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What is Cloud Workload Protection?

CWPP Explained

Learn how cloud workload protection platforms secure across multiple cloud environments.

In this 101, we’re going to cover:

WHAT IS A CLOUD WORKLOAD PROTECTION PLATFORM (CWPP)?

Today's cloud implementations have come a long way from the initial "lift and shift" of on-premises data centers. Complex, dynamic workloads are commonplace, often with applications hosted across multiple cloud providers and in various micro service-oriented and serverless architectures. 

Developers and end-users both benefit from the scalability and flexibility of deploying applications in the cloud, but these multi-cloud, multi-tenant implementations also bring new security risks. Cloud Workload Protection Platforms are designed to meet the security challenges of complex, multi-cloud implementations. 

WHAT IS WORKLOAD PROTECTION?

The term, introduced initially by Gartner, describes the next generation of security management tools specifically designed to protect workloads in the cloud. These tools are distinct because they preserve the security of the entire workload stack, including the application and all of its dependencies. Companies developed traditional security tools to suit on-premises data centers and monolithic applications. The companies that introduced CWPP technologies did so with individual workloads across complex hybrid cloud architectures in mind. 

WHAT DOES A CWPP DO?

Cloud Workload Protection Platforms use multiple, holistic approaches to protect workloads in the cloud. At their core, these platforms allow organizations to discover all workloads deployed in their environments and assess their vulnerability by scanning them against defined policies. If a vulnerability is detected, operators can apply several threat mitigation techniques such as integrity protection, memory protection, white-lists, or host-based intrusion detection. 

Another critical feature of CWPP is the ability to support DevSecOps. Software development and operations teams can integrate CWPPs into their Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery pipelines to incorporate additional automated features into the development and test process. Integrating CWPP into CI/CD is a significant benefit for DevSecOps practitioners. "Shift left" is a cybersecurity best practice, emphasizing integrating cybersecurity mitigations as early in the development lifecycle as possible. 

WHAT ARE CLOUD SECURITY PROTOCOLS?

Cloud workload protection keeps workloads secure across multiple cloud environments. Workloads consist of applications and a cloud-native app's dependent resources and processes. Workload protection is complicated by the hybrid data architectures prevalent in today's computing environment. When organizations deploy applications across different cloud providers or partially on-premises, they can no longer rely on the out-of-the-box tools provided by the cloud service providers. Most turn to third-party Cloud Workload Protection Platforms for these use cases. 

Here are three cloud security protocols that can help strengthen your organization's posture in cloud workload protection:

1: SHARED CLOUD SECURITY RESPONSIBILITY

In this model, cloud service providers are responsible for the cloud architecture's security. The customer is then responsible for securing the workloads they implement within the cloud infrastructure. 

2: DATA LOSS PREVENTION AND TRAINING

Organizations should train users on data loss prevention techniques, and dedicated DLP solutions should be implemented. DLP solutions protect a company's critical data. Intellectual property and confidential information can significantly impact a business if the data isn't covered.

3: DETERMINE SCALABILITY NEEDS UPFRONT AND THROUGHOUT THE LIFECYCLE

Organizations must consider their future growth by implementing scalable security solutions in the cloud. Any enterprise security tool should scale alongside the organization. 

HOW DO I PROTECT MY CLOUD WORKLOADS?

As cyber threats to cloud implementations continue to grow more sophisticated, CWPP solutions must meet three critical criteria. 

1: DISCOVERY AND VISIBILITY

Application workloads spread across multiple cloud providers and on-premises datacenter are notoriously tricky to manage and control. Security teams can't react to threats or incidents they can't detect. CWPP solutions should provide clear visualization and contextualized alerts to help security teams stay on top of their workloads. 

2: PROTECT WORKLOADS DURING RUNTIME

CWPP solutions must include robust runtime protection. In modern architectures leveraging microservices and containers runtime vulnerability management is critical to security. Day-zero threats to runtime environments can cause considerable damage, and misconfigurations often leave attack surfaces vulnerable to exploitation. 

3: USABILITY AND PERFORMANCE

Major threats to an organization's cybersecurity posture are usability and performance. Well-meaning cyber teams often lock systems down so tight that performance and usability suffer. Unfortunately, that leads to shadow IT and employees working around security to get their work done. Cloud protection should be delivered without impacting performance or workflows to ensure widespread adoption. 

CLOUD WORKLOAD PROTECTION MARKET

Cybereason's XDR for cloud workloads is an example of a cloud workload protection platform that protects workloads everywhere with minimal overhead and performance impacts. It provides visibility across multiple cloud environments, helping deliver DevSecOps into an organization's cloud security posture. 

This solution is powerful because it protects workloads on-premises or hybrid and multi-cloud implementations. It supports Kubernetes integration and protects workloads during runtime. It's also highly scalable and deploys quickly with customizable policies and automated response actions, easing the burden on security operators. 

The XDR system leverages AI and a MalOp detection engine to transform petabytes of cloud data into visualized attack stories that are easily consumable by security teams.

 

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