Key Criteria for Evaluating Cloud Access Security Broker Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. A CASB Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Jamal Bihya

1. Summary

The migration of IT support and IT business systems to the cloud is becoming the new way of doing business. Common variations include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Of course, with this new paradigm comes new challenges, especially with regard to information security.

Managing risk in this new environment is even more critical than in traditional on-premises setups. Cloud migration changes the concept of a company’s perimeter—its IT systems no longer reside solely under the control of its IT teams. This means that the entire organization’s cybersecurity defense tool stack and structure are affected. From inventory and visibility into who is doing what and how—in IT systems, data protection, threat prevention and detection, and information security governance—everything must be redesigned and new, more appropriate tools deployed.

A cloud access security broker (CASB) is one of the new cloud-specific security products that should be assessed by companies migrating to the cloud. A CASB is software that can be hosted on-premises, in a private cloud, or consumed as a SaaS application. Its role is to act as a security gateway between users and cloud service providers (CSPs). Among other things, it helps to detect security gaps at the cloud application (SaaS), PaaS, and IaaS level.

A CASB goes even further by helping organizations have better visibility into shadow IT—unsanctioned applications accessed from company devices on or off the corporate network. A CASB can apply the appropriate security policies, along with a granular approach to data protection, in an effort to bring shadow IT into the light.

CASBs make it possible to consider the context in which a given operation is taking place, whether it involves access to, or manipulation of, information. With this context, an enterprise can adapt the response accordingly instead of applying rigid rules and policies. These tools also make it possible to securely manage access to the company’s information assets from unmanaged equipment (BYOD).

CASBs are fast becoming essential elements of enterprise security. Their reliability helps allay enterprise fears and hesitation about doing business in the cloud. The role of the CASB will continue to grow as its integration into a wider range of enterprise information security tools makes it even more relevant and critical in enterprise cyber defense strategies.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the CASB market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting a CASB platform, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and help decision makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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