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How do you secure your enterprise environment? The increased use of cloud applications and services requires more complex solutions than firewalls. We examine CASB vs SWG to find the optimal solution. 

Secure web gateways (SWG) are a popular way to protect against malware and malicious websites among enterprises. For many years, they have been the widely accepted standard. However, once cloud applications came to the scene, it became necessary to adapt corporate security strategies. 

Today, many companies turn to a cloud access security broker (CASB) while others rely on an SWG. But in the comparative analysis of CASB vs SWG, which is better to protect digital property?

Managers often wonder whether Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) offer a complete security solution. They are pretty similar in what they offer as they are both proxies. Both CASB and SWG offer data & threat protection, and they are cloud-based. 

Overall, both CASB and SWG represent a step up from firewalls used for network security and protection data in enterprise environments. But despite these similarities, CASB and SWG have very different use cases. 

Cloud-based SWGs have more capabilities, which made them a suitable replacement for the limited firewall. They fulfil the same use case of network/perimeter protection by delivering network security services via the cloud. 

Enterprises that emphasized SWG adoption target web threats via an inline proxy solution with advanced threat defences. These could include pre-execution analysis, sandboxing, machine learning analysis and remote browser isolation. 

However, there is a trend of threats shifting towards cloud apps and software as a service (SaaS); in recent years, SaaS and webmail have been the primary target for phishing attacks. SaaS is also being used to attack SaaS, where the leading example is cloud phishing using fake login forms hosted in trusted cloud storage apps. 

For this reason, CASBs came into play, and they serve to make the firewall (and any notion of perimeter protection) obsolete. 

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A CASB is necessary because both SWGs and the firewalls require traffic to transit through them as a prerequisite for protection. They are deployed either on the corporate network or as a cloud-based extension of the corporate network.

Whenever a user connects to a cloud app, that traffic doesn't transit through the corporate network. Hence the need for CASBs, which were designed for this specific "beyond the firewall" scenario. The increasing volume of off-network cloud traffic translates into a CASB gain. Remote working has indeed become the norm for many organisations, thanks to the global pandemic.

CASBs perform well in addressing the new challenges facing existing solutions as remote working has accelerated disruptive transformation. Network and security transformations like consolidation, reduced complexity and lower costs are among the top components that security managers search for in a CASB solution. 

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) are thus becoming the norm in enterprise IT environments. While not every business needs to invest in a CASB solution right now, it is fast becoming a core part of a strategic technology roadmap.

There are different CASB architectures, and you often have a choice between cloud and on-premises variants, which is useful if you are migrating to the cloud in phases. 

Many CASB’s use a “multimode” approach with a combination of APIs and a proxy. Integration with the APIs allows CASB solutions to extract detailed information about how users access that particular service. But the number of cloud service providers who have created APIs for CASBs to integrate with is quite limited. 

Additionally, API support by CASB vendors is not universal. For many businesses, this makes the need for in-line traffic monitoring via a proxy. 

However, CASB services have several benefits, including visibility, compliance, risk detection and mitigation and data security capabilities. Some CASB services are explicitly designed to fit the needs of large enterprises, but SMBs can use them just as efficiently. 

CASBs are very helpful in helping enterprises to expose shadow IT since most do an excellent job of showing all the applications in use. However, this detailed visibility offers some additional benefits that companies often overlook.

A CASB can increase visibility into the applications that employees — or entire teams — are using to be more efficient in the workplace. Visibility into these applications and their usage can help IT deliver what the business wants and align with business requirements to become more agile and efficient.

If you’d like to know more about adopting a CASB or SWG security solution for your business, visit gend.co/proveit

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