The first pillar to actionable cloud security – Identity and Access

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This is the third post in a series of eight on the five pillars to actionable cloud security.  For the rest of the series, visit the Five Pillars blog page here.

Since the cloud isn’t an on-premises solution, securing access is a natural starting point.  Traditionally, customers look at identity management and access management from the standpoint of users.  Users, which can be further categorized into groups, will also have associated roles, and permissions associated with these roles.

Even within similar organizations – example, a company may have multiple groups within a larger development organization, with different permissions associated both to the roles those users have and the groups to which they belong.   It is not necessarily a linear relationship.

'As organizations look to leverage cloud services for transformation, they must be sure to understand those services in terms of how they are accessed and managed.' ~@rkturner1Click To Tweet

Within a cloud infrastructure, effective identity and access management (i.e., IAM) will allow IT administrators authorize who can take action on specific resources, and provide those administrators with visibility and control across that whole infrastructure.  This can quickly get complex, with hundreds of organizations, workgroups, and projects.  However, this also becomes the first “window” into who’s doing what.

Similarly, companies in the cloud have come to understand that services can be subject to the same management schemes as users.  This is an important construct when organizations look to leverage cloud services for transformation – those services need to be understood in terms of how they are accessed and managed.

Within the Azure infrastructure, the products and services found here need to be considered as part of an organization’s Identity and access pillar.

Azure Active Directory provides secure access to resources with Identity and Access management. With this service, customers can integrate native services such as virtual machines, storage accounts, app services and many more. Additionally, Azure Active Directory provides access management for cloud and hybrid environments.

To develop an actionable Identity and Access management pillar, customers must:

  • Enable single sign-on
  • Enable multiple-factor verification for administrators and users
  • Use role-based access controls and provide access as needed
  • Lower exposure of privileged accounts

Microsoft documentation on Azure Identity Management and access control security best practices can be found here.

In the next post we will discuss the second pillar, Detection Controls.  

Rich Turner details the five pillars to actionable public cloud security in this Barracuda blog series. Click To Tweet
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