Many enterprises face many challenges with data loss and threats in the cloud. From trade secrets and engineering designs to customer sales records and sensitive files shared via public links, the consequences of shadow IT or unauthorized use of cloud apps can be disastrous.
CASBs help to mitigate these risks by providing advanced protection capabilities.
What Is a CASB?
A CASB is a security solution that helps organizations protect cloud apps, data and devices. It detects malicious activity, including ransomware attacks, compromised user credentials and rogue applications. It also identifies cloud storage services and sync clients to stop the spread of malware across your organization’s network.
In the modern work era, enforcing binary security policies for employees using multiple locations, devices and applications to manage business-critical workflows is impossible. With CASB security, you can take an agile and flexible approach to security policy enforcement for the hybrid work environment while balancing access with data security.
CASB solutions typically operate on-premises or in the cloud as software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Depending on your organization’s security needs, they can be deployed as a reverse proxy, an edge firewall, a gateway device or a virtual appliance.
To maximize your investment, ensure that the CASB you choose provides visibility for both SaaS and IaaS environments and support for managed and unmanaged devices and their respective operating systems. It should also offer activity monitoring, threat protection and data loss prevention to prevent the loss of sensitive information. The best CASBs can also integrate with NGFWs and security orchestration solutions for enhanced functionality. The right CASB can also automatically update capabilities and features to stay up-to-date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities.
How Does a CASB Work?
With the growth of cloud applications, it’s harder for IT teams to keep a hand on all the services employees use. As a result, CASBs can help organizations gain visibility into their cloud environments, detect unsanctioned applications, and enable granular security controls for both managed and unmanaged apps.
In addition to delivering visibility into cloud usage, CASBs can ensure that systems are protected by scanning for malware and threats within files. This includes detection of phishing, ransomware, file-level malware, and other malicious activity. Moreover, CASBs can perform threat intelligence and research to ensure that companies know new threats before they emerge in the wild.
A CASB can be deployed either on-premises or in the cloud. The most popular deployment model is software-as-a-service (SaaS), allowing for quicker deployment and comprehensive coverage. In addition to SaaS, CASBs can be deployed as a reverse proxy or forward proxy to protect devices and networks that don’t meet network security requirements.
Regardless of the deployment model, a CASB will enforce policy for functions such as shadow IT control, SaaS security posture management, data leak prevention, device and application access control, logging, alerting, device encryption, and other security measures. With a CASB, organizations can avoid the cost of having multiple standalone security solutions and the complexities that come with them.
What Are the Benefits of Using a CASB?
A CASB offers many benefits that make it an essential part of the cybersecurity infrastructure for modern businesses. These benefits include preventing data breaches, limiting the risk of ransomware and malware, and improving security compliance.
Many CASB solutions have a feature that can help organizations identify unsanctioned cloud applications and the devices used to access those apps. This allows administrators to manage shadow IT better and prevent threats from entering the organization through unauthorized cloud applications.
Another key benefit is that a CASB can strengthen authentication processes and improve data governance. A CASB can ensure only authorized users access sensitive information in the organization’s cloud environments using advanced techniques like two-factor authentication. Additionally, CASB solutions can encrypt file-level data to keep it secure in a breach.
When evaluating a CASB solution, it is important to understand your business’s use cases to determine which features are most relevant. To find the right CASB for your company, conducting research from cybersecurity analysts and performing detailed proof of concepts (POCs) is helpful. This way, you can be confident that your CASB will provide you with a complete set of features tailored to your security needs.
How Can a CASB Help Me?
As enterprise resources migrate from on-premises to the cloud, maintaining visibility and control in these environments is critical to ensuring compliance, safeguarding data, and enabling employees to use cloud applications safely. A CASB is the key to bridging these gaps by providing the visibility and enforcement capabilities needed to secure the cloud effectively.
For example, a CASB can protect against cloud malware and threats, including ransomware, by scanning files stored in popular cloud services, even those encrypted using SSL. It can also prevent unauthorized data sharing by alerting IT teams to suspicious activities, such as a user uploading a file to a shared folder that is not part of the organization’s network.
A CASB can also help reduce the risk of Shadow IT, where an employee installs and utilizes a business application without the knowledge of IT. By discovering these instances of unapproved usage, a CASB can enable IT to disconnect users from risky apps and revoke their access.
Many CASBs offer free discovery tools that scan your cloud portfolio for apps not managed by the company and then create reports to show the complete picture of your deployments. Selecting a few of the most important cloud apps for discovery and testing purposes before rolling out a full CASB solution across your entire estate.