CASB vs IAM: Compare Cyber Security Solutions

Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and identity and access management (IAM) tools are both security solutions designed to help protect enterprise assets stored in the cloud from threats. But when it comes to CASB vs IAM, how exactly do these two solutions differ? And how do they work together?

To begin with, CASBs monitor cloud-based applications, data, and services. Conversely, IAM manages user access to cloud resources based on identity information — such as usernames and passwords, or digital keys and certificates.

CASB vs IAM: Do They Work Together?

Each tool serves to improve visibility across hybrid IT infrastructure while enhancing collaboration between security teams. CASBs monitor activity across a variety of cloud-based services, which means they have a bird’s eye view of how people are accessing applications from different locations.

CASBs alert IAM tools when new devices appear, and IAM checks with CASB to see what credentials were used.

CASBs alert IAM tools when new devices appear on the network, and IAM checks with the CASB to see what credentials were used to gain access. Once the CASB tells IAM about new devices connecting with corporate assets, IAM can check user access levels against permissions in place, blocking or removing privileges for certain accounts while leaving others untouched.

These two systems to work together to provide robust protection against common threats, like phishing schemes or malware infections, through vulnerability scanning.

How Can You Integrate IAM With CASB?

Integration techniques differ depending on your specific needs and priorities, but some simple ways to increase efficiencies can be achieved without too much additional effort.

By providing IAM admins with a live view of activity inside protected apps — including relevant metadata — CASBs allow them to better assess who has privileged access at any given time.

This gives companies better oversight over insider threats, as well as a way to find suspicious activity based on what users have been doing inside critical business applications.

Read more: Access Control Security Best Practices

This level of granular visibility provides security pros with insights into whether employees have been performing actions that deviate from established protocols. By highlighting potentially malicious behavior upfront, IAM admins can quickly take steps to stop potential incidents before they become full-blown problems. The two tools are most effective when used in concert with one another.

Roles of CASB and IAM in Security Infrastructure

These two systems work together to protect enterprise data whether it resides in a private or public cloud environment.

CASBs in Security Infrastructure

As more organizations turn to cloud services — either as part of a multi-cloud strategy or as a result of buying into one solution — their approach to ensuring compliance has also changed. Here are five roles of cloud access security brokers in the overall security infrastructure.

Provide a Compliance Shield for Cloud Applications

CASBs provide an additional layer of security between cloud applications and users. Even if a breach occurs at a provider level, there is less risk of data being exposed from within an enterprise’s corporate network.

Facilitate Discovery & Assessment

Another primary goal of using a CASB is to perform risk assessments on cloud usage without forcing IT teams to grant access to privileged accounts or risk sharing login credentials. This allows CIOs and CISOs to control access while still providing full visibility into usage patterns via reports.

User Behavior Compliance

One of many key activities monitored by a CASB is user behavior. Its sophisticated rules allow administrators to detect abnormal activities inside customer environments and notify staff of potential policy violations before damage can be done.

Granular Controls

Using powerful policy definitions, administrators can define granular access controls based on resource types or attributes, such as geography or operating system type.

Generate Reports

A good CASB will not only track present issues but also maintain records of past events, allowing organizations to demonstrate compliance to regulators and auditors as necessary.

Read more on Best CASB Software Vendors for 2021

IAM in Security Infrastructure

From a high level, it is important to consider identity and access management in its role of safeguarding the organization’s most valuable data assets. At its core, IAM is focused on protecting these assets by managing access to IT resources.

Here are four roles of IAM in the overall security infrastructure:

  • Reducing the risk of unauthorized access by malicious actors via multifactor authentication
  • Gathering audit information for accountability and compliance
  • Supporting requests for personal access through privileged account management
  • Conducting vendor due diligence

Read more on IT Business Edge: Best IAM Solutions & Tools 2021

How Do They Compare?

Both CASBs and IAM tools play an important role in enterprise IT security by focusing on different aspects of protecting digital assets. CASBs offer application access control by analyzing data that comes in and out of an organization. IAMs, on the other hand, use multifactor authentication to enforce user-specific security controls.

These two technologies often go together, as they protect digital assets from different angles.

Read next: VPNs, Zero Trust Network Access, and the Evolution of Secure Remote Work

Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi is an award-winning public speaker and a passionate writer. He writes to edutain (Educate + Entertain) his reader about Business, Technology, Growth, and everything in between. He is the coauthor of the e-book, The Ultimate Creativity Playbook. Aminu loves to inspire greatness in the people around him through his actions and inactions.

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