WebRTC Expert Feature

August 12, 2022

6 Ways Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) Reduces Identity Access Risk

Organizations are constantly adding their enterprise resources to cloud accounts and sometimes deleting older ones. In striving for a sharper competitive edge, more businesses continue to shift their business processes and operating systems across multiple cloud computing environments. As a result, it's becoming more challenging to monitor and govern the various digital identities with access to privileged business networks and databases, increasing identity access risk. 

Digital identities have become new security challenges in identity access and management (IAM), the practice of ensuring the right level of access to business resources using a system. Therefore, entities must look into ways of establishing appropriate permissions for accessing their resources stored in different cloud environments. 

For any business that uses the cloud, IAM systems are indispensable. Unfortunately, traditional methods deployed by IAM systems are no longer effective in a highly fluid cloud environment. For instance, despite having data security systems, many organizations are grappling with increased cyber-attacks as hackers seek access to confidential business information. Further, firewalls serve no purpose in the cloud, making it easy for network intrusion.

Enter Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM). CIEM is an emerging cloud security management technology that manages entitlements in the cloud. It does this by permitting, revoking, resolving, and administering access. CIEM solutions reduce identity access risk by reducing excessive permissions and access. 

Cloud infrastructure entitlements consist of all permissions given to identities to access cloud resources. However, today's cloud environment, made up of multiple cloud providers, is highly dynamic. It comprises thousands of resources uploaded simultaneously at high speeds and accessed by people and non-person identities. There's, therefore, an extensive reach of entitlements that weakens cloud security. 

Today's dynamic cloud environment has introduced higher-level security challenges that organizations must keep at bay. CIEM presents itself as the most viable solution that addresses common identity access risks, including:

Blind Spots Posed By Non-Human Identities

Non-human identities include all types of robots and technical devices plugged into enterprise infrastructure. While enabling controls for human users trying to access a company's network is easy, it's relatively challenging with machine identities. Non-human identities that outnumber human ones by far make for easy targets of cyber-attacks due to their weak security credentials. It poses a unique challenge since most non-human identities are networked with confidential databases. 

  • Excessive Permissions And Privileges

It relates to situations where users are erroneously granted access or provided with more access levels than their jobs require due to challenges associated with keeping up with numerous user permissions. A case of erroneous access would be when a former team member still has access to the company's network system despite leaving the organization.

  • Numerous Access Paths To Data And Infrastructure 

Multiple access paths make it difficult to control how data is shared externally. It increases an organization's risk when confidential and sensitive information is leaked to the public. 

  • Rapidly Evolving Cloud Platforms That Keep Adding New Features And Services 

A highly evolving cloud environment makes it challenging to keep company applications up-to-date, increasing your company's risk of data breaches. 

  • Software Misconfigurations 

Misconfigurations happen when software programs are implemented improperly. Poor configurations are common occurrences because most of them are difficult to detect by the human eye. Misconfigurations make your network a key target for increased data breaches by cyber-criminals. A case of poor configuration would be a private group with public visibility settings, allowing confidential data to leak. 

Therefore, organizations need to implement solutions that help mitigate all the above risks. We now look at some ways CIEM helps to reduce identity access risk.

1. Improves Organizational Security Hygiene

CIEM improves an organization's security by enforcing compliance with cloud security regulations and generating audit trails to prove it. CIEM solutions help to manage cloud permissions and credentials by requiring special permissions and credentials per identity. 

In addition, most CIEM solutions enable seamless multiplatform integration. It allows organizations to centralize all identity governance platforms to provide a standard security solution for managing cloud resources. 

2. Provides Minimal Access To Cloud Resources

Excessive permissions to cloud resources increase an organization's exposure and risk of security breaches. CIEM solutions eliminate this risk by automatically enforcing least-privilege rules that demand only minimal access levels for those who need it. CIEM solutions further enable the least-privilege policy by providing alerts for excessive privileges and unutilized approvals across the cloud environment.   

3. Increases Consistency And Standards Over A Complex Cloud Environment 

CIEM solutions help to track and control permissions for human and machine identities, eliminating security gaps and vulnerabilities presented when multiple cloud users depend on entity-specific tools. They enable a common approach to managing privileges in cloud environments. CIEM tools help to manage identities and entitlements with minimal time and financial resources. CIEM solutions automatically configure permissions that enable organizations to consistently enact entitlement standards despite the scale of access by new users of resources leaving or entering the cloud environment. 

4. Help To Manage Resource Access In A Dynamic Cloud 

CIEM solutions effectively manage access to voluminous resources added or deleted at high speeds. CIEM solutions employ a dynamic approach that enables them to effectively track and assign entitlements in multiple cloud environments that are constantly changing.

5. Tracking and Identifying Access Risks 

With multiple users accessing multiple platforms, tracking user behavior can be challenging. CIEM solutions enable organizations to identify risky entitlements by analyzing multiple user behaviors across platforms. They monitor suspicious behavior, including the kind of resources accessed by specific privileges and the frequency. CIEM solutions also assess the level of risk posed by excessive permissions, enabling the prioritization of enforcement policies that allow remedial measures for stubborn entitlements. 

6. Obtaining Greater Clarity Concerning Entitlements 

Cloud infrastructure access is highly complex, with multiple human and machine entities seeking access to numerous resources such as databases and network systems. It calls for significantly higher precision levels in access management to reduce the threats of a security breach. CIEM solutions enable this access management since identities are managed from centralized dashboards.


As organizations continue to migrate their resources to a highly dynamic multi-cloud environment, it becomes more critical to guard against all forms of identity access risks. Attacks by cyber-criminals can result in severe outcomes for your business, including total business collapse. 

With increased automation, the number of human and non-human users requiring access to multiple cloud platforms with company resources has also increased. A comprehensive cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) system can enable your organization to enforce a least-privilege approach where users are only granted limited-time access to the required resources.

Author's Bio:

Phillip C. Kennon is an experienced data scientist currently pursuing a master's degree in cloud computing systems at the University of Maryland. He believes the cloud represents massive business opportunities and enjoys blogging about cloud management. In his free time, he enjoys sports and adventure travel.

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