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Prisma cloud secures open source software via ‘context-aware’ composition analysis

Palo Alto Networks has introduced the industry’s first context-aware software composition analysis (SCA) solution to help developers safely use open source software components.

user iconReporter
Fri, 23 Sep 2022
Prisma cloud secures open source software via ‘context-aware’ composition analysis
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Open source software is a critical component of cloud-native applications, allowing developers greater speed and modularity without having to reinvent the wheel each time they code. As the Unit 42 Cloud Threat Report, 2H 2021 found however, open source software can often contain known vulnerabilities, which can open organisations up to significant risk.

According to Ankur Shah, senior vice president, Prisma Cloud at Palo Alto Networks, developers leveraging open source software should be able to build applications with the confidence they aren't opening the organisation up to risk.

"With the average application consisting of 75 per cent open source components, SCA on Prisma Cloud is key to protecting the organisation from code to cloud and empowering developers to build with speed," Shah said.

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Traditional SCA solutions are standalone products that can produce a large number of alerts but lack the runtime context to help fix vulnerabilities. With the addition of SCA to the Prisma Cloud platform, developers and security teams can proactively surface and prioritise known vulnerabilities that impact the application lifecycle (i.e. code, build, deploy and run).

Prisma Cloud SCA is designed to deliver deep dependency detection and remediation of vulnerabilities in open source software before applications reach production. It can also help developers prioritise remediation based on software components that are already in use. These capabilities are not possible when SCA solutions are deployed as single point products.

As a complete cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP), Prisma Cloud is context-aware at every stage of the application lifecycle to provide a unified view of risk across organisations' cloud environments. According to Palo Alto Networks' development team, current approaches to cloud security rely on siloed products that provide intermittent visibility without remediation, Prisma Cloud approaches cloud security with a comprehensive, prevention-first framework. With 188 per cent increase in cloud incident response cases over the past three years, this shift in approach has become mandatory.

A complete code-to-cloud CNAPP needs to incorporate the following five key principles in order to keep organisations safe:

Security from code to cloud: Protects applications at every stage of the development lifecycle, from code, build, deploy and run.
Continuous, real time visibility: Uses real-time and contextual security analysis of cloud environments to help prevent misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and threats.
Prevention-first protection: Stopping attacks and defending against zero-day vulnerabilities to drive down mean time to remediation.
Choice for every cloud journey: Aligning security needs with current and future cloud priorities by supporting a breadth of cloud service providers, workload architectures, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, integrated development environments (IDEs), and repositories with a unified platform.
Cloud scale security: Consistently secures applications as cloud environments scale.

In addition to SCA and to further increase the safety of cloud-native applications, Prisma Cloud introduced a software bill of materials (SBOM) among other capabilities for developers to easily maintain and reference a complete codebase inventory of every application component used across cloud environments.

Implementing SCA and SBOM ensures Prisma Cloud aligns with these principles. Buyers looking for cloud-native security solutions need to keep the requirements of micro-services security protection in mind.

The "bolted on" and "whack-a-mole" approaches are a thing of the past, Frank Dickson, program vice president, security and trust at IDC.

"This means that buyers need to fundamentally change their approach to security, although they need to continue to protect their run-time environments, they must also embrace solutions that embed security in the application development process, an approach referred to as 'shift left'.

"Shift left requires one to think less about security products and more about continuous security processes.

"Security should be embedded throughout the application development life cycle," Dickson said.

[Related: USAF eyes data security upgrade]

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