The Most Critical CASB Use Cases in the Market Today: Monitor or control users’ activities even when they are accessing cloud services from a mobile app or desktop native app

Netskope

Enterprises’ cloud security use cases are maturing, and they are seeking a cloud access security broker (CASB) to help them move from log-based discovery to enforcing more sophisticated policy or at least monitoring usage more deeply.

Netskope customers have deployed Netskope’s ALL-MODE architecture (with more than three-quarters of them going beyond a single mode) to achieve their most critical use cases. We have noted 15 of these use cases in our recent e-book, The 15 Critical CASB Use Cases, and we’re highlighting them and more (and we want to hear from you too!) in this blog.  

Here’s use case #3: Monitor or control users’ activities even when they are accessing cloud services from a mobile app or desktop native app.

Enterprise security around mobile and remote access is a funny thing. On the one hand, IT knows that nearly all employees access corporate applications from remote and mobile locations, yet few of them actually have adequate security controls in place around this access pattern. According to a study we did last year, more than half of all cloud activities (send, share, view, edit, approve, etc.) happen over a mobile device (imagine how much you accomplish on your phone when you’re standing in line at the grocery store!), and a full one-third of DLP violations happen on mobile.

One critical difference between Netskope and other CASBs is that we enable the use case of monitoring activity and enforcing policy controls over sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services EVEN when users are accessing the service from a mobile app or desktop native app. Consider a policy that you may have in place that states: “During our company’s financial quiet period, we prefer that corporate ‘insiders’ do not share content outside of the company from any Cloud Storage application” (you may even stipulate that if they do, they need to write a short business justification for later audit purposes). If you do not have controls in place over remote and mobile access, then it would be very easy for users to bypass your policy. However, Netskope customers are able to enforce this kind of policy, and often do so in order to ensure thorough policy controls over nonpublic financial information, intellectual property, and sensitive or regulated user or customer data.  

To support this use case, the enterprise must deploy in an inline, forward proxy mode with or without an agent on-premises and with a thin agent on any remote or mobile device that is off-network (note that there is a small set of use cases for which a reverse proxy will work for browser-based access of a sanctioned app, and we support this access pattern too!). Here are five critical functional requirements that are also needed to achieve this use case:

  • Be aware of context, e.g., activities such as “share” or “download”
  • Inspect and control cloud traffic even when it originates from a mobile app or desktop native app
  • See and control usage in both sanctioned and unsanctioned services
  • Enforce policy action such as block, coach, or justify in real time
  • Decode the cloud service API to understand the transaction (for forward proxy)

How are you enforcing controls in mobile and remote situations in sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud services? We want to hear from you.

Learn more about this and 14 additional most impactful use cases by downloading The 15 Critical CASB Use Cases.

- An expert on cloud and mobile security, networking, and distributed computing, Lebin brings twenty years of technical innovation and leadership to his role as founder and vice president of application engineering at Netskope. Lebin leads the development of the Netskope Context Engine, a patented innovation and major product differentiator. He is highly regarded in the cloud security community, has authored several patents, and has co-authored the industry’s first Cloud Security for Dummies book.