8 IAM Challenges You May Experience in the Public Cloud

More and more organizations are relying on the public cloud for their production processes and software tools as part of their digital transformations. 

Cloud-based applications are more agile and efficient but also come with a caveat: digital security.

One of the top concerns of business administrators today is Identity and Access Management (IAM) in the public cloud. Global spending in cloud security has reached $13.92 billion in 2021, having grown significantly year-after-year before then. 

With IAM becoming a standard for security, it is important to define some of the biggest challenges IAM faces in the public cloud today.

Read on to learn more about what challenges IT departments should be on the lookout for.

1. A Broad Threat Surface

Working in the public cloud is all about relying on remote resources and remote connections. You might integrate with the APIs of your cloud services or just need to give access to a third-party business partner you are working with.

Either way, you do not have full control anymore like you do for local assets. How do you ensure that no malicious actors fake authentication and gain access to your sensitive resources through those APIs and protocols that you rely on?

Nearly 400,000 servers belonging to hundreds of companies are exposed over the Internet. How you handle this massive threat surface is ultimately dependent on how you manage the permissions you give out to these remote users, which is where identity access management comes in.

2. Hasty Adoption

Digital transformations always imply a significant boost to productivity and business agility. Some owners get a little too excited and end up adding tons of new features, services, and code too quickly without thinking about how many permissions are being given out.

However, it turns out that the majority of users only need a few permissions to get their jobs done, and anything more is just a needless entry point for cybercriminals.

3. Configuration Mistakes

Here is a challenge that even businesses with an IAM program in place might experience. There are many features and tools to configure in a typical IAM initiative, such as password policies, user authorizations, multi-factor authentications, and audit trails.

The added complexity of monitoring the vast network of access privileges inherent in the public cloud will continue to be a strong point of focus for IT departments everywhere. Poorly configured tools and services are a problem for even Amazon Web Services.

4. More Devices

Thanks to the Internet of Things trend and the tendency for employees to use their personal devices for work (like smartphones and laptops), IAM must extend beyond the company’s own electronics. Some businesses even have a “Bring your own device (BYOD)” policy in place that encourages this practice.

How do you react quickly enough to secure your resources in the face of hundreds of new devices entering your network regularly? Your IAM strategy must include options to quickly grant and revoke access on these extra devices in accordance with your own cybersecurity policy and with security regulations. Such a solution must also be able to scale effectively as more devices are added every day.

5. Provisioning Issues

Role-based access control is one tenet of identity access management that often gets overlooked when switching to the public cloud. Every entity in the business, whether human or machine, is given a specific role with associated access privileges.

The IT and security team must provision these roles conservatively. Everyone gets as little permission as possible without cutting down on productivity, a mindset known as Zero Trust.

On the opposite end, is the deprovisioning process. If an employee leaves the business, you have to double check every potential access permission the associated account still has. Automated IAM solutions have deprovisioning features specifically for this reason. Even terminated employees still have an audit trail to track.

6. Cyberattacks

You have heard about them all the time in the news. Companies both big and small can suffer from a data breach, a phishing incident, or a malware injection. The result is breached privacy of employees and clients, stolen personal data, and a massive loss in consumer trust.

And the cost is more than significant. In the year of 2021 alone, there has been a total loss of $6 trillion to cybercrime, and that figure is expected to grow to $10.5 trillion in 4 years.

If you do not have IAM preparations in place like credential protection, you can expect your business to be in the crosshairs of the next major breach. Actively monitoring rogue access is an important step of securing your cloud deployments.

7. Integration Updates

Software updates are used to add new features to existing platforms as well as strengthen integrations between business tools. For your company to take advantage of single sign-on and user management benefits, you have to have a fully integrated workflow of different applications.

It is for these reasons why fast and reliable integrations should be high on your list when searching for new enterprise applications. You should not have to jump through hoops to get a new feature to fit in with your workflow like a puzzle piece.

Looking to Shore Up Your Security and Compliance?

It is no secret today’s businesses are looking for enhanced security when it comes to their complex cloud environments. We live in an age with more data and integrated applications than ever before.

And while this connectivity provides new efficiencies—it also creates significant IT challenges when it comes to governance, risk, and compliance.

Are you looking to explore how your business can improve its approach to security and compliance? Book a discovery call with our team of IAM specialists today to learn more.