Understanding Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) and Why it Matters

cloud computing

The adoption of cloud computing has been increasing in the last decade as organizations look for ways of increasing agility and lowering the cost of doing business. While beneficial, cloud computing also presents organizations with the challenge of ensuring that data in the cloud is safe.

Sometimes, cloud environments can have thousands of users, with each user having their unique set of access requirements to do their job.

Keeping track of the access privileges assigned to each user under such circumstances can be pretty complicated, which increases the chances of errors and data breaches. Fortunately, Cloud Infrastructure and Entitlements Management can help solve this problem. 

What Is Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management?

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) is an automated cloud security technology that manages entitlements or privileged access policies. It makes it easy to control who has access to what data while ensuring that every user’s access to data is limited only to the data they need to have access to have their job done.

If you are new to CIEM, you may want to read more on the basics of a CIEM infrastructure in this guide by Sonrai Security. It will help you understand what it does, the problems it helps solve, how to use it, and the challenges you may expect with CIEM.

Why CIEM Matters In Any Organization

Increased Visibility on the Cloud

If your organization has only a handful of users accessing the cloud, knowing who is ceasing the cloud and at what time can be easy. But as the number of users increases, it may not be as easy. 

A reliable CIEM solution should provide complete visibility of all human and non-human entities accessing the cloud environment at any particular time by analyzing the user’s entitlement such type of access or time of access.

This means that abuse of access privileges is detected and reported timely to avoid security breaches.

Ensures Compliance

Every organization must keep its user data secure. There are also federal laws governing data security, especially if it breaches the privacy of users interacting with an organization. Failure to conform can result in hefty fines or even costly lawsuits. 

With the high level of security offered by a CIEM in limiting and managing access to the data on your cloud, non-compliance is the least of worries an organization will have.

Multi-Cloud Support

If your organization has its operations on different clouds, defining and managing entitlements may require you to juggle between multiple tools. With CIEM, you do not have to find a tool for the various clouds. 

A reliable CIEM should help you access entitlements from all clouds and give you alerts from a centralized location when there is a potential risk to the clouds.

Continuous Assessment of Entitlements

If there has been a policy change towards your organization’s cloud access, reviewing permission for thousands of users can be a challenge if you have to do it manually.

A CIEM tool validates entitlements in real-time, meaning the system will automatically flag users having entitlements it deems excessive after the changes. 

For example, an account that previously was entitled to run virtual machines could gain the ability to delete them after a policy change. Under such circumstances, the account could be flagged for having excess entitlements helping you decide whether to keep or roll back the entitlements.

Who Needs CIEM?

Even though CIEM is a great tool in upholding an organization’s cloud security, not all businesses or cloud environments need it. A manual analysis of entitlements can be done if your cloud environment is simple with only a handful of users, accounts, and services running it. 

But if you run your services in multiple clouds and have a good number of services and entitlements that are overwhelming your manual efforts, it is probably time to switch to CIEM. 

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