For proponents of enterprise cloud computing, it can be hard to admit that there are disadvantages to cloud computing. It’s easier (and more exciting) to focus on the advantages, like increased agility, flexibility, and scalability or the significantly decreased capital and operational costs most cloud adopters expect. There are, however, some cloud computing disadvantages that organizations must keep in mind and work to address if they want to enjoy the full advantages of the cloud. Luckily, emerging Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) technology mitigates many cloud computing disadvantages.
Disadvantage: Third-party storage and processing of sensitive enterprise data
No doubt about it, one of the biggest doubts many privacy-minded enterprises have about the cloud has to do with how much they can trust third-party cloud service providers (CSPs) with sensitive corporate data. For the most part, cloud computing demands that organizations store information on CSP infrastructure and allow the CSP’s applications to access that data. Can that data truly be safe? What if the CSP is breached?
A cloud access security broker addresses the data security issues around third-party cloud computing by securing sensitive or legally protected corporate data before it enters the third party’s cloud. A good CASB will apply tools like encryption or tokenization to data so that it doesn’t reach the CSP in the clear and ripe for exposure.
Disadvantage: The challenges and complexities of a decentralized data environment
In the pre-cloud days, data environments were relatively simple and straightforward to secure. All storage and applications lived on enterprise premises, protected behind firewalls and other perimeter security technologies. Cloud computing shatters that paradigm by requiring that data travel far beyond the enterprise perimeter to ultimately be housed in any one of a number of third party data centers, many of them at far-flung locations. No longer can enterprises rely on infrastructure security appliances and solutions to keep their data safe; no longer do enterprises have complete control of their data at all times. And trying to secure and keep tabs on all those different third party services can be a dauntingly complex undertaking.
Cloud access security brokers simplify the task of securing data across multiple CSPs and put control of data back in the enterprise’s hands by unifying all cloud data protection tools into one platform, allowing administrators to apply security controls across multiple CSP environments and to gain visibility into user and data access and activities throughout the multi-cloud deployment.
In the space of a few years, CASBs have risen rapidly from a new concept to an established and compelling technology worthy of Gartner’s attention and research. As enterprises shift more of their business-critical applications to the cloud, CASBs look likely to become increasingly important to the business world.
Ready to take a deeper dive into the state of cloud data security around the world? Download our free research report, “Global Cloud Data Security Report: The Authority on How to Protect Data in the Cloud Q1 2015,” today.