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What is sandboxing? How does cloud sandbox software work?

Cybercrime is robust - new paths to stealing data or installing malware appear every day. One of the most dangerous tools, that we all spend lots of time on, is the world wide web. Cybercriminals can seek to gain access to a company or individual’s network by embedding false URLs, attachments, and files in phishing emails or by planting misleading links. There’s no shortage of ways to try and steal data. Web security, specifically Secure Web Gateway, exists to block those requests and uses cloud sandbox software to test them for malicious intent.

What is cloud sandboxing?

A cybersecurity sandbox is an environment used for opening files or running programs without interfering or affecting the device they’re on. Sandboxing is used to test code or applications that could be malicious before serving it up to devices. In cybersecurity, it’s used as a resource to test software that could end up being categorized as “safe” or “unsafe.” Malware and cyberthreats are becoming more sophisticated. Malicious applications, links, and downloads could potentially gain endless access to a network’s data if they’re not tested by sandbox software first. Ultimately, cloud sandboxing provides an additional layer of security to analyze threats and separate them from the network. Network and web security are important layers in a company’s overall cybersecurity strategy to ensure online threats don’t compromise operations.

Sandboxing can also be used as a tool to detect similar malware attacks and block them before they enter a network. The system allows IT to test code and understand exactly how it works before it invades an endpoint device with malware or viruses; this gives IT teams insight and tips on what to look out for in other scenarios.

What are the differences between cloud-based and appliance-based?

Software solutions from the cloud are becoming the new normal for businesses. Physical appliances are being used less and less, as cloud based software boasts remote working benefits, backup and recovery benefits, and cuts the costs of in-house hardware.

Cloud-based sandboxing is the use of sandbox software in a virtual environment. This means that when URLs, downloads, or code are tested in the sandbox, they are completely separated from the computer or any of the network devices. Running potentially malicious files directly on a company or personal appliance can be dangerous. Using cloud sandboxing eliminates the need for an expensive testing appliance that will need maintenance, updates, and ultimately depreciate and cost extra money.

Sandboxing on appliances or company hardware investigates those applications, files, or downloads without any data leaving your network. Off-network users, such as remote workers, therefore become exposed as the appliance sandbox goes blind when they are traveling or are simply away from the office. Investigation is limited in appliance-based sandboxing, as malware has been known to hide in SSL traffic. If your software doesn’t have the capacity to inspect all SSL traffic, threats could slip through and become exposed to the network through hardware.

Both cloud-based and appliance-based sandboxing software can improve protection against zero-day threats, although cloud antivirus is a better option for large networks or businesses with remote workers and guest networks.

Which option is best for your business?

Companies with a large network and an abundance of remote workers would likely benefit more from cloud-sandboxing, as it keeps traveling employees protected. Cloud-based can scale with a company, whereas appliances will need to be traded in for larger capacity ones, or additional items will need to be purchased. Appliances aren’t capable of sandboxing suspicious content from a distance, but they could be ideal for a smaller company that has few endpoint devices that do not leave the office building.

How does cloud sandboxing safeguard the entire network from threats?

Possibly the most notable benefit of having cloud sandboxing, as opposed to appliance-based sandboxing, is the ability to be covered remotely. Once a user leaves the network, they could be exposed to threats as company appliances cannot travel with them. The cloud sandbox can protect the entire network - regardless of location. The Avast Business Mobile Workforce Report shows the rising numbers of remote workers and the importance of securing on-the-go employees.

Remote employees are consistently using various internet and web connections from guest networks that can be hijacked or used for cybercrimes due to the large number of people using these connections, coupled with the lack of protection.

CyberCapture vs sandboxing

Cybercriminals focus on quick, innovative schemes to breach a network and affect as many users as possible in a short time frame. CyberCapture is used to detect seemingly malicious files that are unknown and capture them for deeper analysis. This also takes place in the cloud, to ensure harmful materials do not encounter the device. Malware that uses encryption to hide its true intentions is detected by CyberCapture and the creator’s false code is cleared tin order to uncover its true commands and instructions. It is then identified as safe or unsafe, and quarantined so it is no longer executable on the device.

In comparison, cloud sandboxing doesn’t have to be automated. It can be used by any user or IT team that seeks to run a given file or application in a cloud-based environment isolated from the device. Sandboxing is used for observation of untrusted files to gain insight. The application or file can be run if needed, with all changes being discarded once the sandbox is closed to eliminate risk of corrupted devices.

Our endpoint security solutions are always getting smarter with the use of sandboxing to feed CyberCapture, constantly adding to our discoveries of what to look for in malicious or non-malicious files.