What Is CASB Security?
Cloud Access Security Brokers provide cloud security solutions that work on the technology mediating the data stored in the cloud between the in-house IT architecture of the organizations with the cloud vendor environments. CASB is essentially a cloud security enforcement point that is placed between the cloud service providers and the cloud service consumers that help in enforcing strict security policies and imposing certain access restrictions for the cloud-based apps that are accessed.
Hence, it is no surprise that given the spate of the recent increase in data breaches, organizations are turning to CASB vendors to address their cloud security risks. This deployment of CASB also helps in enforcing security policies that comply with international standard regulations. When organizations think about implementing CASB security for cloud services that are beyond their direct control, then a layered, slow approach is essential rather than a full deployment across all the resources.
The 4 Pillars of CASB Security Solutions
- Greater Cloud Visibility
- Increased Data Security
- Compliance Achieved
- Augmented Threat Protection
CASB as the Extended Security Arm
Be it the sanctioned apps or any unsanctioned cloud apps or services, what companies desire in CASB is greater cloud visibility and increased control. The best way would be to approve the useful services and govern access to activities and data within the services rather than a complete block/allow stance of the cloud services.
An excellent example would be the full access of sanctioned suites like Microsoft Office 365 on managed devices and only email usage to unmanaged devices. Also, stringent actions like enforcing “no outside share” of the unmanaged organization devices should be sanctioned. While organizations need cloud security, they must also keep an eye on the expenditure involved, as the license costs and can cut down on costs by finding redundant functions and applications.
The first step when organizations think of moving their data onto the cloud services would comply with the rules and regulations designed to ensure the safety of their personal, corporate data. CASB solutions help organizations comply with international security protocols like HIPAA, HITECH, PCI, FINRA, or the FFIEC. CASB security solutions are a combination of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) detection mechanisms like document fingerprinting and reduction in detection etc. An effective CASB solution always warns the IT department of an organization about the suspected violations when sensitive data is at rest or on the move on the cloud.
Organizations, on their part, need to be cautious of their employees and make sure that there are no cloud malware threats through cloud storage services or even through their associated clients and services. CASB solutions help in scanning and remediating real-time threats whenever there is unauthorized access to cloud services or data. Hence, it becomes necessary that the organizations protect themselves from various cloud threats that combine intelligence, prioritized analysis, and correction of risks that may originate from the cloud services.
Topmost Categories of CASB Use Cases
- Govern Usage: The best thing for organizations would be to take a coarse-grained approach to govern the granular visibility and control of cloud services. The usage should be allowed based on identity, activity, service, and data. Policies need to be defined based on service and risk category, and actions chosen may vary from blocking, bypassing, alerting, or quarantining the sensitive data.
- Data Security: Sensitive data protection should be to the whole and not only to the ones that an organization sanctions. All the users, whether on-premises or remote, on a mobile or accessing from a free web-browser, need to be covered with the advanced DLP solutions and care is to be taken regarding the protection of sensitive data of the organization, either sanctioned or unsanctioned.
- Threat Protection: Advanced CASB security solutions help in guarding crucial data against malware and ransomware attacks.
The Four Pillars of a CASB
The leading analyst firm Gartner has categorized various functionalities of CASB into 4 pillars i.e. Visibility, Compliance, Data Security, and Threat Protection.
From an IT perspective, one of the most important aspects of cloud service usage is who is using the cloud service and what way it’s being used. Most of the cloud services providers are lacking capabilities in the area of audit or logging. They provide very limited support. CASBs overcome this limitation by bringing data points about Shadow IT. It can determine unusual access of un-sanctioned applications within the organization and raise appropriate alerts. It is also possible to determine abnormal behavior of access to sanctioned apps.
A CASB overcomes the issue with data residency by encryption of data at rest. This protects data stored on the cloud against a data breach. It also provides control to ensure data stored outside the organization meets all compliance as per the regulatory requirements. CASBs provide out of box visibility for various compliance such as PHI, PCI, PII, HIPAA etc-etc. It also ensures organization Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is monitored on shared data items.
A CASB provides out-of-box capabilities to monitor access to data stored on the cloud. It can provide access control on various parameters such as location, IP address, browser, operating system, and device.
A CASB provides various alerts to inform the IT about threats that are detected within the organization users based on the user’s behavior.
Having said that, organizations must combine their security infrastructures with out-of-the-box integrations and workflows so that the organization’s data is fully safe and secure!