Access management in modern IT environments
September 30, 2014

One of the more difficult aspects of cybersecurity and access management remains the rising rate of end points, with the average employee already having nearly three devices on average. Despite the fact that the Internet of Things and enterprise mobility trends have already started to approach a peak with respect to security concerns, fears related to data stored in cloud computing environments remain at high levels. 

The cloud has already proven to be a worthy component of modern IT frameworks, as some have asserted that the environments can be just as secure as virtually any other system so long as the right tactics are used. The cloud has been one of the more important catalysts of increased dependence upon remote workers and mobile devices, as data, applications and myriad other services are offered through virtualized environments. 

What's more, many device manufacturers have already implemented cloud-based storage solutions to supplement the hard drives in the smartphones and tablets themselves, all in hopes of expanding power while driving down the size and weight of the gadgets. Corporate decision-makers must find ways to ensure that cloud computing services are being deployed and overseen in a way that does not hinder the effectiveness of identity and access management. 

Simple steps
Nazar Tymoshyk, writing for Help Net Security, reported that newer risks of cloud computing have emerged in recent years, but that there are several methods to drive down the rate of exposure that can be leveraged. For one, he stated that some threats that should be on everyone's radar include the loss of cloud keys and access management credentials, as well as zero-day vulnerabilities, which have been around since legacy systems were more popular. 

As a note, there are plenty of professionals in the field who feel as though the action of encrypting information represents one of the strongest protections against exposure when using cloud computing services. However, a more complex defense comprised of both encryption to protect the data itself and dynamic authentication to defend against unsanctioned access will almost always be the safer way to go, as it reconciles two common ways in which information is leaked. 

Tymoshyk also pointed to malware, DevOps systems, missing components of audits and other attacks can challenge the mettle of a cloud computing security strategy, but a few tricks can lead to a reduction in these issues. For example, he suggested using what he calls a "honeypot," which essentially acts as a trap that sounds the alarm when an unsanctioned user breaks into a given system or storage environment. 

The author went on to recommend that companies invest in professional services such as auditing firms to ensure that all vulnerabilities are clear and apparent. 

Creating comprehension
The more organizations can integrate access management controls, the better, as reducing the complexity of so many end points can have a positive impact on the overall efficiency and accuracy of security procedures. Some analysts have argued that the cloud can actually be used as a formidable weapon in this regard, as virtually all end points can be managed through a relatively centralized system. 

Still, the right controls to ensure that IT departments have teeth in the fight against unsanctioned access will be critical, and can be achieved through more advanced tools such as dynamic authentication. By combining sound policies and oversight frameworks with the protective technologies that most closely align with unique corporate needs and objectives, firms will be better prepared to tackle the challenges of modern cybercrime.