The security foundation of traditional on-premises IT solutions has always been built into network appliances. Apart from the small role that user accounts and groups have played on-premises architectures rely on policy-driven network protocols to govern access and protect data assets. The security of cloud environments, on the other hand, relies on role-driven security. Cloud roles are linked to identities, and these identities dictate what resources and entitlements the user or service has access to.
This becomes a challenge in multi-cloud environments as there is no way to easily view all the identities across different service providers. Luckily CIEM solutions exist that can facilitate this complex level of identity monitoring. Allowing organizations to track and manage their cloud identities and their entitlements in real-time.
Defining Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM)
CIEM refers to a process that involves the curation and stewardship of identities and their privileges across cloud environments. The goal of CIEM is to determine whether access entitlements are present throughout cloud and multi-cloud environments and subsequently evaluate and mitigate associated risks with entitlements that offer more privilege than is required.
Security teams can use CIEM solutions to govern cloud identities as well as entitlements, in addition to enforcing the principle of least-privileged access to cloud resources. Organizations can use CIEM tools to decrease their cloud attack surface and reduce security risks that result from unnecessarily elevated privileges. The goal is to limit an identity’s cloud entitlements to only those they require.
Entitlements are functional privileges granted to individuals, processes, and data by the cloud provider to conduct important tasks in following the principle of least privilege.
The Significance of CIEM in terms of Cloud Security
As organizations migrate their local infrastructure and applications to the cloud, the cloud infrastructure, and services they use become more impermanent and flexible than their on-premises counterparts. Many organizations utilize more than one cloud vendor, spreading their requirements across multiple cloud environments. Effectively managing these disparate identities and entitlements across all the segregated environments often proves difficult and troublesome, though. Experiencing an increased attack surface, cyber security specialists have moved towards the implementation of CIEM tools to centralize the management of identities and entitlements.
Being able to effectively apply the principle of least privilege, through CIEM, allows organizations to identify and address the occurrence of over-privileged and inactive:
- Service identities
- User Identities
Including any resources associated with these identities in any of the environments of the organizational multi-cloud ecosystem. By replacing over permissive policies with a model of least privilege reduces the overall attack surface of the collective cloud ecosystem.
Permissions can easily be over-allocated to users or workloads without effective entitlement monitoring and security enforcement to create a stronger cloud security posture, you’ll need a CIEM solution. It provides valuable insights into the effective privileges to resources in your cloud identities, governance for monitoring unused capabilities, and a responsive architecture that modifies effective IAM privileges and acts in the event of any mismatched identity groups.
Also read: Top 10 Cloud Testing Tools for 2022
The Key Benefits of Utilizing a CIEM Tool
By gaining a holistic view of all their cloud identities, across their multi-cloud, organizations have the benefit of employing effective policy management across all their environments from a centralized platform. In the long run, using CIEM will also allow security specialists in the organization to improve their policies surrounding cloud identities and entitlement.
CIEM tools also allow security practitioners to rapidly identify suspicious activity in their cloud environment. Allowing them to take defensive steps in time and safeguard the organization against costly data breaches. Some CIEM tools can even act autonomously and act on the SOC’s behalf.
As far as auditability is concerned, CIEM tracking and curation of entitlements throughout your cloud platforms ultimately support you in complying with user permissions standards and regulations.
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management addresses the need for a centralized identity administration tool across any multi-cloud environment. While its built-in analytics capabilities allow security specialists to identify and deal with any anomalies that might arise from misconfiguration or footprints left by threat actors. Ultimately, CIEM tools empower organizations to take control and apply their policy of least privilege to isolate resources and prevent their utilization by undesired users and services. It is this power and versatility that cements CIEM as the cornerstone of sustainable cloud security.