Last updated at Wed, 27 Dec 2023 15:39:50 GMT

The flightpath

If your organization has ever thrown up its collective hands in frustration over chasing endless permissions to be verified or been asked to increase the number of identity policies as you scale up further into the cloud, you likely know how quickly this “situation” can lead to chaos. But you don’t want to hear about that, you’ve likely already lived it.

Implementing cloud Identity Access Management (IAM) boundaries can seem like an oxymoron in the midst of rapid growth or need for access as new personnel, teams, or supply-chain partners come online. After all, there are lots of cloud service providers (CSPs) creating piecemeal solutions based on separate products that address different functions and lines of business. So, these identity boundaries will inevitably breach...right? If managed properly, they will not; your cloud IAM complexity will start to untangle and — with the right approach — reform itself into a sustainable lifecycle.

Accelerating toward risk remediation

En route to a working cloud IAM lifecycle, security teams essentially become investigative reporters. The big question: who needs access to what? And the question that comes after that:

With the myriad users (analysts, incident-response team, DevOps) needing access, what is the risk associated with that access to cloud applications?

Highlighting anomalous activities is the best way to identify areas of IAM policy risk. DivvyCloud by Rapid7 features an IAM Governance Module that enables teams to compare current and past efforts so they can find things like false permission alerts and areas of noncompliance.

Priority access: The 30,000-foot view

The IAM Governance Module also features the ability to proactively seek vulnerabilities and other potential issues that might be low-hanging fruit for exploitation.  

Simulations also allow teams to create efficiencies by identifying excessive and/or unused permissions that would indicate bloat

This Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solution helps reduce excessive cloud-environment entitlements and prioritizes potential threats. Leveraging CSP services — who use machine learning and integrated threat intelligence — DivvyCloud also continuously monitors for malicious activity.

The LPA flight pattern

Least Privileged Access (LPA) is like an agile backlog that requires constant grooming and updates so that several jobs can simultaneously move forward without too much resulting chaos.

LPA applies to any resource or user, and essentially sets the minimum amount of access the person or machine will need in order to do the job.

This helps to manage an organization’s risk and attack surface in the cloud , but is a process that requires constant monitoring and vigilance. In a user’s case, has that person left the company? Are they a contractor as opposed to a full-time employee?

DivvyCloud can help through the power of automation. It uses bots to tighten or loosen permissions based on a resource or user’s situation. Without this automation, LPA is difficult — if not impossible — to achieve and maintain.

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Autopilot or automation?

Simply pushing a button to engage a clear and relaxing flightpath to breach prevention and remediation may not be a reality just yet. Even with the ability to automate for scale, vigilance is still required to avoid a dizzying permissions crash.

IAM automation is essential when it comes to gaining more time to accelerate innovation and proactively avoid more risk

Continuous monitoring and automated, real-time remediation of things like anomalous behaviors and excessive permissions is really the only way to stay on track when growing cloud operations. With automation capabilities centralized in DivvyCloud, teams can leverage pre-defined bot actions and specify the resources they’ll evaluate.

With approximately 1,300 predefined filters, it’s easier to create custom filters to take action on certain signals or data. This highly customizable automation engine enables teams to accelerate processes on the fly, on all fronts.

Stick the landing

The goal of every organization should be to decrease the chances of a breach and to ensure that the people and resources that need to have access do have access. This is putting it simply of course, as there is vast potential for complexity and chaos when standing up gate after gate after gate. Protecting the identity boundary requires automated monitoring and remediation around access management, role management, identity authentication, and compliance auditing.

That’s why meticulously building and following a full cloud IAM lifecycle approach is a comprehensive way to flush the system, make it more efficient, and protect the business. By assessing and prioritizing risk, implementing LPA, and automating for scalability, any organization can block more attackers with less complexity. Want to know more about the cloud IAM lifecycle?