Understanding the Role of Cloud Access Security Brokers in Data Protection

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CASBs are standard tools that offer several layers of protection for your organization. These include malware prevention, which ensures ransomware and other advanced persistent threats cannot access data on disk or traverse networks.

Cloud Access Security Brokers also provide visibility into sanctioned and unsanctioned (Shadow IT) cloud apps and secure them per compliance guidelines. This is achieved through four pillars: discovery, classification, remediation, and encryption.

What is a CASB?

As guardians of cloud activity, CASBs provide visibility into users and their usage of cloud applications, security policy enforcement, threat detection, data loss prevention, and more. With granular visibility, the IT team can ensure sensitive and regulated data isn’t being shared inappropriately and that threats are prevented from reaching their intended destination, whether at rest or in transit.

As more critical business processes are migrated to the cloud, the IT team must maintain control and visibility into how the data is used. Cloud Access Security Brokers can help with this, providing a gateway solution between the user and their cloud applications and an agent-based solution that can be deployed on managed or unmanaged devices.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud services, implementing a robust security strategy is paramount; integrating a cloud access security broker can help ensure comprehensive protection by providing visibility and control over data as it travels between on-premises networks and the cloud.

CASBs can be configured to import logs from firewalls and secure web gateways (SWGs). They can use a forward proxy architecture or API-based integration with cloud applications for real-time monitoring and security. They can validate authenticated users, support single sign-on functionality and multi-factor authentication, and encrypt data-at-rest and data-in-transit. They can also monitor for misconfigurations and alert administrators.

Authentication and Authorization

CASBs offer visibility into cloud platforms and provide insight into sanctioned and unsanctioned applications. This allows organizations to assess rogue cloud services that pose a risk to business operations. Unsanctioned cloud services can leak sensitive information like proprietary data, health and social security information, or credit card numbers, which could lead to financial loss or severe reputational damage.

Effective authentication and authorization help secure data in the cloud by requiring multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive information and encrypting or tokenizing files before uploading them into a cloud environment. This also helps prevent sensitive information from leaving the organization by blocking unauthorized sharing of documents or emails.

Regulated content that legitimately needs to be in the cloud can be secured by a CASB using highly sophisticated cloud DLP detection mechanisms and reducing detection surface area through contextual awareness (user, location, device, activity). This ensures compliance with internal or industry data regulations whether you are a healthcare organization concerned about HIPAA or GDPR or a retail company needing to comply with PCI-DSS. CASBs can also automatically report suspected violations to the organization.

Data Classification

As cloud applications continue to increase, CASBs can help organizations get a handle on their digital estate by providing visibility into sanctioned and unsanctioned applications. This helps them discover and report on applications in use, find redundancies in functionality or license costs, and better understand their digital risks.

CASBs can also help with data classification to determine how sensitive an application is and how it handles and shares information within the app. This enables enterprises to create policies that address security risk levels, such as encryption alerting, credential mapping, tokenization, and malware detection.

This can control risky file sharing and block access to susceptible applications (such as credit card or healthcare information) or sensitive (such as proprietary information or business documents). This can be combined with other protections to reduce the chance of loss, unauthorized sharing, or exposure. It can also help enterprises meet compliance standards. This is especially important in regulated industries where mishandling can result in expensive fines and litigation.

Data Loss Prevention

CASBs protect enterprise data by monitoring and controlling cloud application usage. This can include enforcing policies that prevent the loss of sensitive data to CSPs, stopping unauthorized sharing of files with external parties, and containing a user’s credentials from being compromised by a rogue app. They can also remediate SaaS misconfigurations and detect threats that would otherwise go undetected, such as malware and advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks.

Unauthorized file sharing with cloud apps is a typical security concern, especially in mobile devices and remote access environments. CASB solutions enable visibility into employee cloud app account usage to identify unsanctioned apps and apply granular control that doesn’t impact productivity.

CASBs can implement encryption, tokenization, and other data protection methods to prevent malicious information from being exposed to the cloud. They can also enforce DLP policies that block sensitive data from being sent to the wrong recipients and help organizations avoid costly data breaches. They can help proactively respond to threats by leveraging UEBA to identify risks and suspicious behavior. This is particularly helpful for organizations that comply with regulatory mandates such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI-DSS.

Threat Protection

With security threats becoming more sophisticated and remote work requiring greater collaboration, organizations can be at increased risk of data breaches and loss. CASBs detect and prevent attacks by providing granular visibility and control over how cloud-based files are used.

CASBs can detect stale or unused applications that may have become a security risk. They also provide insight into shadow IT to help organizations reduce the risks associated with unapproved software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps that could potentially lead to data leaks or malware.

In addition to securing data moving between in-house IT architecture and the cloud, CASBs ensure that all file transfers to and from the cloud comply with security policies. This is accomplished by implementing various security technologies like malware prevention, activity monitoring, and CASB-specific access control capabilities.

In addition, Cloud Access Security Brokers can detect and remediate SaaS misconfigurations that could leave the organization vulnerable to attack. This can include sensitive information being uploaded and shared externally by users or even being stored in insecure ways in the cloud, making it susceptible to hackers.

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