloud workload security. Cloud Workload Protection Platform enables organizations to protect against vulnerabilities and poor cyber security measures and prioritize risks in ways that address more significant and emerging threats. External attackers are known for breaching network perimeters and targeting public cloud workloads to cause reputational and financial damage.
A good CWPP solution combines the tools and services needed to mitigate these threats and saves companies from paying expensive legal fees due to a lack of security compliance. Many CWPP tools are available, but all solutions have a common goal – to secure workloads and enhance cloud cyber security.
The key benefits of using CWPP in cloud environments include:
- Scalability – One of the most significant advantages of using a CWPP solution is that it allows enterprises to scale application workloads up or down per business needs. There is much flexibility too.
- Visibility – Organizations that use CWPP get enhanced visibility into cloud-based infrastructure and can operate in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Cloud Workload Protection Platform uses network segmentation to achieve complete visibility into infrastructure components and can be applied across all cloud-based environments.
- Affordability – CWPP charges fees according to the number of workloads enterprises use and follows a pay-as-you-go model for pricing. It reduces overhead costs, prevents loss of business revenue, and prevents security issues in cloud environments. Enterprises find it easier to do maintenance when compared to on-premises services, and Cloud Workload Protection Platform secures workloads by hosting them on the cloud. In addition, these solutions offer customizable security controls that control access and visibility into workloads deployed in these cloud environments.
- Efficiency – CWPP can integrate with CI/CD workflow pipelines and improve organizational efficiency. DevSecOps teams experience enhanced agility and productivity and can prioritize risks quicker, thus expediting conflict resolution. Cloud Workload Protection Platform can help churn out higher-quality work by optimizing workload performance, protecting privacy, and enhancing its security capabilities.
What are the CWPP Use Cases?
CWPP unifies cloud security and offers the following use cases for organizations:
- Data immutability – CWPP tools prevent malicious entities from entering cloud environments and support immutable infrastructures. Servers cannot be edited after deployment, and any abnormal behaviors in environments are immediately addressed, thus reducing risk concerns.
- Integrity protection – Cloud workload integrity protection ensures all components in cloud environments run smoothly, safely, and securely. It also safeguards the organization’s reputation and builds credibility.
- Memory protection – Cloud workload protection platform tools can identify vulnerabilities in application memory usage and optimize their performance
- Intrusion prevention and detection – CWPPs continuously monitor complex cloud environments for signs of suspicious activities. It quickly remediates issues and can monitor multiple devices, accounts, and users across several domains. Automated scanning of cloud workloads offers anti-malware protection.
- Allowlisting – This is a unique Cloud Workload Protection Platform use case where the platform can prevent the installation of unauthorized software in the enterprise. It detects potential gateways in networks that may go unnoticed and let vulnerabilities slip in, thus blocking applications and reducing cloud infrastructure risks.
- Vulnerability management and network segmentation – CWPPs can make it difficult for attackers to cause lateral movement within networks by applying network segmentation. This improves team visibility, and security teams can catch threats faster. Vulnerability management by CWPP finds potential security flaws in cloud workloads, applications, and software, in these environments and addresses them before workloads are deployed or published.
What are the CWPP Tools available in the market?
The best CWPP tools available in the market in 2023 are:
- PingSafe – PingSafe is founded by one of the world’s leading ethical hackers and one of the industry’s best cloud workload protection solutions. As a CWPP solution, it offers agentless vulnerability scanning and real-time management of hardcoded secrets. PingSafe can identify, detect, and remediate different vulnerabilities and strengthen an organization’s cloud security posture. It also ensures cloud workload compliance with the latest industry regulations such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, NIST, and others. PingSafe gives insights into attackers’ intelligence and can conduct advanced threat analysis.
- Microsoft Defender for Cloud – Microsoft Defender for Cloud secures multi-cloud and hybrid environments and offers comprehensive security across the entire application development lifecycle. It provides unified visibility, context-aware cloud security, centralized insights, and integrated extended detection and response (XDR) across multi-cloud workloads.
- Wiz – Wiz offers non-intrusive methods of cloud workload protection and real-time threat and anomaly detection. Its highly intuitive and powerful platform is designed to work as both a CWPP and CNAPP solution. Wiz can also perform cloud trail log inspections, threat hunting, and minimize attack surfaces.
- Sprinto – Sprinto provides organizations an error-free compliance experience regarding cloud workload protection. It has a compliance command center, completes audits, and supports various entity-level security controls for preventative and defensive safety. It offers continuous compliance and centralized risk visibility management for enterprises that want proactive alerts.
- Lacework – Lacework seamlessly integrates security into development workflows and offers continuous monitoring for spotting malicious behaviors in cloud environments. It can be implemented across supply chains, leveraging intelligent automation for rapid threat detection. Lacework is considered an industry leader in CWPP cloud security and secures all workloads regardless of type and location. It also supports container-based application security and virtual machines and can enhance visibility and observability for monitoring public, private, and hybrid cloud environments.
CWPP cloud security is essential for every organization and can significantly improve workload application performance and scalability. Each workload has different security requirements, and it can be time-consuming to monitor them and fix issues in every environment manually.
Cloud Workload Protection Platform helps users eliminate attack vectors and simplify application identity management, permissions, cloud accounts, functions, and code workflows so that security risks are well-managed and prevented. These solutions also share up-to-date threat intelligence with clients and send them early warnings, which provide enhanced visibility into cloud infrastructure components and assets.