Pandemic-induced disruptions have catapulted security into a top business priority. The volume and viciousness of cyber attacks hit the roof during the pandemic as the corporate network extended to embrace the homes of employees working from living rooms and kitchens, accessing sensitive business information from personal devices. The State of Security Report 2022 finds 65% of organisations reported an uptick in attacks during the pandemic with 49% facing a data breach in the past two years.
As digital transformation gathers pace, cloud-adoption has reached a new phase with multi-cloud becoming common amongst 73% of organisations. This has heightened complexities in managing security and compliance as the self-service nature of cloud creates new challenges: for example, cloud sprawl, idle resources, and unmonitored instances. What’s more, the surge of new technologies, such as serverless and containers, is adding further complications as traditional methods of monitoring do not apply in these environments. At the same time, a dispersed, remote workforce is creating new blind spots and exposing vulnerabilities of perimeter-based security.
Enter zero-trust security; an approach that rejects the assumption that the inside of the perimeter is safe and verifies every time access is requested from outside or within the network. Leveraging the principle of least privilege, zero trust does not trust anything and requires every user and device to be authorised and authenticated at each layer.
Zero Trust with Microsoft Entra
Taking cognisance of the growing complexities, Microsoft recently launched the Entra suite of products to modernise authentication and reduce the difficulties in managing security in a multi-cloud environment. Entra is a central security management platform used to manage accounts across public clouds including AWS, Azure and GCP.
Microsoft has used Azure Active Directory as the foundation to provide new capabilities for a zero-trust approach.
The two main components of Microsoft Entra are:
Microsoft Entra Permissions Management: As Cloud deployments mature and more automated workloads—including containers, scheduled tasks, data pipelines and DevOps—come into play, a shift from role-based to permission-based access on tasks, toolchains and workloads has become imperative to provide the right identities with the right kind of permissions. The Cloud Identity Entitlement Management (CIEM) solution provides visibility into permissions to discover, remediate and monitor risks for all user and workload identities. The Permission Creep Index scans the environment to inform which identities have used which permissions, and which permissions are unused to bring out the gap between permissions granted and those that are actively being used.
Microsoft Entra Verified Identity: Based on decentralised identity standards, Entra makes identity verification portable and self-verifiable. Identity credentials issued by identity providers can be accepted with confidence and at the same time require verification by the user. The key is that the user becomes the custodian of the identity and can use it at multiple touchpoints to complete tasks in personal and professional life without relying on institutions to validate the individual’s identity.
Entra Verified Identity equips organisations with capabilities to remotely onboard employees and external partners, access high value applications inside the organisation, and accomplish account recovery.
Harnessing Microsoft Entra is Key
A governance strategy strengthened with an integrated CIEM solution to discover, remediate, and continuously monitor permissions significantly boosts security posture. But making it work in a constantly evolving environment requires experience and expertise.
Simply implementing tools delivers limited benefits unless the visibility is translated into insights and gaps are fixed with a strategic approach, which would entail detailed assessment of the security index, mapping business requirements, analysis of process maturity, and designing a robust strategy for identity management—all of which is time consuming for an internal IT team and takes away focus from value creation. What’s crucial is that the speed and scale of a cloud environment calls for urgency and responsiveness that only a specialised partner can bring in.
As a specialised Microsoft Solutions Partner in Security, ITC Secure has invested in building capabilities in cloud security, identity and access management and threat protection. With in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and the threat landscape, we can quickly map business requirements to deliver quick business impact.
If you would like to know more about ITC or how we can help you strengthen your security posture, email us at [email protected].