In the age of the cloud, strong identity security has become more critical than ever, especially as threat actors increasingly target the cloud–where most new IT workloads are deployed. But by implementing zero trust policies with attention to identity permissions, practicing identity governance, and other strong identity practices like multi-factor authentication, you can make it more difficult for them to succeed. Defending your cloud requires a holistic approach encompassing all aspects of your organization’s IT infrastructure.
The Need for Strong Identity Security
The key to cloud security is identity and access management (IAM). IAM solutions help you manage user accounts and access control and ensure adherence to data security rules. By enforcing strict password protocols and multi-factor authentication (MFA), you can reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your system. With 95% of new digital workloads expected to be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025, organizations must take proactive measures to protect their data and infrastructure.
Why is the Cloud the New Target of Hackers?
It is not just the rapid use of the cloud that makes it so attractive to cybercriminals, but the misuse of it as well. According to Palo Alto, 99% of cloud identities are misconfigured. This lack of security makes it easy for hackers to steal data or gain access to networks. Securing the cloud begins with the basics. Cloud environments require short and long-term security planning, implementation, and strategy, and practicing cyber hygiene is the first step of that strategy.
Logically Grouping Users and Resources
To ensure that only authorized users and resources have access to your cloud environment, you should logically group users and resources according to their roles. This can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data or systems. Additionally, by using IDAAS solutions such as Azure AD, Okta, and JumpCloud, you can easily manage user accounts and ensure that the right people have the right level of access.
Identity & Access Management (IAM)
The key to successful identity and access control is accurate identification, authentication, and authorization of users. Organizations must be able to confidently verify that users are who they say they are before granting them access. This process involves user credentials such as passwords, biometrics, tokens, and other forms of two-factor authentication. IAM solutions can provide a comprehensive view of user access to cloud resources, enabling organizations to easily monitor who has access to what and manage those privileges accordingly.
Covering the Bases with Zero Trust
No enterprise is entirely immune to cyber attacks; however, implementing zero-trust policies can go a long way when building a holistic defense against threat actors who are eyeing a vulnerable cloud. Threat actors cause the most damage when able to move laterally through a victim’s network, escalating privileges along the way. The zero trust principle makes this more difficult by eliminating the concept of ‘trust by default,’ requiring each user and machine to authenticate before receiving only the specific access pre-determined for their role.
While most people think of zero trust as a network segmentation strategy, this is a mistake. Though zero trust is effectively enforced at the network layer, enterprises should consider how to enforce zero trust via their cloud resources.
Develop a Cloud Operational Strategy
Clouds are designed to help businesses scale and store data, not to provide security. For many organizations, clouds are managed by DevOps and CloudOps teams rather than those responsible for cybersecurity. In siloed organizations, security measures may not be uniform across these various teams and could cause discrepancies in how the cloud is protected. To mitigate this risk, organizations need to develop and implement a uniform and uniform cloud operational strategy managed by a central team responsible for governance, security, and compliance. This includes policy enforcement and ensuring that all members adhere to the same operations baseline and will help to defend the cloud infrastructure.
Secure your Cloud with YouAttest
YouAttest provides organizations with identity governance for enterprise cloud environments to help create proper roles, privileges, and access policies. YouAttest’s IGA solution helps organizations protect their users by allowing the enterprise to conduct full identity user access reviews–reviewing all relevant user access to secured resources. These access reviews are required by almost all IT governances, including HIPAA/HITRUST, SOX, SOC, PCI-DSS, ISO 27001, GLB, and CMMC.
By reviewing the users and permissions, risk managers can identify:
- Orphan Accounts
- Users with misappropriated admin abilities
- Users with erroneous privileges
- Users with non-necessary (and often expensive) SaaS access
- Users aligned with no or incorrect managers
Strong identity security is essential for cloud IT services to protect organizations from malicious attacks. By utilizing tools such as strong identity governance, proper procedures like user access reviews, modern IAM solutions, and a cloud operational strategy, organizations can ensure that their users are securely authenticated and that all activity on the cloud infrastructure is monitored and reported accordingly.
At YouAttest, our experts are dedicated to helping organizations secure their cloud environments and protect themselves against modern cyber threats. With our comprehensive user access reviews – enterprises can ensure that users only have access to the resources they should have (NIST PR.AC-6, “The Principle of Least Privilege”).