How much of your data does your business store in the cloud? Whatever the amount is, you should expect it to grow quickly. By 2018, the average IT department will keep 60 percent of its data in the cloud. However, the cloud’s meteoric rise makes it a target for hackers and insider threats, meaning cloud security is more important than ever. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) can address these concerns by providing the proper security and governance controls to protect your data in the cloud.
Understanding Cloud Access Security Brokers
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Before discussing specific benefits, it is important to understand what is a cloud access security broker or CASB. At the most basic level, a CASB serves as a control point for a variety of cloud services, providing visibility, compliance, threat protection, and data security. Visibility boils down to monitoring an organization’s cloud services and making sure the proper governance controls are enforced.
The compliance capability involves applying data loss prevention (DLP) to sensitive information stored in the cloud. Through data security, cloud access security brokers can enforce encryption, tokenization, and access controls across the entire organization. The final piece of the puzzle is threat protection which leverages machine learning and user behavior analysis to detect and respond to insider threats, compromised accounts, malware, and other external threats.
Now that you have a high-level view of CASBs, it is important to understand a few key benefits. Threat detection is possibly the most important part of threat protection and it involves checking for anomalous events and flagging them as threats when they qualify as a real threat instead of a false positive. This process works by coupling machine learning with User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA tracks user behavior, including login times and locations, as well as access data.
Machine Learning will then detect unusual activity that doesn’t fit the existing worker profile. If there are enough anomalous events, or if there is a pattern among the irregularity, the CASB will flag it as a threat and notify the target of the attack or a security administrator. Thanks to this detection, the program can identify hackers and prevent them from accessing data stored in the cloud.
We live in an increasingly data-focused world. As a result, protecting that data is becoming a priority. Hackers actively target cloud services to gain access to this information, either to steal money or do harm in other, more devious ways. A quality cloud access security broker will offer data encryption as one data security capability. Encryption works by converting a file into ciphertext, which can then only be deciphered using a decryption key. As long as the encryption key is not lost or stolen, this tactic guarantees that even if a third-party can access your files, they can’t read any of the encrypted documents. Sensitive information is fully protected even if a data breach occurs.
Cloud Governance Controls
One of the primary benefits of a CASB is that it provides a central platform to create and enforce rules that require employees to use cloud services in an appropriate manner. This has a large range of applications, but one common example relates to cloud service approval. Cloud Access Security Brokers first audit an organization’s cloud services to detect any that are not sanctioned by the IT department. This is an important step because not every cloud service is made equal. Some either lack the proper security infrastructures to protect sensitive data or they contain dangerous terms of service that could claim ownership over anything uploaded to their database. To avoid this, users can utilize the CASB’s governance feature to whitelist beneficial and secure services and blacklist risky ones. The CASB can then enforce those rules across the organization.
When securing your data in the cloud, a CASB serves as an effective foundation for visibility, governance, and enforcement. With its capabilities, any organization can seamlessly adopt the cloud without worrying about data breaches or cyber attacks.