CIEM stands for Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management. CIEM refers to managing and regulating access to cloud resources, including computing instances and storage for networking and software licenses. CIEM is a relatively new term, but the concept of managing cloud infrastructure access has been around for many years.
The idea behind it is simple: organizations should have a central system that controls and defines which users can do what with the resources in the cloud.
So, what is CIEM? What are its benefits? Read on to find out.
How Do CIEM Solutions Work?
Most CIEM solutions work on a request and approval basis. A cloud user (be it an individual, department, or even an external organization) submits a request to the CIEM system indicating what resources they require and for what reason.
The solution then creates an approval workflow which is handed off to the administrators of that application (this usually includes the IT department and, in some cases, the finance department).
The administrators then review the request and either approve or deny it. The CIEM system will provide the requested resources and assign them to the user when approved. If denied, the user is notified about the reason for denial.
Why Is CIEM Necessary?
Cloud resources can be accessed by multiple users and organizations at once, which often leads to governance and compliance issues. Without CIEM, there is no easy way to define what resources can and cannot be used or even who has access to them. It becomes an issue when more companies look for ways to use the cloud.
There are many benefits that enterprises can reap from implementing the CIEM solution. They are:
1. Increased Security
Cloud resources are typically shared among multiple users, which means it is vital that organizations have dedicated systems in place to ensure their data and infrastructure remains secure.
The specific threat model being considered in CIEM is the insider threat. That is to say, someone who has legitimate access to cloud resources but takes advantage of this privilege to do something they are not authorized to do.
A CIEM solution allows administrators to define who can access what, so if a user leaves an organization, there is no more extended access granted to the resources they used.
It is essential that employees move around, and cloud usage becomes more commonplace: enterprises ensure that their data remains secure even when administrators change roles or leave the company by having a central system to manage and monitor access.
2. Reduced Costs
For those thinking about what CIEM is, and how it can reduce costs, the answer is simple. The CIEM solution allows organizations to cut down on the number of resources they use in the cloud. By regulating access and ensuring only authorized users access specific resources, enterprises can avoid overspending on cloud services.
3. Improved Compliance
Cloud infrastructure is often shared between multiple organizations, leading to compliance issues if proper controls are not in place. A CIEM solution can help organizations adhere to compliance regulations by ensuring that only authorized users access resources they are entitled to.
A cloud-based CIEM solution allows enterprises to manage their cloud infrastructure access quickly and easily.
4. Access Control
Many CIEM systems are built around the idea of access control. They make it possible to restrict what users can do within the cloud environment. For example, an administrator may create firewall rules or launch instances but not delete them. It allows for more secure resource management and reduces the risk of human error.
CIEM systems allow for detailed auditing of cloud activity. It is crucial to verify compliance with industry regulations and demonstrate due diligence. The access control capabilities mentioned above are an essential part of this process.
By monitoring what resources users are entitled to use and which actions they can perform. It can identify potential issues before they become a problem and collect the information needed for compliance reporting.
6. Effective Automation Tools
CIEM typically involves automation as much as possible. Access requests should be submitted via an automated web interface or API call, and the response should also be automated. It allows for near-real-time control of access and helps to keep the administrative load to a minimum.
There are several commercial and open-source CIEM tools available on the market. Choosing one that fits your organization’s needs is essential, as not all devices are built with the exact requirements in mind.
Once you know the answer to the question, “what is CIEM?”, it becomes abundantly clear how essential it is when it comes to cloud security.
It provides more control over who has access to what resources and can help enforce compliance policies and improve security posture. CIEM involves a significant amount of work upfront but should pay for itself by helping protect your sensitive data against leaks, security incidents, improving compliance posture, and making audits easier.