Why Are CIEM Solutions Necessary?
Modern organizations continue to migrate more of their core operations to the cloud, extending processes and associated workloads, applications, and data across platforms from cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Some multicloud environments can include all of these and more.
A single organization’s cloud ecosystem can have millions of individual permissions granted to people, systems, and cloud services, including non-federated accounts, default and misconfigured permissions, and even unused permissions. Left unchecked, these massively widen your attack surface, making it easier for attackers to infiltrate cloud deployments. According to Gartner projections, by 2023, 75% of cloud security failures will result from inadequate management of identity, access, and privileges.
Widely used legacy security solutions such as privileged access management (PAM) don’t fully address modern entitlement issues—they either can’t keep up with the ephemeral, flexible nature of the cloud, or they focus on cloud configuration without offering visibility into enterprise entitlements. CIEM addresses these issues by providing deep visibility into cloud entitlements alongside automated remediation to help your organization maintain least-privileged access.
Components of CIEM
There are various CIEM solutions in the market, and no two are made entirely from the same parts or share all the same functions. However, they all share some components at a basic level, such as:
- Identity governance: Rules that determine which human and nonhuman entities are subject to which policies
- Security policies: Rules that determine the who, what, when, where, and why of cloud and workload access
- Centralized management: A dashboard that lets your team manage your entire multicloud ecosystem from one place
The Role of CIEM in Modern Cloud Security
For a typical modern organization, managing cloud access risk is more than just knowing who has access to what. In fact, in many cases, there’s no “who” to manage at all. More than half of today’s cloud entitlements are granted to applications, machines, and service accounts. OT (e.g., factory floor servers and robots) and IoT devices (e.g., card readers, shipping trackers, printers) connect to applications and databases that also interconnect and constantly exchange information.
Entitlements need to be finely delineated to prevent inappropriate data sharing. However, with potentially thousands of users and services, tens of thousands of resources, and tens of millions of individual entitlements to manage, a human team simply can’t act quickly or accurately enough to keep up as requirements change. In today’s environments, only CIEM and the power of automation can do that.
The Challenges of Entitlement Management
Let’s look quickly at the specific challenges you can address with CIEM. An effective CIEM solution encompasses general identity and access management (IAM) configuration as well as privileged access management, providing automated governance to help you:
- Overcome roadblocks to fast, agile DevOps so developers can continue to deploy code quickly and securely
- Manage complex monitoring and governance in dynamic multicloud environments that can span the globe
- Rein in excessive permissions to prevent misuse or abuse by human and nonhuman accounts, including privileged accounts
- Maintain visibility and ensure compliance across multiple cloud infrastructures with different security frameworks, governance requirements, etc.