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Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks comparison

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Executive Summary
Updated on June 2, 2022

We performed a comparison between Microsoft Defender Cloud and Prisma Cloud according to four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of Microsoft Defender Cloud say the initial setup is straightforward, and it comes by default with the free version. The only downside is that if you want more visibility, you need the paid version. In contrast, with Prisma Cloud was easy to run an automated setup. 
  • Features: Valuable features of Microsoft Defender Cloud  include support of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, the seamless integration with Azure, GCP and AWS. The solution is very intuitive about policy administration, and incident alerts. But you cannot create custom use cases and the consistency needs improvement. Prisma Cloud users say the most valuable features are the integration with Amazon, the visibility, and the ability to monitor the artifact repository. However, it needs to improve the usability and the compute function's integration into the cloud monitoring function. 
  • Pricing: Microsoft Defender Cloud users say it is more cost-effective than competing products, and the pricing model is straightforward. Prisma Cloud users say the licensing is confusing. You can't predict what your costs are going to be. 

  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions say the support is vital. However, Microsoft came ahead because they assigned an architect to the team.   

Comparison Results: Based on the parameters we compared, Microsoft Defender came ahead of Prisma Cloud because our reviewers found Prisma Cloud to be more difficult in terms of licensing. 

To learn more, read our detailed Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks report (Updated: July 2022).
Buyer's Guide
Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
610,812 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"It's very easy to install and it includes the Intune portal from Microsoft where I can control all the devices from one place.""The feature that helps us in detecting the sensitive information being shared has been very useful. In addition, the feature that allows MCAS to apply policies with SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive is being used predominantly.""I like the web GUI/the management interface. I also like the security of Microsoft. As compared to other manufacturers, it's less complex and easy to understand and work with.""The solution does not affect a user's workflow.""Better logging allows us to find problems and take appropriate steps to lock them out.""The most valuable feature of this solution is its monitoring.""The ability to prevent users from using certain applications is one of the most valuable features. It doesn't require any configuration for implementation from the client perspective. It just works right away and gives you the information you need.""There are a lot of features with benefits, including discovery, investigation, and putting controls around things. You can't say that you like the investigation part but not the discovery. Everything is correlated; that's how the tool works."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps Pros →

"Using Security Center, you have a full view, at any given time, of what's deployed, and that is something that is very useful.""We can create alerts that trigger if there is any malicious activity happening in the workflow and these alerts can be retrieved using the query language.""The technical support is very good.""The most valuable features of this solution are the vulnerability assessments and the glossary of compliance.""We saw improvement from a regulatory compliance perspective due to having a single dashboard.""It helps you to identify the gaps in your solution and remediate them. It produces a compliance checklist against known standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, iTrust, etc.""It's quite a good product. It helps to understand the infections and issues you are facing.""The solution is very easy to deploy."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Pros →

"The Twistlock vulnerability scanning tool is its most valuable feature. It provides us insight into security vulnerabilities, running inside both on-premise and public cloud-based container platforms. It is filling a gap that we have with traditional vulnerability scanning tools, where we don't have the ability to scan inside containers.""It scans our containers in real time. Also, as they're built, it's looking into the container repository where the images are built, telling us ahead of time, "You have vulnerabilities here, and you should update this code before you deploy." And once it's deployed, it's scanning for vulnerabilities that are in production as the container is running.""The application visibility is amazing. For example, sometimes we don't know what a particular custom port is for and what is running on it. The visibility enables us to identify applications, what the protocol is, and what service is behind it. Within Azure, it is doing a great job of providing visibility. We know exactly what is passing through our network. If there is an issue of any sort we are able to quickly detect it and fix the problem.""You can also integrate with Amazon Managed Services. You can also get a snapshot in time, whether that's over a 24-hour period, seven days, or a month, to determine what the estate might look like at a certain point in time and generate reports from that for vulnerability management forums.""As a pure-play CSPM, it is pretty good. From the data exposure perspective, Prisma Cloud does a fairly good job. Purely from the perspective of reading the conflicts, it is able to highlight any data exposures that I might be having.""Technical support is quite helpful.""The ability to monitor the artifact repository is one of the most valuable features because we have a disparate set of development processes, but everything tends to land in a common set of artifact repositories. The solution gives us a single point where we can apply security control for monitoring. That's really helpful.""Prisma Cloud has enabled us to take a very strong preventive approach to cloud security. One of the hardest things with cloud is getting visibility into workloads. With Prisma Cloud, you can go in and get that visibility, then set up policies to alert on risky behavior, e.g., if there are security groups or firewall ports open up. So, it is very helpful in preventing configuration errors in the cloud by having visibility. If there are issues, then you can find them and fix them."

More Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Pros →

Cons
"This service would be better if it had a separate license, only for this service, that could be used to track usage.""I believe it's only set to be integrated with Microsoft Defender for identity and identity protection. I would like to see it available for use with something like Office 365 Defender. I don't think it's integrated with that yet.""In the future, I would like to see more plug-and-play capabilities that use AI to tell you what needs to be done. It would be helpful if it scanned our devices and made security suggestions, on a configuration basis.""There are challenges with detection and there are challenges with false-positive rates.""Currently, reporting is not very straightforward and it needs to be enhanced. Specific reports are not included and you need to run a query, drill down, and then export it and share it. I would love to have reports with more fine-tuning or granularity, and more predefined reports.""It takes some time to scan and apply the policies when there is some sensitive information. After it applies the policies, it works, but there is a delay. This is something for which we are working with Microsoft.""Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps' initial setup was quite technical but we were prepared. The time of the implementation depends on the job and how many users are being set up.""The integration with macOS operating systems needs to be better."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps Cons →

"As an analyst, there is no way to configure or create a playbook to automate the process of flagging suspicious domains.""The initial setup is not actually so complex but it feels complex because there are many add-ons. There are many options and my team needs to be aware of all of these changes happening on the backend which is a distraction.""Most of the time, when we log into the support, we don't get a chance to interact with Microsoft employees directly, except having it go to outsource employees of Microsoft. The initial interaction has not been that great because outsourced companies cannot provide the kind of quality or technical expertise that we look for. We have a technical manager from Microsoft, but they are kind of average unless we make noise and ask them to escalate. We then can get the right people and the right solution, but it definitely takes time.""One of the main challenges that we have been facing with Azure Security Center is the cost. The costs are really a complex calculation, e.g., to calculate the monthly costs. Azure is calculating on an hourly basis for use of the resource. Because of this, we found it really complex to promote what will be our costs for the next couple of months. I think if Azure could reduce the complex calculation and come up with straightforward cost mapping that would be very useful from a product point of view.""Pricing could be improved. There are limited options based on pricing for the government.""The solution is quite complex. A lot of the different policies that actually get applied don't pertain to every client. If you need to have something open for a client application to work, then you get dinged for having a port open or having an older version of TLS available.""For Kubernetes, I was using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). To see that whatever is getting deployed into AKS goes through the correct checks and balances in terms of affinities and other similar aspects and follows all the policies, we had to use a product called Stackrox. At a granular level, the built-in policies were good for Kubernetes, but to protect our containers from a coding point of view, we had to use a few other products. For example, from a programming point of view, we were using Checkmarx for static code analysis. For CIS compliance, there are no CIS benchmarks for AKS. So, we had to use other plugins to see that the CIS benchmarks are compliant. There are CIS benchmarks for Kubernetes on AWS and GCP, but there are no CIS benchmarks for AKS. So, Azure Security Center fell short from the regulatory compliance point of view, and we had to use one more product. We ended up with two different dashboards. We had Azure Security Center, and we had Stackrox that had its own dashboard. The operations team and the security team had to look at two dashboards, and they couldn't get an integrated piece. That's a drawback of Azure Security Center. Azure Security Center should provide APIs so that we can integrate its dashboard within other enterprise dashboards, such as the PowerBI dashboard. We couldn't get through these aspects, and we ended up giving Reader security permission to too many people, which was okay to some extent, but when we had to administer the users for the Stackrox portal and Azure Security Center, it became painful.""You cannot create custom use cases."

More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Cons →

"When it comes to protecting the full cloud-native stack, it has the right breadth. They're covering all the topics I would care about, like container, cloud configuration, and serverless. There's one gap. There could be a better set of features around identity management—native AWS—IAM roles, and service account management. The depth in each of those areas varies a little bit. While they may have the breadth, I think there's still work to do in flushing out each of those feature sets.""They need to make the settings more flexible to fit our internal policies about data. We didn't want developers to see some data, but we wanted them to have access to the console because it was going to help them... It was a pain to have to set up the access to some languages and some data.""Getting new guys trained on using the solution requires some thought. If someone is already trained on Palo Alto then he's able to adapt quickly. But, if someone is coming from another platform such as Fortinet, or maybe he's from the system side, that is where we need some help. We need to find out if there is an online track or training that they can go to.""The alignment of Twistlock Defender agents with image repositories needs improvement. These deployed agents have no way of differentiating between on-premise and cloud-based image repositories. If I deploy a Defender agent to secure an on-premise Kubernetes cluster, that agent also tries to scan my ECR image repositories on AWS. So, we have limited options for aligning those Defenders with the repositories that we want them to scan. It is scanning everything rather than giving us the ability to be real granular in choosing which agents can scan which repositories.""It's not really on par with, or catering to, what other products are looking at in terms of SAST and DAST capabilities. For those, you'd probably go to the market and look at something like Veracode or WhiteHat.""In terms of securing cloud-native development at build time, a lot of improvement is needed. Currently, it's more a runtime solution than a build-time solution. For runtime, I would rate it at seven out of 10, but for build-time there is a lot of work to be done.""Currently, custom reports are available, but I feel that those reports are targeting just the L1 or L2 engineers because they are very verbose. So, for every alert, there is a proper description, but as a security posture management portal, Prisma Cloud should give me a dashboard that I can present to my stakeholders, such as CSO, CRO, or CTO. It should be at a little bit higher level. They should definitely put effort into reporting because the reporting does not reflect the requirements of a dashboard for your stakeholders. There are a couple of things that are present on the portal, but we don't have the option to customize dashboards or widgets. There are a limited set of widgets, and those widgets don't add value from the perspective of a security team or any professional who is above L1 or L2 level. Because of this, the reach of Prisma Cloud in an organization or the access to Prisma Cloud will be limited only to L1 and L2 engineers. This is something that their development team should look into.""The integration of the Compute function into the cloud monitoring function—because those are two different tools that are being combined together—could use some more work. It still feels a little bit disjointed."

More Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Our clients normally use the Microsoft E1 licensing, which is renewed yearly."
  • "The pricing is a little bit high but right now, we are okay with it because of the compatibility with Office 365, Teams, and Azure AD."
  • "I'm not totally involved in the pricing part, but I think its pricing is quite aggressive, and its price is quite similar to Netskope. Netskope has separate licensing fees or additional charges if you want to monitor certain SaaS services, whereas, with MCAS, you get 5,000 applications with their Office 365. It is all bundled, and there's no cost for using that. You only have the operational costs. In the country I am in, it is a bit difficult to get people with the required skill sets."
  • "Its pricing is on the higher side. Its price is definitely very high for a small-scale company. As an enterprise client, we do get benefits from Microsoft. We get a discounted price because of the number of users we have in our company. We have a premier package, and with that, we do get a lot of discounts. There are no additional costs. It only comes in the top-tier packages. Generally, the top-tier license is the best license that you can get for your organization. If you want, you can buy it separately, but that's not a good idea."
  • "The price could be better and should be reconsidered."
  • "It is a little bit expensive. When you want to have the complete package with Office 365, Defender, and everything else, it is expensive."
  • "We are an MST and we do not pay for the solution. However, the price of the solution could be better."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "I'm not privy to that information, but I know it's probably close to a million dollars a year."
  • "We are using the free version of the Azure Security Center."
  • "Azure Defender is a bit pricey. The price could be lower."
  • "This is a worldwide service and depending on the country, there will be different prices."
  • "Security Center charges $15 per resource for any workload that you onboard into it. They charge per VM or per data-base server or per application. It's not like Microsoft 365 licensing, where there are levels like E3 and E5. Security Center is pretty straightforward."
  • "There is a helpful cost-reducing option that allows you to integrate production subscriptions with non-production subscriptions."
  • "Its pricing is a little bit high in terms of Azure Security Center, but the good thing is that we don't need to maintain and deploy it. So, while the pricing is high, it is native to Azure which is why we prefer using this tool."
  • "I am not involved in this area. However, I believe its price is okay because even small customers are using Azure Security Center. I don't think it is very expensive."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Cloud Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "One thing we're very pleased about is how the licensing model for Prisma is based on work resources. You buy a certain amount of work resources and then, as they enable new capabilities within Prisma, it just takes those work resource units and applies them to new features. This enables us to test and use the new features without having to go back and ask for and procure a whole new product, which could require going through weeks, and maybe months, of a procurement process."
  • "The pricing and the licensing are both very fair... The biggest advice I would give in terms of costs would be to try to understand what the growth is going to look like. That's really been our biggest struggle, that we don't have an idea of what our future growth is going to be on the platform. We go from X number of licenses to Y number of licenses without a plan on how we're going to get from A to B, and a lot of that comes as a bit of a surprise. It can make budgeting a real challenge for it."
  • "From my exposure so far, they have been really flexible on whatever your current state is, with a view to what the future state might be. There's no hard sell. They "get" the journey that you're on, and they're trying to help you embrace cloud security, governance, and compliance as you go."
  • "If a competitor came along and said, "We'll give you half the price," that doesn't necessarily mean that's the right answer, at all. We wouldn't necessarily entertain it that way. Does it do what we need it to do? Does it work with the things that we want it to work with? That is the important part for us. Pricing wasn't the big consideration it might be in some organizations. We spend millions on public cloud. In that context, it would not make sense to worry about the small price differences that you get between the products."
  • "The pricing and licensing are expensive compared to the other offerings that we considered."
  • "I don't know a better way to do it, but their licensing is a little confusing. That's due to the breadth of different types of technologies they are trying to cover. The way you license depends on where you're securing. When they were Twistlock it was a simple licensing scheme and you could tell what you were doing. Now that they've changed that scheme with Palo Alto, it is quite confusing. It's very difficult to predict what your costs are going to be as you try to expand coverage."
  • "The pricing is good. They gave us some good discounts right at the end of the year based on the value that it brings, visibility, and the ability to build in cloud, compliance, and security within one dashboard."
  • "The licensing cost is a bit high on the compute side."
  • More Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Cisco Umbrella is an integral component of the Cisco SASE architecture. It integrates security in a single, cloud-native… more »
    Top Answer:It's very easy to install and it includes the Intune portal from Microsoft where I can control all the devices from one… more »
    Top Answer:It's expensive because we have to pay for an M365 license and it is included in the package.
    Top Answer:Azure Security Center is very easy to use, integrates well, and gives very good visibility on what is happening across… more »
    Top Answer:The integration with Logic Apps allows for automated responses to incidents.
    Top Answer:This is a worldwide service and depending on the country, there will be different prices. There is a price calculator… more »
    Top Answer:Prisma Cloud helps support DevSecOps methodologies, making those responsibilities easier to manage.
    Top Answer:Aqua Security is easy to use and very manageable. Its main focus is on Kubernetes and Docker. Security is a very… more »
    Top Answer:It has improved the overall collaboration between SecOps and DevOps. Now, instead of asking people to do something, it… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    MS Cloud App Security, Microsoft Cloud App Security
    Microsoft Azure Security Center, Azure Security Center, Microsoft ASC, Azure Defender
    Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud, Prisma Public Cloud, RedLock Cloud 360, RedLock, Twistlock, Aporeto
    Learn More
    Overview

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is a cloud access security broker (CASB) that provides multifunction visibility, control over data travel, and sophisticated analytics. With Microsoft Cloud App Security, you can: 

    - Manage, control, and audit apps to streamline cloud access security

    - Mange your access to resources to discover shadow IT and understand your digital information estate

    - Use real-time controls to enable threat protection on all the access points that touch your environment

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud protects your Azure and hybrid resources. Microsoft uses a wide variety of physical, infrastructure, and operational controls to help secure Azure—but there are additional actions you need to take to help safeguard your workloads. Turn on Azure Security Center to strengthen your cloud security posture. Within Azure Security Center, use Azure Defender to protect your hybrid cloud workloads. With Azure Security Center, you can:

    - Assess and visualize the security state of your resources in Azure, on-premises, and in other clouds with Azure Secure Score

    - Simplify enterprise compliance and view your compliance against regulatory requirements

    - Protect all your hybrid cloud workloads with Azure Defender, which is integrated with Security Center

    - Use AI and automation to cut through false alarms, quickly identify threats, and streamline threat investigation

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Prisma Cloud is a comprehensive cloud-native security platform (CNSP) that provides security and compliance coverage for infrastructure, applications, data, and all cloud-native technology stacks throughout the development lifecycle. Prisma Cloud safeguards cloud operations across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, all from a single, unified solution, using a combination of cloud service provider APIs and a unified agent framework.

    The move to the cloud has changed all aspects of the application development lifecycle, with security being foremost among them. Security and DevOps teams face a growing number of entities to secure as organizations adopt cloud-native approaches. Constantly changing environments challenge developers to build and deploy at a rapid pace without compromising on security. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks delivers complete security and compliance coverage across the development lifecycle on any cloud environment, enabling you to develop cloud-native applications with confidence.

    Prisma Cloud Features

    Prisma Cloud offers comprehensive security coverage in all areas of the cloud development lifecycle:

    • Code security: Protect configurations, scan code before it enters production, and integrate with other tools.

    • Security posture management: Monitor posture, identify and remove threats, and provide compliance across public clouds.

    • Workload protection: Secure hosts and containers across the application lifecycle.

    • Network security: Gain network visibility and enforce micro segmentation.

    • Identity security: Enforce permissions and secure identities across clouds.

    Benefits of Prisma Cloud

    • Unified management: All users use the same dashboards built via shared onboarding, allowing cloud security to be addressed from a single agent framework.

    • High-speed onboarding: Multiple cloud accounts and users are onboarded within seconds, rapidly activating integrated security capabilities.

    • Multiple integration options: Prisma Cloud can integrate with widely used IDE, SCM, and CI/CD workflows early in development, enabling users to identify and fix vulnerabilities and compliance issues before they enter production. Prisma Cloud supports all major workflows, automation frameworks, and third-party tools.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Prisma Cloud stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its integration capabilities, as well as its visibility, which makes it very easy for users to get a full picture of the cloud environment.

    Alex J., an information security manager at Cobalt.io, writes, “Prisma Cloud has enabled us to take a very strong preventive approach to cloud security. One of the hardest things with cloud is getting visibility into workloads. With Prisma Cloud, you can go in and get that visibility, then set up policies to alert on risky behavior, e.g., if there are security groups or firewall ports open up. So, it is very helpful in preventing configuration errors in the cloud by having visibility. If there are issues, then you can find them and fix them.”

    Luke L., a cloud security specialist for a financial services firm, writes, “You can also integrate with Amazon Managed Services. You can also get a snapshot in time, whether that's over a 24-hour period, seven days, or a month, to determine what the estate might look like at a certain point in time and generate reports from that for vulnerability management forums.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud
    Learn more about Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
    Sample Customers
    Customers for Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps include Accenture, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Ansell, and Nakilat.
    Microsoft Defender for Cloud is trusted by companies such as ASOS, Vatenfall, SWC Technology Partners, and more.
    Amgen, Genpact, Western Asset, Zipongo, Proofpoint, NerdWallet, Axfood, 21st Century Fox, Veeva Systems, Reinsurance Group of America
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Educational Organization29%
    Government14%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Engineering Company14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company25%
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Government6%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Consumer Goods Company14%
    Retailer7%
    Insurance Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company28%
    Comms Service Provider16%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Government5%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company25%
    Manufacturing Company19%
    Healthcare Company13%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company29%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise39%
    Large Enterprise44%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise65%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise8%
    Large Enterprise65%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise69%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business17%
    Midsize Enterprise29%
    Large Enterprise54%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business16%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise72%
    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,812 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud is ranked 2nd in CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) with 25 reviews while Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is ranked 1st in CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) with 16 reviews. Microsoft Defender for Cloud is rated 8.2, while Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Cloud writes "Provides good recommendations and makes policy administration easy". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks writes "Gives me a holistic view of cloud security across multiple clouds or multiple cloud workloads within one cloud provider". Microsoft Defender for Cloud is most compared with Amazon GuardDuty, Microsoft 365 Defender, Cortex XDR by Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro Cloud One Workload Security and Trend Micro XDR, whereas Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks is most compared with Aqua Security, Check Point CloudGuard Posture Management, Snyk, Wiz and Orca Security. See our Microsoft Defender for Cloud vs. Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks report.

    See our list of best CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) vendors, best Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) vendors, and best Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP) vendors.

    We monitor all CWPP (Cloud Workload Protection Platforms) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.