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1 August 2023

The Importance of Having a Comprehensive Overview of Permissions in Your Cloud Environment

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, more and more companies are turning to cloud providers to host their infrastructure, applications, and services. As organisations embrace the benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Identity as a Service (IDaaS), and other similar cloud offerings, it’s become imperative to understand the intricacies of permissions within the cloud environment. Unlike traditional on-premise infrastructure, where companies have well-defined rules and granular control over privileges and permissions, managing your permissions in the cloud presents unique challenges. In order to ensure your cyber defences are as strong as possible, it’s important you effectively define and manage permissions across your cloud environment.

Understanding the Cloud

The cloud offers many advantages to businesses – not only is it more flexible and scalable, but it increases performance and helps them to reduce their IT costs at the same time. Despite these benefits, there are still some disadvantages to moving your company’s infrastructure and assets to the cloud. It can be complex managing permissions in a cloud environment – with the ability to rapidly provision resources, applications, databases, and a wide range of other cloud services, organisations often find themselves contending with intricate permission structures.

Users may find themselves having distinct roles, with access rights only to specific data and functions. In contrast to on-premises infrastructures, where companies can establish meticulous rules and policies for privileges and permissions within their network, it can be difficult to achieve that same level of control in the cloud – particularly when multiple cloud providers and services are involved. If companies want to ensure they’re minimising security risks and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory requirements, it’s crucial to have a clear and thorough overview of their permissions.

The Risks of Excessive Permissions

Failing to have visibility into permissions within your cloud environment can result in significant security risks. According to Gartner, 75% of security failures result from inadequate management of identities, access and privileges – that figure was just 50% in 2020. An organisation with unused or excessive permissions can pave the way for unauthorised users to gain access to sensitive data or critical systems, which can lead to data breaches. It’s essential that businesses identify and eliminate anyone with unnecessary permissions, and limit their access to the bare minimum. Automated tools and services play a vital role in maintaining a comprehensive overview, and helping businesses ensure only authorised users can access critical data. At Infosec K2K, we specialise in offering complete identity management solutions, and can work with you and your team to protect your data.

A recent report by our partners at CyberArk revealed that 58% of businesses had reported ex-employees saving confidential work documents before they left. Organisations should take care to remove access permissions of any employees leaving the business – cyber criminals (which can often include dissatisfied or disgruntled employees) will be counting on an authorised account slipping through the cracks. Just one over privileged or wrongly provisioned account is all it takes to create a vulnerability in your cyber defences.

The Benefits of Permissions Management

One of the primary reasons why having a comprehensive overview of permissions is important is to maintain compliance with industry regulations and data privacy laws. Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) often mandate strict control over data access and require organisations to demonstrate accountability for data protection. By having a comprehensive overview of permissions, companies can ensure compliance, and only grant access to the individuals with a legitimate need for the data.

Having a comprehensive overview of permissions also aids in troubleshooting and incident response. If and when an issue arises, being able to quickly identify the permissions assigned to relevant users and applications can help your cyber security teams to identify the problem, isolate it, and resolve it efficiently. By narrowing down the scope of investigation, businesses can save time and resources. Moreover, in the event of a security incident or data breach, having a clear understanding of permissions can help to determine the extent of the breach and any affected resources, as well as how to avoid the same kind of breach happening again.

Achieving a Comprehensive Overview

For organisations looking to gain more control over permissions in their cloud environment, it’s important that they choose cloud providers offering robust permission management capabilities. These providers have features that allow fine-grained control over everything from access rights and user roles to permissions. One example is our partner, CyberArk. By using their Cloud Entitlements Manager, users can gain visibility across their whole cloud network from a centralised platform. Users are able to map permissions across their organisation’s cloud environment, identify unused permissions, minimise their attack surface and more – letting the right people in and keeping attackers out.

At Infosec K2K, our international team have years of experience and expertise in identity security, and understand that cyber security is an ever-evolving industry. If you’re looking to mitigate your cyber risk with identity security, we recommend conducting regular reviews of permissions. With Our identity access management (IAM) assessments, we can identify any gaps in your defences, ensure there are no users with excessive permissions, and remove them if necessary.

As businesses increasingly rely on cloud services, it’s crucial to prioritise the management of permissions. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of permissions and adopting effective management practices, businesses can mitigate security risks and safeguard their sensitive data and critical systems. Organisations should ensure they have as much control as possible over permissions and conduct regular reviews to eliminate unnecessary access rights – by prioritising permission management in the cloud, businesses of all sizes can ensure a secure and efficient cloud environment – protecting themselves and their customers.

Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.

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