A company’s cybersecurity posture is critically important. Keeping its information technology (IT) infrastructure secure and protecting valuable data assets is essential if an organization hopes to survive and thrive in the modern business world.

Maintaining robust security is made more difficult by the complexity of computing environments that combine on-premises and cloud components. Organizations have to implement specific point solutions to secure cloud resources. This is not the most efficient method of providing security for cloud environments and can lead to vulnerabilities that result in systems being compromised.

Identifying cyber threats before they occur is a more effective strategy. New security tools are emerging that address the unique requirements of the cloud-native applications powering modern IT infrastructures to help minimize the risk of cyber threats.

Problems with Traditional Security Strategies

The traditional security strategies that rely on multiple siloed processes and security teams are ineffective when dealing with cloud-native applications. The following issues need to be addressed to improve security.

  • Point solutions create additional work in managing multiple tools that do not communicate with each other.
  • It can be impossible to consistently apply security standards and protections throughout the application lifecycle with diverse and incompatible tools.
  • Multiple tools lead to blind spots that do not provide the necessary visibility into the cloud environment.

Modern cloud environments require an integrated approach that encompasses the following aspects of security.

  • Infrastructure – Organizations need to understand the shared security matrix implemented in the cloud to ensure they are performing their responsibilities in securing the environment.
  • Workloads and applications – Runtime protection, vulnerability management, and compliance monitoring need to be integrated with data from development pipelines and extended to web applications and APIs.
  • Networks – Fast and reliable connectivity is essential for cloud-native apps and demands enhanced network security.
  • Identity and permissions – Permissions need to be carefully managed to ensure no outdated or excessive permissions can be used to compromise cloud systems.
  • Coding and development – Building security into the development process at an early stage requires integrated tools that span the application lifecycle.

What is a Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform?

A Cloud-native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) integrates and centralizes multiple disparate security functions into a unified user interface. Also known as a Cloud-native Security Platform (CNSP), this strategy furnishes the visibility necessary to secure cloud-native applications.

A CNSP provides comprehensive security that protects applications throughout their lifecycle. The consolidation of activities that were siloed to offer a more complete view of application security includes:

  • Cloud security management;
  • Development artifact scanning;
  • Infrastructure as Cost (IaC) scanning;
  • Runtime cloud workload protection;
  • Cloud infrastructure management.

A CNSP protects applications at runtime and builds security into the development process to find and correct flaws and vulnerabilities early in the app’s lifecycle. By enhancing visibility across enterprise workloads and shifting security left to the development team, a CNSP:

  • Reduces the risks of data breaches and improves regulatory compliance;
  • Lowers the cost of fixing vulnerable applications;
  • Speeds up the development of secure, cloud-native

Essential Components of a CNAPP

A foundational principle of CNAPPs is to stop treating the security necessary for application development and runtime as separate issues. By viewing the two processes as being intrinsically connected, a CNAPP is designed to provide security and protection for cloud-native apps from development through implementation in a production environment.

A viable CNAPP should contain the following components and capabilities to provide the desired end-to-end security.

Development artifact scanning

Scanning development artifacts such as containers and APIs provides multiple security benefits that include:

  • Blocking inbound threats and securing outbound traffic with next-generation firewalls;
  • Stopping lateral attack movements through identity-based microsegmentation.

Cloud security posture management (CSPM)

CSPM employs automation to continuously manage cloud security with detection, logging, and reporting capabilities. Its benefits include:

  • Eliminating blind spots and providing deeper visibility into data resources;
  • Simplifying regulatory compliance;
  • Addressing risks proactively.

Infrastructure as code scanning

Code-based infrastructure must be continuously scanned to identify vulnerabilities or configuration issues.  A CNAPP should be capable of:

  • Performing IaC scanning by embedding security into workflows;
  • Scanning container images;
  • Providing policy as code controls that can be replicated and tested.


Cloud identity entitlement management

Identity and access management (IAM) is a crucial component of any security strategy. If unauthorized users compromise your systems, all other security measures may be rendered useless. IAM features of a CNAPP include:

  • Centrally managed identities;
  • Multi-cloud monitoring and IAM support;
  • Integration with identity providers.

Cloud workload protection platforms

Protecting workloads in the cloud is a critical part of a CNAPP. This includes VMs, containers, and serverless architectures. Features of a CNAPP that address this issue include:

  • Providing multi-cloud security for public and private clouds as well as on-premises environments;
  • Offering agent-based or agentless scanning options;
  • Integrating with DevOps workflows.

The Palo Alto Prisma Cloud CNAPP

Palo Alto Network’s Prisma Cloud CNAPP offers customers a cloud-native application security solution that contains all of the essential components previously discussed. The tool provides cloud-native security that pays for itself by reducing the time needed to fix vulnerabilities and shortening an organization’s total audit time.

Prisma secures the complete application lifecycle from development through deployment and runtime with an array of security features and capabilities.

The tool is compatible with these popular cloud service providers:

  • Alibaba Cloud;
  • Amazon Web Services;
  • Google Cloud;
  • Microsoft Azure;
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Prisma also supports these application platforms:

  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Red Hat OpenShift
  • ServiceNow
  • VMWare Tanzu

Securing Your Company’s Computing Environment

VAST has the experience, expertise, and resources necessary to help customers obtain the maximum value from their investment in Palo Alto’s Prisma Cloud. They are a valuable partner in the quest for enhanced cloud security.

VAST designs solutions focused on its customers’ business requirements to solve the complex challenges of maintaining robust cybersecurity. VAST helps you break down the security technology silos that lead to vulnerabilities and data breaches.

They will make certain that your organization has the visibility and functionality it needs to provide security in multi-cloud environments.

Get in touch with VAST and see how they can help you optimize security with the Prisma Cloud.