How to mitigate cloud development risks with CIEM

Tuesday Jul. 9th, 2024

Cloud development pipelines have become the backbone of modern software development, offering scalability, flexibility, and speed. However, these benefits have significant risks that can jeopardize your organization's security and operational efficiency. According to Forbes, there has been a 72% increase in data breaches in recent years.

Securing these pipelines is crucial to prevent Intellectual Property (IP) theft, production delays, and malware insertion. Without robust security entitlement measures, the very advantages of cloud development can turn into vulnerabilities.

Understanding cloud development risks
Adopting cloud services and automation has led to a rapid increase in human and machine identities. This explosion complicates Identity and Access Management (IAM). Each identity must be managed and secured, but the sheer number and diversity make this task daunting. The proliferation of identities can create security gaps if not properly managed, leading to unauthorized access and potential breaches.

Tracking and managing identities across various cloud services and applications is a significant challenge. Traditional IAM systems often fall short of providing the necessary visibility in dynamic cloud environments. Without clear visibility, it is challenging to understand who has access to what resources, how these access rights are being used, and whether any misuse is occurring. This lack of visibility can lead to unmonitored access and increased risk of data breaches.

Granting excessive privileges to users is a common issue in cloud environments. Often, users are given more access rights than necessary, which can be exploited by malicious actors. The principle of least privilege, which advocates for granting the minimum necessary access, is essential in reducing the attack surface. Ensuring that each identity has only the required permissions with the help of cloud identity entitlement management solutions can minimize the risk of privilege escalation and data exfiltration.

Step-by-step guide to mitigating risks with CIEM

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) is a specialized approach to managing and securing identities and access rights in cloud environments. CIEM focuses on visibility, monitoring, and enforcement of access policies to ensure that identities have appropriate privileges and that any deviations are quickly identified and addressed.

Step 1: Increase visibility across your cloud environment

Tracking identity paths

To manage identities effectively, it is crucial to track the entire path of each identity across different cloud environments. This involves using native connectors and APIs to collect data from various cloud platforms. By understanding the flow and interactions of identities, organizations can gain insights into potential vulnerabilities and areas requiring tighter controls.

Surface access data

Securing identity and access management in cloud environments requires collecting data from various sources such as IaaS (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud), SaaS (Salesforce, Office 365), IAM systems (Okta, Azure AD), and custom applications. This comprehensive data collection provides a holistic view of access patterns and potential risks. By analyzing this data, security teams can identify anomalies and areas where access may need to be restricted.

Step 2: Set clear thresholds for access privileges

Understanding access patterns

Analyzing access patterns is essential for identifying which privileges are regularly used and which are stale. This involves examining historical access data to determine normal behavior and detect deviations. By setting thresholds, organizations can establish what constitutes acceptable access levels for each identity.

Review and adjust access levels

Regularly reviewing and adjusting access levels based on analysis is critical for maintaining security. Contextual insights, such as user roles and typical access times, can inform these adjustments. By continually refining access privileges, organizations can ensure that they adhere to the principle of least privilege and minimize the risk of over-privileged identities.

Step 3: Create policies and continuously monitor them for changes

Policy creation and enforcement

Creating and enforcing policies that govern access privileges is vital for maintaining a secure environment. These policies should be designed to detect and respond to risky changes, such as privilege escalations or unauthorized access attempts. Continuous policy enforcement ensures that the security baseline is maintained over time.

Detection and alerting

CIEM solutions are equipped to detect potential risks, such as unused privileges or unexpected access patterns. The system can alert security teams to take appropriate action when such risks are identified. This proactive approach helps mitigate threats before they cause significant damage.

CheckRed’s comprehensive CNAPP solution

CheckRed's Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) offers a comprehensive solution to cloud security challenges. The platform includes Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM), and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP). Its CIEM solution directly addresses the challenges and risks of cloud identity and access management by providing comprehensive visibility and control over diverse identities.

CheckRed’s entitlement management solution aggregates data from IaaS, SaaS, IAM systems, and custom applications, offering a unified view of access patterns and potential risks. It enhances security by identifying over-privileged identities, enforcing the principle of least privilege, and continuously monitoring for anomalies and risky changes. Automated tools and regular audits ensure access privileges are properly managed, thereby mitigating risks of unauthorized access, IP theft, and production delays.

Advantages of CheckRed’s comprehensive approach

CheckRed's comprehensive approach to cloud security offers several significant advantages. By integrating CIEM with other components of its Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP), including Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP), CheckRed provides a holistic and unified security solution. This seamless integration ensures that all aspects of cloud security are covered, from identity and access management to workload and application security. The platform's ability to collect and analyze data from multiple sources allows for enhanced visibility and control, enabling security teams to detect and respond to threats more effectively.

CheckRed's unified approach reduces complexity and improves efficiency. Instead of managing disparate security tools, organizations benefit from a centralized platform that streamlines security operations. This comprehensive solution simplifies the management of security policies and compliance requirements and facilitates faster incident response times. By providing continuous monitoring and automated enforcement of security policies, CheckRed's CNAPP ensures that organizations maintain a robust security posture, minimizing the risk of breaches and ensuring access privileges are consistently aligned with business needs.

Implementing Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) is crucial for mitigating risks in cloud development pipelines. CIEM helps increase visibility over the attack surface, set baselines for access privileges, and continuously monitor risky changes. With a comprehensive solution like CheckRed's CNAPP, organizations can manage identities and access rights effectively, ensuring robust security and operational efficiency in their cloud environments.

CIEM provides a strategic approach to cloud security by addressing the challenges of exploding identities, lack of visibility, and over-privileged identities. Leveraging CIEM and the integrated components of CheckRed's CNAPP offers a powerful defense against the complex risks associated with cloud development