What is CASB?

Cloud service attacks have risen 630% since the start of the pandemic. Protect your data and cloud-based environments with a CASB solution.

What is a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

CASB stands for cloud access security broker which is a cloud-based security policy enforcement point that connects users and cloud service providers. CASBs help address security vulnerabilities and ensure cloud compliance in coordination with your organization’s policy requirements. 

Organizations must remain up-to-date and fully compliant or risk hefty penalties. HIPAA violations, for instance, can cost up to $50,000 per violation with a maximum of $1.5 million per year and up to a decade in prison if the individual knowingly breached the compliance regulations for personal gain.  

CASBs help reduce the possibility of compliance violations by identifying and controlling the flow of personal data. They do this by scanning across both data which is in transit and at rest for a wide range of cloud-delivered apps such as IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, and other cloud applications. 

CASBs can also help identify Shadow IT which are projects managed outside or without the knowledge of the IT department. Shadow IT accounts for 40% of all IT spending in an organization and is estimated to be 10x the size of known cloud usage, leading to what is more commonly known as tool sprawl

Tool sprawl can create havoc for any IT department as the average company has 975 unknown cloud services and as you can imagine, the costs add up significantly within the blink of an eye. Even more concerning is that 21% of organizations do not have a policy around the use of new technology according to a recent study by G2 Track.

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What Are The Four Pillars of CASBs?

There are four CASB pillars that act as the backbone and are the essential components of every CASB solution. Below is a brief description of each CASB pillar and their functionalities.

Visibility

Both managed and uncontrolled cloud services require visibility and control. It may imply imposing a “no sharing outside of the business” policy across a range of unofficial services. A good example would be granting least privilege access to employees on a cloud service provider such as Office 365 or G-Suite. 

Cloud security is a top priority for a cloud access security agent. A CASB can assist you in discovering all the cloud services in use, report on your cloud spending, identify functionality as well as license cost redundancies. A CASB may provide valid commercial and financial data as well as security.

Compliance

When companies decide to transfer their data and systems to the cloud, compliance becomes a significant factor to consider. These compliance requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA are designed to protect personal and business data, and disregarding them may result in hazardous and expensive data breaches. 

Cloud access security brokers can ensure full compliance in the cloud by adhering to industry-specific data laws. A CASB may help protect your business from expensive data breaches such as the massive GDPR fine e-commerce titan Amazon faced totaling over £636m or $867 million.

Data Security

One of the most important pillars is CASB data security. Accuracy is achieved by combining extremely advanced cloud DLP detection techniques such as document fingerprinting with context utilization to reduce detection surface area (user, location, activity, etc.). 

When sensitive information is found in or on its way to the cloud, the cloud access security broker (CASB) should provide IT the option of quickly transferring suspected violations to on-premises systems for additional investigation.

Threat Protection

Organizations must guarantee that their workers do not introduce or spread cloud malware and risks through vectors such as cloud storage services and related sync clients. A cloud access security broker (CASB) can protect a business from various cloud risks, including viruses. Mobile malware has increased by 118% in the fourth quarter alone in 2020.

It’s critical for any business to avoid the dangers of an advanced persistent threat (APT). Some attacks may start in cloud services or be spread farther by them; nevertheless, effective threat prevention tools may safeguard you from a costly attack scenario.

How Does a CASB Work?

To fulfill corporate security needs, a CASB provider’s role is to offer visibility and control over data and risks in the cloud. This is accomplished in three steps:

1.   Discovery: Auto-discovery is used by the CASB solution to create a list of all third-cloud services in use and who is utilizing them.

2.   Classification: Once the entire scope of cloud use is known, the CASB provider assesses the risk level associated with each app by identifying what it is, what kind of data it contains, and how it is shared.

3.   Remediation: Once the relative risk of each application has been determined, the CASB DLP may utilize this information to create policies for the organization’s data and user access to satisfy security standards and automatically take action when a violation occurs.

CASB DLP also provides extra levels of security by preventing viruses and encrypting data. CASBs ensure that network traffic between on-premises devices and the cloud provider adheres to the security rules of the business.

Cloud access security brokers are valuable because they may provide insight into cloud application usage across platforms and detect unauthorized use. This is particularly crucial in regulated sectors.

What Are Top CASB Use Cases?

CASB cloud governance is well-known for its speed in detecting shadow IT activities, but they’re also knowledgeable about other aspects of company security. A CASB can provide detailed insight and control over your organization’s cloud use.

CASB cloud governance enables you to control use based on identity, service, activity, application, and data instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach by banning services.

You may also create rule-based on service type or risk, and select policy enforcement actions like block, warn, bypass, encrypt, quarantine, and coach. Finally, you can utilize these instances to notify your IT staff of any activities performed in violation of any internal monitoring policies.

CASB regulations protect and prevent the loss of sensitive data across all of your cloud services, not just the ones you authorize. It utilizes sophisticated corporate DLP to find and safeguard sensitive data in sanctioned cloud services and en route to or from any cloud service, sanctioned or unsanctioned, whether users are on-premises or remote, using a mobile device or a web browser, or entering via a mobile app or sync client. Encryption, tokenization, and upload prevention may all help avoid data loss.

CASB regulations protect yourself against cloud-based dangers like malware and ransomware by gaining complete visibility of all cloud services, including those that use SSL-encrypted connections.

Use anomaly detection and threat intelligence sources to determine which of your users’ accounts have been hacked. Then, to identify ransomware, including static and dynamic anti-malware detections, as well as machine learning. 

Finally, using out-of-the-box connections and processes, equip the rest of your security architecture with your results. Threats will continue to evolve. Therefore your CASB provider should as well.

CASB also helps authenticate users with high-level encryption such as SSO and other forms of multi-factor authentication to pick up any suspicious behavior before they can escalate.

What Is CASB Cloud Security?

According to many experts, CASB cloud services have progressed to the point where they will soon be as essential as firewalls and other forms of security measures such as a corporate VPN in the secure transmission of sensitive data either on-premise or in the new hybrid cloud WFH environment. 

Many companies have adopted CASB software years ago to stem the flow of what was then known as shadow IT and are now considered standard operating practice in many businesses.

Traditional security solutions couldn’t offer this insight, mainly because the corporate data center never saw the network traffic which would become a major selling factor of CASB cloud services. 

Three Types of CASB Services

API-Only

The most powerful and contemporary method of instantiating a CASB is the API-Only CASB. APIs are client/server-based application programming interfaces with a consistent interface. 

They are stateless and have a uniform interface. APIs are programmatic endpoints that enable humans to communicate with software bypassing instructions.

Multi-mode First-Gen

It provides administration and security but does not give Zero-Day protection. These CASBs provide signature-based guarantees for well-known data leakage routes as well as a range of predefined applications.

Multi-mode Next-Gen

Next-gen CASB provides administration, security, and protection against zero-day malware attacks which peaked at an all-time high of 74% in Q1 of 2021. Such next-generation CASB solutions dynamically adjust to guard against known and new data leakage risks and malware threats on every application.

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Secure Web Gateway vs. CASB – What Are The Differences?

94% of enterprises are using some form of cloud-based service. This implies that most businesses would initially provide their employees immediate internet access, then move some essential services like email and perhaps storage to the cloud for simple mobile access before replacing on-premise hardware with an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution like AWS or Azure. 

CASBs and SWGs are becoming more and more suitable to replace current appliance-based online security solutions as their technology and capabilities improve.

They’re both proxies that safeguard an organization’s data and threats, and they’re both cloud-based.

Vendors, on the other hand, are selling them separately and the costs can add up, particularly if you have other security applications in use. The majority of companies have over 108 known cloud services. 

Cloud secure web gateways are more of a direct substitute for on-premise SWGs. They provide threat prevention and offer category-based policy-driven security for web traffic, enabling users to be banned from particular websites (with domain or URL exclusions allowing for more refined control).

However, all traffic is examined in the cloud, eliminating the requirement for on-premise equipment. A CASB security requirement serves a unique and distinct purpose. The CASB security requirements are a bit different from that of a secure web gateway.

A CASB is more tightly integrated and controls your cloud application use than an SWG, which focuses on broader screening and protection against incoming threats and filtering potentially harmful web traffic.

It may be used with a proxy-based deployment to enforce inline rules for greater real-time security, or it can be linked into an application’s API to scan data at rest.

What Is The Difference Between a CASB and a Proxy?

As IT teams search for cloud security solutions, there is a frequent misunderstanding regarding the relationship between any cloud access security broker and the deployment of their CASB solutions.

All traffic and cloud services are visible to web proxy firewalls, however, a CASB does not replace current network security solutions such as firewalls. There are important distinctions between the two.

Proxy servers and firewalls are not the same things as CASB. CASB may provide inline controls in both a CASB forward proxy and reverse proxy CASB mode, but the similarities end there.

Other network security solutions concentrate on incoming threats and block potentially unlawful websites, while the cloud access security broker architecture focuses on deep insight into granular controls for cloud computing.

A CASB can gather additional log collection details including botnets while web proxies capture data and cloud usage over a network. Cloud access security brokers generate alerts for any violations of DLP policies and offer higher levels of protection for cloud data.

An important factor to take into consideration since 80% of organizations have already experienced a cloud data breach.

CASB Forward Proxy vs. Reverse Proxy

Many businesses now utilize reverse proxies for some data flows and are familiar with the idea. A proxy is a middleman who sits between a client (requestor) and one or more data providers (servers).

Because it resides directly in the network traffic route, this is an “inline” method to protect cloud applications. The connections to your app servers via a reverse proxy broker come from the internet.

This method may also conceal information obtained from the source.

A forward proxy is, as the name implies, the inverse of a reverse proxy. Both are termed inline since they employ a proxy to sit between requests and data. Forward proxies filter connections from clients inside the firewall going out to the internet.

The flexibility to incorporate any application is the essential feature of a forward proxy in terms of CASB. 

While this seems to be an outstanding feature, there is always a cost or benefit connected with it. Working with any application has the disadvantage of being more challenging to install, compromising end-user privacy, and necessitating the usage of digital certificates.

Both of these methods have costs and advantages.

Which CASB Deployment Architecture Is Right For You?

When businesses start a cloud security project, they soon learn various methods to implement a cloud access security broker (CASB).

One of the critical choices you’ll make is choosing the appropriate CASB solution architecture for your project since it affects which capabilities you’ll be able to apply to certain employees, devices, and services, with defined user roles. In the on-premises era, the enforcement point was obvious: the network edge. 

The following are the main CASB deployment modes:

Log collection: Log collecting is the process of ingesting event logs from existing infrastructure such as firewalls, secure web gateways, and SIEMs. Logs, in general, record user activity but not content.

Forward Proxy: It is an inline deployment between the endpoint and the cloud service in which traffic is routed via the CASB proxy by the device or network.

Reverse proxy: The cloud service or identity provider directs traffic to the CASB proxy, deployed inline between the endpoint and the cloud service.

API: It is the direct CASB and cloud service interaction. The CASB may observe activity, material and take enforcement action via cloud provider APIs.

Although the CASB API deployment ease is an essential factor, choosing the appropriate architecture for your project extends beyond that.

There are specific essential capabilities that are only accessible in one or more deployment modes due to how they operate. When evaluating a CASB deployment mode, ensure that it supports the deployment types you’ll need today and in the future such as SSO integration.

To obtain full coverage, most businesses mix several deployment techniques.

Choosing The Right CASB Vendors

Cloud Access Security Brokers can assist, but different CASB security vendors may aid in different ways. CASB security vendors have different approaches to shadow IT and other security solutions, making CASB comparison challenging and extremely time-consuming for business owners.

As virtually every business chooses to engage with cloud-based systems, the need for the best CASB vendors for cloud security is rising quickly.

Numerous CASB top vendors have sprung up on the internet, offering various solutions to meet particular data security concerns. The features of these CASB systems vary from one vendor to the next, so one must shop around carefully to choose the one that best suits their company and job needs. 

The CASB Magic Quadrant can give you a good indication of who the current leaders are in the industry. Selecting the best CASB vendor necessitates examining the characteristics that are relevant to your business. It’s not a bad idea to compare CASB suppliers based on the features they offer. 

Here are just a few things to take into consideration: 

  • Access control
  • Single Sign-On 
  • Shadow IT
  • Identity Management
  • DLP (Data Loss Prevention) 

Of course, the size of your organization will play a great role in determining which CASB solution meets your requirements. Ease of deployment can also be a deciding factor, especially for large-scale enterprises with thousands of employees.

Microsoft CASB

CASB Microsoft Cloud App Security works across different clouds. It offers comprehensive visibility, control over data transit, and powerful analytics to detect and fight cyber threats across all of your cloud services.

Employees and IT alike will benefit from moving to the cloud. MCAS CASB does, however, bring additional difficulties and complexity in terms of keeping your company safe. To get the most out of cloud applications and services, an IT team must strike the proper balance between allowing access and retaining control over sensitive data.

CASB Microsoft Cloud App Security offers log collecting, API connectors, and reverse proxy deployment options. It provides comprehensive visibility, data flow management, and powerful analytics to detect and fight cyber threats across all Microsoft and third-party cloud services.

MCAS CASB is built with security experts in mind and interacts seamlessly with major Microsoft products. It has a straightforward deployment process, centralized administration, and unique automation features.

Azure CASB Security Controls List

You can rapidly secure your workloads using Azure CASB security control lists for identity, data, networking, and applications. Azure CASB security control lists provide ongoing protection and deeper insights. 

Extend security to hybrid environments and integrate partner solutions on Azure with ease. Detect emerging threats fast and react with services based on real-time global cybersecurity information provided at cloud scale in it. Having an Azure Cloud VPN can also enable secure, policy-based resource access.

AWS CASB

The most popular Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform is Amazon Web Services. AWS CASB services are the best in terms of their features. There are various holes in AWS’ inherent security and compliance capabilities, such as admin transaction logging. 

AWS CASB services combine all the benefits of a CASB with Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) to offer superior levels of data security and encryption, continuous monitoring and compliance, identity management, contextual access control, and cross-application user behavior analytics.

You can also keep track of sensitive data with S3 storage buckets and set DLP policies across your cloud applications.

Google CASB

Many businesses’ day-to-day workflows rely on Google Workspace. Every business must have a clear view of how their data is accessed, shared (including sharing outside of rules), and safeguarded from digital risks.

Using CASB to solve these problems is a viable option. G Suite CASB bridges the gap between users and cloud services and assists in enforcing your company’s cloud security rules.

Though having an intermediate may seem to be too complicated, the issue is straightforward. G Suite CASBs aren’t simply another layer of security; they’re also a means to streamline and automate your security procedures.

CASB Splunk Integration

This custom-built add-on may be used by customers that want to integrate CASB events and alerts with Splunk. The CASB audit logs are normalized using the Splunk Common Information Model in this technology add-on (CIM). Perimeter 81’s Splunk integration allows organizations to easily collect all the data and analyze it through a variety of tools.

Looking Ahead – How CASBs Fit Into The SASE Architecture

The SASE paradigm may include CASB tools as a critical component. This makes sense since CASB features are most successful when used as a proxy for inspecting application traffic, one of SASE’s primary functions. It’s particularly relevant since SASE adoption is driven by underlying shifts in work, computing, and security.

The requirement for local internet access breakouts to handle rapidly increasing SaaS traffic is one of them. One of the few viable ways to protect this traffic is to use a complete set of CASB tools.

On the other hand, SASE adopters may find it challenging to monitor and efficiently react to CASB-related security warnings. Damages will soon accumulate unless they can identify malicious behavior promptly and respond effectively.

For many companies that don’t have the resources to develop an in-house 24/7 security monitoring capacity, a managed approach to using CASB features is a more appropriate, effective, and cost-efficient solution.

How Perimeter 81’s SASE Architecture Incorporates All The CASB Functions Without The Added Costs

Perimeter 81’s SASE model gives you all the CASB security features in an all-in-one framework to help mitigate cloud service risks, audit cloud resource access, enforce security policies, and meet strict compliance regulations.

IT administrators can extend security policies to their cloud service provider’s architecture and further protect it from unauthorized user access and stay atop all compliance regulations.

Perimeter 81 also provides organizations with a cost-effective CASB solution that comes integrated with our SASE model framework approach. Learn more about the benefits of SASE and how it is revolutionizing the way we work today.

CASB FAQ

What does a CASB do?
A cloud access security broker (CASB) is an on-premises or cloud-based security policy enforcement point that is placed between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers to combine and interject enterprise security policies as cloud-based resources are accessed.
What are the four pillars of CASB?
Visibility – A CASB can help give IT a better perspective on their cloud services and cloud security. For example, a CASB can send an email alert if a user has logged into Office 365 from multiple locations at different times. 
Compliance – CASB helps resolve compliance issues and protect against data breaches by ensuring all regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, HITRUST, and PCI are met. 
Data Security – CASBs offer high levels of access control security for employees that are working on premise and remote. 
Threat Protection – CASBs protect against a wide variety of threats by detecting suspicious behavior and unauthorized user access.
How does a CASB work?
CASBs help enforce security policies set by an organization and integrate with existing IT frameworks, either on-premise or in the cloud to defend against malicious threats.
What is a proxy?
A proxy acts as a gateway that checks for known users and devices as they attempt to access information stored in the cloud.
What is a CASB reverse proxy?
A CASB reverse proxy intercepts traffic before it reaches its destination which prevents users from signing on to a cloud application unless authorized.

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