What is Cloud Workload Protection (CWP)?

Wagner Nascimento

Sep 07, 2022 / 4 min read

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The cloud remains an essential driver of growth and transformation for enterprises. In recent years, it has played an increasingly large role in delivering services to customers with unique scalability and speed. Securing the modern cloud involves protecting your assets, from virtual servers to cloud workloads.

As the number of ransomware attacks targeting organizations increases, some chip designers worry that the switch to the cloud from on-premises infrastructure may leave data more vulnerable to security threats. Organizations using clouds must therefore focus on security from the workload level rather than simply preventative endpoint protection. This is where cloud workload protection comes in handy.

What is Cloud Workload Protection (CWP)?

Cloud workload protection (CWP) protects workloads that transfer across different cloud environments. An entire workload must be functional for the application to work as intended without any security risks. For this reason, cloud workload security and workload protection for application services are inherently different from those for standard desktop machine applications. CWP continuously monitors and removes threats from cloud workloads and containers.

Cloud Workload Protection Platforms and How They Work

IT research firm Gartner defines cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) as a solution “primarily used to secure server workloads in public cloud infrastructure as a service environment.” 

CWPPs allow for multiple public cloud providers and customers to ensure a workload remains secure. They protect various types of workloads, regardless of location, across multiple providers. 

CWPPs are security products that focus on workloads in hybrid, and multi-cloud data center environments. They provide visibility and control for virtual machines, physical machines, containers, and serverless workloads. CWPPs can also scan workloads during the development pipeline through a combination of integrity protection, behavioral monitoring, application control, intrusion prevention, and anti-malware protection, 

Protecting workloads with CWPP is accomplished via two methods:

  1. Micro-segmentation allows for security architects to divide data into defined security segments on a workload segment. They can then define security controls for each segment. Rather than relying on physical firewalls, micro-segmentation uses network virtualization to define flexible security policies that protect workloads. This process prevents malware from hopping server-to-server within the environment
  2. Bare Metal Hypervisor offers additional cloud workload protection. Hypervisor is a type of virtualization software that allows for the creation and management of virtual machines through the separation of a machine's hardware and software. Hypervisor is installed as an additional hardware component on the machine between the hardware and operating system. It then creates a virtual machine isolated from other virtual machines. If one machine suffers an attack, the issue stays contained within that server.

Why is Cloud Workload Protection Important?

In the cloud, an individual workload contains the application, generated data, network resources, and processes to support the interactions between the user and application. If any part of this is compromised, the application will fail.  

Cloud workload protection is therefore essential. It protects these workloads and containers while enabling enterprises to continuously build and run cloud applications with confidence. As workloads pass through multiple vendors and hosts, the responsibility for protecting them must be shared.

Benefits of Workload Protection

As workloads move through various environments that different vendors own and protect, CWPPs ensure uninterrupted protection. Some of the benefits CWPPs provide include: 

  • Enhanced visibility for application configuration and individual workloads, allowing for easier configuration and managing vulnerabilities.
  • Behavior monitoring and increased security through detection and response. Through workload behavior, CWPPs detect intrusions and send out alerts. 
  • Log management by providing a single dashboard showing what is happening in various workload parts in the environment. 
  • Vulnerability management by identifying superfluous applications, programs, functions, permissions, and codes that can result in a security risk.
  • Memory protection, which is unique to a couple of CWPPs. It is an emerging process focusing on securing new techniques that exploit weaknesses in memory and bypass traditional security methods. 
  • Modern threat intelligence, which is shared by CWPPs across their customer base, allowing for early warning systems. 

Particularly with workloads in the cloud, it is essential to ensure protection with minimal impact on pre-existing systems and workflows. As the world of security continues to evolve, older security systems are no longer sufficient for protecting enterprises that use the cloud. Organizations must plan for workload protection across multiple cloud environments through CWPPs that can provide visibility and consolidation from a single console.

Synopsys, EDA, and the Cloud

Synopsys is the industry’s largest provider of electronic design automation (EDA) technology used in the design and verification of semiconductor devices, or chips. With Synopsys Cloud, we’re taking EDA to new heights, combining the availability of advanced compute and storage infrastructure with unlimited access to EDA software licenses on-demand so you can focus on what you do best – designing chips, faster. Delivering cloud-native EDA tools and pre-optimized hardware platforms, an extremely flexible business model, and a modern customer experience, Synopsys has reimagined the future of chip design on the cloud, without disrupting proven workflows.


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About The Author

Wagner Nascimento is vice president and chief information security officer at Synopsys. As the CISO, Wagner is responsible for developing and implementing the Information Security Program for the enterprise . Wagner has over 20 years of experience in the cybersecurity space, leading security efforts in other larger organizations such as VISA, Cisco, and Albertsons. A Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Wagner is adept in security architecture/analysis, cyber threat detection, risk management, incident response, and contingency planning. He has a B.S. in Information Technology from American Intercontinental University and an MBA (Finance, Strategic Management) from California State University, East Bay.

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