The pandemic accelerated the acceptance of cloud-based solutions as remote and hybrid work became commonplace. The remote workforce depends on many cloud-powered services such as Zoom and Slack.
While widespread adoption of the cloud infrastructure has accelerated positive business capabilities like agility, scalability, powerful computing and use of SaaS applications, it has also led to new challenges. Team collaboration guest accounts can be a gateway to myriad cyber security threats, providing an unwitting outlet for inbound cyber threats and outbound data loss.
According to the 2022 Trends in Security Digital Identities report published by the independent group Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA), nearly all (98%) of the security and identity professionals surveyed confirm that the number of identities in their organization is increasing. According to 52% of respondents, which included security, IAM and identiyy professionals at U.S. organizations in diverse industries with more than 1,000 employees, this increase is mainly due to the adoption of cloud applications.
It’s probably no surprise that 84% of respondents to the study reported having had an identity-related attack in the past year. Managing and monitoring permissions at such a high scale and in complex environments is no simple task. Savvy cyber criminals are exploiting this challenge and seem to be attempting to escalate their attacking capabilities.
Finding solutions for preventing identity-related attacks should be a key component in any organization’s security plan. By implementing security controls that raise the barrier to entry for attackers, help quickly identify an identity-based breach and limit access to sensitive resources, security and identity teams can reduce the risk posed by data breaches by preventing or minimizing them and their potential impact.
In fact, 97% of the organizations surveyed plan to invest in identity-focused security outcomes in the coming year. The top three focus areas for cloud security investment are: implementing MFA, continuously discovering user rights, and more timely reviews of sensitive data access.
Preventing Identity-Related Attacks
According to the respondents, many solutions and strategies could have helped their organizations avoid identity-related attacks, including:
- MFA (Multi-factor authentication) for all or, at least, for privileged users
- Timely reviews of privileged access
- Revoking access when detecting high-risk events
- Continuous discovery of user access rights and evaluating expected user behavior for authentication (i.e anomaly detection)
- Continuous discovery of privileged access rights
- Timely reviews of access to sensitive data
Furthermore, it is recommended that organizations perform an access review of their infrastructure on a quarterly basis. However, according to the State of Cloud Security Maturity 2022 findings by Osterman Research (commissioned by Ermetic)t, some 60% of organizations have not made this a best practice.
According to the same Osterman study, organizations investing more than 50 hours per week in cloud security achieved the highest levels of cloud security maturity. In fact, cloud security maturity also increases when organizations spend more money on cloud infrastructure. But both factors are limited. At the end of the day, cloud security maturity is not about investing more; rather, it is about prioritizing and investing wisely in tools, training, and processes.