How do you protect identities and privileges for cloud infrastructure

How do you protect identities and privileges for cloud infrastructure?

The average data breach costs an organization $5MM—a potentially fatal blow to any cybersec firm. In response, businesses are adopting cloud infrastructure at an unprecedented rate. This “done fast is better than done right” mentality often results in high-risk identity and access management, and here’s why:

  1. COVID-19’s ripple effect continues. The pandemic forced immediate WFH policies, and businesses often granted global access and excessive privileges as a Band-Aid solution.
  2. Traditional solutions became a trap. As the digital economy grows and WFH becomes the standard, on-prem and geofencing solutions just don’t work.
  3. Managing access to cloud-based infrastructure got complicated. 87% of senior business leaders are prioritizing digital transformation in the upcoming year. To match these priorities, cloud infrastructure adoption is spiking. However, a spike in adoption produces equal risk, especially when it happens too fast.

1 cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds—which means that delaying digital transformation is no longer an option.

Cloud infrastructure stakes have never been higher

90% of all cloud security failures are the result of a customer not adopting a proper cloud security posture. That posture is heavily reliant on a robust identity and access management strategy—and the tools, team, and infrastructure to support it. Without this strategy, executive leaders may experience million-dollar losses, reduced revenue, a tarnished reputation, and lost customer trust.

Given the stakes, inaction makes no sense. But the numbers say otherwise: 49% of executives cite complexity as the biggest roadblock to an effective security organization.

According to Akash Agarwal, Chief Business Officer at Procyon, “Before the proliferation of cloud, there were only a handful of privileged users … fast-forward to today, with the rapid [adoption] of cloud and with CI/CD, you can argue that every developer is a privileged user. Now, you need a frictionless PAM system to manage access without compromising security and productivity.”

The payoff is too good to ignore—organizations with the most mature cloud security practices (which includes a robust identity and access management strategy) outperform their peers by 2x.

What steps can I implement towards a robust approach to identity and access management?

Avoid the temptation to forge a new path without assessing your organization’s history. What decisions, automations, and strategies produced your current IAM situation? Take the time to ask the following questions in order to structure a plan for the future.

Has my organization identified and reduced excess privileges?

The digital economy can pivot in seconds. In this volatile environment, many organizations react by granting global access or excessive privileges, ‘just for now.’ Start by assessing what resources are being regularly accessed by each department, team, and individual. If someone isn’t accessing a resource regularly, the privilege to do so will be revoked.

Of course, take the time to host conversations to ensure you’re aware of your team’s needs. You don’t want to cut access and later realize the ability to process payroll, for instance, was tied to your hasty decision.

Has my organization identified cloud misconfigurations connected to excessive privileges?

Misconfigured privileges come with profound consequences. If an attacker gains access to an environment with misconfigured privileges, they can escalate quickly. Think of it this way: if an attacker can access an account, they can open all the doors that the approved user could under normal circumstances. When you limit the number of doors that each user has the keys to, you reduce unnecessary risk and exposure.

According to Akash Agarwal, Chief Business Officer at Procyon, “…82% of data breaches involve a human element … increasing the impetus for companies to build towards a zero-trust security posture.” That’s why it is important to invest in automated tools. These tools can seamlessly detect misconfigurations and excess privileges. Then, remediation can occur once these issues are detected. (Automations aren’t a silver bullet, either. Absolute security is a goal, not an actual destination—and any service that promises otherwise is selling a myth.)

What are your top three priorities when it comes to remediating privileges/misconfigurations that present the biggest security risks?

Let’s recap.

  1. Start by prioritizing identity-based access threats to cloud storage buckets. This will serve as a strong preventative measure to combat the risk of data breaches.
  2. Monitoring for configuration errors through excessive or default permissions should also be prioritized.
  3. Invest in automated tools to detect misconfigurations/excessive privileges and take steps to remediate once detected.

What happens next? You’ve put in the hard work of protecting identities and privileges for cloud infrastructure, which includes investing in new tools, educating your internal teams, and building a long-term strategy. However, it’s crucial to showcase your IAM strategy to new users or customers, too—we can help.

Why you should shift security left

A robust identity and access management strategy supports easy, secure access to government benefits and services, resilient communication networks, and fresh opportunities for contracts and payment. systems.

To achieve a future supported by such a strategy, it’s critical to shift security left. What does this mean? When your organization is designing products and services, security must be an integral piece of design, instead of being treated like an afterthought. The future of cloud security relies on this paradigm shift—moving from security-minded development to developer-minded security.

If you enjoyed this article, add a comment below or continue the conversation on LinkedIn. Learn more about what Akash and his Procyon team are working on here.

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Team Position2

May 24, 2023

By Team Position2