Why Cloud Security Should Focus on Identity Management

Identity and Access Management system diagram

(Source)

Despite the woes of many that the cloud may not be secure enough for real business to take place on it, many people are hopping on the gravy train. The growth of the cloud has become immense, an inevitable result of the large piles of money corporations and small businesses throw at it. Whether you like it or not, the cloud has become today’s chief business infrastructure and there’s no sign that it will go anywhere.

History’s Lessons

Historically, a correlation can be made between the popularity of a product and its likelihood to become a target for wrongdoers. Technology products are no exceptions. As Microsoft Windows grew more popular, hackers became more interested in swindling unprotected users of their money and computing resources.

Alas, the same thing shall happen in the cloud if we’re not careful enough. Some services are already starting to feel the pressure to become more robust against these threats. However, one service doing the right thing just isn’t enough. We need a tough policy on security, and we need it soon. Otherwise, the hordes will show up at the gates and we might as well have just thrown them the key and run away.

The Chaotic Cloud

In the corporate world, IT management is in chaos. Cloud services are services that fall outside of the company’s scope of control. Therefore, they have to enforce strict policies and assign roles to users that are subject to change at any time. They need a way to get new people on board and people who leave the company off the system.

For each employee, this might mean adding and/or deleting several accounts at once. What a nightmare! Some companies may even get lazy and put the same password on all the accounts for that particular user. Once a company goes down that road, it will one day crash and burn like every ordinary fellow does when he sets the same password for everything. (Learn How To Create Strong Passwords Without Forgetting Them)

To add insult to injury, many solutions that are meant to help with this issue tend to turn it into even greater a problem. Each cloud product developer has a different way of making their login system. Because of all the different conventions, security software providers find it difficult to provide a definitive way to secure every identity. As a consequence, companies continue to create identity silos that become increasingly difficult to manage as they grow.

Today, security providers are trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to catch up with the variety of cloud services out there, making sure that they can remain ahead of the curve. But these cloud services have now become a vital part of our infrastructures and we simply cannot renounce to them so easily. How do you make sure that your presences on the cloud are iron-clad?

The Solution

The overall cloud infrastructure is in desperate need of a knight in shining armor. Who will that be? Cloud security isn’t exactly the most developed sector of the IT sector, but it holds a lot of promise. One of these promising solutions is identity and access management (IAM), which solves virtually every aforementioned issue here.

The market for IAM is growing, with Gartner predicting its 2017 numbers to be somewhere around $4 billion. This means the technology is evolving and will continue to make face to the challenges that lie ahead. The road to a completely secure cloud won’t be easy, but tech innovation inevitably trumps all of the things standing in its way just in the nick of time. We expect that IAM will become one of the principal solutions for cloud security, chiefly because of the way it accounts for basically everything a company needs to manage its IT infrastructure with peace of mind.

IAM seems to hold the key to the future of IT security, as companies migrate more into the cloud and create more accounts for their employees. It makes IT management processes a breeze and allows companies to enforce policies more easily with virtually no chances for making mistakes. It not only lowers the costs involved in paying for wasted time managing tons of accounts, but it also raises the bar significantly in the reliability of your security.

Before you pop out the champagne and celebrate the fact that such an awesome solution exists, however, you ought to know that there’s more to your security than simply signing up for the first IAM your eyes land on.

How “Good” IAMs Manage Data

One question we must ask ourselves is: Who is watching the watchers? Well, IAM watches after your accounts and provides role-based security in a firm. But who makes sure that IAM providers aren’t peeking into your data? Businesses entrust a lot of information to their providers without questions. Perhaps it’s time they asked what exactly is being done to make sure that the company providing the services has no access to the data.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to ask how encryption is managed on the server side and on the client side. Do you have any control over the cryptographic functions of anything you use? It would be kind of scary to put all your passwords into a service that offers only promises but no concrete evidence that they’re actually storing your data behind lock and key.

Just imagine for a second what kind of nightmare it would be if a hacker managed to tap into an IAM service’s database and decrypt all of its data. That would mean that the hacker has every one of the provider’s client accounts, and the accounts of each employee. The damage that this person can do is extensive and ultimately fatal to even the most big-budget firms. How do you determine whether this will ever happen?

With our solution at SmartSignin, at least, you’ll be able to create your own encryption key, which means that we delegate control of half of the encryption process to you. In this manner, any breach would only succeed to gather a bunch of gibberish. Your key is safely tucked inside your brain and the hacker won’t know how to crack your safe open.

The next time you look for a proper security provider, don’t forget to ask yourself this question: How much control do they give me over my data? You’ll find yourself surprised at how much you were willing to trust to someone else without any concrete assurance that your data is safe!

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About Mayukh Gon

Mayukh is the Founder/CEO of PerfectCloud Corp. He has over 15 years of experience working in the technology industry, specifically Middle-ware technologies, Software Development, Identity and Access Management. His company PerfectCloud Corp. is an innovative Cloud company which makes products for enterprises to provide them complete security & privacy for their identities, access and data.

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