IT Brief Asia logo
Technology news for Asia's largest enterprises
Story image

What’s a CNAPP and why is it essential for security?

By Contributor
Mon 25 Jul 2022

Article by Aqua Security director for Asia Pacific and Japan Zhihao Tan.

With large-scale cloud-native deployments becoming more prevalent, enterprises are trying to bring greater efficiency and speed to cloud-native security. To achieve this, they are moving to shift security left, implementing intelligent automation, cloud security posture management (CSPM), and cloud workload protection platforms (CWPPs).

Yet, doing this on their own is proving to be a challenge, which is where cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPPs) come in.

Gartner defines this emerging category of security solutions to help organisations to identify, evaluate, prioritise and manage risk in cloud native applications, infrastructure, and configurations. Gartner defines CNAPP as an ‘an integrated set of security and compliance capabilities designed to help secure and protect cloud native applications across development and production,’*.

“Rather than treat development and runtime as separate problems — secured and scanned with a collection of separate tools — enterprises should treat security and compliance as a continuum across development and operations, and seek to consolidate tools where possible,”* Gartner recommends.

CNAPPs combine the capabilities of several cloud security categories, including developer security posture management (DevSPM) shift-left artifact scanning, infrastructure-as-code (IaC) scanning, CSPM, Kubernetes security posture management (KSPM), VM IAAS, cloud infrastructure entitlements management, and runtime CWPP.

Using a CNAPP allows organisations to implement complete end-to-end security for cloud-native environments, rather than having to stitch together multiple solutions that address specific, discrete security issues.

This approach offers multiple benefits. Perhaps the most important is that, by providing shared context between development and production, a CNAPP allows organisations to get a full view of application risks and, thus, secure applications consistently across their life cycle.

So, let’s take a look at what makes a CNAPP a CNAPP.


A CNAPP must be a platform, meaning it has to offer a range of capabilities across the application life cycle and support various types of workloads, stacks, and cloud environments. It must support multiple integrations and be able to tie into multiple teams and processes across an organisation.

It also needs to provide a unified, consistent experience. Many existing solutions offer only partial capabilities; for example, addressing just infrastructure, runtime, or scanning. Others cobble together several products that aren’t well-integrated and don’t provide a seamless experience.

A CNAPP also must be available either as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or on-premises solution in order to be suitable for highly regulated sectors like finance and healthcare.


However, these integrated platforms provide more than just visibility and monitoring. The ‘protection’ component means that a CNAPP must be able to respond to attacks and block them as they occur.

This capability takes a CNAPP one step beyond even the most robust shift-left protection and hardening of the environment. This is crucial since those steps, although important, won’t protect organisations from zero-day exploits or runtime attacks from the most motivated group of attackers that use advanced techniques to evade detection.

The high speed at which DevOps moves code through the CI/CD pipeline is one reason why conventional security solutions are less effective in cloud-native environments. Cloud-native attacks move at the same speed as cloud-native apps, so the ability of a CNAPP to detect, automatically respond and block attacks happening in your DevOps pipeline as well as running workloads in real time is imperative.


For a platform to protect an application, it must be able to identify and understand the application context.

This means tracking artifacts throughout the application life cycle and applying security controls that address risks according to the context. For example, just knowing that “container 4c01db0b339c executed ps” isn’t enough. You also need to know such things as:

  • Which application the container belongs to.
  • Which image it originated from.
  • Whether executing ps is normal for the container in that application.
  • Whether executing ps in that context is legitimate or might indicate an attack.

That’s why it’s important for a security solution to be embedded into the CI/CD pipeline and to integrate with DevOps tools. To understand the application context, it’s critical for a platform to provide scanning for artifacts in the build phase and to maintain their integrity from build to deployment. What happens in this phase have a very important bearing on your security posture in runtime.

In turn, this helps to make decisions about deployment; for example, preventing unvetted images from running in production. If a solution doesn’t achieve this, it’s not a CNAPP.

Cloud native

What truly makes an application protection platform a CNAPP is its ability to be built and tailored specifically for cloud-native environments.

The dynamically orchestrated, ephemeral workloads that characterise cloud-native applications mean that traditional network-based security tools aren’t sufficient. In a cloud-native environment, it’s risky to rely on end-point detection and response, host-based, or firewall security solutions.

For a platform to protect an application in a cloud-native environment, it must be able to analyse, track, monitor and control multiple types of cloud-native workloads, such as containers, serverless functions, and VMs. It also must be compatible with cloud native infrastructure, including Kubernetes, IaC tools, and multiple public cloud providers.

To be an effective CNAPP, a platform must be designed for cloud-native. If it can scan for container vulnerabilities but is oblivious to other aspects of cloud-native such as those listed above, it’s not a CNAPP.

Organisations are seeking to bring more efficiency and greater speed to security for their large-scale cloud-native deployments. Employing a collection of security tools that aren't integrated and are not built specifically for the cloud-native environment makes this effort more difficult. It also increases risk.

CNAPPs provide integrated security and compliance capabilities that are designed to help secure and protect cloud native applications across both development and production.

* Gartner, “Innovation Insight for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms,” Neil MacDonald, Charlie Winckless, August 25, 2021

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Mendix
Mendix is a low-code platform used by businesses to develop mobile and web apps at scale, and Jornt joins us today to discuss how these offerings work, and what benefit they have in the development process.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Appier achieves historically high growth rate of 56% YoY
"Our strong momentum over the past two quarters underscores Appier's significant growth alongside our customers."
Story image
Lucid Software
Lucid Software expands enterprise offerings with enhanced slack apps
Lucid Software has expanded its enterprise offerings with enhanced slack apps for its Lucidspark and Lucidchart technology.
Story image
Kaspersky uncovers new attacks by advanced persistent threat group
The attacks involved modifications of the well-known malware, DTrack, as well as the use of a brand-new Maui ransomware.
Story image
Investment in APAC cold storage to reach $5 in next decade
Investment in Asia Pacific’s cold storage market is expected to grow fivefold in the next decade, according to JLL.
Story image
Talend announces support for Amazon Redshift Serverless
Talend has announced its support for Amazon Redshift Serverless, with the company saying the integration reinforces its commitment and leadership in supporting businesses.
Story image
Why is MACH architecture a new big thing in the tech world?
More and more global enterprises are considering replacing the monolithic tech stack with the best-of-breed composable stack that enables greater business agility.
Story image
TBC Bank decreases time to market for new offerings by 40%
TBC Bank has reduced time to market for new and enhanced products and services by 40% since implementing Kong Enterprise, the cloud native API platform. 
Story image
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner unveils key emerging tech to watch in 2022
"Such technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters," says Gartner.
AWS Marketplace
Watch this webinar to gain building blocks for data mesh, and how AWS customers today are successfully enabling domain driven data.
Link image
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Avast reveals zero-day exploits targeting Chrome and Microsoft
Avast, released its Q2/2022 Threat Report today, revealing a significant increase in global ransomware attacks, up 24% from Q1/2022.
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Augmented Reality
TeamViewer remote access software integrated into RealWear Cloud
TeamViewer has announced a major expansion of its partnership with RealWear, a leading provider of assisted reality wearable solutions for frontline industrial workers. 
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Latest VMware threat report reveals truth about deepfakes
"Cyber criminals have evolved. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organisations and gain access to their environment."
Story image
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Top tips for making your finance transformation program a resounding success
Planning to make 2023 the year you embark on a wholesale finance transformation program? It’s a move that will stand your enterprise in excellent stead as you navigate the complexities of the post-Covid business landscape.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Southeast Asia eCommerce market projected to grow 18% in 2022
According to a new study published by Ascential Digital Commerce, eCommerce sales in Southeast Asia are projected to grow 18% in 2022, reaching up to USD$38.2 billion.
Story image
IBM expands Power10 server line for business modernisation
IBM has recently announced a significant expansion of its Power10 server line with the introduction of mid-range and scale-out systems.
Story image
Empyrion DC announces 40MW green data center in South Korea
Empyrion DC has announced it is developing a 40MW green data center in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea (GDC).
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Dynatrace extends application security capabilities for runtime environments
Dynatrace has announced that it has extended its Application Security Module to detect and protect against vulnerabilities in runtime environments.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner names Lookout a Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has recognised Lookout as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE) and one of the top three offerings in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities for SSE report.
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
Data analytics
Pressure on orgs to up their data analytics game - study
A recent report from Sisense highlights data transmission, analysis, and risk management remain top concerns for data professionals in APAC.
Story image
Exclusive: The Access Group shares the benefits of embracing SaaS
In today's rapidly changing working environments, efficiency and productivity are surefire ways to create business growth and success.
Story image
Data Protection
Advancing genomic sequencing and public health with digital infrastructures
Right before our eyes, we've witnessed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in record time. An enormous achievement in an otherwise lengthy task that previously took, on average, 10-15 years.
Story image
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Cloud Security
Tenable makes additions to Cloud Security portfolio
Tenable has announced additions to Tenable Cloud Security that represent the next step in assessing threats related to cloud vulnerabilities.
Story image
Classiscam threat expands to target leading platforms in Singapore
Researchers at Group-IB have uncovered that Classiscam, a sophisticated scam-as-a-service operation, has expanded to Singapore.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Is your chatbot bringing down the customer satisfaction score?
The top 10 reasons why chatbots are failing to meet customer expectations and what you must do to avoid that.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat announces 2022 awards winners for A/NZ region
Red Hat recently acknowledged Australia and New Zealand partners with its annual awards, highlighting partners across various categories.
Story image
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.