Switching to CNAPP: Why It’s Time to Replace Multiple Disparate Security Tools

Most organizations go through digital transformation gradually. As such, it is not uncommon for them to have acquired digital tools from different vendors. This is particularly observable in cybersecurity, wherein organizations have different sources for their antivirus, firewall, data loss prevention (DLP), intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), and other security controls. On average, nearly 8 in 10 organizations use more than 50 cybersecurity tools, which usually come from different vendors.

It is not a must to source all security tools from the same provider, but in most cases, it is difficult to integrate them. This results in inefficiency, which weakens an organization’s security posture. At the rate cyber attacks are evolving at present, there is no room for security weaknesses, especially if these are avoidable with the right strategies.

CNAPP and the need to unify security tools

One of the best solutions to the challenges brought about by the use of disparate security tools is the Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform, commonly known as CNAPP. This is a security model that focuses on the need for cyber defenses that are suitable for cloud computing environments.

CNAPP is a relatively new concept made popular by Gartner in its 2021 Innovation Insight for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms report. The research and consulting firm noted how modern organizations need an integrated approach to optimizing the security of cloud-native applications. The use of several disjointed tools is already becoming a hurdle in efficiently dealing with security threats and CNAPP serves as a viable solution.

Using various security tools from different vendors does not automatically mean that an organization’s security posture is weak. If these different security solutions can be integrated and used in a unified manner, it is possible to promptly detect emerging threats and respond to them competently.

However, this competent handling of myriad security tools is not the norm but an exception. In most cases, organizations face difficulties as they familiarize themselves with the unique interfaces of different tools, maintain and oversee each of them, and encounter compatibility issues. It makes for a complex and inefficient system wherein blind spots are inevitable.

These blind spots arise as members of the security team fail to thoroughly go through the security alerts and incident information presented by the disjointed tools. They may fail to address an urgent notification in a few tools or even in just one of them. This can result in a successful attack that installs malware in the system or the “successful” testing of vulnerabilities by an adversarial reconnaissance campaign.

The importance of a cloud-native solution

Cloud and hybrid environments are particularly riddled with security weaknesses attributable to the use of multiple disparate tools. This is because many security tools that organizations use are not designed for cloud systems and services. Most tend to be perimeter-based and rules-defined. Some employ behavioral analysis and other forms of proactive defenses, but their functions are not maximized because of the lack of integration with other tools. Hence, their visibility is limited and they are unable to facilitate timely response to threats.

Switching to a cloud-native security solution is crucial for organizations that use cloud environments because it provides enhanced security visibility and control. It enables visibility over hardware and apps and allows cybersecurity teams to look into cloud-based assets, services, and data. As such, organizations get to consistently enforce all applicable security policies. Cloud-native security entails a broader security validation net to bring out all potential vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other threats.

Additionally, a cloud-native security model like CNAPP supports seamless integration with existing security tools like firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), vulnerability scanners, and threat intelligence platforms (TIPS). It facilitates the consolidation of different defensive functionalities to better coordinate cybersecurity actions, especially in the face of real-time threats.

CNAPP’s holistic and consolidated approach to cybersecurity takes away unnecessarily redundant tools or functions and boosts the efficiency of security processes. Redundancy is important in cybersecurity but only in certain cases. For example, having redundant backups is good, but using redundant tools like a dedicated malware scanner and another malware-scanning function preloaded in a next-gen antivirus system is unnecessary and can result in operational issues. Redundant security controls can create confusion and security information overload, which can cause alert fatigue.

Moreover, CNAPP is designed with scalability and flexibility in mind. It can easily scale together with changing security needs. It can adapt to the growing complexities of networks and applications. It can also change its security approaches in response to evolving business needs and threat landscape. CNAPP enables improved resource allocation, snappier incident response, and optimum security configurations.

Ultimately, cloud-native security models like CNAPP provide the benefit of simplified security management. Instead of dealing with multiple interfaces and disjointed security data, the security information and event management process is unified and security operations are streamlined to achieve greater efficiency.

Challenges and considerations

CNAPP provides numerous benefits to modern organizations that are already using cloud environments as well as to those that are planning to incrementally adopt cloud services. However, switching to CNAPP may not be a walk in the park for many organizations.

For one, there’s the need to meticulously examine the pros and cons of migration. In most cases, switching to CNAPP means abandoning legacy tools, something many will have a hard time doing. One study shows that around 80 percent of organizations still use legacy IT monitoring tools and related solutions. Abandoning and replacing these legacy assets can be costly.

Aside from updating IT assets, it is also important to provide adequate training on how to use CNAPP tools. Those who have been accustomed to old systems may not easily adapt to more modern solutions. It is important to get them on board with proper training or expertise building. After all, tools are only as good as their users are. Even the best security solutions can become ineffective in the hands of incompetent users.

Also, choosing the right CNAPP provider may not be that easy. It is not enough to examine product features and compatibility. It is also important to assess the reputation of the vendors being considered. It is also advisable to undertake proof-of-concept testing. All these require time and effort.

CNAPP promises many advantages for organizations given the growing aggressiveness, persistence, and cunningness of threat actors. It is vital to have a well-planned migration strategy to avoid serious issues in transitioning from legacy tools to CNAPP. Bumps are unavoidable, but they can be mitigated significantly.

As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in sophistication and scale, it is necessary to correspondingly improve and fortify cyber defenses. CNAPP is one of the new security solutions modern organizations should consider as they seek to achieve comprehensive network and application protection, security operations streamlining, holistic security visibility, and optimum efficiency. A cloud-native and unified security solution like CNAPP provides a practical upgrade to address the weaknesses of using multiple disparate security tools.
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