Cloud Access Security Broker: A Wise Business Investment

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / July 15, 2021

Does your business utilize the services of a cloud access security broker (CASB)? If not, hiring one is likely to be the single best investment in data security you’ll ever make.

Cloud services all advertise themselves as secure. However, the reality is that clients share in the responsibility of maintaining security. As just one example, you’re responsible for configuring your account settings and controlling access to files.

However, even when you have a properly configured account and strict access control, there’s no 100% guarantee that your data is safe. There are multiple factors outside your control that put your data at risk. Any qualified CASB will address all of these factors and more.

If your business is storing company or customer/client data in the cloud, you almost certainly need the services of a CASB.

What is a cloud access security broker?

A CASB addresses security gaps in third-party cloud services you don’t directly control. Their job is to make sure that third-party cloud services are as secure as possible. Proofpoint.com explains that a cloud access security broker’s job is to handle compliance concerns and strengthen your company’s security posture.

This process involves taking a deep dive into cloud services to assess risk levels and implement automated secure access features. CASBs know exactly how to detect, block, and analyze network threats. They’ll also help you maintain compliance with data regulations such as GDPR, CJIS, and HIPAA and suggest cybersecurity strategies that make sense in your setting.

Shadow IT can be both an asset and a security risk.

The biggest security vulnerability for many organizations is what’s known as “shadow IT.” Shadow IT can be classified as any IT project or service being used without your designated IT team’s knowledge or permission. Some examples include employees using their preferred file sharing platform to store and share company files or using unapproved collaboration tools.

Although shadow IT often makes employees more productive, you lose control over data security whenever employees make use of it. When company data is stored or processed anywhere outside of your secure cloud environment — and you don’t even know about it — your business is wide open for a security breach.

Third parties are a major target for cyberattacks.

Third parties include contractors, outsourced teams, and even legitimate companies selling cloud-based services. If you don’t have a strict system for granting specific permissions to third parties, you’re vulnerable. According to data published by Security Magazine, 44% of companies have experienced a data breach caused by a third party in just the last 12 months. What’s even more alarming is that 54% of companies reported that they don’t maintain a list of all third parties with access to their network.

The main problem is that third parties are very often being given far too much access to company data and networks.

CASBs identify these overly permissive settings. They then restrict access to only what is needed. Access restriction requires more than just securing user accounts with a password. Restricted access requires implementing high-level automated security and access software.

A CASB helps make cybersecurity practices easier.

Having a CASB will make everyone’s job easier when it comes to maintaining security over your company’s data. This is true even when working with third parties.

As a business owner, you may not have enough experience or training to know how to uncover third-party cloud vulnerabilities. This is why it makes sense to outsource obtaining that expertise to an experienced cybersecurity professional. While it’s always a good idea to pick up some knowledge on your own, a CASB represents a highly specialized area of expertise.

You may not need to ban shadow IT entirely to be secure.

You might be thinking that getting a CASB just to ban shadow IT is the fastest way to handle third-party cloud security issues. However, the solution is a bit more complicated than that.

Shadow IT isn’t inherently bad. There are plenty of secure and useful applications that fall under the classification of shadow IT. These apps receive that designation only because a company’s IT team isn’t aware that they’re being used. It’s the lack of awareness that makes shadow IT risky.

Instead of outright banning shadow IT, find out which applications employees are using and why.

For example, many teams start devising their own solutions when the IT team takes too long to come up with a solution. Another reason people use shadow IT is that the tools provided by the company don’t work for their department. Some departments, such as software development, require specialized features for project management and cannot work without those features.

A CASB will help you manage third-party cybersecurity risks.

Many business owners worry about falling victim to a data breach. Given the cost of repairing systems and reputation, heightened awareness is a good first step. Unless you’re an IT pro, the next best way to get a handle on third-party cybersecurity is by hiring a cloud access security broker. You’ll sleep better knowing your company’s data security is in good hands.

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Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.

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