What Is a Cloud Access Security Broker?

A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) acts as an intermediary between cloud service users and cloud providers, enforcing security policies and providing visibility into cloud application usage.

CASBs help organizations monitor and manage the use of cloud services, ensuring that sensitive data is protected and that access to cloud resources complies with organizational policies and regulatory requirements.

Benefits of CASB for Businesses

Here are the benefits of Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). 

Enhanced Security for Cloud Environments

CASBs provide enhanced security for cloud environments by enforcing consistent security policies across multiple cloud services. They offer capabilities such as:

By integrating with existing security frameworks and enterprise security policies, CASBs help organizations maintain a robust security posture while leveraging the benefits of cloud computing. 

Improved Protection of Intellectual Property

CASBs monitor data transfers and usage patterns for cloud service consumers to prevent unauthorized access and data exfiltration. They provide advanced security measures such as:

  • Data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Encryption to protect sensitive information stored in the cloud

This protection is crucial for businesses operating in sectors where intellectual property is a significant asset.

Simplified Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

CASBs simplify compliance with regulatory requirements by providing visibility and control over cloud data. They help organizations meet compliance standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS by enforcing security policies that align with regulatory mandates. 

CASBs offer auditing and reporting capabilities, ensuring that organizations can demonstrate compliance during regulatory assessments.

Key Features and Capabilities of CASB

Here are the key features of CASB.

Visibility into Cloud Applications and Services

CASBs offer comprehensive insights into how cloud services are being used within an organization, including which applications are being accessed, by whom, and from where. This visibility helps IT teams understand cloud usage patterns and identify potential security risks.

By monitoring cloud application usage, CASBs enable organizations to detect shadow IT activities, where employees use unauthorized cloud services that could pose security risks. This ability to monitor can be used in addition to application firewalls and helps with threat prevention and malware prevention.

Protection Against Cloud-Based Threats

CASBs offer robust protection against cloud-based threats by leveraging advanced security technologies such as:

  • Machine learning
  • Behavioral analysis
  • Threat intelligence

By continuously monitoring cloud traffic and analyzing user behavior, CASBs can identify anomalies and suspicious activities indicative of potential security threats. This proactive threat detection and response capability is essential for protecting sensitive data and maintaining the security of cloud environments.

Monitoring User Activities and Behavior

CASBs provide detailed logs and analytics on user actions within cloud services, helping identify unauthorized access attempts, data exfiltration, and other malicious activities. CASBs are a critical addition to the cloud security infrastructure and provide key insight into cloud application usage and user behavior analytics which help reduce the level of risk for the organization.

By analyzing user behavior patterns, CASBs can provide deep visibility which can help detect anomalies that may indicate compromised accounts or insider threats. This continuous monitoring helps organizations maintain the integrity and security of their cloud environments by promptly addressing suspicious activities.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

CASBs enforce security policies that align with regulatory mandates, ensuring that sensitive data is handled in compliance requirements with industry standards.

By offering comprehensive auditing and reporting capabilities, CASBs enable organizations to demonstrate compliance during regulatory assessments. This capability simplifies the compliance process and ensures that organizations can meet their regulatory obligations without significant manual effort.

Granular Access Control and Risk Assessment

Granular access control is a key feature of CASBs, allowing organizations to define and enforce fine-grained access policies based on user roles, device types, and other contextual factors. This level of control ensures that only authorized users can access sensitive data and applications, reducing the risk of data breaches.

CASBs also provide risk assessment tools that evaluate the security posture of cloud services and users.

Detection and Prevention of Malware and Suspicious Activity

CASBs are equipped with advanced threat detection and prevention capabilities to protect against malware and suspicious activities. They use techniques such as:

  • Sandboxing
  • Signature-based detection
  • Behavioral analysis

By continuously monitoring cloud traffic for indicators of compromise, CASBs can detect and respond to threats in real-time. 

Deployment Models for CASB

CASBs can be deployed using two primary models: on-premises and cloud-based.

Both models work to reduce the attack surface of the network while providing additional layers of cloud security for remote workers as more organizations shift to utilizing remote workforces.

On-premises Deployment

On-premises deployment of CASBs involves installing the CASB solution within the organization’s own data centers and on-premises hardware. This deployment model provides greater control over the CASB infrastructure and allows for customization to meet specific security requirements.

On-premises CASB deployment is suitable for organizations with stringent security and compliance needs that require direct control over their security solutions. However, it may involve higher costs and resource commitments compared to cloud-based deployment options.

Cloud-based Deployment

Cloud-based deployment of CASBs offers flexibility and scalability by delivering the CASB solution as a service. This model allows organizations to quickly deploy and manage CASB functionality without the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure.

Cloud-based CASB deployment is ideal for organizations looking to leverage the benefits of cloud computing while maintaining robust security controls. It provides easy integration with existing cloud services and offers scalability to accommodate growing security needs.

CASB and Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

CASBs and Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) are complementary security solutions that provide comprehensive protection for organizations’ cloud and web activities. CASBs focus on securing cloud applications and services by enforcing policies, monitoring user activities, and protecting data for cloud networks.

SWGs are designed to secure web traffic, blocking access to malicious websites and controlling web usage. 

Integrating CASBs with SWGs allows for consistent policy enforcement across all internet activities, ensuring that both cloud services and general web browsing are protected against threats.

Similarities and Differences

CASBs and Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) both aim to protect organizations from web-based threats, but they operate in different contexts. CASBs focus on securing cloud applications and services, while SWGs are designed to secure web traffic and prevent access to malicious websites.

Complementary Capabilities

CASBs and SWGs offer complementary capabilities that, when combined, provide comprehensive protection for both cloud and web environments. Integrating CASBs with SWGs allows organizations to enforce consistent security policies across all internet traffic, whether it’s accessing cloud services or general web browsing.

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Integration for Enhanced Protection

Integrating CASBs with other security solutions, such as SWGs and firewalls, enhances overall protection by providing a layered security approach. This integration allows for seamless enforcement of security policies across different environments and improves threat detection and response capabilities.

CASB and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

CASBs and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) converge to provide unified security for both cloud and edge environments. SASE integrates CASB functionalities with other security services like secure web gateways (SWG), firewalls, and zero trust network access (ZTNA), offering comprehensive protection across all access points.

Convergence of CASB and SASE

SASE provides a holistic approach to securing cloud and edge environments by integrating network security functions with cloud security capabilities.

This convergence simplifies security management by offering a single, integrated solution that addresses multiple security needs. By adopting SASE, organizations can streamline their security operations and improve their ability to protect against complex, multi-vector threats.

Unified Security for Cloud and Edge

SASE provides unified security for both cloud and edge environments by integrating CASB functionality with other security services such as SWG, firewall, and zero trust network access (ZTNA). This unified approach ensures consistent security policies and protections across all access points, whether users are connecting from the cloud, the data center, or remote locations.

Get Bulletproof Security with Perimeter81

If you’re looking to improve your organization’s security, CASB is an excellent option to help reduce risk for your organization and improve your cloud application security by working as a supplement to your cloud security policy.

The Perimeter81 team specializes in assisting organizations to help keep their cloud services secure. Contact us to see how our expertise can help create a robust security policy for your organization’s network.

FAQs

What is the purpose of a cloud access security broker (CASB)?
CASB provides an additional point of enforcement between the cloud application users and the cloud services provider to reduce exposure to threats and provide protection to critical data.
What are the 4 pillars of CASB?
The four pillars are visibility, compliance, data security, and threat protection.
What are the 3 deployment models of a cloud access security broker?
CASB can be deployed on premises or in the cloud. The three different deployment models to consider are API-control, reverse proxy, and forward proxy.
Which of the following security controls does a cloud access security broker CASB provide?
CASB helps organizations with malware prevention, data loss prevention, and helps enforce company security policies to help protect cloud-based data.
What is CASB in simple terms?
CASB is an additional security point between users and a cloud-based service. In the real world, it’s like utilizing a security checkpoint before entering a venue.

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