API vs. Proxy: How to Get the Best Protection from Your CASB

API vs. Proxy: How to Get the Best Protection from Your CASB

Blog Article Published: 08/11/2016

By Ganesh Kirti, Founder and CTO, Palerra

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) software has emerged to help IT get its arms around the full cloud security situation. CASBs are security policy enforcement points between cloud service users and one or more cloud service providers. They can reside on the enterprise’s premises, or a cloud provider can host them. Either way, CASBs provide information security professionals with a critical control point for the secure and compliant use of cloud services across multiple cloud providers. They enforce the many layers of an enterprise’s security policies as users, devices, and other cloud entities attempt to access cloud resources.

Exactly how the CASB integrates your security policies with cloud access makes a big difference in the comprehensiveness of your security solution and network performance. There are two main CASB deployments: API and Proxy.

Proxy-based Solution

An in-line proxy solution checks and filters known users and devices through a single gateway. Because all traffic flows through a single checkpoint, the proxy can take security action in real-time. Unfortunately, the single checkpoint also means that it slows network performance, and only secures known users. Further, proxy-based solutions only secure SaaS cloud services, leaving IaaS and PaaS clouds vulnerable.


API-based Solution

An API-based CASB is an Out-of-Band solution that does not follow the same network path as data. Since the solution integrates directly with cloud services, API-based solutions have no performance degradation, and they secure both managed and unmanaged traffic across Saas, IaaS, and PaaS cloud services.

Some industry experts recommend a multimode approach, which is a CASB architecture that supports both API and proxy approaches. In reality, both API and proxy approaches achieve multimode functionality, though they do it differently.

As enterprises move more business-critical functions to the cloud, implementing a CASB has become a mandatory control. Prior to choosing a CASB, it is important to know the facts on the alternatives so you can make the choice that is best for you.

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