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Securing Human and Non-Human Identities in the Cloud

Securing Human and Non-Human Identities in the Cloud

Authored by: Carolyn Crandall, Chief Security Advocate, Attivo Networks – One of the most significant challenges facing cybersecurity professionals today is the need for stronger identity security. According to the most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 61% of all breaches now involve credential data, underscoring that attackers see identities as an increasingly vulnerable target. The growth of cloud services and the resulting explosion of human and “non-human” identities exacerbate this problem. These non-human identities include network entities such as databases, applications, and data stores, and protecting them is just as important as safeguarding user credentials.

Unfortunately, non-human identities and managed services security remain relatively new concepts. The sheer volume of identities needing protection can leave cloud security professionals overwhelmed—and often unaware of the full extent of their exposure. Addressing this challenge requires a new type of solution capable of protecting identities and giving enterprises the ability to assess vulnerabilities quickly across the entire network. Security teams and identity administrators need tools that can effectively defend their organizations as they grapple with the rapid rise in identities and the associated over-provisioning issues that often accompany cloud migration.

Covering Endpoints, Active Directory, and the Cloud

Today’s organizations aren’t just embracing the cloud—the rise of multi-cloud capabilities means that many organizations have more than one cloud environment to secure, further expanding the attack surface. To protect these environments, enterprises need visibility into cloud identities and entitlement risk. The Attivo Networks IDEntitleX solution offers the unique ability to provide end-to-end analysis of those risks and exposures, not just in the cloud but on endpoints and within Active Directory (AD) as well. The market has no shortage of identity security products. However, the IDEntitleX solution covers a significantly more extensive range of assets than other products—including users, applications, containers, storage buckets, serverless functions, and virtual machines. These capabilities will only grow more important, with remote work more common than ever.

When searching for an identity solution, it is essential to look for the ability to view, observe, and analyze the complex web of identities in today’s network environments. It is also critical to understand those identities and gain the knowledge needed to address the root causes behind most identity security issues. Adhering to a “least-privilege” security program is essential, ensuring that identities do not have privileges over what they need to perform their jobs or functions. The IDEntitleX solution accomplishes this through a centralized management console, which security teams can use to view cloud and AD entitlements and endpoint attack paths all in one place, alongside those for essential cloud services like AWS S3 and Azure Key Value. This function provides defenders with unprecedented visibility into potential exposures and misconfigurations.

Understanding Identity Exposures

Minimizing identity exposures requires several specific capabilities. Zeroing in on specific platforms, monitoring entitlements to vital cloud services, and performing object-specific risk assessments to isolate objects and identify the risks associated with their specific entitlements can go a long way toward locking down potential vulnerabilities. The ability to zoom out for a big-picture view without sacrificing more focused, entitlement-specific visibility is critical and is a feature that remains unique to the IDEntitleX solution. This feature has the advantage of providing organizations with both a holistic and granular understanding of their networks.

A comprehensive identity solution should always include the following capabilities to combat today’s attackers:

  • Identity List Privileges. Provide end-to-end visibility, identify excessive permissions, and make least privilege recommendations.
  • Entitlement Graphing. Document the entire relationship between an identity and its resources to better understand its access rights—and how it received them.
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). Provide visibility into security and compliance monitoring, misconfigurations, and compliance benchmarks such as CIS and HIPAA.
  • End-to-End Visibility. Introduce a comprehensive permission view of entitlements, compliance, and attack paths, allowing defenders to visualize potential vulnerabilities better and how attackers can exploit them.

Of course, how a solution displays this information is essential as well. A good identity solution can collate and display identity information using graphical visualization, helping security staff understand the risks their organization faces and how to address them more easily. It isn’t just about awareness—it’s about gaining actionable insights into cloud identity and entitlement exposures. Advanced visualization tools make this data easy for defenders to understand and act on, allowing them to shut down attack pathways within the cloud environment and better understand the end-to-end relationships between objects across the network environment.

Getting Started with Identity Security

The IDEntitleX solution serves as an ideal jumping-off point for today’s organizations when it comes to identity security tools. Its ability to assign risk to each identity provides an easy solution for a problem that many enterprises struggle to solve on their own. Its workflow and graphical capabilities, along with the summarized data and ability to drill down for greater context, provide defenders with an intuitive and easy-to-use platform capable of defending against today’s most pressing threats. The IDEntitleX solution provides visibility into critical areas like inactive users, excessive and unused permissions, and the attacker’s views of paths to high-value assets. As the number of human and non-human identities in the average network expands, attackers will continue to find new ways to exploit identity exposures—and the capabilities provided by IDEntitleX will grow more critical.  

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