What is CASB?
CASB, or Cloud Access Security Broker, is a comprehensive security technology that acts as an intermediary between an organisation’s on-premises infrastructure and cloud services. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring the secure use of cloud applications, services, and data. CASB provides organisations with the tools and capabilities needed to monitor, control, and secure their interactions with cloud environments.
CASB solutions offer insights into cloud usage, applications, and data, providing a real-time overview of what is happening in cloud environments. This visibility is crucial for identifying potential security risks, as it allows organisations to see which cloud applications are in use, who is using them, and how they are being used.
Data security is a primary concern in the cloud. CASB solutions employ a range of measures to protect sensitive data. This includes encryption to safeguard data at rest and in transit, as well as data loss prevention (DLP) policies to prevent data leakage.
CASB enables organisations to define granular access control policies that restrict access to cloud resources based on user roles and permissions. This ensures that only authorised individuals can access specific data or applications.
Threat protection is a critical component of CASB. These solutions leverage user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA) to identify abnormal behaviour and potential security threats. They can also detect and respond to security incidents in real time.
Many industries are subject to strict regulatory compliance standards. CASB assists organisations in adhering to these regulations by monitoring and enforcing compliance standards within cloud environments. This reduces the risk of regulatory violations and associated penalties.
CASB solutions integrate directly with cloud service providers through their APIs. This allows them to monitor and control cloud activities in real time, ensuring that data and applications are secure and compliant.
Proxy Based Controls
CASB can utilise proxy-based controls to intercept and direct traffic between users and cloud services. This includes both forward and reverse proxies, which serve different purposes in enforcing security policies.
Why is CASB Important
The importance of CASB is closely linked to the rapid adoption of cloud services and the need for greater cloud security. Organisations are moving their data, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud because of its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, this shift also introduces new security challenges. CASB is crucial for addressing these challenges and ensuring that the benefits of the cloud can be fully realised without compromising security.
Cloud environments present unique security concerns, such as data breaches, unauthorised access, insider threats, and malware. CASB solutions are designed to mitigate these risks by providing advanced security measures and continuous visibility into cloud activities.
Many industries are subject to strict regulatory compliance standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). CASB plays a vital role in ensuring that organisations remain compliant with these regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties and legal issues.
CASB Features and Capabilities
- CASB solutions offer real-time visibility into cloud usage, helping organisations identify shadow IT (unauthorised or unmanaged cloud applications) and track how authorised cloud applications are being used. This visibility helps organisations make informed decisions about their cloud environment’s security.
- Employs a range of data security measures, including encryption to protect data at rest and in transit. Data loss prevention (DLP) policies help prevent the accidental or intentional exposure of sensitive data by monitoring and controlling data transfers within cloud environments.
- Enables organisations to define access control policies based on user roles and permissions. This ensures that only authorised individuals have access to specific data or applications, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorised access.
- CASB solutions incorporate behaviour analytics and threat detection capabilities. These features help identify abnormal user behaviour and potential security threats in real time. By detecting and responding to security incidents promptly, organisations can prevent data breaches and other cyberattacks.
- Compliance management is an integral part of CASB. These solutions assist organisations in monitoring and enforcing compliance standards within their cloud environments, reducing the risk of regulatory violations and associated penalties.
CASB Deployment Models
CASB solutions can be deployed in various ways, allowing organisations to choose the model that best fits their needs and existing infrastructure.
- API-based CASB solutions integrate directly with cloud service providers’ APIs. This approach allows for real-time monitoring and control of cloud activities, making it suitable for organisations that require immediate visibility and control.
- Proxy-based CASB solutions use proxies to intercept and direct traffic between users and cloud services. This approach allows for granular control over data and application access.
- Forward proxy directs traffic from users to the internet, enforcing security policies before it reaches the cloud. This model provides control over outbound traffic.
- Reverse proxy stands between cloud services and users, intercepting and monitoring incoming traffic for security violations. This model offers control over inbound traffic.
- Inline CASB solutions directly inspect and control data flows between users and cloud services in real time, providing the most immediate security measures. However, they can introduce some latency in data transfers.
Benefits of CASB
CASB enhances overall security in the cloud, safeguarding against data breaches, unauthorised access, and various security threats. Its real-time monitoring and threat detection capabilities ensure that security incidents are promptly identified and mitigated.
Data protection is a paramount benefit of CASB solutions. They employ encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) measures to protect sensitive data from exposure or leakage, reducing the risk of data breaches.
By monitoring and enforcing compliance standards within cloud environments, CASB solutions ensure that organisations remain compliant with regulatory requirements. This reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties and legal issues.
CASB provides deep insights into cloud activities, offering organisations a clear picture of how their cloud resources are being used. This improved visibility allows for better decision-making and improved security posture.
Reduced Shadow IT
CASB solutions help organisations identify and manage shadow IT by providing visibility into unauthorised or unmanaged cloud applications. This reduces the risks associated with unapproved cloud usage.