Four Key Factors When Selecting a Cloud Workload Protection Platform

Security budgets are not infinite. Every dollar spent must produce a return on investment (ROI) in the form of better detection or prevention. 

Getting the highest ROI for security purchases is a key consideration for any IT leader. But the path to achieving that goal is not always easy to find. It is tempting for CISOs and CIOs to succumb to “shiny toy” syndrome: to buy the newest tool claiming to address the security challenges facing their hybrid environment. With cloud adoption on the rise, securing cloud assets will be a critical aspect of supporting digital transformation efforts and the continuous delivery of applications and services to customers well into the future. 

However, embracing the cloud widens the attack surface. That attack surface includes private, public and hybrid environments. A traditional approach to security simply doesn’t provide the level of security needed to protect this environment, and requires organizations to have granular visibility over cloud events. Organizations need a new approach — one that provides them with the visibility and control they need while also supporting the continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

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Where to Start

To address these challenges head on, organizations are turning to cloud workload protection platforms. But how do IT and business leaders know which boxes these solutions should check? Which solution is best in addressing cloud security threats based on the changing adversary landscape? 

To help guide the decision-making process, CrowdStrike has prepared a buyer’s guide with advice on choosing the right solution for your organization. In this guide, we discuss different aspects of these solutions that customers should consider in the buying process, including detection, prevention and CI/CD integration. Here are four key evaluation points highlighted in the buyer’s guide: 

  • Cloud Protection as an Extension of Endpoint Security: Focusing on endpoint security alone is not sufficient to secure the hybrid environments many organizations now have to protect. For those organizations, choosing the right cloud workload protection platform is vital.
  • Understanding Adversary Actions Against Your Cloud Workloads: Real-time, up-to-date threat intelligence is a critical consideration when evaluating CWP platforms. As adversaries ramp up actions to exploit cloud services, having the latest information about attacker tactics and applying it successfully is a necessary part of breach prevention. For example, CrowdStrike researchers noted seeing adversaries targeting neglected cloud infrastructure slated for retirement that still contains sensitive data as well as adversaries leveraging common cloud services as a way to obfuscate malicious activity (learn more in our CrowdStrike cloud security eBook, Adversaries Have Their Heads In the Cloud and Are Targeting Your Weak Points). A proper approach to securing cloud resources leverages enriched threat intelligence to deliver a visual representation of relationships across account roles, workloads and APIs to provide deeper context for a faster, more effective response. 
  • Complete Visibility into Misconfigurations, Vulnerabilities and More: Closing the door on attackers also involves identifying the vulnerabilities and misconfigurations they’re most likely to exploit. A strong approach to cloud security will weave these capabilities into the CI/CD pipeline, enabling organizations to catch vulnerabilities early. For example, they can create verified image policies to guarantee that only approved images are allowed to pass through the pipeline. By continuously scanning container images for known vulnerabilities and configuration issues and integrating security with developer toolchains, organizations can accelerate application delivery and empower DevOps teams. Catching vulnerabilities is also the job of cloud security posture management technology. These solutions allow organizations to continuously monitor the compliance of all of their cloud resources. This ability is critical because misconfigurations are at the heart of many data leaks and breaches. Having these solutions bolstering your cloud security strategy will enable you to reduce risk and embrace the cloud with more confidence.
  • Managed Threat Hunting: Technology alone is not enough. As adversaries refine their tradecraft to avoid detection, access to MDR and advanced threat hunting services for the cloud can be the difference in stopping a breach. Managed services should be able to leverage up-to-the-minute threat intelligence to search for stealthy and sophisticated attacks. This human touch adds a team of experts that can augment existing security capabilities and improve customers’ ability to detect and respond to threats.

Making the Right Decision

Weighing the differences between security vendors is not always simple. However, there are some must-haves for cloud security solutions. From detection to prevention to integration with DevOps tools, organizations need to adopt the capabilities that put them in the best position to take advantage of cloud computing as securely as possible. 

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