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CASB Firms Explained: How Do They Help Secure Cloud Platforms?

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Cloud adoption is happening at a rapid pace. The benefits of flexibility, cost savings, and business continuity features make it an easy choice, but there is one drawback that companies question, which is cloud security.

If you’re a financial firm, especially, how can you ensure your data security policies are still being followed when you’re using a cloud vendor?

That’s where a cloud access security broker (CASB) comes in. It’s a service that acts as a watch dog between your on-premises infrastructure and that of your cloud provider.

While the term may be fairly new for many businesses, CASBs are fast becoming a vital part of any cloud platform security strategy. Triada Networks provides top-rated IT security for financial firms, and we’re currently evaluating cloud access security broker partners to help ensure the absolute cloud infrastructure safety of our clients.

60% of large enterprise corporations will be using a CASB for some cloud services by 2022. (Gartner)

Today, only about 20% of enterprises use a CASB, but as the explosion of cloud services continues, coupled with the increased regulation surrounding data privacy, use of cloud access security brokers is expected to rise to over half of enterprise corporations in just about three years.

What Does a CASB Do?

A CASB is described as a product or service that helps to address any security gaps in cloud computing. The CASB acts as a gatekeeper between your systems and those of the cloud provider to help ensure your security policies can reach beyond just your on-premise infrastructure.

One thing they do is to make sure that network traffic flowing between your office devices and your cloud provider is in compliance with your security policies. If you’re in a regulated industry, such as financial or medical, using a CASB is an important way to ensure there are no unexpected gaps in your network security due to your cloud systems.

The Four Pillars of Cloud Access Security Brokers

There are four pillars that CASBs use to deliver their services.

Visibility

To have complete control of a cloud-based system you need to have proper visibility. A CASB allows a shadow IT discovery where you can see who is accessing what and a full view of your entire cloud landscape.

This visibility can include:

  • Details about users who access cloud data
  • Details on devices and locations accessing cloud data
  • Cloud service security rating database
  • Information on cloud provider risks and trustworthiness

An example of the visibility pillar in action might be the enforcement of a policy that doesn’t allow sharing of data from a particular cloud platform outside your company.

Data Security

A CASB helps enforce data-centric IT security policies and can prevent unwanted activity. They monitor access to sensitive data or when someone’s user privilege has been upgraded.

One of the most commonly used features of the data security pillar is data loss prevention to ensure your data isn’t destroyed due to a cloud provider issue or accidental deletion.

Threat Protection

Through adaptive access controls (AACs) a CASB can help prevent unauthorized access of cloud services by devices, users, and versions of applications.

The service is able to scan and stop threats in real-time and can catch infected files being shared using cloud storage as soon as they’re uploaded.

Examples of other types of threat protection provided by CASBs are:

  • Embedded user and entity behavior analytics
  • Identifying anomalous behavior
  • Use of threat intelligence
  • Network sandboxing
  • Malware identification and remediation

Compliance

The pillar of special importance to financial firms that need to comply with FINRA or FFEIC or healthcare organizations that need to meet HIPAA requirements, is compliance.

A CASB can help ensure your compliance doesn’t just stop at your on-premise devices, but rather follows through to your cloud-based platforms. They also provide data that helps establish cloud risk tolerance.

Using a CASB

When you decide to work with a CASB, the service is typically delivered as a software as a service (SaaS) application and in some cases may be accompanied by a virtual or physical on-premise application.

A good way to think of a CASB is somewhat of a complete threat management system, but for your cloud-based platforms rather than your physical network and devices.

With so many workflows moving to cloud-based systems, including popular platforms like Office 365 and QuickBooks Online, using a CASB is going to be a mandatory part of any network security plan in just a few short years.

Interested in Learning More About Cloud Access Security Brokers?

If you’re using cloud-based applications at your office, need to meet data privacy compliance, and want to ensure your security protocols are following your work product through a cloud system, you’ll want to look into a CASB sooner rather than later.

The IT Security Team at Triada Neworks can answer all your questions and help you secure your cloud infrastructure. Give us a call today at  201-297-7778 or contact us online.