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RSA Conference 2016 special coverage: News and analysis

Reporting and analysis from IT events

CASBs gaining momentum at RSA Conference 2016

Cloud access security brokers are dominating the cloud security conversation at this year's RSA Conference. Here's what vendors are saying about CASBs.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The buzz around cloud access security brokers at RSA Conference 2016 has been so high that even...

top vendors with no CASB offerings were talking up the space.

A year after breaking out at RSA Conference 2015, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) have returned to dominate much of the cloud security conversation at this year's event. In addition to keynotes and panels featuring executives from leading CASBs, including Skyhigh Networks, Bitglass and Netskope, vendors such as Intel and Trend Micro also talked up the CASB market.

Raj Samani, vice president and CTO at Intel Security's EMEA division, said during a panel discussion on cloud computing threats that CASBs address many of the security issues facing cloud and also provide a clear economic benefit for enterprises by allowing them to securely adopt low-cost cloud services.

"I'm a really big fan of CASBs for a number of reasons," Samani said. "We need to be singing the praises of CASB a lot higher because that, to me, provides us with an opportunity to enable cloud. And for the first time, we can do something as an industry that we've never done before, which is write a return on investment for security."

CASBs: Cloud security's bright spot

Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president of cloud research at Trend Micro, spoke glowingly about CASBs during his presentation on defending SaaS, PaaS and IaaS during the CSA Summit Monday. "CASBs -- you're going to hear that term a lot. This is going to be the term this year for cloud security," he said. "This is a hot, hot space."

John Stewart, senior vice president and CSO at Cisco, also sang the praises of CASBs during a cloud security session co-presented by Rajiv Gupta, CEO at Skyhigh Networks. Specifically, Stewart said the visibility into users' activity in cloud apps and services is crucial. "I'm actually very disturbed at the frequency of the conversation I have with a professional inside a company that says 'I don't know [what my users are doing in the cloud],'" he said, calling it "an untenable situation in 2016."

Kamal Shah, senior vice president of products and marketing at Skyhigh, told SearchSecurity that the CASB market's profile has increased greatly in the last 12 months. "Awareness of CASBs today is 100 times more than it was a year ago, and about a thousand times more than it was two years ago," he said. "People know what CASBs are today, and more importantly, customers are asking about them."

Brian Kenyon, chief strategy officer at Blue Coat Systems, which acquired two CASBs last year in Perspecsys and Elastica, said that awareness and demand for CASBs is booming, but he argued that the companies will have to adjust and expand its functionality as the market grows. "Everybody is talking about CASBs," Kenyon said. "And if you think about this space today, it's a lot like what endpoint [security] felt like 15 years ago when you had a desktop firewall, DLP, antivirus and others, and you're realizing you're running six different agents to do the job of what one should do. And what's scary is, you look at the CASB space and you have people going out and buying vendors A, B and C because they each do a different silo [of CASB functionality]."

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Conference Coverage

RSA Conference 2016 special coverage: News and analysis
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