5 Things Partners Need To Know About The Cloud Access Security Brokerage Market

CASB Market Growth Spells Opportunity For Channel

One of the hottest emerging markets in security is that of cloud access security brokerages (CASB), which are riding the growth wave of companies' rapid adoption of cloud services. As companies look to make secure moves to the cloud, the market for CASB solutions is expected to more than double over the next five years, according to Markets and Markets. That growth trajectory presents a massive opportunity for the channel, partners and analysts agree.

As part of CRN's Cloud Security Week coverage, we've pulled together the five things partners need to know about the space, from what the technology offers to where the most revenue opportunity lies. Take a look.

What Defines A CASB?

A cloud access security broker acts as an intermediary between an end user and cloud applications, providing a platform with added security benefits through APIs or proxies. According to Gartner's definition of the market, the CASB is then able to provide visibility and risk assessment, compliance, data security and threat protection.

Some of the key vendors in the space include Bitglass, Blue Coat Systems, CensorNet, CipherCloud, CloudLock, FireLayers, Imperva, Microsoft, Netskope, Palerra, Palo Alto Networks, Skyhigh Networks and Vaultive, according to Gartner.

How Big Is The Market Opportunity?

The CASB market is expected to reach $7.51 billion by 2020, up from $3.34 billion in 2015, according to Markets and Markets. The research firm attributed that growth to rising demand for cloud-based applications from both SMB and enterprise companies. In particular, Markets and Markets says the CASB data security and threat protection capabilities will drive growth in the coming years. Those demands, in turn, are driving significant professional services opportunities, Markets and Markets said, particularly around support, training and maintenance.

More Than Just Shadow IT

Companies often turn to CASB solutions to crack down on shadow IT usage, but that isn't all they’re good for, said Doug Cahill, senior analyst for cybersecurity at the Enterprise Strategy Group. Around shadow IT, a CASB solution can provide visibility, risk rating, usage profiling and data. However, he said CASBs can also be used to provide additional security controls for sanctioned applications in the cloud, including for Office 365, Box, Dropbox and other popular business applications.

Partners can use a conversation around either shadow IT or more controls on sanctioned applications to launch a conversation that can get a client to adopt a CASB solution, he said, then ultimately extend that to cover both.

Big Opportunity For Partners

With a growing market size and increasing demand for cloud and security solutions, there is significant opportunity for partners around the CASB space. JD Sherry, vice president of strategy and innovation at Optiv Security, said he sees customers consuming cloud services at an "exponential rate," with CASB solutions as a key tool that can help "accelerate our capabilities, reduce costs and get services to market quicker" around the cloud. On top of the technology itself, there is a "palpable opportunity" for partners around compelling consulting services, ESG's Cahill said.

Recurring Revenue Opportunity

Beyond the initial technology opportunity, ESG's Cahill said there is an ongoing opportunity for partners to build recurring revenue services around CASB solutions. He said a lot of companies will want a trusted advisor partner to manage the solution for them as part of a managed security services solution, including managing dashboards, quarterly health checks and follow-on services with sanctioned applications.

Follow all of CRN's Cloud Security Week 2016 coverage.