The tools designed for each of these have different features and functionalities. CSPM and CWPP also operate on different aspects of a cloud environment. CSPM tools focus on cloud architecture while CWPP tools focus on workload protection.
At the same time, these cloud security tools also have some similarities in terms of visibility, risk monitoring, compliance management, access control, and threat prevention. Let’s understand the functions, features, benefits, and limitations of both CSPM and CWPP so that you can pick the right tool for your cloud environment.
Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
Cloud security posture management is primarily about identifying vulnerabilities, compliance breaches, and misconfigurations in a cloud environment. A CSPM tool helps you with security and compliance-related aspects of cloud posture management.
You can use a CSPM tool to gain visibility over your cloud infrastructure and services. The tool integrates with your private and public clouds. Then it scans the cloud networks for assets, security settings, and configurations.
The CSPM software can recognize various assets and their locations across multiple clouds. The tool collects data on how these assets are set up and their interactions across the network. This allows the CSPM tool to present a comprehensive view of the existing scenario for cloud posture management.
The software then compares the cloud posture with the required CSPM cyber security posture. These requirements are based on cloud security best practices and compliance guidelines. However, you define your own set of criteria for CSPM cloud security.
The CSPM software uses the defined criteria as a security standard for the cloud environment. If any of the assets or configurations fall short of the defined criteria, the CSPM tool marks them as potential vulnerabilities.
You can identify these vulnerabilities through the CSPM software’s interface. These tools can also send you alerts regarding the vulnerabilities. For instance, Scrut’s Cloud Security tool also allows you to convert vulnerability and risk alerts into tasks for your DevOps team.
By providing visibility and drawing your attention to vulnerabilities, CSPM software helps you keep up with the changing landscape of cloud security and compliance benchmarks.
Features of CSPM
A cloud posture management tool focuses on the fundamental architecture of the cloud network. These tools facilitate visibility and vigilance. Here are some of the standard features you would find in CSPM tools:
- Easy Integration with Cloud
- Cloud Environment Scans
- Single Dashboard Visibility
- Misconfiguration Detection
- Visualization of Cloud Architecture
- Cloud Inventory Monitoring
- Monitoring Modification of Cloud Resources
- Encryption Identification
- Access Identification
- Risk Identification & Assessment
- Integration with DevOps Task Management
- Incident Response
- Compliance Monitoring & Management
- Recognition of Compliance Violations
Different CSPM software may be configured for different compliances. But, you can change these configurations based on your requirements. You may also find additional features in some CSPM tools.
But, all efficient CSPM tools essentially help you secure your cloud architecture. The extent of security and ease of use may vary depending on the one you are using.
Benefits of CSPM
A CSPM software offers the following benefits for your cloud environment and cybersecurity operations:
- A CSPM tool gives you complete visibility of the entire cloud architecture including its components and configurations.
- The software continuously monitors the cloud environment to identify threats, vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and compliance violations.
- You can integrate the CSPM tool with your DevOps task management system to get alerts and notifications regarding your cloud’s security posture.
When to use CSPM
You can use CSPM tools to introduce the following cybersecurity measures in your cloud environment:
- Cloud environment assessment
- Security and compliance audit
- Cloud environment monitoring
- Risk and vulnerability assessment
- Compliance management
- Multi-cloud security monitoring
Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP)
Cloud workload protection platforms focus on workload-centric security and vulnerability management. A CWPP tool helps you monitor and secure applications, services, and software that are run in your cloud environment. These can be software components, web applications, virtual machines, databases, cloud-based API endpoints, containerized applications, and so on.
A CWPP software integrates with cloud environments quite differently compared to CSPM tools. With CWPP tools, you need to set up mediating components such as agents or connectors within your cloud environment. These components interact with your workloads and gather relevant data.
The software then monitors the activity of your workloads and analyzes metrics such as system logs, user activity, file access, etc. These allow the CWPP software to gauge the security status of your applications. Simultaneously, a CWPP tool also scans the workloads for threats and vulnerabilities.
It can identify threats based on several factors such as anomalies in user activity, security breaches, unauthorized access attempts, and so on. CWPP security tools also help you identify vulnerabilities in the workloads such as misconfigurations and outdated security patches.
Cloud workload protection platforms can also take automatic measures against malware, intrusions, and suspicious activity. CWPP can enhance cloud security by blocking network traffic, isolating compromised workloads, and terminating unauthorized processes.
These CWPP cloud security measures can help you control the damage from various internal and external attacks. Furthermore, CWPP security can also encrypt your data while at rest and during transit.
CWPP tools help you gain visibility over workloads in your cloud environment and take active measures to secure them. They can also help control the damage to your workload from different types of attacks.
Features of CWPP
Cloud workload protection platforms focus on securing workloads across the cloud environment. These tools offer visibility, protection, and damage control. Here are the features you would find in CWPP tools:
- Network Traffic Visibility
- Workload Visibility
- Log Monitoring & Management
- API End-points Visibility
- Data Encryption
- Workload Segmentation
- Intrusion Detection & Prevention
- Application Control
- Malware Scanning
- User Behaviour Monitoring & Analysis
- Suspicious Behaviour Identification
- Threat Identification
- Threat Control
- Container Protection
- Serverless Protection
- System Integrity Management
- Vulnerability Scanning
- Encryption Management
- Access Control & User Management
- Configuration Management
- Automated Remediation
You may find variations in a few features in different CWPP tools. However, they offer similar functionality for monitoring and securing workloads, applications, and their components on a cloud network.
Benefits of CWPP
A CWPP software offers the following benefits for the workloads in your cloud environment:
- A CWPP tool allows you to configure security measures for each workload based on individual characteristics.
- The tool analyzes various activities in the cloud environment to detect suspicious activities, unauthorized access, intrusions, malware, and other security breaches.
- The CWPP software offers reactive protection and damage control by isolating components, restricting access, and encrypting data.
When to use CWPP
You can use CWPP tools to introduce the following cybersecurity measures for the workloads in your cloud environment:
- Application level security
- Cloud runtime protection
- Application specific compliance
- Workload specific security
- Zero-day threat detection
- Container and serverless security
- Muli-cloud workload protection
- Incident response
CSPM vs CWPP: Which is the right choice for your business?
Both CSPM and CWPP tools aim toward securing cloud environments. They address different components of the environment. They also scan, monitor, detect, and protect these components in different ways.
The difference between CWPP and CSPM can be broken down based on three aspects:
- Areas of Focus
- Scope of Security
- Approach to Protection
CSPM vs CWPP: Areas of focus
Cloud workload protection platforms focus on protecting the workloads, applications, and their components running on the cloud. On the other hand cloud posture management focuses on the overall security and compliance of the entire cloud environment.
CWPP tools offer cloud runtime protection. It helps you secure individual workloads and secures application components such as containers, serverless functions, and virtual machines. Whereas CSPM tools help you secure the cloud architecture. They scan network architecture, configuration settings, access controls, connected devices, and other cloud components.
The primary focus of a CSPM software is to detect vulnerabilities while that of a CWPP software is to offer protection to workloads.
For example, let’s say you are running a web application in the cloud.
A CSPM tool will analyze the cloud environment to ensure that the application’s configuration is compatible with other components. It will detect misconfigurations in network settings and access controls. The CSPM software will also detect if any of the web application’s configurations violate compliance policies.
On the other hand, CWPP cloud security software will only secure the application and related components. It will protect the application from attacks, malware, unauthorized access, data breaches, and so on.
CSPM vs CWPP: Scope of security
The scope of CWPP tools is narrow and segmented. This tool focuses on individual workloads and applications. They treat each workload as a separate case. CSPM software on the other hand has a broader scope. It can encompass several workloads in a cloud environment. However, a CSPM cloud security tool does not treat each workload as a separate case.
You can customize CWPP security based on the specific requirements and characteristics of each individual workload. Whereas CSPM cyber security will ensure consistent compliance for all workloads.
For example, let’s say you have multiple workloads running in a cloud environment. These may include databases, file storage, data analytics applications, and so on.
A CWPP software will help you segment each workload. Then you can define distinct security measures for each workload. A CWPP security tool will help you approach each workload as an independent entity. It allows you to define vastly different security measures within the same cloud environment.
A CSPM security tool will work on the collective security posture of all the workloads. It identifies common misconfigurations and vulnerabilities that could affect the workloads. The CSPM software will also check for compliance violations that result from the configuration of these workloads with other components in the cloud environment.
CSPM vs CWPP: Approach to protection
CSPM takes a preventive approach to cyber security while CWPP tools take a more reactive approach. Cloud security posture management focuses on threat prevention and risk management. While cloud workload protection platforms focus more on monitoring and protection.
A CSPM tool assesses the configurations of the cloud environment to identify potential risks. It sends alerts along with recommendations to patch the vulnerabilities.
While CWPP tools employ different techniques for cloud runtime protection. These tools conduct behavior analysis to identify threats such as intrusions and malware. A CWPP cloud security tool will also take countermeasures to protect the workloads. It can lock down access points, encrypt data, and isolate components. These measures can control the damage caused by different types of cyber attacks.
Although, both CSPM and CWPP tools have preventive and reactive features for cloud security. Their primary focus is different. For example, CSPM software will detect a publicly accessible storage bucket. While a CWPP will isolate this storage bucket to prevent intrusion.
You need CSPM and CWPP to secure your cloud environment
CSPM and CWPP tools offer different kinds of protection to different components of a cloud environment. You need to use both these tools in tandem to completely secure your cloud from cyber threats and compliance violations.
A CWPP tool can help you define specific security criteria based on the characteristics and requirements of each workload. A CSPM software, such as Scrut Cloud Security, can continuously monitor the entire cloud environment including all workloads to detect vulnerabilities and compliance violations to create a consistent cloud security posture.
Collectively, they can help you create a cloud environment that is secure, compliant, and resilient. Although, if you have to choose just one, pick CSPM. A comprehensive CSPM tool with rigid security configurations can secure the entire cloud environment, diminishing the necessity for CWPP security.
Schedule a demo with us to learn how Scrut Cloud Security can comprehensively secure your entire cloud environment.