Need of CASB Solution in Organizations To Protect Data in the Cloud

Debasish Pramanik Cloud Security Expert - CloudCodes Software
  • September 29th, 2021

Pertinent question organizations want an answer for is about the need for casb solution when there are other sources of security measures already in place like a firewall. But what a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions do is that it helps in protecting the cloud and SaaS applications from cyber attacks, data loss, and other insider threats, etc.

Need of CASB Solution to Solve the Problems:

The biggest challenge being faced with cloud working environments is easy and quick access of data from anywhere, at any given time, and also from any device. This is for sure that such flexibility results in higher productivity levels of professionals at work, but also at the same time, this poses a serious cloud security threat as well as critical data is exposed and thus is at the stake of being lost or stolen or leaked. Usually, confidential sensitive information gets leaked and data breaches take place either by the organization’s people who are working within the system or sometimes even by outsiders with malicious intent.

Firewalls vs. CASB

Comparing firewalls with CASB is like comparing the conventional with the latest data security solutions.

A firewall is like the front-end barrier for protection. The task of firewalls is to show the applications in use and where the data is headed to. Other than this, they allow the blacklisting and whitelisting (approval & denial) of specific applications. But the drawback is that it doesn’t tell us about the new applications which aren’t there in either of the lists, thus exposing a gap. Some of the other demerits of firewalls are that they do not provide granular visibility into malicious attacks or insider threats. Also, any anomalies in the cloud application usage by the organizations are not looked into as well as the employee’s compliance with key regulations. All these problems are resolved with the effective CASB solution.

So what is the need for a CASB solution in enterprise security? A CASB architecture fills in the gap of the firewalls by providing enhanced threat detection and granular visibility to the use of cloud applications by the employees, thus protecting data from cyber and insider threats. It helps in the detection of Shadow IT or other suspicious activities and also sets policies and controls investigating alerts for cloud applications; thus working beyond the firewall boundaries. All these are essential in healthcare and financial services with the European-General-Data-Protection-Regulations (GDPR) requirements getting enacted in May 2018.

IP Restriction – A Resolution

SaaS Applications:

If you have listed out all the applications for approval and denial, ask yourself these questions-

  • Are you going to be alerted when an employee uses a new application?
  • How secure is the new application?
  • Do you know what files are being uploaded/downloaded from the application?
  • Is your SaaS application in compliance with the current industry regulations?

Merely getting summary reports of cloud usage isn’t enough. There have to be solutions to be alerted for new apps, non-compliance issues, usage growths, etc. To ensure complete enterprise security, all these are possible through CASB tools.

Granular Visibility to User Activities:

Firewalls necessarily do not provide the much-needed granular visibility to user activities on your organization’s SaaS apps and this is overcome by CASB security solutions. It provides insightful reports like-

  • Identifies users who sent/received data
  • Bytes of data transmitted to the application (identifies by using the IP/URL address)
  • Source IP address from where the data was transmitted
  • Visibility into specific sanctioned files or actions by connecting to the cloud

These reports help to know the high-risk users and to know the files that have been uploaded/downloaded to which applications. This is particularly helpful during an internal investigation to know if the user credentials have been compromised; and if yes, then to quarantine files and users until the investigation is completed.

Cloud Application Security:

Firewalls necessarily do not provide the much-needed granular visibility to user activities on your organization’s SaaS apps and this is overcome by CASB solutions. It provides insightful reports like-

  • Detecting Anomalies and Abnormal Behavior- An effective CASB solution uses advanced techniques to assess the risks like simultaneous logins from different countries, sudden download of bulk data, multiple failed logins etc.
  • Getting Proactive Enough- CASB solution helps in adding new apps to the whitelist and blacklist application list by identifying multiple entry points to some apps.
  • Compliance- Organizations have volumes of available SaaS applications, and through the CASB solution, it becomes necessary to know where the apps reside and their potential risks. This helps in knowing if the SaaS app meets specific compliance requirements like FISMA, PCIHIPAA etc.

A good Cloud Access Security Broker solution will identify anomalies in cloud usage, breaches in data access, provide granular controls, and quarantine solutions to mitigate data risks. Thus a CASB solution works alongside the existing firewalls and gathers information regarding data security to help organizations understand the correct usage of SaaS apps.