So, you finally took the plunge and moved your company’s IT and digital services to the cloud. The reasons are many and varied for using cloud computing services – but, top of the list for most businesses is the added security and support that cloud networks bring.

However, contrary to what you might think, no cloud network can offer bulletproof security and loopholes frequently pop up when you start integrating SaaS, email, file storage and data transfer in your remote storage account(s).

The COVID effect

If (like most businesses recently) your company has found itself relying on cloud networks to keep operating through the lockdowns caused by coronavirus, you’ve likely found yourself facing an unfamiliar world of networking on a scale you’ve never known. However, there is a solution to entrusting your entire business data and access to cloud providers and potentially opening your firm up to unwanted, malicious access. By integrating a Cloud App Security Broker (CASB) into your existing security settings, you’ll add an extra layer of protection to your cloud services.

Why use a CASB?

Firms like Proofpoint provide a full-featured, all-encompassing security solution to moving your firm’s digital processes online to the cloud. With so many users accessing so many online files and applications, it can be difficult to differentiate between warranted and unwarranted access – however, a CASB can be set to monitor access by user, behaviour, location and more to assess whether the access is from a genuine user.

Should the CASB suspect access is coming from a risky source, it can automatically block the user. Better yet, a CASB will also constantly monitor the usage of your cloud storage and flag potential problems. A CASB does this by a variety of methods, including:

Location: More often than not, your users will access data from known and familiar locations. Should the CASB identify a non-standard access point that isn’t consistent with the typical locations of your staff (for example, Nigeria), it can automatically send an alert and/or block access.

Persistent attempts at access: Brute force attacks follow patterns that aren’t consistent with human users and are the equivalent of trying every key on a key ring until the right user/pass combination is found. A CASB will recognise these persistent attempts at access and, again, either block access or send an alert so it can be verified by your IT team.

Behaviour: CASBs are so efficient at monitoring cloud storage that they can even identify suspicious behaviour that isn’t consistent with the ways your team would usually access and use your precious stored data and files.

Random IP addresses: Linked to location above, a CASB will hold a record of standard IP addresses and can send an alert or prevent access when an attempt is made from an unknown IP point.

User rights: It makes good sense to set up different user rights among your staff based on the privileges they need to do their job effectively. If a CASB sees an authorised user trying to access files they wouldn’t normally have access to, it will again send an alert, flag the user and/or block them. This is particularly useful when it comes to fighting phishing attacks that compromise data and can have disastrous implications for your firm.