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What is Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management (CIEM) in Cyber Security?
CIEM (pronounced "kim") is a cloud-based security platform that focuses on lowering risk by monitoring and managing access entitlements to and across apps, computers, and service accounts in multi-cloud and hybrid environments.
To assist enterprises to stay up with growing protection needs for cloud-native applications, CIEM solutions automate the detection, analysis, and mitigation of excessive entitlements.
Organizations use CIEMs to detect possible access vulnerabilities in virtual machines, containers, serverless workloads, and other cloud assets and services.
In cloud contexts, Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Manage (CIEM) solutions simplify managing user entitlements and rights. As a result, they are an essential aspect of a company's identity and access management (IAM) and cloud security posture management (CSPM) architecture.
Organizations can solve the problems of adopting consistent access controls and zero trust rules across multi-cloud deployments more successfully using CIEM.
Why is CIEM Required?
Cloud adoption has increased in recent years. Companies are migrating their data and apps to cloud-based infrastructure, and they are doing it across numerous cloud platforms in most cases.
The number of entitlements necessary to establish access control across different platforms rises as cloud installations get more complicated. Users, apps, and systems should have the bare minimum of permissions to execute their duties, according to the concept of least privilege.
The zero-trust security model's basic principle of least privilege is critical for reducing the corporate cloud's attack surface and an attacker's ability to move laterally and achieve their goals within an organization's cloud-based infrastructure. The least privilege entails right-sizing entitlements across all cloud platforms for identities, resources, and services. It is impossible and unscalable to manually manage these entitlements across numerous cloud infrastructures and hundreds of rights, actors, and resources.
Existing methods such as privileged access management (PAM) and identity governance administration (IGA), lack the granularity necessary to safeguard resource access. Although cloud service providers' native tools are helpful, they are not mature, granular, or effective at scale, and they do not support various providers' platforms.
Advantages of CIEM
Organizations may use a CIEM solution to make it easier to apply the least privilege in their entitlements across numerous cloud platforms. Following are some of the primary advantages of a CIEM solution −
A CIEM allows an organization to see what cloud entitlements it has. This makes it simpler for a company to monitor and manage access control in cloud settings.
CIEM systems aggregate user, device, and application identities across an organization's entire cloud deployment. This makes it easy to design uniform access control policies across environments and offers a unified audit trail.
CIEM solutions may assess user activity and assign rights for trends using intelligent correlation and insights.
This can assist in defining groups for comparable users, identifying circumstances where division of roles may be beneficial, and applying best practices within an organization, such as least privilege.
Automatic CIEM systems may be set up to take action automatically in specific instances. Automation, for example, may be used to enforce corporate security standards such as requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA), limiting certain rights to individuals with specific roles, and so on.
Disadvantages of CIEM
Let us now highlight some of the disadvantages of CIEM −
Various Levels of Efficiency
A CIEM-like solution may not be required if cloud use is not adequately matched with business goals. For example, an organization may be consuming the maximum amount permitted by its supplier yet seeing no discernible return on its investment. In this situation, its cloud expenditure is outpacing its ability to acquire new resources. It will ultimately reach a point when too many VMs are shut down due to resource limit violations.
Even though having more in-house control over monitoring, upgrading, or decommissioning VM servers should save money in the long run, such as avoiding unnecessary charges from service providers during initial setup time or when users lack the knowledge to request new capacity before exceeding SLAs, Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management is not free. Installation and upkeep alone might cost tens of thousands of dollars each year for a decent system.
Aside from the significant expenditures of installing a complex CIEM environment, users must also be ready and able to devote sufficient time to learn how it works to fully use its possibilities.
They must ensure that their organization's tight security rules do not clash with those utilized by infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers or other cloud computing services such as Office 365 for Business.
Threats to Security
As an enterprise-wide solution for collecting and analyzing massive volumes of cloud service consumption data, CIEM introduces various security risks. A compromise of sensitive information such as customer credit card details or intellectual property (IP) assets, for example, has been named by various security experts as the top risk among organizations engaging with IaaS/PaaS providers. Since IaaS/PaaS services usually involve disclosing essential business functions – from payroll operations to project management – it may be difficult for users to pinpoint what information might have been exposed in case unauthorized third parties gain access.
How to Choose the Most Appropriate CIEM Solution?
Cloud entitlement management is simple and straightforward with the proper CIEM solution. The most critical aspects while choosing the appropriate CIEM solution are as follows −
CIEM systems should allow for the discovery of all human and nonhuman identities, resources, and account activity. They should also be able to assess all policy kinds and support both federated and native identities.
In today's multi-cloud world, CIEMs are meant to make entitlement management easier. This necessitates native and user-friendly cloud platform support.
Understanding complicated entitlement connections requires visibility. A CIEM should have a graph view that maps identities to resources, as well as the ability to query entitlements using natural language and a metrics dashboard that allows an organization to track entitlement consumption, user behavior, and other data.
A CIEM should examine entitlements to see whether any are underutilized, abused, or otherwise ineffective. This can aid in the development of a more efficient and effective entitlement strategy.
Entitlement Protection − CIEM systems should provide entitlement detection and correction as part of their entitlement protection. Unusual and possibly risky entitlements should be automatically discovered and remedied, either through tickets or an automated response.
Threat Detection and Response − A CIEM system should include User and Entity Behavioral Analytics (UEBA). Unusual behaviors should trigger a SIEM warning and be examined automatically to discover possible patterns.
Cloud entitlements should be based on industry best practices standards, and relevant legislation, according to Security Posture Analytics. A CIEM should analyze policies against these needs automatically, generating gap analyses and suggestions.
Logging and reporting of entitlements are critical for regulatory compliance and incident response. For regulatory reporting, a CIEM should provide complete, consistent logs and template reports.
How Does CIEM Work?
A knowledge engine in Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management collects information about apps' resource utilization at regular intervals. The data is forwarded to CIEM, which combines data from syslog servers, application performance management (APM) tools, and source code repositories to create a searchable database for reporting.
This takes place behind the scenes, so consumers are not aware of how their environment appears or whether it meets their demands. When a change occurs, such as the addition of a new business unit or the expansion of an existing one, the organizational knowledge repository in the CIEM system is updated to reflect these changes.
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