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October 26, 2023

Cloud Access Security Brokers Solution

The leap to the cloud demands a new approach to enterprise security. Teams now work from anywhere and with different devices, which changes the perimeters and boundaries of an organisation.

As a result, security controls must adapt to this dynamic environment and ensure rapid response to a constantly evolving and sophisticated threat landscape. CASB stands for Cloud Access Security Broker and is the perfect solution to provide a new layer of security to enable monitoring and control activities. We explain it in detail!

How do CASBs work in a business environment?

CASB definition

CASB is software hosted in the cloud or on-premises that intermediates between users and cloud service providers. Its ability to address security breaches reaches any SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS service.

In addition to providing visibility, a CASB allows you to extend the reach of your security policies from your on-premises infrastructure and create new policies specifically for the cloud.

As the workforce has evolved and become more mobile, monitoring and classifying employee access and usage of cloud applications has become critical to protecting business operations.

The four pillars on which CASBs are based are:

  • Visibility: When employee use of the cloud is beyond the reach of IT, enterprise data is no longer subject to corporate governance, risk, or compliance policies. CASB solutions provide end-to-end visibility into cloud application usage, such as user, device, and location information to protect employees and data.
  • Compliance: These systems help maintain compliance in the cloud, addressing various regulations, such as HIPAA, ISO, and others. It determines the areas of most significant risk in terms of compliance and guides what the team should focus on to address them.
  • Data Security Adoption: Combining these systems with advanced DLP policies allows the IT team to see when sensitive content travels to or from the cloud, within the cloud, and from cloud to cloud. By implementing additional security features, enterprise data leakage can be minimized.
  • Threat protection: Whether through negligence or malicious intent, employees and third parties with stolen credentials can leak or steal sensitive data from cloud services. These systems help identify abnormal user behavior by creating common usage patterns to compare against.

Role and advantages of CASB in companies

As organizations evolve and add cloud-hosted applications to their network, accessing and using them securely becomes more complicated. There are many ways in which attackers can use cloud applications to access the corporate network and extract sensitive data.

CASBs ensure network traffic between local devices and the cloud provider complies with the organization’s security policies. They have the ability to provide application usage information across all cloud platforms and identify unauthorized use.

They offer several benefits, such as:

  • Shadow IT management and assessment: provide visibility of all applications, authorized and unauthorized, enabling a complete picture of cloud activity and appropriate action.
  • Risk visibility: enables you to assess the risk of unauthorized applications and make access decisions accordingly.
  • Granular control of cloud usage: provide detailed management of cloud usage with robust analytics. Enterprises can limit or allow access based on employee status or location, as well as regulate specific activities, services, or applications.
  • Threat prevention: As mentioned, CASBs can detect unusual behavior and identify ransomware, compromised users, and unauthorized applications.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP): helps security teams protect sensitive information such as financial, intellectual property, credit card, and medical records.

Applications and uses of CASBs in companies

Cloud Security Brokers use cases

CASBs offer many use cases and are useful in organizations with shadow IT operations or security policies that allow operating units to acquire and manage their resources in the cloud.

Some of the most important ones are:

  • Discover all cloud applications and services used in an organization: According to Microsoft, more than 60% of cloud services are represented by shadow IT, introducing unknown and unmanaged risks into the environment.
  • Assess risk and compliance of cloud applications: IT teams need to confirm whether all applications in use across the enterprise meet internal security policies and relevant industry or compliance requirements. CASBs help assess the risk and compliance of all apps against risk factors, allowing informed decisions to be made about which apps should be supported and which require additional governance or blocking.
  • Control apps discovered in the cloud and explore alternatives: Once risk and compliance have been analyzed, they can be managed by classifying them into groups of authorized, unauthorized, or restricted apps. Once organized, tools such as Azure AD can be used to monitor them and find the best alternative for the business if any risk is found.
  • Continuous monitoring to detect new and dangerous apps: A policy can be set up to detect changes in the app usage pattern and keep track of changes. This allows you to receive alerts when new risky apps are seen and take immediate action to limit the impact on your organization.
  • Detect when data is being leaked from corporate applications: Sensitive data is many companies’ most valuable asset. It is crucial to ensure that it is protected and cannot be extracted for misuse. A CASB alerts on suspicious use or possible leakage attempts.
  • Gain visibility of data stored in the cloud: A CASB gives full visibility of all data stored in authorized and connected applications. This provides detailed information about each file: whether it is confidential, the owner, the storage location, access level, etc…
  • Ensure secure collaboration and data sharing practices: Hybrid working and collaboration between teams means that controls must be in place to protect sensitive information. With a CASB, you can enforce collaboration policies that include automatic actions that can set an expiry date for a link or remove external collaborators. Controls can also be configured that apply to user actions in real-time.
  • Detect threats: If an external employee or user has unlawful intentions and, in addition, has access to relevant or confidential data, they can be a major threat. A CASB helps detect anomalous behavior by individual users, alerting them to events such as mass downloads or unusual activity. This allows you to act quickly and suspend user accounts to prevent data leaks.

These are just a few use cases, but there are many more.

Why is a CASB needed nowadays?

CASBs are a fundamental part of enterprise security, enabling businesses to use the cloud securely and protecting sensitive corporate data. It consolidates multiple types of security policies and applies them to all users and applications using the cloud, regardless of the device attempting to access it.

With the increase in mobility of computers, the growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), or the presence of unauthorized uses of the cloud by employees, the ability to monitor and govern the use of cloud applications has become essential to achieving business security objectives.

Instead of choosing not to use cloud services, which would visibly affect business productivity, a CASB enables a granular approach to data protection while enforcing appropriate policies. This makes it possible to use cloud services that save time, improve productivity securely, and are much more cost-effective.

CASB Solutions

How to choose the right CASB for your company

Combined with other technologies, such as data loss prevention (DLP) and next-generation secure web gateways, CASB is the best partner for maintaining enterprise security and monitoring cloud service usage.

When implementing CASB, several questions need to be asked, such as identifying individual CASB use cases to specifically find the solution that best fits the company’s objectives. To do this, it is best to conduct proofs of concept (PoC), collect cybersecurity reports by specialists, or consult with reference partners to get answers that fit your current situation.

We also need to consider whether the use of the cloud will continue to grow, and whether the CASB service will allow us to keep our security policies up to date, as well as to have access to new capabilities.

On the other hand, we must be clear about whether it will protect SaaD and IaaS, and whether it will defend us through threat protection, activity monitoring, and DLP controls.

For all this, it is best to have a technology partner that guarantees the implementation of a customized solution and advocates for the specific requirements of each case. At Plain Concepts, we accompany you throughout this process, from start to finish, thanks to a team of cybersecurity experts who will study your case and help you to implement a solution that protects your data and your employees. Contact us!

Elena Canorea
Elena Canorea
Communications Lead