CIEM Strategy

With over 92% of organisations adopting a multi-cloud strategy, user identity and access management has become extremely challenging, especially in large organisations. A Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solution tackles this challenge by providing a unified view of access and permissions of users across all cloud services being used. It also monitors and analyses the least required user rights and privileges based on past history, offers redemption, and provides alerts in the event of a breach, deletion, or theft.  

The problem with Admin access and user permissions 

We know that cloud adoption and migration have been on the rise over the last few years. Gartner predicts that over 95% of businesses will use cloud computing by 2025. And, Markets & Markets estimates that cloud adoption will grow at a CAGR of 16.3% between 2021 and 2026. 

But, as more businesses move to the cloud and use multiple cloud servers to store their data, a unique challenge has arisen. Businesses are unable to establish “proper permissions” to allow access to cloud resources. For instance, businesses need to be wary of who has access to which data, because a user with too many permissions can accidentally delete critical data. Of course, this must be avoided at all costs.  

Managed permissions: Who’s problem is it anyway? 

From a cloud provider’s perspective, they offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and provide security to the infrastructure being rented out.  

However, it’s up to businesses to secure and manage permissions for their cloud data. At a time when resources (within a company) keep changing, and cloud permissions work differently with each provider, businesses are left to fend for themselves when it comes to monitoring resource movement (within or outside an organisation), and changing permissions across each provider accordingly.  

So, what is the solution to this challenge? That is where a next-generation Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solution is needed.  

In its Hype Cycle for Cloud Security report in 2020, Garner defined CIEM as ‘offerings that are specialised, identity-centric SaaS solutions focused on managing cloud access risk and governance of entitlements in hybrid and multi-cloud IaaS.’ 

In layman terms, this means the process of managing permissions and user identities in a cloud environment. CIEM identifies which users have what access rights, and the extent of their permissions, and mitigates risk by identifying users who have more access than they should.  

Why Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) Matters 

In 2022, Flexera released a report which revealed that today, 92% of organisations have a multi-cloud strategy, and 82% of organisations have a hybrid cloud infrastructure.  

Cloud providers traditionally provided identity and access management tools that worked for their own cloud service. But, as businesses started using multiple cloud servers, they found it challenging to get a centralised view of user access and permissions, leading to a higher risk of data deletion or theft.  

A Merit expert says, “CIEM solutions solve this problem by enabling cloud security teams to get a unified view of entitlements across cloud services and understand ways to mitigate risk. However, it is not only about deciding to buy a CIEM software product, but also partnering with a proven technology solutions partner to ensure the implementation is foolproof.”  

The Advantages of Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management Solutions  

  • They use machine learning and advanced analytics tools to present a unified view of access and entitlements across multiple cloud infrastructures 
  • They improve identity and access management by determining the least access required for each user, identifying and revoking access to former employees of the organisation, giving limited period access to data or permissions on a need-to basis, and more 
  • By monitoring entitlements and permissions, a CIEM solution enables organisations to protect data and manage user permissions effectively 
  • They actively detect potential threats, theft, and unauthorised user activities 

Choosing the Right CIEM Solution 

Finding the right CIEM solution for your organisation can depend on a number of factors like the size of the company, the number of cloud infrastructure servers, the number of users, and such. A few aspects you should consider when looking for a CIEM solution are;  

  • Identify the extent of visibility the CIEM solution offers, the nature of checks it conducts, the entitlements it covers, the issues it can identify, how customisable it is, and the level of coverage it offers  
  • Find out the level of automation and intuition it provides, the rights and privileges it requires to operate effectively, and the number of cloud infrastructures it can operate across  
  • Find out what kind of remediation options are available, and the level of automation that the CIEM solution offers 
  • Identify how it presents alerts, solutions, and actionable insights, and how quickly it detects and alerts the security team 

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Migration, Data Security and CIEM 

Merit works with a broad range of clients and industry sectors, designing and building bespoke applications and data platforms combining software engineering, AI/ML, and data analytics. 

We migrate legacy systems with re-architecture and by refactoring them to contemporary technologies on modern cloud ecosystems. Our software engineers build resilient and scalable solutions with cloud services ranging from simple internal software systems to large-scale enterprise applications. 

Our agile approach drives every stage of the customer journey; from planning to design development and implementation, delivering impactful and cost-effective digital and data transformations. This includes our ability to choose and implement the right CIEM solution for your business, ensuring data protection in a multi-cloud environment.  

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