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10 essential DLP features you should demand from your CASB

Dec 12 2016
Cloud Best Practices
Cloud Security
Tools and Tips

According to Gartner, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) deliver capabilities around four pillars of functionality; visibility, compliance, data security, and threat protection. Within the data security pillar, Gartner identifies DLP as being natively included in a CASB. This makes sense given the fact that a CASB acts as a control point between users, the cloud services they are accessing, and the sensitive data they are consuming and sharing. This is especially important as more than 33% of business data now resides in the cloud and it needs to be protected.

While the DLP capabilities from many CASBs look similar at the surface, many vendors miss key features that limit their ability to adequately cover all cloud traffic in your environment, inspect all content your users interact with, and protect sensitive data accurately without a lot of false positives.  To help you evaluate the DLP capabilities of CASB vendors, here are the 10 essential DLP features that you should look for.

#1 Inspect cloud traffic from on premises, mobile, and remote users

The first requirement is centered around the traffic you are inspecting and specifically covering where your users are located. A first order requirement is to ensure you have proper coverage and can inspect cloud traffic involving users that are on-premises, mobile, or remote. This is where many CASBs come up short as many focus only on on-premises cloud traffic. With more than 50% of cloud usage occurring outside of your network, you need to make sure you extend your DLP coverage to mobile and remote users too.

#2 Inspect cloud traffic emanating from a browser, mobile app, desktop app, and sync client

In addition to enabling your DLP to cover users that are on premises, mobile, and remote, you want to make sure that the CASB inspects traffic emanating from web browsers, mobile apps, desktop apps, and sync clients. Most CASBs will cover you for web browser traffic, but are essentially blind when it comes to sensitive data coming from mobile apps on iOS and Android or desktop apps on PCs and Macs.

#3 Inspect content in and en route to and from sanctioned cloud services

Now that you have identified a CASB that can cover where your users are and how they are using the cloud, the next requirement is to ensure that the CASB’s DLP can inspect content in sanctioned cloud services and enroute to and from sanctioned cloud services. From Office 365 to Google G-Suite, you want to ensure that you get your arms around the data resident in these cloud services and prevent leakage of sensitive data in real time.  This is a requirement that most CASBs should be able to address, but it is important to verify what sanctioned cloud services are supported as support will vary across CASB vendors.

#4 Inspect unsanctioned cloud traffic

The ability to apply DLP to sanctioned cloud services is important, but you can argue that being able to also apply DLP to unsanctioned cloud services is even more important. After all, 95% of all cloud usage is shadow IT and you want to ensure sensitive data is not exfiltrated from sanctioned to unsanctioned cloud services. Many CASBs come up short here. While they can discover Shadow IT, they can’t inspect or enforce DLP policies on 95% of the cloud traffic which is unsanctioned.

#5 Inspect all types of content

Requirement #5 is all about the content your are able to inspect with your DLP system.  A comprehensive DLP solution will inspect all types of content including hundreds of file types, support for true file type detection where you can detect even when the file extension changes, support for password-protected files, body of webmail, message posts, social media activity, hidden data like comments within a document or hidden cells within a spreadsheet, and metadata. Most CASBs are limited to a small set of file types and are effectively blind to other data manifestations.

#6  Advanced features for accuracy and precision

Traditionally, false positives have been synonymous with DLP systems. Your CASB’s DLP solution needs to go beyond simple keyword matching, which is prone to false positives, and deliver accuracy and precision with support for advanced features including fingerprinting, exact match, regex with validation, custom keyword dictionaries, global data identifiers, Boolean operators, and Luhn checks.

#7 Further increase accuracy with contextual policies

Creating blanket policies that look for a certain type of compliance regimen such as PCI can generate a ton of false positives. Your CASB’s DLP should be able to support more precise policies, bringing in context around user, device, location, activity, content, and cloud service. Context also enables more flexibility. For example, enable PCI to be downloaded from Box, but only from the corporate Box instance and only for users on corporate-managed devices.  Most CASBs will talk about context, but the key is whether they can bring in deep context as part of a DLP policy.

#8 Support for out-of-the box compliance templates with the ability to create custom templates

Compliance is one of the key drivers for any DLP system and having out-of-the-box templates that support various compliance regimens ranging from HIPAA (PHI) to PCI is a core requirement. Use cases vary and it is also important that your CASB also supports the ability to create custom templates from a list of predefined data identifiers. Most CASBs have default templates, but are limited when to comes to the ability to customize for your use case.

#9 Provide incident management with closed-loop workflows

A big part of protecting sensitive data is how you manage and triage incidents. Look for a CASB that supports a built-in incident management system that enables you to manage DLP incidents using a closed-loop workflow where you can investigate the alert, set the priority, assign it, and take action.

#10 Integrate with existing systems

Enterprises have existing investments in security products and a CASB’s DLP solution should enable you to leverage what you have by integrating with your on-premises DLP, incident management solution, and data classification software.

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Bob Gilbert
Bob Gilbert heads up the product marketing efforts at Netskope, a market-leading cloud security company. Bob is a prolific speaker and product demonstrator, reaching live audiences in more than 45 countries over the past decade.