Business applications and services are moving to the cloud at a rapid pace, which makes the security of IT infrastructure a challenging business requirement. Once an organization no longer has physical control over its infrastructure, it must implement additional measures to minimize that infrastructure’s exposure to risk. These measures include administrative policies to control access in addition to technical solutions such as Identity Access Management (IAM) and Single-Sign-On (SSO).
Many organizations have already implemented security measures to protect their on-premises infrastructure and will typically exhibit a strong tendency to implement their existing solutions for their cloud platform. However, this strategy isn’t the most effective approach to securing the cloud because a cloud-based infrastructure and an on-premises infrastructure are very different when it comes to security. The cloud therefore requires its own set of policies and controls.
Access Control Policy
The creation of an access control policy is one of the first steps that a business should take before migrating to the cloud. The existing policy typically won’t provide adequate governance over a cloud infrastructure and software, since it was developed for on-premises systems. This process may consist of developing an entirely new policy or updating the existing one to include the cloud. An effective access control policy should address the procedure for adding and removing users while considering the impact of the business’s regulatory requirements.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
An IAM solution can greatly reduce the security challenges of moving to the cloud. Such a solution provides centralized management of access privileges and automates the user life cycle. Additional benefits of IAM include the ability to demonstrate regulatory compliance. However, implementing an IAM solution effectively requires careful planning to ensure that it supports the underlying access control policies.
An SSO solution can provide an organization with a great degree of control over user access to its infrastructure. You can implement SSO as a standalone solution or integrate it into the IAM solution. The primary advantage of SSO is that it eliminates the need for users to remember and enter multiple logons. It also allows administrators to observe and manage user activity from a single portal. Another benefit of SSO is the ability to easily provide users with mobile access.
Federated access is typically implemented as an expansion of SSO. It allows users to receive a single set of credentials that grants access to multiple accounts. Each user is a member of a group that controls the user’s access to these accounts. Federated access is especially useful for organizations with a high turnover, since it reduces the overhead needed to add and remove users from multiple accounts. It also reduces the workload of the IT helpdesk.
CSCi provides small businesses in San Diego with cloud solutions for their business functions and operations. These solutions improve efficiency and productivity, especially for businesses that lack the technical resources to maintain cloud services on their own. Contact us today for an assessment of your cloud security needs.