Understanding the Key Features of a CASB Security Appliance

The rapid adoption of cloud applications has increased the need for security tools that can help protect against threats. These include Shadow IT, unauthorized data usage, and other risks that arise from the lack of visibility of a company’s cloud environment. Look for CASB features that support bring-your-own-device policies, and provide complete visibility and protection from threats, including malware and phishing. You’ll also want to consider a deployment model that doesn’t impact performance or productivity.


Authentication is a primary feature of CASB security that helps protect data. The CASB compares a device’s attributes to a trusted list of devices and users, such as corporate directory identity, IP address, or browser, to identify whether the device is authorized to access data. If not, the CASB can block access. CASBs also help to prevent data loss by encrypting files at rest or in motion and auditing data and network usage. The CASB can even monitor and control data-in-transit to ensure that any information sent over the internet is encrypted and complies with government or industry regulations. A CASB can help protect against data leaks by using tokenized data and strict permission management policies to ensure that only those with the correct privileges can see or modify sensitive information. The CASB can also help to prevent malware download by blocking applications known to contain malicious code from entering the environment. Look for a CASB that integrates with core security infrastructure, such as DLP, endpoint management, Next Generation Secure Web Gateways, and encryption technologies. The CASB should provide complete visibility of cloud apps and activities, including unauthorized IT. It should have robust threat protection capabilities that include complete visibility of all cloud services, including SSL-encrypted connections; anomaly detection; static and dynamic anti-malware detections, plus machine learning to detect ransomware.


With organizations increasingly relying on cloud-based infrastructure and services, CASBs fill security gaps. They ensure that data at rest, in use, and motion are protected by encrypting and tokenizing cloud data. CASBs also offer threat detection and prevent cloud malware and threats by monitoring activity in the cloud for misconfigurations and other anomalies that may indicate a breach. CASBs also enforce policies, including data loss prevention (DLP) for files and folders in cloud applications and services. This includes preventing users from uploading and sharing files publicly and internally. Many CASB solutions also incorporate DLP features that work with enterprise DLP tools for a unified, comprehensive security solution. Finally, CASBs ensure compliance with regulations and standards. This includes helping companies comply with industry and regional regulatory requirements such as SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI. They provide visibility into how data is used across the cloud, alert IAM tools when new devices appear on the network, and communicate with them what credentials were used to access a service. They also help companies secure sensitive data in the cloud through encryption, tokenization, and other methods to protect it from being compromised or accessed illegally. CASBs are a core component of any comprehensive cloud strategy. Every CASB solution offers different technologies, so businesses must establish the most critical security use cases and evaluate vendors accordingly.

Access Control

The CASB’s access control capabilities include both application and user-based controls. This helps administrators prevent data breaches by limiting the use of specific applications and websites. Administrators can also restrict access to bandwidth-consuming activities such as streaming videos. With BYOD and Shadow IT a growing threat, it is essential to monitor applications and infrastructure used outside the control of the IT department. A CASB can help reduce these risks by providing visibility into cloud applications and infrastructure employees use without the IT team’s approval. This can help the organization determine the level of risk and take corrective action. A CASB also protects against malware and other threats. This is achieved by evaluating the behavior of cloud applications and detecting security anomalies. The CASB then applies this information to its policy enforcement and takes automated actions to prevent security violations. Many organizations, including intellectual property and engineering designs, store sensitive data in the cloud. This data can be lost when employees share files using cloud-based collaboration and messaging tools or when they leave the company. It can be prevented by implementing strong access controls. A CASB’s access control capabilities include granular controls over file uploads, social media, and individual accounts, identifying compromised users through benchmarking, and continually monitoring traffic patterns.


With cloud malware and threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, businesses need to be able to detect and stop them before they damage internal systems or data. CASB security is a powerful tool for detecting and blocking malicious activity, whether employees share infected files on the cloud or use unauthorized applications. CASB security offers visibility into all aspects of the organization’s cloud usage, including shadow IT, BYOD devices, and unauthorized apps. By enabling granular policies, the solution can prevent data loss, ensure compliance with standards like GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA and reduce risk by providing that only approved services are being used. In addition, a CASB solution should provide advanced threat protection by scanning and analyzing all types of data in the cloud, both sanctioned and unapproved, for threats such as malware, viruses, spyware, bots, phishing, ransomware, and data breaches. It can also identify and prevent compromised accounts by correlating login usernames with corporate directory identity (e.g., Active Directory) to recognize users who have changed their passwords or are attempting to access infrastructure, applications, or services from unmanaged devices such as smartphones or IoT. CASB solutions may be deployed as hardware, software, or, for reduced costs, greater scalability, and simpler management, a service delivered through proxying (front or reverse), API control, or in both modes (“multimode”). Organizations must evaluate CASB vendors based on their ability to address specific use cases and support different deployment methods.