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How to Secure New IT boundaries amid the Adoption of Hybrid Data Centers and Multi-cloud Environments?

Overview

“Change is inevitable” and “Evolution is never-ending”! 

This adage particularly holds true for IT infrastructure and operations. Indeed, in an extremely vast IT setup, new IT boundaries (and new IT challenges) are emerging as organizations model their data center architecture in hybrid (partially on-prem data centers, partly in the cloud) or multi-cloud environments for operational efficiencies.  

Why new IT challenges emerging? The reason being that increasing adoption of multi-cloud and hybridization of IT infrastructure is changing the IT security landscape. From an access control perspective, data breach, insider threats and third-party attacks threats are inevitable as end users have a growing number of access paths to confidential information. 

This emerging IT challenge paves the way for steadfast digital security wherein managing a vast number of digital identities for end users and administrators demands a careful implementation of broader Access Management (AM) framework. 

Access Management (Converged Identity Management) initiative includes Privileged Access Management (PAM), SSO, MFA, Identity and Access Management (IAM), and Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) while Cloud Infrastructure and Entitlement Management (CIEM) capabilities provides risk assessment and threat prediction capabilities in multi-cloud environments.

An effective, carefully crafted, and mature Access Management and CIEM framework not only provides role- and time-based secure access to the target systems and applications but also ensures real-time alerts on perceived threats. Furthermore, from a compliance perspective, a robust IAM and CIEM framework ensures user governance.

In this blog, ARCON has highlighted two time-tested reasons why Access Management and CIEM will spearhead the most sought-after IT security initiatives in the coming days. 

Secure confidential information and highly sensitive data in remodeled data center environments.  

  1. Adoption of Multi-cloud Platforms

In one of its reports, “Projecting the Global Value of Cloud,” Mckinsey says that large enterprises aspire to have roughly 60% of their environments in the cloud by 2025. Indeed, nowadays, almost three out of four businesses adopt multi-cloud platforms. It helps enterprises meet the requirements arising from daily IT operational and infrastructure use cases through various cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Hundreds of human and non-human (digital) identities accessing cloud resources, consoles, and workloads for day-to-day use cases, on the other hand, have exposed enterprises to the risk of a data breach. 

The challenges:

  • Each cloud console has it own set of access management mechanisms 
  • Managing the growing number of complex and dynamic cloud infrastructure entitlements 
  • Difficulty in having complete control and visibility of over-privileged users  
  • Detecting potential threats from anomalous identities 
  • Enforcing access control regulations across multi-cloud environments

ARCON’s CIEM platform addresses administrative challenges spread across cloud platforms. The solution provides the ability to manage the cloud infrastructure through a unified engine. It ensures the monitoring, controlling, and managing of cloud entitlements spanning multiple cloud platforms. 

ARCON Cloud Governance Platform for CIEM ensures: 

  1.  Role-based restricted access to the target systems / applications. 
  1. AI-based automated anomaly detection capability that helps cloud security teams associate a risk score with each entity based on their activity on the cloud platform. It provides the administrator with an overview of the riskiness required to take appropriate action to remediate it using an AI-based recommendation model associated with each entity. 
  1. Controlling over-entitlements (Provision/DeProvision policies,groups) by following the ‘Least Privilege’ principle.

     2. Hybridization of IT infrastructure

The year 2022 can be considered the first year of post-pandemic age. And the world has seen rapid growth in cloud computing to scale IT operations last year. Not just to manage day-to-day administration, there are too many business applications across the IT environment that boost the demand for and importance of cloud technologies. As a result, the proliferation of cloud technologies is now unstoppable.

However, there are organizations that are unprepared (or sometimes reluctant) for this transition. Unlimited security worries, a fear of mismanagement in handling advanced technologies, and sometimes cost are the reasons behind the same. As a result, they end up adopting a hybrid work culture where both on-cloud and on-premises infrastructure, including legacy applications, coexist. 

Challenges in hybrid environments: 

  • Controlling the end-users in a centralized manner
  • Managing all kinds of identities – standard, privileged, and non-human
  • Monitoring and managing the privileged users seamlessly
  • Reducing the number of logins (SSO)
  • Additional layers of validating end users (MFA)
  • Meet compliance requirements- Least privilege principle (identity governance)

ARCON’s Converged Identity platform enables seamless integration of both on-prem and on-cloud IT resources through one unified access control framework. 

Through  a converged identity management platform, IT security and risk management teams

can ensure: 

  1. Analytics and Reporting 
  2. Provisioning and deprovisioning of identity for life cycle management 
  3. Access request
  4. Workflow matrix management 
  5. Identity authentication with MFA 
  6. SSO for seamless user experience 
  7. Authorization of end users 
  8. Identity administration and governance 

Moreover, ARCON provides:

  • A broad set of connectors that eases the integration of IT resources with different applications in a hybrid environment.
  • Flexibility with tailor-made gateways that cater to both on-prem and multi-cloud environments

The role of IGA in today’s IT environment

If we consider the changing threat patterns in the Identity Access Management landscape, strong identity governance has become extremely essential to building a comprehensive IT security infrastructure. Today, the threat surface created by the ever-increasing number of digital identities, is quite large. Every identity, especially a privileged identity, in the IT infrastructure needs to be treated as a perimeter in itself. If not governed, the anomalous behaviour associated with every access goes unnoticed, and analysis of the threat possibilities is also not done. With this, the lifecycle of every identity remains improper, which bears security and compliance risks.

The threats magnify when a large number of human and non-human identities exist without any well-defined role in a distributed IT environment. Critical access management criteria such as fine-grained access, just-in-time privilege access, or rule-based access are extremely important to establish a viable risk assessment practice. It aids in the development of the desired identity lifecycle management. 

ARCON’s Converged Identity Platform addresses the identity governance challenges in every access control use case.

  • It ensures that the right end-user has access to the right system at the right time for a right purpose.
  • It seamlessly validates each identity access and its activities as per the role and time of access.
  • It improves identity lifecycle management by segregating the roles and responsibilities of the identities as per the policies.
  • It modifies end-user details as per configuration and even deletes or revokes elevated rights if required.

Conclusion

A resilient AM and CIEM architecture is the need of the hour in the IT security space. In fact, it is going to drive critical managerial IT decisions in the coming days. A mature AM and CIEM model solution will aid in the creation of a robust digital ecosystem, whether it is cloud implementation, hybridization of work environments, or managing identity governance in a hybrid IT environment.

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