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Cloud access security brokers—insights every IT professional should know

July 30, 2018

Cloud access security brokers—insights every IT professional should know


CDN predicts that by 2020, 85% of large enterprises will be using a cloud access security broker (CASB) for their cloud services. A CASB functions as an intermediary between users and applications, providing added security benefits through APIs and proxies—including greater visibility and risk assessment, compliance, data security, and threat protection.

Gartner has called CASB the “fastest-growing security category ever.” It’s now considered an essential part of every cloud security strategy—critical to helping organizations govern how their users employ cloud resources and protect sensitive data.

The growing popularity of CASBs is certainly understandable, given business enterprises’ increasing dependence on the cloud for mission-critical applications. Gartner predicts that cloud will continue to consume an ever-increasing share of enterprise IT budgets—with cloud spending expected to increase from $100 billion in 2017 to $800 billion in 2027.

An exclusive level of protection

In this age of ever-increasing cyberthreats, CASBs offer enterprise critical benefits, including:

  • Controlled access to sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services—and the enforcement of rules on how they’re used and who uses them.
  • An additional layer of encryption and the ability to manage and store cryptographic keys more securely. (This is particularly beneficial to financial services and healthcare organizations that handle sensitive personal data.)
  • Close monitoring and inspection of cloud traffic on the network—alerting users to the presence of unauthorized and/or unsecured cloud applications. (This is critical, considering that the average enterprise uses more than 1,000 cloud services, due to BYOD and users’ increasing reliance on mobile devices.)

The field is getting crowded

With the growing popularity of CASBs, a lot of vendors are getting into the act. Some of the leading players include Adallom, CloudLock, Imperva, Netskope, Palo Alto Networks Aperture and Skyhigh Networks, each touting its own unique features and benefits.

As with every major IT purchase, companies will want to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding on a CASB vendor. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does the CASB solution provide end-to-end protection for cloud data, from network to endpoint?
  • Can it provide access control over unmanaged as well as managed devices?
  • Does it offer visibility and control in real time?
  • Will the CASB solution cause performance or scale issues down the road?

Regardless of the choice of vendor, CASBs can go a long way toward helping enterprises improve how they provision cloud services. It’s definitely an investment worth considering.