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CSPM vs CWPP

Learn where CSPM and CWPP overlap, where they differ, and which one is right for your organization.

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TL;DR

  • CSPM (Cloud Security Posture Management): Focuses on securing the cloud infrastructure and enforcing security policies. Think of it as the foundation of your cloud security, continuously assessing and monitoring configurations for vulnerabilities and compliance risks.

  • CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platform): Focuses on protecting the applications and services running on the cloud. Think of it as a defensive layer for your workloads, providing real-time threat detection, vulnerability scanning, and runtime behavior monitoring

  • Both CSPM and CWPP functionalities should be consolidated within a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP), eliminating the need for separate tools and interfaces. This simplifies security management and provides a consolidated view of your entire cloud environment.

What is CSPM?

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is a crucial practice for continuously identifying and mitigating potential security risks in your cloud environment. It goes beyond the limitations of traditional approaches that get bogged down in configuration checks and compliance reports.

The Modern Approach to CSPM:

  • Deep Risk Assessment: Analyzes vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and exposures in conjunction, focusing on their combined impact to prioritize truly critical risks.

  • Holistic View: Examines the entire cloud environment, including infrastructure, network connections, secret data, and exposed resources, to reveal a complete security picture.

  • Actionable Insights: Prioritizes risks based on criticality, offering clear guidance and steps for efficient remediation.

  • Continuous Improvement: Automates threat detection and prioritization, enabling proactive security posture management instead of reactive patching.

  • Compliance Assessments: Seamlessly maps cloud security findings to relevant regulations, simplifying compliance reporting and auditing.

By embracing this modern approach to CSPM, you transform the chaos of cloud security alerts into a clear and actionable roadmap for risk management, empowering you to proactively secure your cloud environment.

What is CWPP?

A Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) continuously monitors and protects cloud workloads across various environments, including virtual machines, containers, databases, and applications. This comprehensive protection helps organizations detect and respond to threats in real-time, ensuring the security and stability of their cloud infrastructure.

Key Features of CWPP:

  • Runtime protection: Provides real-time threat detection and neutralization to safeguard workloads continuously.

  • Real-time threat detection and response: Identifies and addresses various threats like malware and privilege escalation in real-time.

  • Agentless scanning: Simplifies management and avoids resource-intensive agents.

  • Vulnerability management: Prioritizes vulnerabilities based on risk and impact for efficient remediation.

  • CI/CD integration: Enables security measures to be integrated into the software development lifecycle.

  • Compliance assessments: Continuously assesses workloads against compliance frameworks for adherence and reporting.

CSPM vs CWPP: How do they compare?

ComparisonsCSPMCWPP
FocusCloud infrastructureCloud workloads (VMs, containers, etc.)
GoalMaintain secure cloud configurationProtect workloads from threats
Key Functions- Misconfiguration detection & remediation - Compliance monitoring - Security posture assessment- Vulnerability scanning & patching - Threat detection & prevention - Runtime behavior monitoring
Typical alerts- Open public S3 buckets - Overly permissive IAM roles - Deviations from security best practices- Suspicious file activity - Malware detection - Unauthorized access attempts
Best for...- Securing cloud infrastructure at scale - Maintaining compliance with regulations- Protecting sensitive workloads from attacks - Detecting and responding to threats

Consolidating CSPM and CWPP into one platform

A Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) offers a unified approach to cloud security by consolidating CSPM and CWPP along with other tools like cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) and data security posture management (DSPM).

One of the key advantages of consolidating CSPM and CWPP capabilities within a CNAPP is the ability to bridge the gap between infrastructure security and workload protection. Misconfigurations identified by CSPM (e.g., open S3 buckets) can be automatically flagged as vulnerabilities within CWPP, enabling prioritization and remediation within the workload protection context. Inversely, threat intelligence from CWPP (e.g., detected malware) can be used by CSPM to identify suspicious infrastructure configurations or vulnerabilities exploited by the threat.

By combing the power of CSPM and CWPP in a CNAPP, you can achieve:

  • Proactive threat prevention: By combining insights from both infrastructure and workloads, the CNAPP can predict and prevent threats before they cause harm, offering a proactive security posture.

  • Streamlined workflows: Automation capabilities within the CNAPP can trigger remediation actions based on both configuration issues and suspicious workload activity, streamlining incident response and improving efficiency.

  • Holistic compliance management: The CNAPP's consolidated view helps ensure compliance with regulations by demonstrating continuous monitoring and control over both infrastructure and workloads.

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