The Most Critical CASB Use Cases in the Market Today: Prevent Data Infiltration Involving New Employees

January 19, 2017 David Dorosin

We’ve all heard about data exfiltration, or the unsanctioned removal of data, especially sensitive data, from an enterprise. Most organizations that are considering investing in a cloud access security broker (CASB) put this use case at the top of their list as they know that an increasing amount of data is leaving their environment through unsanctioned cloud services, most of which enable data sharing.

But one thing we don’t hear as often is the use case of data infiltration. That said, for many data exfiltration situations, there is an infiltration on the other end, and sometimes this happens – gasp! – in our own organizations! We’re starting to hear more about this use case as IT and security professionals (unhappily) are finding their organizations on the receiving end of a new employee’s unsanctioned data exfiltration from their prior company.

Think of it this way: A new employee joins your ranks from a competitor. They bring their “stuff” with them – framed photos of their family, books for their bookshelf, maybe a plant for their desk, and perhaps a BYOD mobile device or laptop computer. What about a USB stick with some useful documents on it? Well, today it’s easier than ever to get that “stuff” into the new work environment because they no longer need a computer or even a USB, but simply a browser. They can go to their personal (or their prior company’s instance of) OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive – or any number of the hundreds of cloud storage services – to access those files. An infiltrated file may be a nostalgic photo of the new employee celebrating with old colleagues, an old memo template that they like to use, or…a proprietary contract. That’s where the line goes from completely benign to maybe risky to definitely not kosher!

There are several ways to skin this cat within a CASB, depending on how aggressive you want to be in your detections. You may need to detect the data as it’s coming into your environment from an unsanctioned service (or even unsanctioned instance of a sanctioned service, such as your competitor’s instance of Box, even if you have your own corporate-sanctioned version of Box), or you may only wish to detect it once it enters into the sanctioned instance of your cloud service.

Netskope customers have deployed our all-mode architecture (with nearly 90 percent 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 #11: Prevent data infiltration involving new employees.

How can a CASB enable this use case? A CASB sits in between the user and the cloud service provider and monitors usage, enforces policy, and guards against threats. In order to enforce a policy involving the infiltration of sensitive data, the CASB needs to see all possible traffic and be looking for specific content using a cloud data loss prevention (cloud DLP) policy. From a deployment architecture standpoint, the CASB must be configured as a forward proxy (with a thin agent or mobile profile for remote or mobile employees) in order to detect the download of this sensitive data from any unsanctioned service. If the goal is only to catch it once it’s uploaded to a sanctioned service (cautionary note: a smart employee may cleanse the document of sensitive content before it’s uploaded to your sanctioned instance), this use case can be achieved with a reverse proxy or even API-based Introspection deployment. Here are four critical functional requirements that are needed to achieve this use case:

  • Integrate “new employee” policy with enterprise directory
  • See and control usage in both sanctioned and unsanctioned services
  • Use advanced DLP features such as a custom keyword dictionary (maybe even in combination with other sensitive regular expressions) to delineate sensitive competitor documents
  • Decrypt SSL and decode the unpublished API to understand the transaction (for forward proxy)

How are you detecting the infiltration of sensitive data via 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.

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