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Public Cloud Security Demands a CASB By @CipherCloud | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

More enterprises of all sizes are adopting the public cloud, thanks to the cost savings, flexibility and scalability

Public Cloud Security Demands a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

If your business has any investment in public cloud SaaS applications, then it's time to invest in a Cloud Access Service Broker (CASB). That's our takeaway from the recently released Gartner security report, "Emerging Technology Analysis: Cloud Access Security Brokers."

More and more enterprises of all sizes are adopting the public cloud, thanks to the cost savings and flexibility and scalability benefits SaaS providers offer. Ninety percent of enterprises that have adopted public cloud applications plan to put more than half their spending towards enterprise SaaS applications by 2018. But they're doing so in a time rife with public cloud security and privacy concerns, which have turned other organizations way from the cloud. According to Gartner, security and privacy continue to be the top reasons for businesses to avoid SaaS - a choice that offers some security benefits but ultimately hamstrings cloud-averse organizations.

CASBs, according to Gartner, will play a key role in securing SaaS cloud_security_CASB_gartnerdeployments for years to come thanks to the "four pillars" of protection they provide: visibility, compliance, threat prevention, and data security.

Why do these pillars matter, and why do CASBs look set to change the public cloud data security game?

To understand the importance of CASBs, it's vital to understand what a CASB is and can be.

Gartner defines CASB as technology that sits between the endpoint and the SaaS application (or applications), either through an on-premises gateway, or through a cloud service or proxy. From its vantage point, the CASB accesses all of the traffic traveling between the endpoint and the application. This is key, since the CASB is then theoretically able to gain visibility and apply control mechanisms to the entirety of that traffic.

In practice, CASB performance is limited by two major factors: CASB technology, of course, and the cooperation of the SaaS providers. The SaaS providers have proven enthusiastic and cooperative, opening up their APIs to enable better CASB integration. That means that in most cases, the major limiting factor is the CASB.

  • Visibility: Differentiation in this area will require features like comprehensive activity and transaction logging and monitoring, as well as automated alerting and reporting based on custom-defined rules and risk metrics, according to Gartner.
  • Compliance: Here as well, Gartner calls out activity and transaction monitoring as key to differentiation. More interesting, Gartner discusses cloud application risk
  • Threat Prevention: Gartner's definition of threat prevention doesn't stop at malware detection. The analyst firm also takes into account insider threats, which granular data access control, user activity monitoring features and DLP integration help address.
  • Data Security: Gartner's discussion of what that means validates our approach by stating the importance of "preserving application functionality" even while encryption and tokenization are in use.

What's more, for full effectiveness, these features should not be spread across multiple products, a deployment model that invites interoperability issues and security gaps. Instead, a leading CASB solution should offer cloud data protection in a unified platform.

As enterprise SaaS adoption continues to grow and security concerns continue to arise, CASBs will become increasingly critical to enterprise cloud security and privacy. Is your organization ready? Tell us how you're securing your public cloud deployments in the comments.

More Stories By Paige Leidig

Paige Leidig is SVP at CipherCloud. He has 20 years of experience in technology, marketing, and selling enterprise application solutions and managing trusted customer relationships. As SVP of Marketing, he is responsible for all aspects of marketing at CipherCloud. Paige was previously in the Office of the CEO at SAP, where he was responsible for leading and coordinating SAP’s acquisition and integration activities on a global basis. He has managed a number of marketing initiatives at SAP, including responsibility for all go-to-market activities for SAP’s Cloud applications portfolio. Preceding his SAP career, Paige held senior management positions with Ariba, Elance, and E*Trade.

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