Cloud use continues to expand. As of the latest PwC survey, around 78 percent of companies are already utilizing cloud services and resources in most or all parts of their operations. Also, most apps already rely on the cloud for their data storage and, to some extent, for processing power.
Many are now enjoying the benefits of the cloud, but it is also important to bear in mind that the advantages come with risks. In particular, the cloud considerably expands the potential attack surfaces of an organization. The use of cloud services exposes organizations to more threats, especially for those that lack the proficiency in securing their cloud-connected systems, apps, and devices.
To address cyber threats that are linked to cloud use, it is advisable to switch to cybersecurity solutions that are specifically intended for IT environments with the cloud involved. Traditional security solutions no longer suffice given the dynamic nature of cloud services, the shared responsibility model, distributed remote access, multi-tenancy arrangements, and the complexity of services.
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CNAPP and the components for cloud-focused defense
One of the best security solutions for cloud-borne cyber risks is CNAPP, which stands for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform. This is a comprehensive security model created specifically to maximize the protection of cloud-based apps. It is not exactly an entirely new solution but a seamless integration of multiple cybersecurity solutions, namely CSPM (Cloud Security Posture Management), CSNS (Cloud Service Network Security), and CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform.
CSPM is a cybersecurity strategy that focuses on making sure that all of an organization’s cloud resources and cloud environment configurations are appropriately secured. It is designed to enable organizations to quickly identify and respond to security issues. CSPM maximizes security visibility across different platforms, which is notably important nowadays given how many organizations regularly use different cloud services and resources. It has multiple components, including configuration monitoring, the enforcement of security policies, vulnerability evaluation, real-time monitoring, risk prioritization, and security auditing.
CSNS is often not as well-known as its CNAPP siblings and some do not consider it as a part of CNAPP. However, many cybersecurity pundits regard it as an important aspect of cloud-native app security. It is particularly effective in handling dynamic network perimeters, which are prevalent in cloud-native workloads. Cloud Service Network Security usually entails the use of one or more of the following: next-generation firewall, load balancers, DDoS protection, web application, and API defense, as well as SSL/TLS inspection. It provides organizations the ability to undertake granular segmentation to secure all forms of network traffic.
CWPP is intended for the protection of applications and workloads that are running in cloud environments. It secures an organization’s cloud-native assets, including containers, virtual machines, and serverless functions. It provides a line of defense for workloads that have been deployed across different cloud settings (private, public, and hybrid). This CNAPP component helps organizations shift left as it facilitates the integration of security solutions early in the app development lifecycle. CWPP comes with various threat scanning and detection capabilities including runtime protection, file integrity monitoring, behavioral analysis, application control, security policy enforcement, logging and auditing, intrusion detection and prevention, and malware detection.
Securing cloud-native apps
Cloud-based or cloud-native apps face a variety of threats that take advantage of continuous online availability. One of the biggest among these threats is misconfiguration, wherein the security settings of cloud resources such as databases and storage buckets are improperly set. This can lead to the exposure of sensitive data to public access, a favorite weakness of hackers and cybercriminals. It can also cause Identity and Access Management (IAM) abuse, account compromise, and supply chain attacks.
Another issue that threatens cloud-native applications is the release of insecure application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs are responsible for the communication between different apps, services, or connectivity components. Security issues in APIs can lead to data theft, remote code execution, the spread of malicious software, and denial of service, among others. As such, it is crucial to ascertain that the APIs made available to the public are thoroughly secured.
An additional threat to cloud-based apps is Man-in-the-Middle. This attack entails the interception and manipulation of the data exchanged between the user and the cloud application. This attack enables data theft, unauthorized access to accounts and resources, as well as the spread of malicious software.
Moreover, cloud-based apps can be impacted by cloud service provider vulnerabilities. These are security infirmities on the side of the cloud service provider, which may have serious misconfigurations and vulnerabilities that allow threat actors to intercept data, spread malware, and compromise accounts.
CNAPP plays a crucial role in protecting cloud-based apps from the threats described above and many others. While it is not the only cybersecurity solution capable of securing cloud environments natively, it is notable for integrating multiple end-to-end native security solutions covering a broad range of enterprise workloads.
For example, CNAPP secures the code and commit process by bringing together Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and third-party library scanning functions. The former is a CSPM function while the latter is associated with CWPP. When it comes to software deployment, CNAPP can integrate functions like K8s runtime assurance and virtual machine protection (a CWPP function), API protection and micro-segmentation (CSNS function), and posture management and behavior analysis (CSPM function).
Addressing existing and future threats
It would be reasonable to say that the CNAPP solutions now adequately address existing threats, especially when it comes to network defense, workload protection, and application security. The leading CNAPP platforms nowadays are also equipped with robust cloud-native security posture management to efficiently address vulnerabilities and attacks, particularly misconfigurations, security policy enforcement challenges, and governance difficulties when dealing with cloud assets across different environments.
However, future threats are unpredictable. The only thing certain is the rise of more aggressive and sophisticated threats that will likely be able to overcome existing cyber defenses. CNAPP tempers the adversary-favoring uncertainty here, though, by being dynamic and in tune with the latest threats that target cloud-based apps. CNAPP is not a fixed solution but a continuously evolving cyber defense approach that integrates multiple effective solutions. Its components can evolve in response to the changing cyber threat landscape.
Also, CNAPP makes use of threat intelligence feeds to be constantly updated with the latest security risks. It does not rely on threat intelligence alone, though. It also takes advantage of machine learning to automate the detection and response to emerging threats.
To sum it all up, CNAPP helps secure the future of cloud-native applications by providing a comprehensive and consolidated end-to-end security solution that targets different aspects of cloud security. It is a reliable evolving tool for protecting cloud resources and networks. It provides a holistic approach to cloud security that makes sure that cloud-native applications remain resilient and well-defended amid the ever-evolving threat landscape.