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enterprise companies have kept a close eye on their data for years by building their own datacenter or renting space from large datacenter like Rackspace and Verio where they can keep a close eye on their data.  This is expensive no matter how you slice it but with software as a service (SaaS) growing in popularity do to its price point, enterprise companies are finding it hard not to move some if not all of their applications out of their datacenters.  Lets take a look at one of the most critical applications used by all companies in some way or another, email.  Love it or hate it, email mailboxes contain client names, invoices, contracts, internal conversations and spam just to name a few items.  The longer an employee works for their company, the mover email they collect.  Combine time with a growing number of employees will lead to storage constraints.  The cost of retaining, maintaining and upgrading does tend to get up there.  Moving email to a SaaS offering like Office 365 takes away all of overhead or running an email system.  Personal home directories and company shares tend to create storage challenges within traditional datacenters.  Cloud storage options like Box, oneDrive and Google Drive are replacing enterprise file servers.  The is great from a cost and operational prospective.  The enterprise is no longer held down by IT and can focus on their core business.  The challenge is controlling the data.  How can the enterprise protect its data when it does not reside in their data center?  The answer is CASB.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) is software used to give companies some control over their sanctioned cloud applications.  The software ties into SaaS application through API calls.  Once the connection is made, the CASB application can provide a report on what information is within the SaaS offering.  This data can be used to create rules to alert the appropriate personnel to take action.  Rules can also be created to remove, quarantine and prevent data types based on classification from existing within SaaS offering.  CASB is not a cure all.  It is a tool used within the enterprise based on their security strategy.  It help visibility, retain compliance, secure date and prevent threats but it has to be tuned to do so.

Before selecting a CASB solution, it is important to understand the enterprise goals.  What are they trying to protect?  Once that is understood, evaluate CASB service providers. Not all CASB solutions work the same.  They may not support an application you are using or considering to use which is why it is important to have a list of questions.  The list will have your must haves and like to have.  You will use this list to rate them base on if they can do what you need and if so, how well they can do it.  After you have reviewed the options, its time to select a CASB service provider that will work best for you.