Why CNAPPs Are Not Enough  

4 min.

July 8, 2024

Cloud-native applications have revolutionized the way we develop, deploy, and manage software. With the adoption of cloud technologies, organizations are embracing Cloud-Native Application Protection Programs. At its core, they attempt to secure across cloud-native applications in runtime, leveraging tools like Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP), to detect, and remediate misconfigurations and security incidents in cloud environments.  

CNAPPs are often presented as the go-to tool for cloud security, promising comprehensive protection for cloud-native applications. However, these platforms have built-in limitations that may leave organizations exposed to security risks and breaches – a fact that is not always emphasized. 

1. Designed for the cloud…only 

CNAPPs are tailored for cloud-native environments, often overlooking security needs in traditional on-premises environments. A cloud-only approach presents hurdles for organizations operating in both cloud and on-premises environments, due to lack of comprehensive coverage across diverse development landscapes. Without security measures for hybrid environments, organizations must either contend with heightened security risks and compliance issues or manage separate tools lacking integrated and correlated security insights. 

2. The focus is on runtime 

CNAPPs prioritize addressing threats and risks during the runtime phase. While they excel at identifying runtime threats, vulnerabilities introduced during the coding and testing phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) may go unnoticed. This delayed increases the likelihood of security issues going unaddressed until they become critical problems in production, putting the business at risk for security breaches and data compromises. 

3. Infrastructure vs. Application Security 

By prioritizing the protection of cloud infrastructure, CNAPPs fall short by offering limited capabilities for identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities within the application code itself, making them an incomplete solution. Securing infrastructure is essential, but it must be complemented by robust application code security for comprehensive protection. 

4. Limited code-level visibility 

CNAPPs face a significant challenge detecting vulnerabilities at the code level due to their limited visibility into application code. Unlike more comprehensive AppSec solutions that can cover hybrid environments, CNAPPs often rely on third-party tools for code analysis. These tools are often not in-depth and can result in challenges when identifying and managing vulnerabilities. As a result, security teams have a tough time spotting risks in the application code or tying vulnerabilities in production to their location in code for developers to remediate. 

5. Incomplete API security coverage 

CNAPPs lack comprehensive coverage for API vulnerabilities. API security is vital for securing modern applications relying on APIs for communication. CNAPPs often develop their own API security features in-house, but these are seen as ad hoc at best. Due to their focus on runtime, they frequently miss crucial aspects of securing APIs.  

6. No developer focus 

Developers were never part of the CNAPP plan. Their emphasis on infrastructure security has little developer involvement, which means CNAPP vendors are not focused on developers – their needs or integrating with their workflows and tooling.  CNAPPs often fail to provide developer-friendly capabilities, impacting the developer experience and collaboration in software development.  

7. Inadequate IDE integration 

Developers rely on IDEs for coding. However, if these IDEs are not integrated with, and able to, bring insights directly into the developer working environment, developers will not receive real-time feedback on security concerns, making it difficult to fix them quickly. Since CNAPPS integrate in at the runtime stage, there is a major delay in vulnerability discovery. This increases the chance of undiscovered vulnerabilities until runtime, potentially exposing applications to malicious actors. 

8. Limited remediation guidance 

Without clear guidance, prioritizing and resolving security risks becomes difficult. CNAPPs offer insufficient guidance for remedying identified vulnerabilities in code. Any remediation advice provided tends to lack specificity from a developer’s perspective, making it hard for them to enact effective fixes.  

9. Detection vs Prevention 

CNAPPs primarily focus on monitoring and responding to security risks, rather than proactively preventing. This limitation hampers organization’s ability to effectively prevent application-specific vulnerabilities and security challenges from going live. Without the ability to enforce preventive security policies and stop the build process at the coding stage, CNAPPs struggle to provide comprehensive protection against vulnerabilities in code making it to production.   

By integrating Checkmarx with a CNAPP solution, organizations can overcome the built-in limitations of CNAPPs. We offer advanced security tools to support the entire development life cycle for hybrid cloud environment. This integration enhances developer workflows by delivering real-time security feedback during coding, enabling early detection and remediation of vulnerabilities. With our proactive security approach, vulnerabilities are addressed throughout the software development lifecycle, correlating runtime insights from CNAPPs for better risk prioritization and reducing alert noise by up to 90%. By enforcing customizable security policies and mitigating API-related threats, we bridge the gap between cloud infrastructure security and application security, providing a comprehensive solution for securing cloud-native applications.