What is a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

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Net Friends

The cloud is the new frontier of IT innovations and a source of competitive advantage across most industries. According to Gartner, global end-user spending on cloud applications is expected to reach $500 billion in 2022. However, this greater reliance on cloud services requires a stronger emphasis on cloud security to manage the risks. Discover how a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) helps improve your IT security policies and cloud security profiles.

A Cloud Access Security Broker is a cloud security policy enforcement point between a cloud service consumer and a cloud service provider.

According to Gartner's explanation, "CASBs consolidate multiple types of security policy enforcement. Example security policies include authentication, single sign-on, authorization, credential mapping, device profiling, encryption, tokenization, logging, alerting, malware detection/prevention and so on."

The CASB combines and interjects enterprise security policies as users access cloud-based resources. This is a gatekeeper role, as a CASB helps businesses apply front-end security controls for their cloud applications. These cloud apps are often accessed via HTTPS (TCP port 443) that can bypass most firewall controls. However, a CASB fills that gap and ensures safer web traffic.

The Benefits of a CASB

1. Greater Visibility & Control

A CASB is an integral component of enterprise cloud security and a valued role to establish in your company’s IT security policies. It offers extensive protection from device to cloud as it is a secure web gateway (SWG), allowing safe internet usage and safeguarding confidential data across your company’s network.

A Cloud Access Security Broker also offers oversight and control over your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) usage. You can easily see and protect confidential data and manage workflows that use cloud apps outside your firewall.

2. Improved Data Security

Cloud computing generated over $300 billion of revenue in 2020, and the sector is steadily growing. While greater cloud adoption makes real-time communication and collaboration possible, there are risks. The seamless movement of data is beneficial but can expose confidential and proprietary information.

Combining a CASB with other data security measures can safeguard your company data in the storage, retrieval, and transit processes within the cloud. Also, CASBs provide extra security layers with data loss and malware prevention, encryption, access, and collaboration controls.

3. Robust Threat Protection

Your employees or third parties (either through negligence or malicious intent) may lose credentials, access sensitive data from cloud services, or perform any other unsafe activity. A CASB helps you quickly identify any abnormal user behavior and compare it to that person's usage history for comparative analysis.

This early detection mechanism enables swift threat remediation as soon as someone attempts improper access or data removal. With measures like adaptive access control, prioritized analysis, static and dynamic malware analysis, and threat intelligence, a CASB helps to keep your network safe. 

4. Discourages Shadow IT

Shadow IT is an issue that often confounds cloud security. It refers to IT resources (such as cloud services) that persons use outside of the knowledge and management of the IT department. Shadow IT makes your network vulnerable to cyber attacks and should be discouraged. CASB helps rein in the use of shadow IT and keeps everyone in compliance with your security policies.

5. Ease of Compliance

While you can outsource your system and data storage to a cloud provider, you still need to comply with data privacy and safety regulations. A CASB facilitates compliance with key regulations such as HIPAA and requirements like PCI DSS and ISO 27001. The Cloud Access Security Broker will help you identify and prioritize high-risk IT areas for resolution and compliance. 

6. Exploring Prism SaaS

Palo Alto Networks’ Prism SaaS product is an integrated CASB that safeguards the use of cloud applications. It maintains compliance in the cloud and stops threats against confidential and proprietary data, users, and resources. 

Prism SaaS consists of:

  • SaaS Security Inline: that discovers and manages cybersecurity risks from unsanctioned cloud applications; and
  • SaaS Security API: that scans cloud-based assets for at-rest detection, inspection, and remediation activities across users, folders, and within sanctioned cloud apps.

With the combination of SaaS Security Inline and SaaS Security API, you’ll enjoy an enhanced security profile. This improvement comes without complex third-party integrations and high operational costs.

Considerations for Choosing a CASB

Before you acquire a CASB, ask yourself the following questions:

Is this CASB a good fit?

Before choosing a Cloud Access Security Broker, you should:

  1. Explore their use cases
  1. Consider solutions that have solved similar challenges to yours
  1. Undertake a thorough proof of concept (POC) with each option, explore research from cybersecurity analysts
  1. Conduct a highly detailed reference call with companies of a similar size

Is the CASB innovative?

As your company grows, you will need greater protection. Therefore, invest in a CASB that keeps abreast with the latest IT threats and protects against them. This will help you maintain cloud compliance and keep your cloud security policies current.

Can it also protect IaaS?

While SaaS protection is crucial, enterprise security also requires protecting the IaaS as well. Your CASB should protect against all threats and across all channels.

Secure Your Cloud Applications

Are you ready to explore the rewards of a CASB for your operations? Choose Net Friends to enhance your company’s cloud security. We also offer a diverse range of services to maximize your cloud applications. Contact us today to discover how we can help you streamline your operations for greater growth. 

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