Adding Value to Native Cloud Application Security with CASB
Blog Article Published: 12/27/2017
By Paul Ilechko, Senior Security Architect, Cedrus Many companies are starting to look at the Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) technology as an extra layer of protection for critical corporate data as more and more business processes move to the cloud. CASB technologies protect critical corporate data stored within cloud apps and among their preventative and detective controls, a key feature is the ability to encrypt data stored within cloud apps. At the highest level, the concept is quite simple – data flowing out of the organization is encrypted, as it is stored in the cloud. However, in practice there are nuances in the configuration options that may have impact on how you implement encryption in the cloud. Most users will start with a discovery phase, which typically involves uploading internet egress logs from firewalls or web proxies to the CASB for examination. This provides a detailed report of all cloud application access, usually sorted by a risk assessment that is specific to the CASB vendor doing the evaluation (all of the major CASB vendors have strong research teams who do the Cloud service risk evaluation for you, so that you don’t have to). This enables a company to start thinking about the policy needed to protect themselves in the cloud, and also to drive conversations with the business departments using the cloud services, to get an understanding of why they are using them, and if they really need them to get their jobs done. This can drive a lot of useful considerations, such as:
- Is this service safe, or is it putting my business/data at risk?
- If it is creating risk, what should I do about? Can I safely block it, or will it cause an issue with my business users?
- If my business users need this functionality, are there better options out there that achieve the same goals without the risk?
- CASBs provide API level integration with many of the major SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services, allowing for out-of-band integration that perform functions like retroactive analysis of data stored in the cloud, or near real-time data protection capabilities than can be implemented in either a polling or a callback model.
- CASBs typically provide an in-line proxy model of traffic inspection, where either all, or some subset, of your internet traffic can be proxied in real time, and decisions can be made on whether to allow the access to proceed. This can incorporate various Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies, can check for malware, and can perform contextual access control based around a variety of factors, such as user identity, location, device, time of day, etc. – as well as sophisticated anomaly and threat protection using data analytics, such as unexpected data volumes, non-typical location access, and so on.
- For users who are leery about using a CASB inline for all traffic, particularly when that traffic is already traversing a complex stack of products (firewall, web proxy, IPS, Advanced Threat Protection...), many CASB vendors also provide a “reverse proxy” model for integration with specific sanctioned applications, allowing for deeper control and analysis that integrates the CASB with the cloud service using SAML redirection at login time.
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