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CSPM vs. CNAPP: Which Solution to Choose?


Protecting cloud-based applications and workloads requires robust security solutions such as CSPM, CIEM and CWPP. CNAPP tries to answer all 3 but how do you know which solution is right for your specific organization? Ava Chawla, AlgoSec’s Global Head of Cloud Security unravels the differences between them and shares her expert opinion on the solution that offers the most value for organizations.

What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

A CSPM tool monitors the logs and configuration files of the services you use in your cloud environment. It will scan the entire cloud environment to detect and prevent misconfiguration errors. This is important because configurations in the cloud happen quickly and just as quickly introduce new threats into the environment. For robust ongoing protection, you need to monitor the environment continuously and automatically. Here’s where CSPM comes in.

The best CSPM solutions implement configuration best practices and automatically initiate corrective actions to remove risks, thus improving cloud security, ensuring adherence to compliance policies, and reducing the likelihood of breaches. Additionally, they are agentless, do not require long configuration, and don’t add to your cloud bills by utilizing additional cloud resources.

What is Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM)?

In cloud environments, identity goes beyond users and groups. It also plays a vital role in managing all the resources and services that need to access data. All these accesses happen very quickly and constitute a complex web of interactions. It’s crucial to know when and between whom these interactions occur to ensure that only legitimate resources can access or modify data. But as your cloud resources increase, the complexity of entitlements also grows. It’s not easy to keep track of these entitlements or to maintain the security-focused principle of least privilege (PoLP).

CIEM tools are specialized identity-centric solutions to manage cloud access risk and govern entitlements in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. With CIEM, you can manage entitlements across all your cloud resources and maintain PoLP to mitigate the risk created by granting excessive permissions to cloud resources.

What is a Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)?

CWPP solutions manage cloud applications and workloads. They can reach back into on- prem environments and thus effectively detect and prevent security problems like malware and vulnerabilities across the entire hybrid landscape. CWPP solutions can scale automatically and support your organization as your cloud environment grows or changes.

What is a Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP)?

Each of these solutions are geared towards a specific area of cloud security. CSPM prevents misconfiguration errors, CIEM platforms manage cloud access risks, and CWPP protects your assets and workloads.

But what if you want a single solution that can completely manage the security of your cloud environment?

Try a Cloud Native Application Protection Platform. CNAPP solutions combine security posture management, workload protection, and entitlement management into one single platform to provide comprehensive, holistic security across multi-cloud environments. Thus, you can protect your entire cloud estate with one solution instead of having to implement and manage multiple point solutions.

Another advantage of a CNAPP tool is that it will enable you to “shift left”. Thus, you can not only secure applications in production environments, but also manage the runtime and DevOps aspects of security. For this reason, these platforms are aimed at both security professionals and DevOps practitioners.

Conclusion and Next Steps

A CNAPP solution is the most comprehensive solution. However, in today’s market there is no one tool that truly covers all the functionalities that CNAPP promises. Therefore, each organization should choose the solution that fits its immediate needs, including taking other considerations into account such as the skill level and the maturity of its cloud adoption. One important thing to remember: Regardless of the solution you choose, make sure it’s agentless.

Agentless is important in today’s cloud security because agent-based solutions are hard to manage, expensive, and intrusive. If you’re looking for a modern agentless CSPM with container protection to safeguard your cloud-based application and workload data, then Prevasio might be the best option for you.

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