Security leaders believe that organizations encounter frequent hurdles with cloud IAM; following best practices could possibly reduce security incidents
CISOs expect that majority of the cloud security issues in the future will be a direct consequence of end-user actions. Enterprises that don’t control the use of the public cloud may inappropriately share sensitive information. It is not surprising as enterprises are known to gravitate towards complex public cloud services and the multi-cloud and hybrid deployments.
Enterprises must deploy cloud ownership policies, set governance guidelines, and find methods to identify people who should be given access to cloud platforms. This is necessary to ensure the prevention of data exposure and financial loss. Unsecured servers, with even expired or removed passwords, can give threat actors access to user search terms and location that puts clients at risk for fraud.
Why security leaders can’t apply the same IAM as the On-Premises, in the cloud solution
Security leaders point out that enterprises often wrongly implement the same IAM policy for both on-premises and cloud. It puts security in a vulnerable state and opens avenues for possible mistakes. They point out that data in cloud environments is highly distributed; however, data center environments are well-controlled and centralized. Thus the same rules can’t be applied to both scenarios.
Secondly, cloud platforms also allow users to be benefitted from elastic services that can be scaled up and down dynamically. As a result, cloud environments undergo a range of changes rapidly, and old IAM strategies suitable for on-premises aren’t relevant to them. Organizations must develop a new range of policies specifically customized for the cloud environment.
Such scenarios are easier said than done, as a majority of the enterprises implement a multi-cloud approach and IAM tools given by public cloud providers. These can’t be expanded beyond the cloud platform used by them; it complicates deploying a standardized IAM solution for all cloud platforms.
Common user errors with IAM permissions
CISOs believe that the most common error in cloud IAM is that enterprises are too generous with their permissions, regardless of their intentions. Employees from different groups (contractors and direct) have access to cloud resources and can manipulate the access and permissions within the cloud environments.
This is caused by the fact that decision making is distributed and owned by employees who are not always educated on the background information required to make effective and informed access decisions. Security leaders acknowledge that often unknowingly, access is given to resources or users who should not have been given access in the first place. As cloud environments are complex and extensive, accurate visibility on who has data access is difficult to identify. Lack of visibility can make organizations blind to removed/expired passwords that may compromise sensitive data.
Avoiding possible incidents
CISOs believe that such security breaches can be avoided by the creation of IAM governance strategies that are specifically designed for cloud platforms. They must ensure they enforce such measures.
Best practices for cloud IAM can be implemented by ensuring visibility to understand who all have access to which specific cloud resources, designing, implementing and enforcing IAM policies that can restrict access to relevant resources based on need, regular investigation of security tools, and exposing misconfigured cloud tools, services and also human errors.