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A cloud access security broker is a tool that intercepts and manages traffic between cloud applications and users. While it can help secure a cloud environment, the tool may also impact users in undesirable ways, potentially decreasing productivity and leading to shadow IT. When evaluating a cloud access security broker, business and IT leaders need to consider the effects on user privacy, application usability and endpoint mobility.
A cloud access security broker tool deals with private employee traffic, meaning employees may be resistant to using applications that they feel puts personal traffic under a security microscope. Cloud access security brokers must be able to use policies or processes that accommodate a company's written acceptable use standards that every employee agrees to.
If adding a cloud access security broker tool slows cloud application performance or makes the application more difficult to use, users may shy away from that application. Instead, they might seek an alternative cloud application that is not constrained by the cloud access security broker -- which could increase shadow IT risks. IT teams should test and evaluate application performance both with and without the cloud access security broker to gauge the tool's impact on application performance. Then, they should use the results of that evaluation to optimize the application, adjust the infrastructure or select an alternate CASB tool.
A cloud access security broker also accommodates various endpoint devices, since users expect to log in to cloud applications from an increasingly diverse array of products. This kind of endpoint flexibility and cloud application persistence have been important factors in cloud adoption, and cloud access security broker tools should not inhibit that flexibility to any noticeable degree. Otherwise, users may resist using the cloud application in favor of other applications that a cloud access security broker does not protect. However, with cloud access security brokers gaining popularity, vendors will likely address this problem moving forward.
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