Cloud computing offers tons of advantages which is why most businesses are migrating to the cloud. Just like every other technology, it also comes with its fair share of shortcomings. Security and privacy have always been a concern for cloud adopters but thankfully, you can minimize the risk with an effective identity and access management system in place.
With most organizations adopting a hybrid and multi-cloud option and allowing their employees to work from home and bring their own devices, this makes identity and access management even more important. Companies will have to formulate policies and enable security features such as single sign-on and session management but also review and update those policies from time to time.
In this article, you will learn about seven identity and access management best practices you should adopt to keep your accounts safe.
1. Monitor Access To Resources
How can you measure something that you cannot analyze? That is why it is important for businesses to monitor access to resources so they can easily identify suspicious and malicious activities taking place on their network. A closer inspection of access logs can give you an idea about who is accessing which resources.
Some of the major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud platform have features allowing users to audit access to resources. Another advantage of regularly reviewing access logs is that it will tell whether a user has the right permission or not. You do not want your previous employees who have left your organization to have access to these resources.
2. Implement Strong Password Policies
If your employees are still using passwords to login to their accounts, you either have to switch to a more secure user authentication method or enforce strong password policies to prevent your accounts from getting hacked. Set different passwords for all your accounts. Make sure that the password contains a mixture of alphanumeric and special characters and is right or more characters long.
If you are having a hard time remember half a dozen unique passwords for different accounts, you can use a password manager. Avoid passwords that contain sequential characters or passwords which are commonly used or easy to guess. As a rule of thumb, your password should be easy to remember but hard to guess. With stronger password policies in place, you can force your employees to set stronger passwords.
3. Leverage Multi-Factor Authentication
Passwords are not the safest user authentication method anymore. Hackers can easily guess your password and break into your account by taking advantage of sophisticated tools. How can you keep your accounts safe in such a situation? By using multi-factor authentication, you can add an extra layer of security. Even if hackers somehow manages to guess or hack your password, they won’t be able to access your account without passing another security barrier.
You can even enforce time and location limits on access of accounts meaning that your employees can only access their accounts during office hours or when they are at work. This might seem like an extreme step and might not work in today’s remote work environment but can be an option you can use nonetheless to keep your accounts protected.
4. Keep An Eye On Privilege Accounts
Not all users have equal access rights. Some employees can only access a few records which are related to their work while others have access to the company’s inside information present on HOSTNOC’s VPS server. Instead of keeping an eye on employees with limited access, you need to keep an eye on users that have privilege access. Hackers know this and target user accounts that have privileged access because it allows them privileged rights which they can use to fulfill their malicious desires.
Cloud service providers like Azure also give users a Privileged Identity Management feature enabling businesses to assign specific access rights to specif users. This takes the pain out of access management and makes the lives of employees easier without compromising on the security side of things.
5. Define Permissions At A Group Level
Most enterprises already define policies at a group level especially when it comes to logistics and if you have thousands of employees then you should follow in their footsteps. It helps you categorize thousands of users into a few groups and give them the same level of access.
The best way to do this is to create groups based on functional units and departments. You can create a different group for your marketing, sales and finance departments and give them the same level of access. This reduces the administrative burden as well as IT support costs and also prevents unauthorized access to sensitive business data.
6. Avoid Embedding Keys Into Code
If you are using keys for authentication, you should never store them inside your code or the environment you are working in. Yes, it might be much more convenient to do so but from a security perspective, that is not the right way to go. Hackers can easily gain access to these keys even if you have encrypted it and embedded them in your code or instance.
Cloud service providers provide security features to prevent this so you should take advantage of them. For instance, Amazon Web Services offer Roles while Google Cloud Platform lets you create service accounts and Azure gives its user Service Principal feature.
7. Treat Identity As A Key Security Perimeter
Turn back the clock a decade or two back and your security team might be blocking a single point of entry through a firewall. Fast forward to today, anyone from anywhere can access your data thanks to the cloud but that also means a wider attack surface and thousands of entry points. To stay safe in today’s cloud-centric environment, you will have to change your security approach. The key to success is to perform identification and authentication at a user level.
What do you do to enhance the security of your identity and access management system? Let us know in the comments section below.