What Is CASB and Why Enterprises Should Implement It for Data Security?

Debasish Pramanik | October 13th, 2017 | CASB

With all companies have already moved from hard copies to soft copies for data management, the next step is the management of this data and its processing using cloud applications. But for big organizations dealing in finance and healthcare, security and compliance are the two major concerns hampering the adoption of cloud applications, and that is where the CASB comes into the picture.

According to Gartner, Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are on-premises, or cloud-based security policy enforcement points, placed between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers to combine and interject enterprise security policies as the cloud-based resources are accessed.

With all companies have already moved from hard copies to soft copies for data management, the next step is the management of this data and its processing using cloud applications. But for big organizations dealing in finance and healthcare, security and compliance are the two major concerns hampering the adoption of cloud applications, and that is where the CASB comes into the picture.

According to Gartner, Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are on-premises, or cloud-based security policy enforcement points, placed between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers to combine and interject enterprise security policies as the cloud-based resources are accessed.

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) have a set of well-defined policies to strengthen the security and privacy of data in a cloud-based environment. Also, CASB offers powerful features like data monitoring, real-time surveillance on user activity, well-guarded user access control mechanisms, while ensuring absolute control over operations to safeguard the enterprises from any sort of data leak or breach of confidentiality.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is a software service that operates between an organization’s on-premises infrastructure and a cloud provider’s infrastructure. A CASB acts as a security guard; it allows the organization to increase the reach of their security policies beyond their own infrastructure. According to a report by a leading analyst firm the CASB market will reach $500 million by the end of 2017 from the current $180 million. You can imagine this huge growth! Now, the question arises why there is so much hype for cloud access security broker (CASB)? This is an important point to analyze for understanding CASB and its importance in a better way.

Why There Has Been a Shift to Cloud and SaaS?

Recent time enterprises have focused on the adoption cloud and SaaS applications. This adoption has created new security and compliance issues. With the advent of Software as a Service (or SaaS) which is a way of delivering applications over the Internet, as a service. There is no need to install and maintain any software. You just access it via Internet as and when needed. This gives you the independence of complex software and hardware management. It also reduces IT support cost by the outsourcing of hardware and software maintenance. SaaS providers charge subscription fee (like monthly fee or an annual fee), unlike license and upfront cost, as in the case of traditional software.Thus, the initial setup cost for SaaS is typically lower in comparison to enterprise software. SaaS is being widely used in many business applications for customer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), content management (CM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and computer aided designing (CAD). Many times, SaaS applications are also referred as Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software.

Some Security Loopholes

No doubt, the paradigm shift to cloud and SaaS is very efficient and cost saving. But how secure is this new shift. It has left a gap in security and compliance that are not met by traditional means. The security gap in the SaaS model should be addressed to ensure that visibility, compliance, threat prevention and data security, which stands at the same level as traditional on-premises enterprise applications. It puts a question-mark on various aspects like visibility of data sharing, suspicious activity, access from undesirable devices, geographical area, and IP addresses?

Why There Is a Need for Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

Once you discover cloud apps and assess the risk, the next move is to take steps to check it. Cloud access security brokers can help you with that! It provides varying degrees of policy enforcement, right from coarse-grained at the application-level to surgical level control at the activity level. It can mitigate cloud app usage risk. Also, visibility, data security, compliance and threat prevention are the four pillars on which CASB works on.

  • Compliance: Cloud access security broker helps to ensure various compliance in the cloud like HIPAA or HITECH (for health-care organizations), PCI compliance (for retail companies) concerned with FFIEC and FINRA (for financially related organization).
  • Insight: Enterprises have to protect their sensitive data for numerous commercial and legal reasons. You need visibility into the aspects of – what applications are running, what data is being stored or shared by them; and also, which employee is using these and from which locations and devices? Due to various commercial and legal reasons, enterprises have to protect their sensitive data. At the same time, enterprises also have to take care of ethical or legal boundaries related to this privacy that can come from monitoring these applications. For example, the same security methods that can provide usage telemetry of SaaS applications can also monitor social media apps like Facebook. All this is possible with the help of CASB. A CASB also helps you discover all cloud apps report, giving idea of your cloud spend. This helps to check redundancies in functionalities and license costs.
  • Access Control: It either tokenizes or encrypts (using known good algorithms) sensitive data before sending to the SaaS application as per a configurable policy. By controlling enterprise data on devices or within the applications, it makes sure that only the authorized roles and responsibilities have access to them. It also facilitates data loss prevention and e-discovery, in a similar manner as enterprises perform them today.
  • Security: A CASB protects from cloud threats including malware and insider threats with cloud malware. Whenever an employee tries to share or upload a malicious file, it can scan and mediate such types of threats in real-time; also, helping to detect and prevent unauthorized user access to cloud apps and data.

Organizational Benefits of CASB Implementation

  1. If the enterprise is in possession of bulk confidential data like law firms and finance corporations, then availing a feature that allows granular control of data is highly significant to them. CASB solutions provide the best practices like absolute control over data sharing and downloading by users over the cloud, restricting access to limited groups or individuals, and guarding against data duplication.
  2. CASB solutions also offer setting up permissions of documents and ensure keeping them protected at all times.
  3. Monitoring the traffic from on-premises to cloud services can help the enterprises to keep a check on the policy violations, using Shadow IT features.
  4. Enterprise mobility is aided by the CASB solutions. The CASBs provide data security when downloading sensitive data from the cloud storage to personal devices like mobiles etc.

Organizational Benefits of CASB Implementation

CASB solutions provide data security and visibility, which helps in filling the gaps when an enterprise moves from on-premises based applications to the cloud apps like Google Apps / G Suite, Office 365, Zoho, etc.

Organizational Benefits of CASB Implementation: Cloud Access Security Brokers provides multiple types of security policy enforcement. These include:

  • Authenticated access
  • Single sign-on
  • Data loss prevention or DLP
  • IP restriction
  • Device restriction and device profiling
  • Geographical restriction
  • Time zone restriction
  • Early Malware detection and prevention

The Visibility Provided by CASB: Cloud Access Security Brokers gives the enterprise visibility into the cloud usage.

  • Intercepts and inspects for traffic between the enterprises and cloud platform
  • Assists with compliance issues
  • Data security policy enforcement using single sign-on and multifaceted encryption while data transfers
  • Prevents unauthorized users from accessing the cloud services

Thus, CASB helps in protecting the confidential data from unauthorized cloud access by using activity monitoring through data security policies. CASB efficiently controls the cloud security concerns of the enterprises to a large extent.

CloudCodes – One of the Most Preferred CASB Providers Worldwide

One of the best CASB providers worldwide, CloudCodes is the leading cloud security provider that works as a security-bridge between the cloud service providers and the SMBs using cloud-based technology, by creating value for its own software designs enabling the SMBs to ensure data safety, confidentiality of data, restriction of any data breach, prevention of data theft/leak, whereby, having absolute control over their cloud-based processes in concordance with the regulatory laws and compliance protocols like HIPPA etc., laid by the world authorities.

CloudCodes have been providing the CASB solution to more than 300+ organization across the world. This includes customer from manufacturing, broking, bank, retail, logistics, health and education domain.