As organizations are increasingly moving to the cloud and doing “everything-as-a-service,” cloud computing is rapidly becoming the new normal in the information access and storage landscape. With the majority of enterprise workloads in the cloud
by the end of 2020, education, healthcare and corporate America will be reaping the rewards of increased productivity and efficiency. Cloud technology is more robust and secure today, and while data security and privacy in the cloud are still major concerns to IT professionals, industry leaders are seeing that they cannot stop this moving train…they can either get on or get off. Most are choosing to get on the train.
As IT operations began to move from on-premises installations to the cloud, organizations have looked for ways to bring security and access controls from internal data centers to cloud operations. One of the tools they found was the CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker). Now, a decade later from their introduction, CASBs are common parts of the enterprise security infrastructure. But for many individuals, knowing precisely what a CASB does, and why it's different from a next-gen firewall, is still something of a mystery.
The original purpose of a CASB was to provide visibility into all the cloud services in an enterprise infrastructure. In the war against "shadow IT" and its use of unapproved cloud services, the CASB was one of the first weapons. Deployed at the network edge and using a variety of proxy types, the CASB could identify every call to or connection from a cloud service, whether or not the cloud was approved.
According to Gartner
, there are four areas of function of CASB: Visibility, Compliance, Data Security and Threat Protection. These four areas are important in the shared responsibility cloud security model, in which the cloud provider is responsible for the protection of their infrastructure while the cloud customer is responsible for the security of their applications and data
So, you might think to yourself, with encryption in play and all of my data unreadable to unauthorized users, do we still need to have a CASB solution as well. The answer is “YES.” CASB solutions provide IT Security teams with the ability to unify security measures across the cloud and provide visibility and control of what their users are doing. Proxy-based CASB solutions are a little “old school” but are still effective. They act as firewalls/gateways to verify user access to data in the cloud and can identify real-time threats. However, they can cause significant network delays and only secure known users. API-based CASB solutions are steadily replacing Proxy-based solutions. API-based solutions use the cloud’s native APIs to provide direct, secure access from any device without impacting network performance. They also provide visibility into user activity and threat protection, making compliance and security/privacy easier and more efficient. Whichever solution is chosen, CASB still needs to be there to provide organizations to ability to safely use cloud applications and create and store information in the cloud.