CASB Explained: How It Strengthens Your Cyber Security Defenses

With cybersecurity attacks becoming more frequent, strong defenses are crucial. CASB solutions provide significant visibility into multi-cloud applications and protect users from cyber threats. This is done by combining technologies like phishing, malware, and ransomware detection with user and entity behavior analytics that review usage patterns to detect anomalous activity. CASBs also offer discovery and classification capabilities.



What is CASB security? A cloud access security broker (CASB) provides security services to protect company cloud data from cyber-attacks and breaches. CASBs authenticate users based on their credentials, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data. They also sanitize files before they are transmitted across the network. This helps prevent ransomware and phishing threats from infecting devices or stealing data. CASBs also detect when credentials are misused and can block those accounts to prevent data breaches. Detecting and blocking malware risks in cloud-based applications is another vital function of CASBs. They monitor the traffic of third-party SaaS apps connected to the organization’s infrastructure and ingest logs from those applications. They then identify patterns of behavior and establish a baseline. The CASB then detects any deviation from the established pattern and alerts administrators. A CASB can also stop unauthorized devices and applications from accessing the corporate infrastructure, reducing the risk of a breach caused by lost or stolen mobile devices. They also scan and sanitize data in transit and prevent users from uploading malicious files by monitoring the traffic of cloud-based applications. With organizations shifting their workloads to the cloud, protecting cloud environments and on-premises data centers becomes increasingly essential. A CASB can help protect the movement of data into and out of the cloud by extending security policies to infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) environments.

Access Control

CASBs enable organizations to track the use of SaaS applications and identify potential risks. They also provide visibility into third-party cloud apps, allowing administrators to disconnect from applications that pose a threat. This helps mitigate the risks of unsanctioned software-as-a-service (SaaS) usage, known as Shadow IT. Rather than relying on static user attributes, a CASB uses community trust ratings to determine an application’s risk level. This makes it possible for employees to work efficiently while still being protected. Another CASB functionality is the ability to classify an unknown application and understand its behavior, such as what data it accesses. This allows the solution to detect rogue or malicious applications that can cause damage to an organization’s security infrastructure, including data breaches and malware propagation. Finally, a CASB can monitor and control data in motion. This prevents hackers from stealing sensitive information while traveling to, from, or between the organization’s cloud environments. To find the best CASB for your needs, consider the vendor’s track record of preventing security incidents and responding to them quickly. Lastly, evaluate the solution’s scalability. Some CASB tools are offered as on-premises hardware, while others are delivered as a cloud service for greater scalability, lower costs, and easier management.


With the rise of cloud applications and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, organizations need solutions to handle the complexity of protecting data in multiple SaaS environments. CASBs have web gateways, firewalls, and policy enforcement resources, making it easy for companies to protect their data in the cloud. CASBs use access control, collaboration control, DLP, and encryption to monitor data moving between the on-premise network and SaaS applications. This allows organizations to see all the sensitive information being accessed and ensures that it stays protected, even when migrated or downloaded to other devices. CASBs can also provide significant threat protection by blocking malware and ransomware from accessing cloud infrastructure, data, and the underlying networks through technologies and techniques like adaptive access control, threat intelligence, and malware prevention. Another way a CASB strengthens cybersecurity is by detecting and preventing suspicious activity, including insider attacks from authorized users, such as stolen credentials. CASBs detect these types of attacks by analyzing the behavior of authorized users to identify abnormal patterns. They then compare this against the expected behavior of authorized users to alert security teams to potential risks. Organizations can also use a CASB to discover and secure unauthorized applications, such as those used by contractors or employees without company knowledge, known as shadow IT. This enables them to maintain compliance with data and privacy regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA.


In today’s environment of BYOD and unsanctioned cloud applications (also known as Shadow IT), enterprises need a robust solution to safely enable productivity-enhancing cloud services without risking security. A CASB’s monitoring pillar gives organizations deep visibility into cloud usage and detects abnormal behavior that could signal a threat. A CASB uses advanced machine learning and threat intelligence to identify suspicious activity and alert administrators. For example, a CASB will notice when a salesperson attempts to download customer data from Salesforce but fails in the same session with a developer. That’s a clear indicator of malicious intent, and a CASB will alert the administrator and take action to stop the attack. CASBs also provide context-based data loss prevention (DLP) beyond simple location or IP-based exclusion policies to protect against modern threats and mitigate the risk of costly leaks. This enables organizations to take a more granular approach to protecting and securing sensitive data, including preventing accidental loss of files from employees in hybrid or remote jobs who share data with non-corporate cloud applications. Another critical capability is the ability to discover and classify cloud applications—including sanctioned and unsanctioned ones—to help organizations quickly and effectively determine each application’s security risk level. For instance, a CASB will quickly identify and classify cloud apps that access enterprise data, giving security admins the information they need to make informed decisions.

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