API’s Vs. Proxy For Cloud Security

There are still many debates regarding the security of cloud platforms and infrastructures. Cloud platforms give organizations the opportunity to leverage a vast inventory of resources, but at what cost? Though a cloud platform does not have to be inherently less secure than any other type of platform, there are additional challenges when it comes to maintaining a strict level of security. Both APIs and proxies have been traditionally used to secure cloud platforms, but APIs are rapidly becoming the preferred security model.

CASBs and Automated Security Solutions

Cloud-based infrastructures often have an extremely wide scope. In addition to the already open access cloud platform, there are third-party integrated solutions that need to be considered. Because of this, many companies have been moving towards automated security solutions. The more highly automated a security system is, the far less likely it is for a breach to occur and go unnoticed. Automation is used to leverage technological resources to provide better security with fewer man hours.

A CASB (cloud access security broker) is often installed to this end. CASBs operate as an interface between users and cloud services, providing better cloud security by maintaining authentication and policies. CASBs often come in one or two models: APIs and proxies. Which solution is better for an organization may depend on the volume and complexity of their infrastructure.

APIs vs. Proxies for CASB Control

Proxies are often the security solution that IT professionals are most familiar with. A proxy mode simply filters traffic and identifies suspicious activity or signs of a network breach. A proxy is able to filter traffic in real-time, which is designed to ensure that nothing harmful to the system is able to penetrate the system. Unfortunately, the downside of a proxy is that it tends to slow down a network. Because proxies must filter and manage traffic in real-time, all traffic and connectivity will be slowed.

API-based solutions instead integrate with applications and monitor the applications themselves for security. This has the additional advantage of providing multi-layered security features for a variety of different applications, all depending on their priorities and how critical their data is. However, it also means that IT professionals will need to manage their granular security systems. API-based solutions don’t slow down the network the way a proxy may and is highly secured because it secures each application on its own.

Today, most professionals are moving towards API-based CASB control for their cloud-based networks. Though proxy-based controls may be sufficient for smaller networks, API-based control is more likely to be accurate and efficient when it comes to larger networks and networks dealing with significant volumes of sensitive data. Either way, CASB control is generally the preferred model for cloud-based security platforms.

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