Trends – Navigating the Storm: Mitigating the Threats Posed by Manual Cloud Entitlement Management

The rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure and cloud-native applications has led to new security entitlements challenges for IT organizations. With the speed at which entitlements are needed to be updated, traditional processes such as user access reviews and workflows are becoming obsolete. This is forcing organizations to find new ways to manage entitlements and maintain security.

One of the biggest challenges is the intersection of cloud security and identity access management. As more organizations move their infrastructure to the cloud, they need to find new ways to manage user access and control who has access to sensitive data and systems. This means that traditional manual processes need to be replaced with automation, to ensure real-time accuracy and keep up with the speed at which the cloud is changing. 

According to a study by Gartner, the average time to complete a user access review is 35 days, and the manual nature of these reviews leaves room for human error, further increasing the risk of security breaches. According to recent studies, the average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $3.86 million.

One solution to this challenge is the integration of CIEM, CWPP, IAG, and PAM solutions. These solutions provide a comprehensive approach to cloud security, encompassing everything from user identity management to policy enforcement and threat detection. By automating entitlements, organizations can ensure that access to sensitive data and systems is controlled in real-time, reducing the risk of security breaches.

Over-Entitlement Unlocks Greater Risk

Over-entitlement in the cloud is a growing concern, and a major contributor to data breaches. Research has shown that over-entitlement is a major security risk. One of the biggest threats posed by over entitlement in the cloud is the unnecessary privileged access to critical systems and applications. This can result in a data breach, loss of sensitive information, and even financial loss. A study by CyberArk found that 81% of data breaches in the cloud were due to privileged access abuse.

In addition, a report by CyberScoop found that a significant number of Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts were compromised in 2019 due to over entitlement. The report found that in many cases, administrators had given more access to users than was necessary, resulting in unauthorized access to sensitive data.

It’s important to note that overentitlement is not limited to cloud environments, and can also occur in on-premises environments. However, the cloud presents a unique set of challenges due to its dynamic nature, and the need for organizations to manage access in real-time

Another study by McAfee found that 99% of cloud security incidents were caused by misconfigurations or mismanagement, and many of these incidents could have been prevented if organizations had better control over entitlements. This highlights the importance of automating the process of managing user access and controlling entitlements, to ensure that access to sensitive data and systems is managed in real-time and that security risks are minimized.

Policy Automation is Essential

By automating the process of managing user access and entitlements, organizations can reduce the risk of security breaches, and minimize the costs associated with a data breach. Automation also enables organizations to detect and resolve issues related to user access and entitlements in real-time, reducing the time to detect and contain a breach.

In conclusion, the speed at which cloud infrastructure and cloud-native applications are changing has led to new security entitlements challenges, and the time it takes to complete user access reviews and the threat posed by over entitlement are significant. Automating the process of managing user access and controlling entitlements is essential to reducing the risk of security breaches, protecting sensitive information, and maintaining the security of critical systems and applications.

Scott Clinton
Author: Scott Clinton

Scott has 20 years of industry executive leadership experience leading Developer, Software-defined infrastructure, Big Data, Hadoop, Security and Hybrid-cloud product portfolios for some of the industry’s leading global technology providers including EMC, Hortonworks/Cloudera, MobileIron, Red Hat, Qualys, VMWare, and Sun. Educated in Silicon Valley, Scott holds Bachelors of Computer Systems Design and International Business degrees.