As companies add more cloud services to their IT environments, the process of managing identities is getting more complex . When companies use cloud services — services they don’t control themselves — they still must develop sound policies around role-based access. They still must grant rights to users who need information to get work done, and they must be able to automatically take away those privileges when people leave a company or change roles. On top of it all, companies using cloud services are also bound by any compliance rules that govern their identity and access management (IAM) initiatives.
Businesses now have to deal with a collection of cloud services, that hold sensitive data obtained from new logins and proprietary connector APIs that often don’t work well with internal IAM systems.
Managing cloud IAM means using a complex set of one-off procedures. This approach may lead to confusions and an inability to audit any of the systems.
Having a sound identity management and governance is core to nearly all IT security functions. That’s why security experts are advocating that companies improve how they manage identities in environments that mix cloud services and enterprise networks.
Here are some measures to ensure cloud IAM in your business
Establish IAM rules
As organizations grow and encounter IAM problems, IT and management generally reach a consensus that business rules must be established. Controls must be effective and reliable if organizations want to regain control of their access management programs.
1. The HR department must have a centralised directory service which maintains the records of the personnel who work in your organization. It could be a pure directory service such as Active Directory, LDAP, or the Azure Active Directory.
2. Establish an automatic scaling and simplicity which overcomes the complexity associated with having multiple access control systems.
3. Automated provisioning to streamline user account setup. The manual process of user account setup is time consuming and error prone. When properly controlled by workflow, additions and changes to user accounts can be automatically fulfilled.
4. An IAM system that offers a built-in access matrix. Typically, too daunting to implement manually, an IAM system can have an access matrix that pairs a subject’s job title, work location, business unit ID, and so on to each role in a system. The intersection of job title and role can result in the following potential outcomes:
- Birthright—access is provisioned automatically
- Allowed—access is provisioned on request
- Reviewed—access is provisioned when designated approvers consent
- Exception—access is not provisioned unless executives approve
- Prohibited—access is not provisioned under any circumstances
5. Detailed record keeping is a basic requirement. Every element about an access request, review, approval, and provisioning must be documented in a way that makes it easy to research requests and approvals to see who was involved.
6. Periodic reviews and audits of the users’ access rights, need to continue even with IAM systems in place. The primary reason is to determine whether every person in a certain role still requires access to those roles. These periodic reviews should include the master access matrix, workflow and approval rules, and rules for segregation of duties.
The reviews provide information whether the approvals were made properly. All the basic worker termination process is working by comparing HR records of existing workers.
7. Operating in multiple IAM environments is the result of rapid cloud environment and organizations having an IAM system for some of their applications and manual processes for others, or multiple IAM systems. To achieve better operational consistency and scale, most organizations will try to have a single IAM platform for all of their principle systems and applications. Migrating authentication / authorization, or even just the workflow and provisioning, is a tricky affair.
8. Selecting and operating the IAM system. Most organizations that implement IAM systems will have applications that IT chooses not to pipe-in to automatic provisioning.
Organizations that undertake the initiative to acquire IAM systems need to understand how authentication, data flows, workflows and account provisioning will work in their own environments. It may be necessary to survey all in-scope systems to determine the viability of integrating authentication and account provisioning. Each system will have its own integration issues, which you should identify beforehand.
Talk to Sysfore’s Cloud Identity Access Management experts today, and let us help you secure your business.
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