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How to achieve security and compliance in the cloud

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Friday, Dec 14, 2018

SaaS apps and services can be a positive for your company without burdening your IT security department, but there are guidelines to making this a reality. Make sure to check out A Guide to Achieving SaaS Security and Compliance to learn more about other key benefits of CASB technology.

Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are pervasive in today’s enterprise. Through SaaS apps, your company not only saves money on costly infrastructure, but can offer employees flexibility and productivity enhancements that allow for natural collaboration and idea sharing. No longer are projects and important documents on lockdown; on the contrary, employees can now access them via Salesforce, Office 365, and other apps directly on their personally-owned mobile devices.

While employees now enjoy a level of freedom previously unheard of, IT security teams are experiencing a proportionate level of complexity in their everyday roles. One thing is clear: there is no coming back from where we’ve been.

To tackle this complexity, we must first dispel the notion that enterprises must choose between security or user productivity. Truth be told, choosing between the two is a lose-lose situation, since doing so would naturally place serious limitations on the other side. Instead, security teams can implement a mixture of policies and tools to not only achieve basic compliance, but protect important data as it leaves the traditional confines of the enterprise.

Establishing Policies is Step One

Policies form the cornerstone of a compliance and security program—these depend on your internal operating goals for governance as well as external compliance obligations. The risk classifications you have for your data, users, and apps will be based on how valuable each asset is to your company. Getting this right isn’t an option—inadequate policies are guaranteed to put your data and your company at risk. Now comes the fun part. How do you extend those on-premises compliance and security policies to assets in the cloud? By implementing a Cloud Access Security Broker, or CASB for short.

Let a CASB Do the Heavy Lifting

A CASB secures data flowing in and out of cloud vendor environments by enforcing your company’s compliance policies, but that’s not where it truly shines. To secure a SaaS environment, you need crystal clear visibility into the related end-users, data, and apps. You must be able to answer questions like, “Where is my data in the cloud?” and more importantly, “Where is my data most at risk in the cloud?” CASBs do exactly that, offering a consolidated view of sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud service usage along with data regarding who is accessing what data, on what device, and from what location. And when paired with data loss prevention (DLP), CASBs can help foster closed loop monitoring and controls over user interactions with data.  

There are a plethora of other benefits to using a CASB. In fact, security teams getting the most out of their CASBs are using their analytics capabilities to gain insight into risk via behavior, using the reporting features to see company-wide trends and deviations from “safe behaviors.” SaaS apps and services can be a positive for your company without burdening your IT security department, but there are guidelines to making this a reality. Make sure to check out A Guide to Achieving SaaS Security and Compliance to learn more about other key benefits of CASB technology.

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About the Author

Robert Lesieur

Robert Lesieur serves as Director of Product Marketing at Forcepoint, responsible for cross-portfolio solutions that address critical security and compliance issues challenging organizations today. His experience spans the aerospace, telecommunications, cloud and managed services, healthcare and...