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Why Cloud Access Security Brokers Are on the Rise



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You've probably started hearing the term cloud access security brokers (CASBs) being used more often. But what exactly is a CASB? Since CASBs are becoming an essential part of cloud security, you should understand the role of CASBs and how they will affect information technology departments in the future.

One of the main drivers of CASB adoption has been the rapid expansion of cloud services. The typical organization may use over 1,000 different cloud services, most of which lack the necessary security controls.

Organizations are also rapidly decommissioning their in-house data centers, email servers, and other applications, in favor of using their cloud counterparts, such as office 365, Dropbox, Box, or Salesforce.

With corporate data rapidly moving to someone else's data centers, it's important to ensure that the security controls that enterprises apply to the data they store in-house can extend to the cloud as well.

What Is a Cloud Access Security Broker?

CASBs emerged in 2011, primarily as a way for organizations to assess the number of shadow cloud applications employees were using, but they have since expanded to cover a wide range of cloud applications, including the ones procured and sanctioned by the IT department.

In fact, experts estimate that the CASB market will be worth $7.51 billion by 2020, with 85 percent of companies having some form of CASB to protect their cloud data. That figure is a huge increase from 2015 when only 5% of enterprises were using a CASB.

CASBs are a cloud-hosted or on-premises software that can help you enforce security and apply governance controls to your cloud services environments and applications.

The Benefits of Cloud Access Security Brokers

Overall, you'll discover a wide range of benefits to having a CASB oversee your cloud security. Primarily because CASBs operate based on four key pillars: visibility, compliance, data security, and threat protection.

Visibility involves discovering, monitoring, and applying governance controls for both shadow and sanctioned cloud services.

This CASB feature works by auditing and identifying shadow IT services in use by the company's employees, helping organizations overcome the security risks of shadow cloud services. These services are then approved or rejected based on secure they are. Visibility also provides monitoring for sanctioned services, detecting if any users misconfigure an application.

The compliance feature bridges the gap between on-premises and cloud because it allows companies to extend their existing data loss prevention (DLP) policies to the cloud. These policies can then be enforced across all cloud applications that an organization uses. CASB's compliance capabilities can also be used to identify sensitive data uploaded to the cloud or created within a cloud application.

Data security, in the case of a CASB, involves data-centric security controls, such as encryption or access control, to name just a few examples. Data security is an essential pillar of cloud security because through security measures like encryption or tokenization, in the event that all other defenses are breached, the hackers would still not be able to use the hacked information since it's just cipher text. Information rights management and access control are also essential to controlling who can access a given file and how that file can be used by each employee.

Threat protection detects and responds to threats, using machine learning and user and event behavior analytics (UEBA). This pair of technology relies on big data analytics to identify anomalous activities that may prove to be a real threat. In order to minimize false positives, CASBs can incorporate human input every time they trigger a false positive, thereby increasing their accuracy in detecting real threats.

CASBs are also quite cost-effective solutions. Since they offer auditing and visibility capabilities, you won't need to hire IT staff to monitor your cloud applications. It could take an IT security professional days or weeks to properly analyze the security capabilities of a cloud application. CASBs can provide that information readily, thereby accelerating cloud service adoption

As more and more companies adopt new cloud services, CASBs are the security solution of the future, providing a sophisticated and comprehensive security technology for multiple platforms and cloud services, including IaaS such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. With a CASB in place, enterprises can feel comfortable with keeping their data in the cloud.

This article was written by Adam Monson for on .

This article published in collaboration with Scutify, the best app for traders and investors. Download the Scutify iOS App, the Scutify Android App or visit

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