SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

A definitive guide to cloud access security brokers

FYI, this story is more than a year old

Although cloud apps like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), Salesforce and Box are the future of enterprise computing, security concerns continue to plague public cloud adoption.
While organisations are keen to migrate to the cloud, they need robust visibility and control capabilities in order to keep sensitive corporate data safe.

To secure cloud apps, organisations need a comprehensive security solution that offers visibility, data security, threat protection and compliance. Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) are a data-centric solution for securing SaaS apps end-to-end, from cloud to device.

By intermediating or ‘proxying' traffic between cloud apps and end-user devices, CASBs offer IT administrators granular access control and deep visibility over corporate data – critical functionality for organisations moving from internal, premises-based apps to the cloud.

Cloud app vendors like Google and Microsoft are motivated to secure their infrastructure and to protect against threats to their applications. Denial of service attacks, malware outbreaks, and large data breaches are the types of security events that land cloud app vendors on the front pages of global business media, and have a severe negative impact on their businesses.

However, control over access and downloaded data is the enterprise's responsibility. Theft of user credentials, regulatory compliance failure and data leakage due to improper controls all rest on IT.  IT must have a security solution in place to protect corporate data from these types of risks that fall outside of the control of the SaaS application provider.

Balancing IT needs and employee demands

Years ago, when BYOD was less prevalent, employees simply accepted a poor user experience as a necessary evil. Today, employees are quick to reject IT solutions that reduce productivity and that impede their privacy. Enterprises must adopt user friendly solutions that enable a more productive, mobile workforce

Finding a CASB that can meet these key requirements will help to prevent employees from going rogue and working around IT. The solution needs to take into consideration:

  • Usability: Consumer apps have set a high bar for users which has created the expectation that cloud apps in the enterprise will match that experience and enhance, not hinder, productivity.
  • Privacy: Employees have an expectation and a right to privacy. Gone are the days when it was acceptable for IT to capture personal traffic in the security dragnet.
  • Mobility: Employees want to have the latest devices and access corporate data without restrictions, even if those devices aren't managed by their employer.

 Components of a complete CASB solution

While enabling mobility is often a boon to productivity, cloud apps also make data access much easier, which can pose a threat to security. A complete CASB must close the gap by protecting data-at-rest and data-in-motion across all devices. Cloud, mobile, discovery and identity are the core components of a CASB which, together, provide total data protection.

Cloud

A deep understanding of how employees are using cloud apps is key to identifying risky or malicious activity. By tracking user activities, CASBs can generate a baseline behavioural profile, and alert on deviations so that IT can take immediate action. Visibility can also help IT build security policies that minimise risk of data loss without impeding on employee workflows.

CASBs protect corporate data both in the cloud and on any device in real-time. API integration into cloud apps is used to scan and protect data-at-rest, and proxies are used for inline, real-time protection for data being accessed via both managed and unmanaged devices.

Using built-in APIs, CASBs are able to scan and identify sensitive content stored in apps like Microsoft 365 and Google Apps, and apply granular access controls to data. With traditional solutions, access control capabilities are limited and IT is forced to simply allow or block access. With a CASB, IT administrators have more flexibility in extending access with context- and content-aware.

Mobile

Data must be protected at rest in the cloud, at rest on mobile devices, and in transit, making cloud and mobile inseparable components of a complete security solution. The CASB data-centric approach to security ensures that corporate information stays protected on any device, anywhere.

When organisations focus entirely on securing devices instead of securing data, there is a real threat of data leakage. An employee can, for example, download a file with sensitive customer information to a managed device, move that file over to an unmanaged device, and perhaps upload that file to an unsanctioned cloud application.

If the device were secured without other data-centric protections, IT would lose visibility and control over that file. With a CASB, a content-aware DLP engine can encrypt, DRM, and watermark data in real time, ensuring that sensitive information stays protected across both managed and unmanaged devices.

Another risk faced by organisations when it comes to enabling secure mobile and BYOD is the threat of lost and stolen devices. CASBs are capable of enforcing a wide array of device security policies on any device, functionality that has historically only been possible on managed devices.

CASBs can require use of a PIN or passcode for added security and can even selectively wipe just corporate data from any mobile device.

Discovery

Data leaving the corporate network and heading to high risk destinations is a major concern for enterprises. High risk destinations take many forms: malware command and control sites, anonymisers like Tor, ‘shadow IT' cloud applications, and more.

All these destinations are at risk from sensitive data exfiltration and must be identified in a timely fashion. CASBs offer discovery services that analyse proxy or firewall data to identify vulnerable traffic between the network and high risk destinations. Destinations associated with known malicious activity can be identified in order to remediate high risk endpoints and users.

Identity

In many organisations, individual accounts are created within each cloud app, without a centralised identity system, a practice that can make provisioning new accounts and securely authenticating users more difficult.

A complete CASB features an integrated identity management solution or works with an existing identity management infrastructure to enable secure authentication across all cloud apps. Secure authentication, often necessary to achieve regulatory compliance, can drastically reduce the attack surface that hackers can use to access corporate data.

To summarise, in a world of cloud applications and mobile devices, IT must secure corporate data on any device, anywhere. Existing security technologies, developed only to secure data on the network, are not suited to solving this task.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Spike in demand for cybersecurity training amid skills shortage
"Organisations cannot just rely on cybersecurity professionals to safeguard the businesses’ infrastructure and protect their data."
Story image
Malware
OpenText reveals nastiest malware of 2022, with Emotet at the top
OpenText threat intelligence experts combed through the data, analysed different behaviours, and determined which malicious payloads are the nastiest.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The growing threat of CEO fraud and how to mitigate it
By posing as the CEO or other senior figures, attackers guarantee that malicious emails get employees' attention. Many employees are reluctant to question a request from their CEO, so they usually provide the information.
Story image
Security Information and Event Management
LogRhythm announces LogRhythm Axon and new solution enhancements
According to the company, Axon provides an easier way for security teams to achieve better visibility across both cloud and on-prem log sources, helping further establish a foundation for their security practices.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Swift successfully pilots its Securities View capability
The new capability significantly increases transparency in post-trade processing while preventing costly settlement fails; it will be widely available in 2023.
Story image
Ransomware
Commonwealth tackling rising cybercrime threat in Asia
Ransomware, identity theft, and virtual security attacks identified as growing threats to security and economic growth.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Firewall
Barracuda accelerates growth in its data protection business
Barracuda cloud-to-cloud backup protects against evolving cyber threats, such as ransomware, and is now transactable in the Azure Marketplace.
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
Enterprise
Delinea shares the importance of PAM, partners and security for modern enterprise
Identity-based security is becoming a crucial tool for modern enterprises as they continue to adapt to different working environments.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.
Story image
Distributed Denial of Service
Sysdig reveals a loss of $53 for every $1 cryptojackers gain
The 2022 Sysdig Cloud Native Threat Report breaks down supply chain attacks against containers and how geopolitical conflict influences attacker behaviours.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Partner Programmes
Trellix set to launch new unified partner program in 2023
"We co-developed the Xtend program with our partners to create the right business model for deploying Trellix XDR."
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Microsoft
A deep dive into a Corporate Espionage operation
In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the level of sophistication of cyberattacks, mostly thanks to the introduction of the profit-sharing business model for financially motivated threat actors.
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.