Cloud Access Security Broker: How It Helps Organizations Protect Sensitive Data

Cloud access security broker (CASB) is a technology that helps organizations protect sensitive data from cybercriminals and digital adversaries. It also helps organizations improve visibility into cloud usage and compliance with various industry regulations. A CASB sorts each instance of cloud usage by evaluating the application, the data it contains and how it’s shared. Then it sets a policy that meets the organization’s security needs.


Companies must consider security and compliance challenges while moving their data to the cloud. These include securing the data, protecting it in transit, and monitoring it to ensure compliance with privacy regulations. A CASB is essential to a comprehensive data security strategy because it enables organizations to gain the visibility and control they need to work in the cloud safely. The solution helps keep sensitive data safe by encrypting it, blocking malware and ransomware, and auditing data and network usage.

CASBs can also protect sensitive data by limiting or restricting access to specific users. They use a combination of user attributes like IP address, browser, device, and location to identify suspicious behavior and block data access. This security can be complemented by data loss prevention (DLP). DLP encrypts data at rest and in transit, so it can’t be stolen from a cloud storage server or transferred across the internet.

These systems are essential to a robust enterprise security framework and will continue to be important as cloud services become more widely adopted. 

Using a CASB also reduces the risk of “shadow IT” – applications and infrastructure managed and operated by an individual without the knowledge or consent of the IT department. These devices can pose serious risks, ranging from malware and rogue apps to unauthorized hardware connecting to the network to access sensitive data.

Access Control

CASB system enables security administrators to classify cloud applications by determining what data and users they access so that they can enforce enterprise security policies. It also helps companies address Shadow IT and manage cloud usage to reduce risk. A CASB is critical to a successful cloud strategy when preventing breaches and implementing compliance standards. A CASB can recognize sensitive data, encrypt or tokenize it, and monitor user behavior. Using user behavior analytics and benchmarks, a CASB can detect suspicious user behaviors and block them from accessing sensitive data. It can also encrypt or tokenize data in transit and at rest. It can also monitor network traffic to help identify and stop malware intrusions. It can also handle account management by detecting suspicious authentication and authorization attempts.

A CASB can work with identity access management (IAM) tools to help protect enterprise data from external threats, and it may be integrated with current IAM solutions. It can monitor and alert IAM tools when new devices appear on the network and communicate the credentials used to gain access. A CASB solution can also identify and remediate infrastructure misconfigurations, such as missing VPN configurations or unencrypted files in the cloud. It can also detect unauthorized devices and applications, such as USB drives or personal email accounts, that have access to corporate data. It can also provide activity analytics that visualizes data movement across the cloud and endpoint, allowing security teams to prioritize data risks and investigate what needs immediate attention.


Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) monitor and log activity between the user’s devices and the cloud and inject policy actions based on your policies. They can be deployed as a forward proxy (close to the cloud) or a reverse proxy (close to the user). CASBs can detect and remediate misconfigurations that could lead to data breaches, such as enabling an organization’s applications on an employee’s device without IT consent. They also help organizations identify shadow IT and stop unauthorized applications from being used on unprotected devices, such as laptops and mobile phones. It can then provide a score that identifies risk and alerts the information security team. A CASB solution can also leverage user behavior analytics to identify anomalies and challenge them with additional authentication. CISOs and IT leaders must be able to effectively manage the cloud environment, including how employees access data. CASBs enable them to achieve this by providing visibility into the usage of cloud services and apps and leveraging large-scale analytics and machine learning to respond to threats automatically.


In the cloud environment, monitoring and controlling data access usage from multiple devices is challenging. It is where a CASB comes in. It provides visibility into user activity in the cloud infrastructure and helps enterprises keep a check on policy violations.

CASBs also prevent malicious files from being uploaded to cloud services and ensure security. Using machine learning, a CASB can analyze users’ activity to detect malware. It can be done through anomaly detection and several other techniques to help detect and mitigate threats before they impact the organization.

Depending on your needs and budget, a CASB system can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Most CASB distributions are SaaS-based.

Instead of using a one-size-fits-all strategy that completely bans services, opting for a CASB that allows you granular visibility and control over your cloud use would be beneficial. For example, you can control activities based on identity, service, application, or data.

With this granular control, you can prevent data exfiltration and mitigate malware in sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services, enabling policies at the activity or data level across a category of services, enforcing conditional activity-level policies, and applying encryption to protect against threats.

A CASB solution also helps prevent employee sabotage of sensitive information in certified cloud storage services and their associated sync clients and services in real-time as employees try to share or upload infected files or account credentials. Having a CASB that can quickly classify these apps is essential.