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In-depth Guide to Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) in 2024

Firewalls and web proxies provide visibility into all internet traffic to and from corporate cloud applications. Therefore, their visibility is mostly limited to corporate devices. However, the use of personal devices in work is increasing due to remote working which can lead to security vulnerabilities. 

CASB solutions expand information security onto personal devices. This article demonstrates how a CASB works, its benefits, its pillars, and its types.

What is CASB?

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are cloud-based cybersecurity solutions that safeguard organizations’ sensitive data to boost security within cloud apps. As they serve as an intermediary between users and cloud systems, they help in addressing security flaws and ensuring cloud compliance. You can imagine a CASB as the sheriff who imposes established cloud rules by the service managers.

How does CASBs work?

CASB helps organizations achieve data security by

  • Multi-layered malware detection scheme: 74% of organizations experienced malware activity being transferred from one employee to another in 2021. CASBs automatically block malware within their lists or applications that exhibit suspicious behavior. Therefore, you will save your sensitive data from getting hacked and your devices from getting damaged.
  • Monitoring data traffic of corporate applications on any device including personal ones: This will enable managers to track who visited which page and thus determine whether someone made an unauthorized action. 

Benefits of CASB

Provide visibility

Employees are using numerous managed and unmanaged cloud services to access confidential company information. When enterprise data is used in the cloud without the knowledge of IT, it is no longer connected to corporate management. CASBs tools offer full visibility for cloud applications, including information about user’s device and location. It enables corporations to have better visibility of the usage of their apps through establishing a “no sharing outside of the business” rule across a variety of unauthorized services.

Moreover, a CASB can help you discover all of the cloud services you’re using, notify you of your cloud expenses, and evaluate functionality and license fees. A CASB offers accurate financial and commercial information in addition to superior data protection.

Compliance

When companies migrate their information and applications to the cloud, compliance is a vital aspect to consider.  Compliance norms are designed to protect corporate and personal data, and failure to address these concerns can result in costly data breaches.

A CASB assists you in securing cloud compliance, whether you are a healthcare provider concerned about HIPAA or HITECH compliance, a retail business worried about PCI compliance, or a banking and finance organization dealing with FFIEC and FINRA compliance. CASBs solutions can protect your organization from data breaches by adhering to the data regulations established by your sector.

Data Security

A quick information flow can be beneficial for companies. However, it can also cause huge losses for organizations which are concerned with safeguarding confidential documents and sensitive data.  

Data loss prevention solutions (DLPs) are intended to protect data, but they don’t extend to cloud storage. When integrated with DLP, CASB can determine when sensitive information is moving into, out, or inside the cloud, or from cloud to cloud.

Threat Protection

Employees and third parties can leak sensitive data from cloud storage. A CASB can collect a complete view of regular consumption habits and use it for comparison to help identify unusual user actions.

If someone is willing to steal data or gain unauthorized access, a CASB can recognize and respond to this kind of incident immediately via machine learning-based user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) technology. 

CASB solutions employ the following features to secure cloud apps: 

  • Threat intelligence,
  • Adaptive access control, 
  • Dynamic malware analysis, 
  • Prioritized analysis.

What are the different types of CASB Services?

API-Only

The API-Only solution  uses the applications’ API to analyze the data-at-rest in the cloud, allowing employees to communicate with any software without restriction or control. 

Multi-mode First-Gen

It offers signature-based security for known data leakage routes and a variety of predefined apps. However, it doesn’t protect from unknown data leakage risks and malware threats.

Multi-mode Next-Gen

This next-gen solution adapts rapidly to protect against both known and unknown malware threats and information leakage risks across all apps. Protection against unknown threats is critical since zero-day malware attacks made up 74% of attacks in the first quarter of 2021.

Before purchasing a CASB solution, businesses should define their CASB use case and find out the most suitable solution for their objectives.  To achieve the best possible outcome, organizations should conduct detailed research from cybersecurity experts, or take opinions from other organizations of similar sizes and needs.

Further reading

If you need help in selecting CASB or other cybersecurity solutions, feel free to reach out:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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