The transition to the cloud has disrupted and changed the way many industries and organizations do business, both inside and outside the company. Let’s face it: cloud technology has proven revolutionary. But no matter how progressive the cloud is, it’s useless unless we, as users, learn how to practice proper security measures and identity management.
If not, there’s a significant risk of company data being breached or hearing about another big-wig store leaking customer credit card information.
These risks can be mitigated—and the Protiviti digital identity team is here with an approach we have found successful in the real world.
Through the 4 As of cloud identity management, a holistic care package for your cloud identity strategy can be implemented that transcends traditional enterprises. Although the 4 As have several variations, overall, the ideals are timeless.
These 4 As are:
- Account management
Understanding the 4 As
It’s important to not just be a “yes person” or one of the flock without truly investing time to understand these components of a cloud identity strategy. While there are many different iterations of cloud identity management, these A principles can still be applied, regardless of whether your business is 100% cloud or runs on hybrid models.
- Authentication: Basically, this involves making sure the user is who they say they are. Think username and password (or even confirming a government ID for identity); Though these may be effective, better and more secure approaches may utilize stronger authentication methods, including: Biometrics, certificates, text codes, email codes, push notifications and other methods to verify a user’s identity. This is essential to ensuring the next A.
- Authorization: Exactly what it sounds like — discerning a user’s ability and what they are permitted to do with their account. This is the bread and butter of identity and access management (IAM). IAM consists of knowing what users can access, and the many ways to manage that information distribution.
- Account management: Users come and go, and a big challenge for IT is regularly managing these user accounts. Due to the existing and often legacy processes being utilized by an IT department, it can sometimes take days or weeks to add and remove users and access.
- Audit logging: This is built on top of the other three As, much like a pyramid, as it necessary to log an auditable trail for the applications employees and contractors are using or accessing. With hybrid systems, this may require advanced architecting, but it’s not impossible. Often, single sign-on (SSO) can serve as a key component of the architected solution and provide centralized and secure point of access control.
Benefits for the business
As we said before, there are many ways to implement cloud-based solutions, and they can be approached several different ways. Some of the benefits are:
- 24×7 cloud-based monitoring and management
- Drill down to a required level of detail
- Audit trails
- Maximize existing investments
The first step to integrating any kind of security measure is learning. Is a cloud-based solution realistic for your industry? It may or may not be, and that’s okay. One thing that does ring true, though, is the necessity for an IAM infrastructure in every business. You can do everything right in a business, but if your information isn’t secure, you will lose rapport quickly.
You may also be interested in this blog from our Guide to Technology Modernization and Transformation series, Balancing Identity and Access Management for Risk vs. Speed.