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What is CNAPP?

Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) Meaning

A Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) delivers a centralized and integrated cloud-native security solution that monitors, manages, and detects cloud risk to enable customers with proactive management and risk mitigation within their cloud infrastructures.

CNAPP solutions integrate cloud resource observability, discovery, and protection tools, such as cloud security posture management (CSPM) and cloud workload protection platform (CWPP), in addition to security tools that are focused on shift-left and runtime testing, to secure cloud-native applications from development to production.

How Does CNAPP Differ from Traditional Application Protection Platforms?

It is estimated that by 2027, “More than 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives.”1 And as cloud-native strategies accelerate, securing cloud applications and workloads requires a different way of addressing the threat landscape. Unlike traditional IT systems, where an organization’s information was primarily contained within an on-premises data center and security was focused on defending the perimeter against outside threats, the cloud has changed the way data flows.

As such, cloud security must address the requirements of how the data is accessed across providers and cloud environments: public, private, and hybrid. And as the threats evolve, cloud security solutions must also adapt to the dynamically changing infrastructure.  

A CNAPP is a new level of cloud security that simplifies reliability. It integrates modern cloud security solutions, such as CSPMs and CWPPs, vulnerability management, threat detection, and asset and data security that include containers and Kubernetes clusters. All these deliver unified visibility across an organization’s cloud landscape and an end-to-end approach to cloud security.


1.     Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2023”, Rimol, Howley  Oct 2022

How Does CNAPP Help Deal with Cloud Risks?

As a comprehensive solution that is specifically designed to meet the security demands of complex cloud environments and cloud-native applications, a CNAPP enables an organization to consolidate its security practices. It also empowers an organization with a bird’s-eye view of its security posture in the cloud. Security teams can identify and preemptively address issues as early in the application life cycle as possible.

5 Enterprise Benefits of CNAPP

Effective CNAPP solutions simplify cloud security operations to provide a unified and contextualized risk view across cloud resources and environments. This helps teams prioritize security in the earliest phases of development for proactive risk management with ease and overcome common perils of traditional security solutions including visibility gaps, alert fatigue, disparate tools, and poor or outdated approaches. 

Below are some of the ways organizations will benefits from a CNAPP.

1. Increased Agility

Enables the organization to easily manage risk without slowing down or disrupting operations.

2. Increased Productivity

Security teams are no longer obliged to sift through countless alerts and can access consolidated, high-priority alerts to make the best decisions for their organization in a fraction of the time.

3. Improved Collaboration

CNAPPs should support seamless collaboration between development and operations teams, to simplify risk management and mitigation.

4. Improved Operational Efficiencies

Reduced time to identify, triage and prioritize cloud risk remediation workflow efficiencies to manage and mitigate risk.

5. Maximizes the Value of Customer Security Investments

CNAPPs integrated into cloud service providers’ (CSP) security services provide additional context to resource risk.  Organizations can utilize these security services into CNAPPs, increasing their overall security return on investment (ROI).

Key Components of CNAPP

As an all-in-one, integrated security and compliance solution for cloud-native applications and environments, a CNAPP helps organizations maintain and augment their security posture and consolidate their security tools practices for more efficacy and control. It provides a central source of truth, reduces complexity, and offers comprehensive coverage in a broad range of contexts.

CNAPPs integrate modern security solutions to include the following capabilities.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Scanning

IaC security automates configuration and deployment processes to reduce and detect any mistakes or potential security risks in code in its earliest stages. 

Container Scanning and Kubernetes Posture Management (KSPM)

Container scanning capabilities detect software vulnerabilities early in the application lifecycle with continuous monitoring for new and evolving weaknesses. KSPM capabilities continuously monitor container relationships for new and evolving vulnerabilities and ensure compliance to secure best practices.

Container Scanning and Kubernetes Posture Management (KSPM)

Container scanning capabilities detects software vulnerabilities early in the application lifecycle with continuous monitoring for new and evolving software vulnerabilities.  KSPM capabilities continuously monitors container relationships for new and evolving vulnerabilities and ensure compliance to security best practices.

Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPPs)

CWPP capabilities include the continuous discovery, identification, and threat detection for workloads in hybrid, cloud and on-premises environments. Governance and compliance capabilities help to streamline alignment with current requirements and identity when activities across an organization’s single, multi-cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments are diverging from established security policies and protocols.

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM)

Cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) capabilities supports the management of permissions and access for all identities across an organization, ensuring access to organization’s assets and data are exclusively accorded to the appropriate users.

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)

Cloud security posture management (CSPM) capabilities support the management of permissions and access for all identities across an organization, ensuring that access to assets and data are exclusively assigned to the appropriate users.

Cloud Service Network Security (CSNS)

CSNS capabilities provide real-time cloud infrastructure protection to stay ahead of new and evolving threats.

Risks and Challenges of CNAPP

CNAPPs help simplify security by integrating various security solutions in a single view.  While this can be achieved in different ways, challenges manifest in ways that create additional risk in security, data protection and compliance.

Manual integration across separate tools

Sophisticated security teams can manually integrate compatible solutions that feed security information into a consolidated dashboard. However, this can be time-consuming, as it may require creation and testing of custom policies and permissions before being deployed in a production environment. Furthermore, managing separate tools can also provide insufficient security coverage, as alerts may not be consistent, leading to false positives. This can be costly and time-consuming to maintain.

Native Cloud Security

Native cloud security capabilities or security services offered by CSPs have made significant investments in their service offerings. However, each CSP has its own set of services, and the effectiveness of addressing cloud risks varies and depends on each cloud service. Keeping up with the latest feature updates can be a challenge. This can require security teams to be proficient in each cloud environment to ensure consistent controls are in place and maintained.

Along with each CSP having its own set of services, each service can generate a large volume of alerts and may not be consistent across every environment. This puts an additional burden on security teams, resulting in alert fatigue and potentially delaying the remediation of critical threats. 

Inadequate Coverage

CNAPPs provide a platform by bringing together security solutions to offer comprehensive coverage. However, this market is still evolving, so the effectiveness can vary and depend on the vendor. While this could be addressed by layering cloud security solutions, it also requires security teams to be proficient across the tools to effectively integrate the services and solutions.

Effective CNAPP solutions should integrate seamlessly across security solutions and services with minimal onboarding, which provides a consistent view of the threat landscape across all cloud resources and environments.

Market Forecasting and Trends of CNAPP

As cloud adoption grows with more and more organizations migrate business-critical applications to the cloud, data being stored and processed “everywhere” is accelerating. As such, the threat landscape will continue to expand with different integration and interoperability complexities. This will require organizations to adopt modern security solutions to address these needs.

Gartner expects public cloud services to grow 18.5% in 2023.2 Additionally, by 2023, 40% of all enterprise workloads will be deployed in cloud infrastructure and platform services.3

Organizations will continue to accelerate their digital initiatives to minimize risk and optimize costs, especially with the inflationary pressures seen across the industry. As such, CNAPP solutions will continue to gain momentum with key market drivers that include:

  • Diverse cloud workloads requiring solutions with broad-based capabilities
  • Continued distributed working and ongoing threats such as ransomware and attacks against cloud infrastructure
  • Traditional security revenue shifting to cloud security
  • Growth in cloud-native solutions
  • Increased demand for a single comprehensive cloud security platform to protect data consistently across environments
Five-year market growth for Information Security and Risk Spending

2. “Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2020-2026, 4Q22 Update, “ Gartner, December 2022

3. “Forecast Analysis: Information Security and Risk Management, Worldwide, “ Gartner, Sept 2022

How Fortinet Can Help

Fortinet has significant advantages with its broad, integrated and automated approach to their product portfolio and across the Security Fabric

The Fortinet Cloud Security portfolio includes FortiCNP, the Fortinet CNAPP solution, which offers these capabilities:

  • Manages cloud risks by correlating alerts and findings from multiple sources to prioritize the highest impact risks with actionable insights and extends the value of current security technologies to protect assets and monitor threats, helping organizations fully leverage CSP’s security services
  • Provides native integrations across CSP security services, enabling organizations to take advantage of the ease of deployment offered by the cloud provider's security services while helping you rationalize the outputs
  • Makes this possible with its Resource Risk Insights (RRI) technology that analyzes security alerts and findings generated by Fortinet security solutions, along with security data generated by CSPs, to create risk-based prioritization with context-rich actionable insights so that security teams can take the most impactful actions to reduce risk  
  • Improves collaboration and helps streamline the mitigation and remediation process by integrating with digital workflow solutions, such as Jira and ServiceNow, to get high-priority alerts to the right people efficiently 
  • Maximizes the value of cloud-native security services to help organizations prioritize risk management across cloud environments


What is CNAPP?

CNAPP enables an organization to consolidate its security practices. It also empowers an organization with a bird’s eye view of its security posture in the cloud.

What are the key components of CNAPP?

It provides a central source of truth, reduces complexity, and offers comprehensive coverage in a broad range of contexts. Including: IaC, KSPM, CWPP, CIEM, CSPM, and CSNS.

What are the benefits of CNAPP?

Some of the ways organizations will benefit from CNAPPs include:

  • Increased agility
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved collaboration
  • Improved operation efficiencies
  • Maximizes the value of customer security investments