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How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

True Security Comes From Within – Privileged Access Management

Identity management and access to IT systems within an organization have traditionally been divided into different disciplines. Business users were managed in the traditional Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems. Privileged Access Management (PAM) is the term used for administrator account management technologies that monitor and restrict extended privileges and support shared account management. Historically, privilege management has evolved from managing shared accounts and passwords. In recent years, the perception of Privileged Access Management has changed significantly. Various vendors have greatly expanded their product range, and various acquisitions have led infrastructure providers to offer a broader product portfolio and evolved from specialized niche providers to market leaders.

Over the past 5 to 10 years, Privileged Access Management has been added to the portfolio of Identity and Access capabilities provided by IAM, corporate governance or security teams. Managing privileged users is an essential security measure for an organization. Insiders often know better and are more aware of the business processes and technical landscapes. If an insider account is hijacked, the outsider has the same opportunities for attack. The malicious insider (or the kidnapped insider) with privileged login information can cause considerable damage.

But not only threats have changed and intensified. Over the past decade, business requirements and IT have changed significantly. Business models have changed, and widespread digitalization has completely transformed businesses, their networks and their application infrastructure. From new infrastructure concepts in the cloud, delivered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), to completely new products offered through business software as a service, a variety of new administrator accounts have been created. New applications and platforms based on mobile devices create new working concepts and business models on the one hand, and pose new challenges for IAM and Privileged Access management on the other hand.

At a time when cyber-attacks and privacy breaches are on the rise, it is obvious that these incidents are related to privileged user accounts. In addition, research on recent security incidents reveals that data theft on a large scale is likely to be caused by users with elevated privileges, typically administrative users. It’s no wonder that Privileged Access Management is not just an issue for executives (CIOs and CISOs) to deal with, but increasingly it is an area that auditors and regulators must put on the agenda.

The core functions of a PAM tool include:

⚪ Credential vaulting and processes for secure, audited storage of and access to passwords and key material.

⚪ Automated password rotation enables the use of a shared account to be directly assigned to a person.

However, advanced features such as privileged user analysis, risk-based session monitoring and advanced threat protection are becoming the new standard, as the attack surface grows, and the number and complexity of attacks increases year by year. An integrated and more comprehensive PAM solution, that can automatically detect unusual behavior and initiate automated defenses, is needed. Thus, the benefits of investing in this area have an extraordinary impact on risk mitigation compared to other types of IT and security technologies.

Some of the key challenges required to manage privileged access include:

⚪ Misuse of shared credentials

⚪ Misuse of elevated rights by unauthorized users

⚪ Abduction of privileged access data by cybercriminals

⚪ Accidental misuse of elevated privileges by users

In addition, there are several other operational, regulatory requirements associated with privileged access:

⚪ Identifying shared accounts, software and service accounts across the IT infrastructure

⚪ Identification and continuous tracking of owners of privileged accounts throughout their life cycle

⚪ Auditing, recording and monitoring of privileged activities for regulatory compliance

⚪ Managing and monitoring administrator access of IT outsourcing providers and MSPs to internal IT systems

For more info about PATECCO PAM Services, read the White Paper below:

The Role of Identity Governance in Security and Compliance

In the complex network of managing user rights, permissions and accounts, tracking who has access to certain resources becomes almost impossible. Every organisation is facing demands, mandates and compliance regulations while managing the access and support of many devices and systems that contain critical data. Identity Governance and Intelligence solutions help business with the ability to create and manage user accounts and access rights for individual users within the company. In this way they can more conveniently manage user provisioning, password management, access governance and identity repositories.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Security?

Identity governance is the core of most organizations’ security and IT operations strategies. It allows businesses to provide automated access to an increasing number of technology assets and at the same to manage potential security and compliance risks. Identity governance enables and secures digital identities for all users, applications and data.

In case the identity governance is compromised, the organization is left vulnerable to security and compliance violations. Companies can solve this problem by investing in identity governance and intelligence (IGI) solutions that address the business requirements of compliance mangers, auditors and risk managers. According to our partner IBM, “IGI provides a business activity-based modelling approach that simplifies the user access and roles design, review and certification processes. With this approach, you can establish trust between IT and business managers around business activities and permissions, making workflows understandable for nontechnical users. IGI solutions enable security teams to leverage powerful analytics to make informed decisions about identity, give users the applications and the flexible data access they need, and help to ensure compliance with ever-evolving regulations.”

When we talk about managing access within the organization, a number of researches show that more than 50 percent of users have more access privileges than required for their job. In most cases the reason is bulk approvals for access requests, frequent changes in roles or departments, and not regular reviewing user access. The trouble is that too much access privilege and overprovisioning can open an organization up to insider threats and increase the risk throughout the business.

It’s necessary to make sure that users have the appropriate access and to prevent facing with insider threats. The risk could be decreased by using role-based access controls (RBAC) – this means having solid, well-defined roles in place and knowing specifically which access privileges each role needs. As organizations grow and evolve, the right IGI solution can allow for more efficient changes and decrease risk by focusing on role definitions and role assignments rather than on individual accounts. The strategy of RBAC works well to decrease the timeline in executing bulk additions where a lot of change is happening at once, like during mergers, acquisitions and corporate reorganizations.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Compliance?

Companies today have to manage customer, vendor, and board member demands, but at the same time they also must make sure they are compliant with any number of regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and SOX. The increasing number of federal regulations and industry mandates that organizations face today, leads to more auditing, compliance reviews, and reporting.

Identity Governance is a critical discipline involved in this regulation. To be GDPR compliant, organizations must ensure that the personal data they process, collect, and store is properly protected. IBM Security Identity Governance & Intelligence (IGI) can help with that process. IGI allows only the right people to access and manage GDPR-relevant data. IGI presents these people to a business manager holistically in a single pane of glass. (source: IBM) IGI solutions not only strictly control the access to sensitive information like patient records or financial data, but also enable companies to prove they are taking actions to meet compliance requirements.

Furthermore, IGI solutions make the review process easier and more effective with built-in reporting capabilities to meet relevant government and industry regulations. A good compliance program allows for frequent and multiple access reviews to take place at any given time to meet ever-increasing auditor demands without engaging numerous resources from the organization.

One of the main reasons for implementing an IGI solution, is to ensure that users only have access to the resources they need. It also makes sure that you provide appropriate access, risk mitigation and improved security posture of your organization. Unfortunately, a lot of companies today may not view this as a strategic priority and that is a prerequisite to suffer a security incident at some moment. What such companies should do, is to trust IGI solutions and their strong capabilities. See here how PATECCO IGI Solutions are the foundation for a solid Identity and Access Management program in your organization.

How IAM Ensures Secure Access to Information Across Your Enterprise

To meet the challenges of today’s world, competitive companies need to increase their business agility in a secure environment and need to enforce the performance of their IT infrastructure. With the development of the business, enterprises now require new methods to manage secure access to information and applications across multiple systems, delivering on-line services to employee, customer and suppliers without compromising security. Companies must be able to trust the identities of users requiring access and easily administer user identities in a cost-effective way. That’s why it is important how they manage all the identities that access information across the enterprise (from employees and customers to trading partners), how they keep all interactions compliant and secure regardless of access channel, including personal devices.

More and more enterprises are undertaking significant digital transformation initiatives to integrate more applications and automate processes in a bid to increase productivity and the pace of innovation. These initiatives frequently involve the integration of information technology with operational technology, even bridging security domains, through direct integration with value chain partners. Digital transformation initiatives deliver significant value, but potentially put more resources at risk and increase the enterprise security threat surface.

Managing external identities, determining who should have access to what resources, and validating and auditing access requests to key resources across channels creates significant administrative overhead for the enterprise. The inherent risk in granting access to mission-critical resources to people and organizations outside the enterprise’s control is compounded by: lack of visibility into an external organization’s hierarchy to validate user requests for access to resources, inability to identify orphan accounts, audit whether users are still active at an organization and still need access to resources, and compromised accounts

The solution for all these business challenges and risks is Identity and Access Management (IAM). It is developed, based on the users and access rights management through an integrated, efficient and centralized infrastructure. This concept combines business processes, policies and technologies that enable companies to provide secure access to any resource, efficiently control this access, respond faster to changing relationships, and protect confidential information from unauthorized users.

Beyond the most basic function of directory services that maintain the metadata associated with an identity, IAM covers two main functions: Authentication and Authorisation.

How does PATECCO IAM solution enable you to manage your most critical identity and access management challenges?

PATECCO offers a robust set of IAM capabilities. The solution enables enterprises to centrally manage the entire identity lifecycle of their internal and external users, as well as their access to critical resources across the enterprise. The IAM platform provides a comprehensive set of capabilities to connect and manage the people, systems, processes, and things that span the extended enterprise. PATECCO IAM solution addresses identity and access management challenges in three key areas:

1. Onboarding and provisioning

 Onboarding and provisioning is a business problem, which deals with the policies, rules, technology, and user experience pertaining to creating and managing user accounts. Enterprises need robust approval-based access requests, the ability to audit access grants, and the ability to provide answers to the questions of who has what, why, and for how long?

 2. Authentication and access

With network security perimeters disappearing and data flowing freely within and between companies, identity has become the crucial point to help manage, control, and govern access to data, applications, and cloud resources. This requires the enterprise to master non-core capabilities such as single sign-on, password management, advanced authentication, role-based access control, and directory services integration.

 3. Privacy and security

The rise in awareness about compliance management—as well as the growing list of regulations on the matter such as GDPR in Europe—is driving the adoption of IAM solutions for security purposes. Enterprises must prevent sensitive information from being disclosed to unauthorized recipients. They must reduce or eliminate the risk of financial loss, public embarrassment, or legal liability from unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or critical information. PATECCO solution for IAM mitigates many of the risks inherent in a diverse, globally distributed supply chain. Starting with comprehensive identity and access management capabilities, we can ensure only the right people have access to the most trusted resources when they need them. Adding comprehensive tools for audit and attestation means that the enterprise can easily determine who has access to what resources at any time, as well as how they got access and when they actually accessed the resource.

After describing the IAM capabilities, we can conclude that the more IAM continues to evolve, the more organizations will look to broader, enterprise-based solutions that are adaptable to new usage trends such as mobile and cloud computing. Effective identity and access management processes are able to bring business value to your enterprise — reduced risk, sustaining compliance, improved efficiency and end user experience responding to the changing IT landscape.