With the rise in workforce mobility, unauthorized use of the cloud and Shadow IT, i.e. use of technology without explicit permission from a company, have also risen. The ability to monitor and govern the use of cloud applications like Office 365 has become essential.
Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) have become a vital part of enterprise security, allowing companies to use the cloud while protecting sensitive corporate data. Instead of banning cloud services outright and potentially affecting employee productivity, a CASB will enable companies to take a granular approach to data protection and policy enforcement, making it possible to use cloud services safely. But how does a CASB work?
What Is CASB?
As services and storage began to move to the cloud, companies realized that data in the cloud is not necessarily secured and so have begun looking for a way to enforce policies within the cloud to protect both users and corporate data.
The development of the CASB let professionals have visibility over the activity cloud, particularly with unauthorized use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Shadow IT. CASB acts as cloud-hosted software (and sometimes on-premises software or hardware) that acts as an intermediary between users and cloud service providers.
This serves as a policy enforcement hub, consolidating multiple types of security policy enforcement and applying them to everything your company uses in the cloud, regardless of the type of device trying to access it. In other words, a CASB is a control point that protects access to computing resources in the cloud; these points are designed by cloud providers to ensure that only authorized users can access their offered services.
A CASB also allows organizations to extend the scope of their security policies from their existing on-premises infrastructure to the cloud and create new guidelines for the specific context of cloud usage. This makes a CASB ideal to protect both the movement of data (by restricting things like access and sharing privileges) and the content of the data (through encryption).
How Do CASBs Protect the Cloud?
Many CASB security features are unique compared to those offered by other security controls, such as web/enterprise application firewalls and secure web gateways, and may include antivirus software. These features can include:
- Malware detection.
- Data encryption and key management.
- Data loss prevention.
- Cloud management and risk assessment.
CASB also offers access control and cloud restriction features that a normal antivirus would not include. These are:
- Control over features such as collaboration and sharing (these prevent employees to send confidential data to unauthorized personnel).
- Contextual access control.
- Credential assignment and login for authentication.
- Creation profiles and tokenization.
- Usage record visibility and alerts of unauthorized access attempts.
The latter is arguably the most important CASB feature as it gives a company situational awareness to implement further security measures to their cloud and data infrastructure.
Who Are the Best CASB Providers?
Although the characteristics are usually similar between providers, the competitive differences are in aspects such as the power level of computer security, the costs of the service, and the scalability of the resources; nevertheless, here are some of the best CASB brands.
Symantec Corporation is the computer security company that markets the renowned Norton brand antivirus, so their track record is more than proven. Symantec’s CASB is called CloudSOC Cloud Access Security Broker. The high performance of this service earned it the “Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice” distinction in 2019, thanks to its machine learning algorithms that systematically execute security measures according to each situation.
Oracle CASB is the solution offered by this company within its broad ecosystem of Oracle Cloud Services. Although Oracle is not a company specializing in cybersecurity, this service is supported by belonging to one of the corporations that offer the best cloud resources in the world.
Oracle CASB uses machine learning techniques to factor in behavior patterns and implement security baselines. In addition, it leverages Oracle’s proprietary modeling techniques to detect different levels of risk across hundreds of threat lines.
Microsoft’s CASB is called Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS). This solution allows for a very high level of visibility and control over the flow of data and state-of-the-art analysis for threat detection. This CBSA solution will also integrate instantly with all Microsoft applications.
MVISION Cloud (also called Skyhigh Security Cloud) is the CASB of the computer security company McAfee, the renowned McAfee VirusScan antivirus developer. Like Symantec’s CloudSOC, MVISION Cloud has also received the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice award. This CASB offers a family of security products for Office 365, AWS, Box, Salesforce, Azure, and the dangerous phenomenon, Shadow IT.
Some of these companies will not only offer CASB technology to protect the cloud. Many also include Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPP) and Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). In order for you to have the best cloud protection and optimization, all are needed as each specialize in a single aspect of cloud protection.
CSPMs software technology will implement security and compliance processes while CWPP software technology will enable you to perform security functions across multiple environments and reduce cloud protection complexity. Many of these three software features overlap so CASBs, CWPPs, and CSPMs are sometimes sold together to fully optimize and protect your cloud workspace from threats.
Why Do You Need CASB Technology?
As everything moves to the cloud, security technology is essential to protect data. To achieve this, a CASB can help you by providing complete visibility into cloud application usage, including user information such as device and location, and cloud risk assessments for each cloud service in use. CASBs also provide data security by implementing data loss prevention, collaboration control, access control, information rights management, encryption, and tokenization.
Additionally, to help identify anomalous user behavior, CASBs can compile a comprehensive view of regular usage patterns and use it as a basis for comparison. All these measures will help your enterprise minimize the risk of data leaks caused by negligence or malicious intent.
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