Cloud Security

Virtually all business organisations use cloud based applications. Even your employee utilises cloud applications in dealing with a business customer and during training.

What is cloud and cloud security?

The cloud is a network of remote servers where data are stored, managed, and processed. Each server is managed by a cloud provider that also maintains their customer cloud security.

Cloud computing security is the set of policies that adhere to rules of compliance that protect data including customer information and any business application.

How secure is the cloud?

Cloud security is relatively tight, but it is not infallible to all security issues. Customer privacy is among the cloud computing security issues faced today because cloud service providers aren’t always able to protect customer data from the public. To ensure security in cloud computing, the Cloud Security Alliance was established.

Why is cloud security important?

When the security of the cloud is compromised, a customer will be unable to access an account with a cloud provider. Although software developers offer cloud security, vulnerabilities still exist. At GA Systems, we recognise that customer interaction with a cloud provider presents security flaws. Similarly, the clouds a customer uses might not meet the usual network security requirements.

With both of those factors in mind, a customer is advised to consider the use of a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB).

What is a CASB?

A cloud access security broker (CASB) is a software that works as a gatekeeper between the infrastructures of organizations and cloud service providers to reduce security risks. A CASB monitors customer activities and extends security controls. It gathers data, turns them into analytics, then highlights security risks.

Cloud access security brokers act as a form of security that bridge the gap between clouds and your existing systems. They secure corporate data flowing to and from your internal IT infrastructure and cloud vendor environments using your organization’s security policies.

To decide whether using one is right for your company, it’s worth learning what CASB solutions are and how they work.

How does a CASB work?

Cloud access security brokers work either as a proxy or in API mode. As a proxy, a CASB can be set up either as a forward or reverse proxy. In API mode, it uses the API of the cloud provider to control access and apply security policies. However, many CASBs have started to offer both proxy and API technology, creating a multi-mode approach.

A forward proxy based CASB is compatible with all cloud applications and can be used for all data that goes through the proxy. However, it requires the installation of single sign on certificates on devices that access it, which poses a challenge to organizations with many users.

On the other hand, reverse proxy based CASBs offer more accessibility without having to install authentication certificates. But then they are incompatible with client-server type apps.

One of the benefits of API based systems is their ease of deployment. However, they offer limited compatibility because API support isn’t provided by all cloud applications.

Clearly, the range of applications that CASBs offer vary. They perform different actions which greatly impact how a provider effectively delivers the four pillars of CASB for a particular cloud service.

The Four Pillars of CASB

All good cloud access security broker services will include the four pillars of CASB which are:

Full visibility

Companies require visibility into the usage of their cloud partners. They must know user behavior including which customer uses which specific cloud apps and the devices they use.

Many businesses implement a blanket ‘block’ or ‘allow’ system for their users without realising that it slows down their day-to-day operations. Rather than taking this approach, GA Systems prefers to adjust customer access permissions according to security risks.

For example, if you use Outlook for emails, you may want to allow full access to all users in the office. You might also eventually realise that some users need to access their emails remotely and so you could use your CASB to grant those rights. Ongoing reviews of your CASB will allow you to make similar changes to controls as your company evolves and customer base grows.

Regulation compliance

Compliance with legislation regarding customer data privacy and security is imperative. A cloud access security broker helps ensure your compliance and benchmarks your own security policies against that of regulatory requirements.

Strengthening data security

Your corporate data is at its most vulnerable when it moves in and out of the cloud. Customer data leaks resulting from unauthorised sharing has become a common untoward incident. Using advanced detection mechanisms, including fingerprinting, it’s possible for a cloud access security broker to identify security threats while data is transitioning. The CASB gives your onsite IT team the chance to intervene when necessary.

Real time threat protection

Security threats often arise from mishaps rather than malicious intent. An employee could accidentally introduce malware to the cloud or your network through what they upload or download from cloud applications. Although such instances are accidental, they’re still harmful.

Your CASB scans and tackles threats as they arise in real time. As a result, data transition becomes safer and business activities such as online training aren’t curbed just to be assured of security in the cloud.

What is a CASB DLP?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is among the wide range of security and compliance policies enforced by a cloud access security broker. DLP protects sensitive data and lowers the chances of unauthorised exposures or data theft.

A CASB does not require the use of an enterprise DLP solution, but they can still be easily integrated with these existing solutions. Whether integrated with on-premises DLP solutions or through their own DLP policy engines, a CASB can configure and apply policies to cloud security.

Some have the misconception that CASB and DLP are mutually exclusive since they both offer data protection solutions. However, each one has specific coverage that makes them more effective when integrated with each other. While organisations often choose one or the other, having both CASB and DLP technologies can provide significant benefits in protecting corporate data.

Cloud Access Security Brokers Services

To achieve our CASB goals, GA Systems has partnered with Gartner leading providers to form a robust security solution to ensure that your cloud usage remains safe. We have a long-standing history of using 360-degree data protection without slowing down the way businesses use cloud services.

While ensuring your Internet use remains flexible, GA Systems deploys the right cloud security solution to cover your security blind spots. Believing that no two CASBs are the same, our team is committed to creating solutions that match your company’s needs. Some of the features we can incorporate include:

  • Monitoring what users are doing throughout your organisation including what cloud providers they use and the devices they’re using it on.
  • Round-the-clock alerting for sanctioned or unsanctioned cloud services supporting your security team.
  • Monitoring from a 360-degree protection perspective that safeguards data, and advanced threat protection that stops elusive attacks.
  • Enforcement of current policies. For example, if the system detects an unsanctioned action that violates your company’s security controls for cloud security and how you want the cloud to be used, it produces a warning and blocks the action so that the user is aware of what’s happening.
  • Automatically preventing malware. Unfortunately, cloud services are a prime target for those who want to introduce malware to networks. We avert negative repercussions by detecting malware as it attempts to enter your system.

GA Systems also introduces advanced cloud access security broker services. This includes single user sign on and tracking of authorisation credentials that identify patterns amongst those who attempt to access information they’re not usually privy to. Liaising with us ensures that we agree on the CASB control that presents the right alerting for your operational environment and training needs. The collaborative approach is essential to providing full coverage whether for a browser, mobile app, or sync client.

What are other CASB Use Cases?

Overall, your cloud access security broker can manage risks, deliver security, or do both. In many cases, those who use a CASB opt for both in order to streamline their network’s security.

More refined examples of how a CASB can work include:

Governing cloud usage

Governing the use of cloud providers involves looking at the smaller details behind what a user does and what you will allow them to do. It’s more refined than simply allowing access or blocking activities. It’s also an excellent means of using a cloud securely while adhering to your organisation’s policies.

Securing data

The more frequent data transitions between your network and a cloud, the higher its risk of encountering vulnerabilities. Use a CASB to reduce the chances of sensitive data getting lost during these transitions. This applies to reducing the chances of external individuals seeing sensitive information and limiting the risk of unauthorised access within your organisation. You can use a CASB to introduce security measures onsite, for remote use, and on specific devices for sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services.

Threat protection

Malware and ransomware are only getting smarter, which means you need a reliable form of threat protection. CASB services that deliver threat protection provide full visibility of cloud services, encrypt connections, produce data that identifies risks, and automatically tackle certain security flaws even those from sanctioned cloud applications.

If your company uses traditional cloud services and needs cloud security, it’s essential to have a cloud access security broker. In addition to keeping information safe, the right access security broker CASB benefits work productivity. When refined threat detection processes replace simple block and access approaches, your cloud usage becomes more fluid. To learn more, contact the GA Systems team.