How Gartner Defines Cnapp? A brief overview

According to Gartner, CNAPP is:

A bundled set of security and compliance features designed to secure and protect cloud-native applications during development and deployment. Among the many previously siloed capabilities consolidated by CNAPPs are; container scanning, cloud security posture management, and infrastructure as code scanning. It also has cloud infrastructure entitlements management and runtime cloud workload protection platforms.

What Does CNAPP Mean?

CNAPP is an acronym that stands for Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform. Gartner coined the term after recognizing the growing need for securing cloud-based applications. CNAPP solutions, in general, aim to address workload and configuration security.

We previously stated that CNAPP is a step forward in cloud security. It is because CNAPP is a technology convergence that combines the capabilities of existing cloud security solutions, such as CSPM, CWPP, and more.

The Purpose Of CNAPP

With the release of their Innovation Insight for CNAPP report, Gartner made CNAPP a popular security buzzword. However, CNAPP is more than just a new security tool with a lot of hype. For modern enterprises with cloud-native workloads, CNAPP is a platform designed to replace multiple independent solutions with a single universal security tool. Gartner identified the need for enterprises to consolidate tooling and security problems. Not only this but also to treat security and compliance as a continuum across operations and security teams. It as a result led to the creation of the CNAPP model. From this vantage point, CNAPP is a natural progression for DevSecOps and “shift left” security.

Importance of CNAPP

Cloud-native security

Traditional security solutions designed for “castle-and-moat” networks with well-defined boundaries are not suitable for modern enterprises with cloud-native workloads. CNAPP is built with modern “cloud-native” infrastructure in mind, including containers and serverless security. By integrating with CI/CD pipelines, it protects public and private clouds.

Improved visibility

Many Security scanning, monitoring, and observability tools are available for cloud-native workloads. However, the ability to contextualize information and provide end-to-end visibility across an enterprise’s application infrastructure distinguishes CNAPP from others. A CNAPP solution, for example, can prioritize alerts that pose the highest risk to an enterprise by providing end-to-end visibility and every small detail on configurations, technology stacks, and identities.

Tighter controls

Misconfiguration of secret information, cloud workloads, containers, or Kubernetes (K8s) clusters are just a few of the most common risks that enterprise applications face. Enterprises can use the CNAPP platform to scan, detect, and quickly correct security and compliance risks caused by misconfigurations.

Key Components of CNAPP

Since CNAPP represents a blend of existing security product categories, let’s take a quick look at what capabilities fall under the CNAPP umbrella. Everything below is a pre-existing point solution. CNAPPs combine elements of these point solutions to provide full-stack visibility across cloud environments. It does this by shifting the focus away from individual security issues and toward broader, interconnected combinations of issues that pose a critical risk.


CSPM solutions are designed to detect misconfigurations in cloud resources and track compliance with various controls and frameworks. They concentrate on the control plane and investigate cloud infrastructure at the provider level. CNAPPs analyze configurations in greater depth and combine them with other inputs to identify and prioritize actual risks.


Cloud Workload Protection Platform is concerned with the security of cloud workloads such as VMs, containers, and serverless functions, regardless of location. CWPP capabilities penetrate the workload, searching for vulnerabilities, system configuration, secrets, and other information. CNAPPs use CWPP capabilities to detect issues in the data plane within workloads.

A Comprehensive Approach to Cloud-native Security

You may have observed that some of the components of CNAPP are Gartner-defined cloud security categories. What distinguishes them from CNAPP? Do you need all of them separately, or can you get them all together? What’s going on?

While CNAPP is intended to be a product category, the comprehensive collection of capabilities described in Gartner’s definition currently depicts an ideal future state that is uncommon in the industry as a single solution. The fact is that few companies have all of these components, even across several product sets.

Therefore, vendors and practitioners can begin collaborating right away to make that goal a reality. While there are and will continue to be solutions that name or identify themselves as a CNAPP, what we actually need is a complete approach to cloud security that streamlines the process of monitoring and remediating hazards from beginning to end inside huge, complicated cloud systems.

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