Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)

Manage cloud access
seamlessly with a CASB

CASB tools offer broad-spectrum security management whenever your employees access your organization’s cloud services.

 

On this page you’ll find out about how CASBs work and their potential benefits, compare CASB vendors, and discover how Vertice could help you acquire the ideal CASB provider for your business.

What is a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

A cloud access security broker — commonly called a CASB — is a security tool used by businesses to protect data stored or accessed in the cloud. 

CASBs sit between organizations’ users and their cloud service providers, offering a flexible suite of solutions for security policy enforcement to ensure the safety of sensitive information. 

Essentially, a CASB is a sort of intermediary security guard that actively monitors and regulates the use of cloud services across a business through measures such as access control, malware detection, and packet inspection to name a few. 

By leveraging a CASB, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and ensure their IT systems are watertight. And with the average business now using 110 different SaaS applications, deploying a CASB is crucial if you want to stay ahead of security threats and keep your data safe.

How CASBs work

How exactly does a CASB solution go about protecting your sensitive data? Most CASBs are cloud-based, although on-premises solutions do exist. Once your CASB service is up and running, a three-pronged approach is used to manage your organization’s security:

  • Discovery

To begin, the organization’s SaaS ecosystem is thoroughly scanned to discover the different cloud applications in use, both sanctioned and unsanctioned, and identify which employees are accessing them. You can think of it as a highly detailed stock take of the business’s entire cloud stack. 

  • Classification

Each cloud service is analyzed in detail. The data associated with each cloud app is categorized according to sensitivity, importance, and regulatory requirements. For example, financial records are likely to be considered highly confidential while marketing materials are deemed less critical. Typically, apps are assigned a risk factor so the CASB can appropriately prioritize its resources according to the level of protection necessary.

  • Remediation

Following classification, detailed security policies are created according to the needs of the organization and the various apps in use. While preventive measures can go a long way to mitigating security risks, the potential for incidents remains. If the CASB detects a threat — be it unauthorized access attempts, data leakage, or suspicious user behavior — it automatically springs into action to stop things in their tracks or alert IT security teams for further investigation. 

CASB solutions can be implemented in three ways:

  • API scanning lets the CASB identify security issues such as misconfigurations or shadow IT through integrations with your cloud apps, by making API calls that allow it to read relevant data at rest (data that’s not moving between devices or servers). 
  • Forward proxy allows the CASB to intercept outbound requests from clients in real time, enabling content filtering and access control, while also providing greater privacy to the client plus protection from malware and phishing. 
  • Reverse proxy protects your backend servers, with the CASB acting as a gateway that mitigates threats from incoming traffic like DDoS attacks and SQL injection while redirecting client requests as necessary.

CASBs' four pillars

The four pillars of CASB represent the key areas of focus that CASB providers offer to enhance security in cloud environments:

  • Visibility – By deploying a CASB solution, your organization can get a clear picture of its cloud usage and activities: what data is being accessed, where from and by whom, and for what purpose. Comprehensive visibility can also uncover shadow IT, compliance issues, and user behavior in the cloud.
  • Data security – Various measures can be used by CASB providers to protect your organization’s data in the cloud, whether it’s at rest, in transit, or in use. Examples include encryption, tokenization, access control, and data loss prevention.
  • Threat protection – As cybersecurity threats become more sophisticated, so must the relevant defense measures. CASB vendors leverage techniques like machine learning and threat intelligence to proactively stay ahead of emerging dangers, be it malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, or other malicious activities.
  • Compliance – With a CASB in place, organizations can more easily meet industry regulations or data protection requirements like GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOC 2. Many CASB vendors provide access to auditing and reporting capabilities that can help the business demonstrate compliance.

Products and services provided by CASBs

CASBs can meet a range of business needs when it comes to control of your cloud environments. Key products and security services offered by CASBs include the following:

  • Identity verification – Authentication solutions ensure only authorized individuals can access sensitive data and applications in the cloud.
  • Access control – Organizations can better enforce policies regarding user access to specific cloud resources through device profiling, as well as what permissions and privileges they have. 
  • Shadow IT discovery – Unauthorized cloud apps and services can be identified, allowing organizations to better manage the associated security risks. 
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) – Sensitive data stored in the cloud can be monitored to prevent unauthorized access, leakage, or exfiltration. 
  • URL filtering – Malicious or inappropriate websites can be blocked, reducing the risk of data breaches and malware infections. 
  • Packet inspection – Network traffic can be analyzed in real time using secure web gateways (SWG) in order to detect threats like phishing attacks or malicious activity. 
  • Sandboxing – Suspicious files or code can be isolated and executed in a controlled environment, allowing for detection and analysis of malware without putting your systems at risk.
  • Browser isolation – An extension of sandboxing, web sessions can be executed in isolated environments to protect your IT systems from browser-based attacks. 
  • Malware detection – Malicious software can be blocked before it infiltrates your cloud environment.
  • Behavior analytics – Network security can be proactively increased through identification of anomalous user activity to more quickly address insider threats or security breaches.

Benefits of using a Cloud Access Security Broker

No matter which CASB vendor you opt for, deploying one within your cloud environment brings numerous advantages. The general use cases and benefits of a CASB include:

  • Enhanced visibility and granular control over cloud usage within your organization;
  • Effective discovery of shadow IT;
  • Mitigation of security risks and threats in your cloud environment;
  • Prevention of data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information;
  • Protection of data on unmanaged devices;
  • Greater compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws through improved monitoring and auditing capabilities;
  • Continuous monitoring for real-time protection against data loss and cybersecurity threats;
  • Facilitation of secure cloud adoption and migration strategies;
  • Safer collaboration and data sharing practices;
  • Integration with existing security infrastructure for comprehensive protection;
  • Cost savings through centralized security management and reduced incident response times;
  • Simplified management of cloud access and policies, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Top CASB vendors in 2024

There are myriad CASB vendors on the market so it can be hard to narrow things down. Here are ten of the best CASB vendors in 2024 to get you started.

  1. Netskope
  2. Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen CASB
  3. Symantec CloudSOC
  4. Cisco Cloudlock
  5. Forcepoint
  6. Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
  7. Proofpoint
  8. Lookout
  9. McAfee Skyhigh Security
  10. Zscaler

Get the best CASB price for your business

As companies continue to replace data center applications with SaaS alternatives or migrate their IT to IaaS providers like AWS, it’s clear to see why a CASB is an indispensable part of an organization’s cloud strategy. 

When it comes to managing your CASB vendor, Vertice can help. With our Cloud Cost Optimization platform, you can acquire or renew the perfect CASB solution and other cloud platforms for your business at the lowest possible price. Get in touch below to get started.

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Cloud Access Security Broker FAQs