The Benefits of a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Cloud Access Security Broker

A CASB provides several tools to prevent costly data leakage. These include discovery, classification and remediation.

CASBs help organizations gain visibility into cloud usage and applications, including any unsanctioned shadow IT. Once this data has been compiled, the CASB can identify each application’s risk level and classify accordingly.

Security teams can therefore implement granular, risk-based authentication for all cloud apps and synchronization services.


Autodiscovery features of CASB tools are essential in helping enterprises create an inventory of third-party cloud apps and users within the network, giving administrators an overview of which data is being consumed by which parties. This provides them with a way to enforce security policies, ensure compliance, governance, as well as detect potential risks that could cause data breach incidents.

By reviewing all aspects of your enterprise’s cloud usage, CASB solutions can categorize each app by type and risk level to provide more granular controls that limit user IDs, locations or job functions from accessing apps or data – helping prevent misuse of sensitive files which is a leading cause of data breaches.

Organizations that must comply with compliance standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA or GDPR need a CASB solution to identify personal information stored in the cloud – something many regulations mandate – detect any unauthorized activity on the web such as malware attacks that originate there and block or alert against them before files become shared between users or uploaded externally to networks belonging to an organization.

Many employees are increasingly adopting Shadow IT applications (cloud applications not sanctioned by their organization) in order to improve productivity, but this poses major security issues for your organization. A CASB solution can monitor these apps and protect data without negatively affecting employee productivity; additionally it can provide visibility into how these apps are being accessed and ensure compliance with company data policy.

Once a malicious attack is identified, swift action must be taken immediately to protect the organization from further attacks. A CASB solution can provide invaluable protection by using behavior analytics and threat intelligence to quickly analyze suspicious activity and detect malware or threats quickly, then responding in several ways such as blocking, alerting, quarantining or encrypting data accordingly. It may even stop threats from propagating from cloud to internal networks via firewall or proxy networks or stop data breaches by detecting anomalous devices before they access or steal sensitive data.

Policy Enforcement

CASBs enable organizations to take a more tailored and targeted approach to data protection and policy enforcement, enabling businesses to safely utilize productivity-boosting cloud applications without risk. They can block or limit access to unapproved cloud services while monitoring identity, service activity activity application data. This method of protection provides much better results than blanket blocking solutions.

Due to workforce mobility, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs, and unsanctioned cloud application usage (Shadow IT), overseeing enterprise cloud applications has become crucial to meeting business goals. A CASB provides visibility into third-party apps and activities while enforcing security controls that ensure compliance with corporate policies and regulations.

Autodiscovery allows CASB solutions to quickly identify which cloud applications employees are accessing on any given device, as well as associated risk variables. With this information in hand, user access and security policies can be set that meet an organization’s data and security requirements regardless of where or when these apps are accessed.

A CASB’s detection capabilities enable it to identify and report on cloud infrastructure misconfigurations that could lead to data breaches or disruption of essential functions, which in turn alert the IT team and suggest solutions like changing security configuration settings of their cloud environment.

Other key features of a CASB include data leak prevention, which can be achieved by monitoring and blocking file uploads to risky internet applications. Furthermore, web traffic analysis reveals any anomalous user behaviors or any malicious attacks which might pose threats to an organization.

Lastly, CASBs provide an effective security policy enforcement platform that is applicable across an organization and on devices of all kinds – be they unmanaged phones and IoT or personal computers. This helps avoid conflicts in policy that often arise when multiple disparate tools are combined together.


Businesses must ensure that data in the cloud complies with their organization’s security policies. A cloud application security broker (CASB) helps them achieve this by protecting cloud application usage – this includes identifying risky apps, users and data – protecting sensitive information by encrypting or tokenizing it if appropriate; additionally providing tools to manage access control and compliance reporting – essential services in industries like financial services or healthcare where regulation may exist.

CASB solutions work by intercepting traffic and inspecting cloud service APIs for any suspicious behaviors, such as malware detection, phishing attacks, ransomware infections or brute force login attempts. In addition, they can block suspicious activities while alerting administrators as well as identify unutilized cloud applications or services that have gone unused.

An ideal cloud access security broker (CASB) should support different architectural configurations and configuration modes – including forward and reverse proxy configurations – so you have maximum flexibility to select a solution that best meets your needs and requirements. A forward proxy architecture works by intercepting cloud service requests as they travel across networks before enforcing access controls like credential mapping, single sign-on (SSO), device posture profiling and posture mapping; furthermore CASBs operating this way also offer out-of-band security by directly integrating with cloud service APIs directly.

A CASB that supports both forward and reverse proxy modes can detect and mitigate threats that involve multiple user attributes, including IP address, browser, operating system, device type and location. This increases accuracy while decreasing false positives; furthermore it can detect threats such as ransomware and phishing attacks using static and dynamic analysis in combination with machine learning-based anomaly detection to spot them more quickly.

A top CASB provides granular visibility and control over cloud usage, including unsanctioned applications (commonly referred to as shadow IT), detect and prevent data loss as well as threats like data encryption breaches. Furthermore, its user-friendly UI should enable policy consistency through standard categories for SaaS, IaaS and web security services; furthermore it should be built in the cloud so it can scale automatically to meet your organization’s security needs.


With data increasingly migrating between cloud environments, enterprises require an infrastructure capable of providing multiple policy enforcement functions – access control, collaboration controls, DLP, information rights management encryption tokenization. A CASB serves as the central hub for these services by offering visibility and control into cloud environments regardless of what devices accessing them- from managed corporate devices to smartphones or laptops accessed remotely.

Businesses can confidently embrace cloud services while meeting regulatory compliance and protecting confidential data with solid visibility and granular control. A CASB can detect unauthorized activity by users, malware attacks from the web and other threats; alerts/reports will then be generated based on user/context to allow organizations to identify shadow apps as well as device, network or cloud platform anomalies that require corrective action.

CASBs also give organizations visibility into all of the cloud apps deployed within an organization, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. By taking advantage of this data, security teams can assess risk associated with each app before creating policies to safeguard sensitive information. They can also determine whether any unsanctioned apps may be storing or sharing personal data that violates regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS and FINRA regulations.

A CASB can use machine learning-based UEBA technology to detect patterns of behavior indicative of attacks or data breaches and then respond by blocking activities or restricting access. This can prevent the loss of valuable intellectual property, reduce ransomware risks and eliminate costly remediation expenses.

CASBs can be deployed either on-premise as hardware or software, though cloud delivery provides greater scalability and management efficiency. Furthermore, SD-WAN capabilities may be integrated to further secure hybrid work environments. Some CASB solutions feature multimode capabilities, including proxying (forward or reverse), API integration and threat detection. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which integrates networking and security functions to secure hybrid work environments flexibly, includes CASB as part of its security architecture. While CASB protects data in motion by intercepting it through inline proxies, SASE also offers protection for data at rest via either inline or out-of-band solutions depending on deployment model.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.