Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) Model: A Simple Explanation for My 5 Year Old Niece

I had the pleasure of hosting a family gathering during the holidays and my five year old niece, Sophia, came up to me and asked me what I do while I sat in front of a computer all day. Having been a sales engineer for over 20 years, I never thought that the most challenging part of my career would be explaining what I do to my niece.

As I thought about how to respond, I felt a little hand yank on my arm and her say, “Hello, Uncle, are you there?”

I told Sophia, “Look at my screen and point at three things you would like to know about.”

Very determined, she looked at the many terms I had pulled up and pointed out CASB, User and MFA.

For CASB, this is what I had in my mind:

CASB Explained

I knew I had the look of a deer caught in headlights, so I promptly snapped out of it and started reciting what I thought would be a good explanation. My first attempt was at the term “CASB.” Of course, I would never tell her that CASB stands for Cloud Access Security Broker, so here is what spilled out of me:

“Dear Sophia, remember how safe you feel at home when you are with your Daddy, Mommy and older sister, Sarah? Well, all this is possible because they love you very much, but also because Daddy and Mommy lock the doors and windows, have an alarm system and are always aware of who comes in and out of the house. This is called security. With security, your whole family is safe. But there are objects your family has that need to be kept secured as well. Inside your house you have a TV, the photos you show me every time I go visit your house, food, your toys and your mom’s jewelry! Outside of the house you have things like your parent’s cars, the boat, things that are kept in the shed and the furniture and papers you and I helped Daddy carry to the storage place across town.”

At that, Sophia asked, “How do you keep all of those things outside of the house safe while my family and I sleep at night?”

So I explained, “Since Daddy and Mommy are so busy caring for you, they don’t have time to keep all of those things safe, so they trust other places outside of their control to make sure all of those things are also safe.”

Worried, she asks “But, how do my parents fully trust that these people are doing enough security?”

I explained, “They also have a security provider who will monitor all of those external places to make sure everything is under control. That is what CASB is, it controls what is happening outside of the house and reports it to your parents to make sure everything, including the indoor valuables like Sophia and the outside places, is all kept safe.”

Worried, she asks “But, how do my parents fully trust that these people are doing enough security?”

Then I pause for a moment to see her reaction.

“Do you have any questions Sophia?” I asked.

She just smiled and started running towards the door. Just before she reached the door knob, she stopped, turned around, gave me a smile, and said, “Thanks for the explanation, Uncle, I will draw a picture and bring it back.”

20 minutes later, this is how Sophia understood CASB:

CASB drawn by my niece