Cloud Identity and Access Management is one of the fastest-growing focus areas for IT and cybersecurity leadership – and with good reason. Without it, our increasingly digitalised IT environments lay wide open to exploitation from threat actors and malicious insiders, regardless of how many other security layers we implement.
But, with fresh Identity and Access Management tools hitting the market every month and Identity and Access strategy evolving at breakneck speed. As a result, keeping up with Cloud IAM best practices is a strenuous job for stacked IT leaders.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the top 4 latest Identity and Access Management best practices your SME should follow for the most effective defence against unauthorised access.
- Identity and Access Management Best Practices to Continue
- Preparing an Identity and Access Strategy
- The Latest Identity and Access Management Best Practices
- Combine RBAC and ABAC Identity and Access Management Tools
- Keep entitlement audits in the hands of real people
- Automate user onboarding and Offboarding
- Balance IAM triggers with the big picture
- Do You Need Cloud Identity and Access Management?
Identity and Access Management Best Practices to Continue
The new Identity and Access Management best practices we’ll explore differ from the Cloud Identity and Access Management activities you likely already have in motion. First, quickly confirm that your IT team adhere to the following established best practices. Then, ensure that any lapses are remediated before implementing more advanced IAM.
- Disable inactive user accounts and devices
- Adopt zero-trust approach
- Assume the principle of least privilege
- Use tools that enable the IAM basics – MFA and SSO
- Establish a rotation strategy for strong passwords
- Consider privileged access management (PAM) and super-user risks
- Set up centralised monitoring: you may need an MSP to assist
Preparing an Identity and Access Strategy
Before implementing any changes, it’s essential to define the scope of your Identity and Access strategy, including key people from cybersecurity, IT, HR, compliance and even commercial in the conversation. Then, together, you should work through the four layers of Cloud Identity and Access Management. These are Identity, Policy, Processes and Access.
- Identity refers to how you’ll establish a user’s identity at every interaction
- Policy refers to who is authorised access and when access will be revoked
- Process refers to the methods and tech you’ll use to grant access and block incursions
- Access refers to how resources are protected by the combined whole of identity, policy and process
Controlling user access and the authentication involved is, despite being highly specialised, another responsibility bestowed on the busy IT leader. As such, you might find peace of mind using a consultant experienced in delivering Cloud IAM projects. To get an idea of how Sentis can help, please request a call back here.
The Latest Identity and Access Management Best Practices
From combining two powerful standalone tools to the best scenarios to leverage automation, these are the 4 Identity and Access Management best practices we’re advising our MSP customers to implement in 2023.
Combine RBAC and ABAC Identity and Access Management Tools
Role-based access control (RBAC) has been central to Identity and Access Management best practices for a few years. But, in our experience, RBAC is only as adept as your job role mapping – i.e., how full a picture you’ve built of user or job roles.
To counteract the risk of oversight, we recommend combining RBAC with attribute-based access control (ABAC). Because ABAC is concerned with more precise and varied attributes – such as user characteristics, target characterisations and action types – it is beneficial for fending off insider threats.
Unite RBAC and ABAC, and you have an immediately enhanced Cloud Identity and Access strategy that remains agile as cloud environments change.
Keep entitlement audits in the hands of real people
Despite the risk reduction and agility benefits of today’s Identity and Access Management tools, some vital tasks must remain manual. One of those tasks is the entitlement audit – which checks if specific user permissions and authorisation processes should change in coordination with changes to cloud environments.
Resources and workloads in cloud environments evolve frequently – and sometimes, even a tiny performance tweak may become a vulnerability if accessed by the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the context required to evaluate and respond to infrastructure risks of such complexity can’t be replicated by automated Identity and Access Management tools.
Soon, we’ll have ML, AI and BI tools capable of entitlement audits. But, for now, manual entitlement audits are undertaken by experienced, skilled experts.
Automate user onboarding and Offboarding
Automation makes perfect sense for some Cloud Identity and Access Management tasks and is one of our most-recommended Identity and Access Management best practices. So whether your organisation uses seasonal workers, grants access to third parties, or wants to fine-tune IAM resources – consider on and offboarding automation.
Onboarding IAM automation is ideal for users whose roles fit neatly within policies and processes. It allows new users to seamlessly integrate with your digital workings and reduces the onus on IT teams to assign permissions. (Ensure you’re using a zero-trust strategy and the principle of least privilege).
And then there’s offboarding! It is incredible how often user accounts become orphaned and, thus, a significant contributor to expanding attack surfaces. Automating offboarding is, therefore, a top Identity and Access Management best practice.
Balance IAM triggers with the big picture
Often, an IT leader will overhaul or enhance their Identity and Access strategy in response to a particular trigger: a failed compliance audit, the introduction of new cloud resources, or even a messy data breach.
It is good Identity and Access Management best practice to bring in Identity and Access Management tools that’ll plug a specific gap.
Cloud Identity and Access Management tools have compelling potential in other digital transformation priority areas. Sure, respond to that red-alert risk! But after you’ve neutralised urgent vulnerability, consider how Identity and Access strategy can help you make gains in the following areas:
- Cybersecurity and risk management
- Compliance management
- Utilising cloud services
- Legacy or application modernisation
- Hybrid workforce accessibility
- Data and information management
Do You Need Cloud Identity and Access Management?
Sentis Managed Solutions provided Cloud Identity and Access Management solutions, including audits, consultation, specification and selection and solution implementation from leading brands. Of course, it’s always best to confirm your risks and needs (and get an idea of the tasks you can hand over!) before committing, so why not book a free, no-obligation security audit with Sentis?