Cloud adoption is a crucial driver of digital transformation and growth for modern enterprises, allowing them to serve clients with the speed and scalability that only the cloud can give. However, protecting the cloud necessitates securing an ever-expanding attack surface, which includes cloud workloads, virtual servers, and other cloud-supporting technologies.
Cloud workload protection is critical because it protects; workloads, containers, and Kubernetes against breaches and allows organizations to continue developing, deploying, and securing cloud applications with speed and trust. Now is the moment to create or amend your cloud security plan. Establishing efficient and effective controls and ensuring that your security team can monitor without disrupting business operations.
What Do the Terms “Cloud Workload Protection” (CWP) and “Cloud Workload Protection Platform” (CWPP) mean?
The computing, storage, and networking resources needed for cloud-based applications make up cloud workloads. Workloads that use the cloud include virtual machines, containers, databases, and web servers. The security needs for these workloads are different from those of traditional IT systems.
The process of continuously scanning cloud workloads and container images for risks and eliminating them is what we know as cloud workload protection (CWP). A Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) is a security tool that offers unified cloud workload protection across different providers, protecting all types of workloads in any location.
The goal of Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPP) is to provide security specifically for meeting the needs of workloads deployed in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. By protecting the application and all of its auxiliary cloud features, they maintain the security of apps. The majority of CWPPs are agent-based, which implies that a software agent is constantly functioning on the computer under protection, capturing data relevant to security events, and sending them to a cloud service.
The protection of cloud workloads depends on two different approaches:
Security architects can divide data on a workload segment into designated security segments by using micro-segmentation. They can then set up security controls for each component. Network virtualization is in use by micro-segmentation to provide adaptable security policies that safeguard workloads rather than physical firewalls. This process prevents harmful software from moving between servers within a network.
Additional security is provided for cloud workloads by the bare-metal hypervisor. A hypervisor is a type of virtualization software that separates a computer’s hardware from its software to allow for the creation and management of virtual machines. In addition to the operating system and hardware, the hypervisor is installed on the computer.
What is the Function of the Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)?
Workloads that are located within a company’s on-premises infrastructure and cloud deployments are recognized by a Cloud Workload Protection Platform solution. Following the identification of these workloads, the solution performs a vulnerability assessment to discover any potential security loopholes in the workload based on the established security rules and known vulnerabilities.
In response to the results of the vulnerability scan, the CWPP solution needs to enable the deployment of security measures. This entails setting up integrity protection, allowlists, and other relevant solutions. Cloud Workload Protection Platform solutions should safeguard cloud and on-premises workloads from common security threats in addition to addressing the security issues revealed by vulnerability assessments. This includes malware detection and eradication.
What Are CWPP’s Key Characteristics?
The following characteristics are essential for cloud workload security solutions to have:
Simple and Effective: Businesses must address the security requirements of the cloud without increasing the number of products they install and manage. To achieve uniform, low-impact security without adding complexity, businesses would ideally employ the same platform for their on-premises, public, private, and hybrid cloud requirements. It is crucial that a solution safeguards systems, people, and processes with little performance impact when dealing with cloud workloads. DevOps demands speed, but delays and inconveniences can lead to risky actions like the use of weak passwords and dubious images.
Visibility: Workload events, such as container events, must be collected, analyzed, and stored so that security products and teams may identify and stop threats in real-time, as well as hunt and investigate.
Security at Runtime: Despite its importance, image scanning is incapable of detecting dangers. Vulnerabilities can be exploited before they can be corrected. Misconfigurations can occur. Even if the image is fully set up and under confirmation, once a virtual machine or container starts, it is vulnerable to exploitation. Containers and the hosts on which they run must have complete runtime security.
Examples of CWPP protecting Different Workloads
Consider how cloud workload protection applies in the following domains to further contextualize it.
When using containers to deliver cloud applications, you must face unique security challenges. You must ensure that containers, for example, cannot execute in privileged mode. Additionally, you must scan container images for malware.
Cloud workload protection for containers ensures that you have the processes in place that are a prerequisite to safeguard container workloads—independent of other security processes in your cloud environment.
Security for Kubernetes
Kubernetes, too, presents a number of unique security issues that can only be addressed at the workload level. You must, for example, ensure that Kubernetes role-based access control policies and security contexts are appropriately configured. You should also use Kubernetes audit logs to keep an eye out for any rising security risks.
Security for Virtual Machines
Even if you correctly configure your cloud VM service, security vulnerabilities may still exist within your VMs. The images you use may contain malware or simple configurations (such as the lack of a kernel hardening mechanism) that result in a poor security posture. Cloud workload protection warns you of these dangers.
Vulnerabilities can occur in a variety of places within a cloud environment, including apps, operating systems, container images, and so on.
Cloud workload protection allows you to scan your workloads for vulnerabilities across all components and layers. Consider it a one-stop shop for vulnerability discovery and management at the workload level, regardless of the workloads you run or the clouds on which they host on-premises.
Serverless functions isolate applications from the underlying server environment, reducing attack surfaces. However, the functions themselves may still be vulnerable. They can also be set up in ways that heighten the hazards. Cloud workload protection detects issues like this throughout serverless functions automatically.
Cloud-based applications exist in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all pose security threats. Such as malware, insecure software components, and a lack of security controls such as encryption. Cloud workload protection ensures application security across your cloud environment by screening applications for risks like these.