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JANUARY 27 2023

What is a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

Since the permanent growth of the digital services, cloud environment protection became critical for organization cybersecurity. This challenge gets more complicated by the cloud service providers limited liability for data protection. To deal with such potential problems organizations turn to solutions called Cloud Access Security Brokers.

What Is a CASB?

Cloud Access Security Brokers CASB – a set of solutions aiming to  interject enterprise security policies in the cloud environment. The main task of CASB is to protect access to the cloud data, as well as to prevent its leakage. Moreover, some of them can detect and counter malware or search and protect sensitive data.

CASB has become a separate class of solutions because of the cloud environment’s specific risks. Users cannot control physical access to the equipment on which their cloud applications run, just like the security of the provider’s internal and external networks. However, organizations that work with cloud service providers are still obliged to comply with the industry regulators in field of data protection.


Besides Cloud Access Security Brokers two more classes of cloud security solutions are used: Cloud Security Posture Management CSPM and Cloud Workload Protection Platforms CWPP.

CSPM is a class of solutions aimed at the security of operating with cloud APIs. This is especially important for the secure deployment and use of the new services in the CI/CD (CI — Continuous Integration, CD — Continuous Delivery) pipeline.

CWPP, in turn, protects the applications runtime, which includes the security of containers in cloud environments.

Both CSPM and CWPP aim to protect sensitive data. CASB, on the other hand, uses data access protection, as well as control over how those are managed. All three classes of solutions are for cloud security.

What Are the Four Pillars of CASBs?

CASB systems have four principles on which they are based. These are Visibility, Compliance, Data Security and Threat Protection:

1. Visibility

Ensuring that authorized parties have uninterrupted, secure, and convenient access to data and services is an integral part of secure cloud usage. Cloud service consumers should not be hindered when working with cloud environments. On the other hand, unauthorized access and malicious software should be blocked by default.

Visibility helps  organizations to interject enterprise security policies that determine the required level of protection depending on the degree of threat to cloud data and services. For example, access to critical company services can be limited only to a certain whitelist of employees corporate devices.

In addition, visibility allows you to monitor the operation of cloud service consumers and collect real-time analytics.

2. Compliance

Compliance with industry data protection regulations is often the biggest motivator for organizations when deciding which CASB system to deploy. The inclusion of cloud-based resources in the IT infrastructure always brings new risks to companies corporate data. In order to continue operations and maintain appropriate security level, companies must deploy the necessary cloud data protection systems.

Obviously, developers of CASB solutions are interested in having their systems certified by data security authorities, which opens new business opportunities and new markets for them. For example, Cloud Access Security Brokers comply with PCI (Payment card industry) standards to accommodate retail companies, and for financial organization’s security  they need to comply with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

3. Data Security

In cloud service providers’ environments, Data Leak Prevention DLP systems are especially important. Data access by an authorized user has many details such as time, device location, file interactions, and a number of other metrics that can help spot a potential threat to  organization’s cloud usage.

On the way to or from the cloud,Cloud Access Security Broker CASB analyzes how anomalous such access details are. In case of suspicion, measures are taken to prevent data loss. In other words, CASB systems act as a gatekeeper using DLP tools to increase the security of companies’ cloud environments.

4. Threat Protection

Attack vectors for the cloud environment include malware-related threats. An employee who uploads a document to the cloud storage may not suspect that the file was already infected at the previous stages of working with it. Just like an attacker might try to inject malicious code into a company’s cloud computing locations.

Such activities can be recognized by CASB with dynamic malware analysis instruments. They check the structure of files for patterns of malicious code known to them. If such a code is detected, the file is blocked and not uploaded to the cloud environment. To maximize the tool’s effectiveness, one must  carefully manage access to enterprise data and services.

Why Do I Need a CASB?

If your company plans to migrate from on premises structure to the cloud environment or to use internal and external networks with cloud apps, it is necessary to scale not only the structure of services and stored data, but also implement appropriate cybersecurity systems. As noted earlier, cloud brings new security risks along with new opportunities. Data protection regulators require companies to ensure that their cybersecurity complies with special regulations for secure cloud usage.

In order to minimize risks and comply with the law, it is necessary to use CASB, which must be implemented as a part of the company’s security policy enforcement.  Ideally, the security of all environments should be managed by one centralized system. 

How Does a CASB work?

Cloud Access Security Broker provides visibility and control over the data that resides in the cloud. It performs granular control of the user’s access  to the cloud service providers’ environment that organization rents. These tasks are carried out by CASB by continuously performing several actions:

  • Discovery. The process of going through the data stored in cloud environments and the data uploaded into the cloud by users or processes.
  • Classification. Depending on the type of information and its sensitivity, it determine by which method the detected data should be protected.
  • Protection. In accordance with the established security policies, appropriate data access parameters are applied. In addition, data could be encrypted or tokenized to enhance security.

What Are the Top 3 Uses for CASBs?

1. Govern Usage

Thanks to Cloud Access Security Broker CASB, you can organize data and process management in the cloud. Due to visibility and control CASB allows organizations  to enforce enterprise security policies aimed at  users and processes, as well as the data they access and operate with.

Instead of looking for suspicious user activity manually and deciding on action for each individual case, it is enough to install a Cloud Access Security Broker. Usually, the most common scenarios for different industries are already provided by the developer. CASB bases its decisions on a variety of metrics, including identity, activity, service, application, time, location and data type. Depending on the severity of the situation, actions such as blocking, alerting the security teams, or simply denying access to the data can be applied to the user or process.

2. Secure Data

Access control is closely related to preventing data theft and leakage. Using CASB together with data loss prevention systems (DLP), one can notably increase the control over the movement of data within the organization’s infrastructure and prevent unauthorized attempts to remove data from the organization’s secure perimeter.

Significant advantages in data protection are also provided by digital signatureencryption and data tokenization. By signing data involved parties can easily track who and when made changes to the data, while digital certificates provide reliable identification of cloud service consumers. Encryption and Data Tokenization help securely transfer and store data, protecting it from both interception and theft.

3. Protect Against Threats

All cloud environments are more or less vulnerable to malware and ransomware. Damage done by malicious software can have serious consequences for organizations. Dealing with such threats  requires verification of processes running in the cloud and processes that work with the data stored in the cloud. 

CASB could be an effective solution for threat intelligence. Combination of access control and data protection with active analysis of anomalous activities allows to automate and monitor  the process of searching and responding to threats.  Taking into account that attackers constantly look for and exploit new vulnerabilities,  it will not be superfluous to implement advanced approaches, such as machine learning, that will make it easier to find and identify malicious software.

What Kinds of Security Policies Can CASBs Enforce?

CASB solutions combine several approaches to secure cloud environments. Authentication, single sign-on, authorization, credential mapping, and device profiling are used to control user or process access. Encryption, tokenization and digital signature are used to protect data. In addition, Cloud Access Security Broker CASB performs monitoring and response functions: logging, alerting, malware detection and prevention.

The Role of CASBs in a SASE Dominated Future

As noted above, Cloud Access Security Broker CASB performs many cybersecurity functions and has a great potential to be combined with other solutions.  Those may include data leak prevention, malware detection solutions, and the Next Generation Secure Web Gateways. As a result, a complex security architecture – Security Service Edge –  corresponding with the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), will be obtained.

SASEs involve a combination of various security solutions for internal and external networks. A key feature of such solutions is the absence of disadvantages present in the  traditional solutions for the organization’s perimeter security policy enforcement : a delay in response and a lack of contextual analysis of data usage.

How to Choose a CASB

Compatibility with the organization’s existing security system.  CASB has to be ready to integrate and centrally manage security policy enforcement, which, will significantly increase the convenience and reliability of  the organization’s security system. 

Identify the most relevant risks and use cases in your business.  . Each organization’s workflows are unique and solutions need to be further optimized on a case-by-case basis. Assign a team that can identify your key needs and discuss them later with the Cloud Access Security Broker  vendor.

Obtain more information about the vendor. Go through analytical reports and press releases, find out about vendor’s partners and customers – how long they have been using the solution, whether they have had incidents and leaks etc. The more information you have, the easier it will be to understand if their solution suits your particular needs. 

Request a trial. With a trial period you can try out the functionality of the solution in practice and integrate it with your other systems. At the same stage, we advise to run an incident simulation test of your cloud service usage, which will help with an overall evaluation.

Outline CASB capabilities. Once you’ve finished  the trial version, you’ll be able to  see the full scope of CASB possibilities, analyze and reach conclusion about its performance,  and determine whenever  the solution is really right for your company.

How Do I Deploy a CASB?

Simplicity of cloud service usage is an important advantage of a CASB. . Same applies to deployment and integration of Cloud Access Security Brocker CASB systems, in most cases they are both quick and easy. There are several different deployment scenarios organizations can choose from. Cloud Access Security Brokers can be deployed locally or in the cloud. The last option is the most common today.

The deployment model is chosen from three different options: API-Control, Reverse Proxy, and Forward Proxy.

API Control: The most comprehensive coverage and transparency ofdata, processes, and threats. The fastest to deploy.

Reverse Proxy: Suitable for devices outside the organization’s internal and external networks security perimeter.

Forward Proxy: Works well with VPN clients, provides protection for end user devices.

Both variants with proxy deployment options are often used to meet data location requirements.



Cloud Access Security Brokers are a necessary part of the security system for any organization that takes advantage of cloud environments  The key to a smooth integration ofCASBis a proper configuration that will ensure correct interactions with other security systems of the company. Helenix has extensive experience in developing and implementing custom security solutions for cloud and hybrid environments. You can get acquainted with our capabilities in the Development section or leave an inquiry in the Contact section.


What Does CASB Mean in Cybersecurity?

Cloud Access Security Broker CASB are data and process security solutions that work with cloud environments. The essence of these solutions lies in the detailed and ubiquitous access control and the availability of a large number of utilities ensuring data protection.

How to Implement a CASB?

To deploy a Cloud Access Security Broker consider solutions from different vendors. After selecting the right solution, you need to test CASB’s performance, choose a deployment scenario and configure its  interactions with other systems in your organization.

How CASBs Integrate With SASE?

Cloud Access Security Broke CASB has a great potential to be combined with other security solutions like data leak prevention, malware detection and the Next Generation Secure Web Gateways. As a result, a complex security architecture, corresponding with the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), will be obtained.

What Role CASBs Play in Businesses?

Cloud Access Security Broker aims to interject enterprise security policies in cloud environments. It combines multiple types of access security and applies them to everything your business operates within the cloud.