Navigating the complex world of IAM and cloud security

Managing identity permissions and cloud security risks has become a critical challenge as organisations increasingly move their data and applications to the cloud. The growing number of cloud-based applications and services has made it more difficult to ensure that only the appropriate users have access to the appropriate resources, and that access is granted on a least privilege basis. As a result of the lack of visibility into who has access to what resources, the risk of data breaches and insider threats has increased. 

The challenge of ensuring secure access to cloud-based resources 

Recent trends, such as the proliferation of mobile devices and hybrid work, have exacerbated the problem of managing identity permissions and cloud security risks. As a result, there is an increased demand for identity and access management (IAM) solutions that can provide secure access to corporate resources from any location. However, it has resulted in an increase in the number of endpoints that sit outside of the corporate firewall that must be managed and secured, complicating the task of managing identity permissions and cloud security risks. For today’s enterprise environment, identity is the new perimeter.  

In addition to these challenges, there are continuing pressures for organisations to comply with industry regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA. To ensure compliance, robust IAM solutions that provide visibility and control over user access and permissions, as well as monitoring user activity, are required. According to a recent Forrester Consulting study: “59% of respondents cited compliance with external regulations and requirements as the most important driver of IAM investment.” This statistic reinforces the notion that compliance is a top priority for businesses and that robust IAM solutions are required to ensure compliance. 

Three considerations for managing identity permissions and cloud-based risk 

  • Identifying potential risks: Identifying potential risks is the first step in managing identity permissions and cloud security risk. A CISO should be aware of the types of data stored in the cloud, where they are stored, who has access to them, and the type of authentication used to access the data. Identifying this information allows organisations to gain a better understanding of their vulnerability to cyber attacks and other malicious activities. Furthermore, knowing what data is stored in the cloud allows organisations to better manage who has access to it and ensures appropriate levels of security controls are in place. 
  • Managing identity permissions: After identifying potential risks, a CISO must focus on managing identity permissions. This includes determining who should have access to specific data, implementing role-based access control, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), and reviewing user privileges on a regular basis. Role-based access control ensures that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive data or systems, whereas MFA adds another layer of security by requiring users to enter additional credentials before gaining access. Finally, regular audits ensure that user privileges are in line with current company policies and procedures. 
  • Mitigating cloud security risk: After managing identity permissions, a CISO must focus on mitigating cloud security risk. This includes: 
  • Implementing strong encryption protocols. 
  • Regularly updating software with new patches or releases as soon as they become available. 
  • Using secure networks for communication. 
  • Frequently backing up critical data. 
  • Monitoring system logs for suspicious activity. 
  • Training employees on cyber security best practises, such as creating strong passwords or recognising phishing emails. 
  • Developing an incident response plan in the event that malicious activity occurs.  

Organisations can reduce their exposure to cloud security risk by taking these measures seriously and adhering to industry standards for cyber security best practises. 

Addressing the complex challenges of IAM and the cloud 

According to a Ponemon Institute survey: “62% of IT professionals believe cloud-based services are the most important trend driving the need for IAM solutions.” This figure emphasises the significance of IAM in the context of cloud-based services and applications resulting in the requirement of a comprehensive IAM solution that can provide visibility and control over user access and permissions, ensure industry compliance, and mitigate the risks associated with cloud-based applications and services. 

As a result, managing identity permissions and cloud-based security risks has become increasingly difficult. As businesses rely more on cloud-based applications and services, a comprehensive IAM and cloud security solution is more important than ever. This type of solution should be able to integrate with existing IT environments and cloud services, as well as provide a centralised dashboard for managing identity and access policies, monitoring user activity, and detecting and responding to security threats. 

Read part 2 of our blog to learn more about the most recent solutions to manage identitybased permissions and risks in a multicloud environment: