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Why a Native-First Approach Is Key to Cloud Security

A native-first approach delivers better protections and a more efficient use of resources than best-of-breed solutions, benefiting cloud service providers and end-user customers alike.

Microsoft Security, Microsoft

April 17, 2024

3 Min Read
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Source: Rasi Bhadramani via Alamy Stock Photo

As companies increasingly migrate to public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud, many are opting to lift and shift their existing security toolsets in the process. Today, the average company deploys as many as 76 disparate security tools. This is commonly known as a best-of-breed approach.

However, the problem with a best-of-breed model is that it creates security and efficiency gaps for cloud workloads. Because third-party cloud security solutions rely on the visibility provided by the cloud service provider's (CSP) application programming interface (API), each one comes with its own unique set of limitations and blind spots. This makes it difficult for security engineers and analysts to accurately and efficiently triage and remediate threats.

By contrast, a native-first cloud security approach deploys seamlessly integrated first-party security solutions to drive greater cost and resource efficiencies, as well as increase overall security resiliency. Here are three reasons to prioritize a native-first approach over best-of-breed.

Reduce Your Attack Surface

One key argument for implementing a native-first cloud security approach over best-of-breed is that relying on multiple third-party security solutions can inadvertently expand an organization's attack surface. Each new tool introduces its own set of configurations, APIs, and potential vulnerabilities. If not properly managed, third-party tools can create additional opportunities for attackers to exploit weaknesses in the security infrastructure. In fact, cloud misconfigurations were responsible for 80% of data security breaches in 2023.

On the other hand, a native-first cloud security approach relies on first-party solutions and doesn't require any changes to the customer's cloud environment. That minimizes the risk of introducing additional weaknesses.

Eliminate Security Blind Spots

Another core benefit of a native-first cloud security model is that it eliminates the blind spots often seen with best-of-breed solutions. Third-party solutions often struggle to integrate with one another or with the specific cloud platform being used, which can lead to gaps in visibility and coordination — making it difficult to have a unified view of the security landscape. And because public cloud environments often rely on a variety of interconnected services and APIs, organizations run the risk of missing potential threats or vulnerabilities if their best-of-breed security tools are not designed to work seamlessly with these cloud-native services.

A native-first approach eliminates this issue because all of the CSP solutions are already designed to work together seamlessly. For example, a cloud container workload protection plan that natively integrates with Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) and Azure Container Repository (ACR) would not require any changes to the protection plan when changes are made to the container-based solution. Similarly, a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) integrating with Microsoft threat intelligence can ensure security teams can respond to security incidents in real time.

Drive Greater Team Efficiencies

Finally, taking a best-of-breed approach means that security teams are responsible for managing multiple security solutions from different vendors. This is complex and resource-intensive, requiring teams to understand the various interfaces, policies, and update schedules, while also managing crucial security configurations and responding promptly to emerging threats. Running multiple security tools concurrently can also lead to redundant system resources. This redundancy affects the overall performance of the cloud environment and increases operational costs without necessarily improving security effectiveness.

Under a native-first model, security teams only need to understand their CSP's services — thus cutting down on the initial learning curve required since the native solutions leverage other native services, such as dashboards and responses. Many CSPs are also designed to ensure the efficient use of customers' cloud resources, with much of the heavy lifting done within the CSP's control plane. 

Ultimately, a native-first cloud security approach delivers better protections and a more efficient use of resources than best-of-breed third-party solutions. And because CSPs are used to serving a wide range of customers and use cases, they can often offer more flexibility, innovation, and specialized security expertise than third-party vendors. By exploring available native-first security solutions to see what makes the most sense for their environments, organizations can take the first step toward a more secure and more efficient cloud-based future.

— Read more Partner Perspectives from Microsoft Security

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Microsoft Security


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