While companies make great efforts to ensure that their cloud providers meet the best security standards, they frequently fail to adhere to these same procedures when transitioning their software and infrastructure. During their cloud transformation, companies must take a two-pronged approach to preventing and fixing security oversights, concentrating both on improved training and understanding as well as technological controls. Organizations and their workers can safely transition into the cloud only with the correct combination of policies and resources.
IT practitioners used the term shadow IT to refer to unauthorized hardware operating in their business environment when it first entered the corporate lexicon. Shadow IT has shifted over time from hardware to software, especially software-as-a-service applications.
Employees would use their own resources under the radar if they felt weighed down by the lack of a vital function. Businesses were exposed to unknown risks these apps would bring to the company, lacking official guidelines or enterprise-grade authentication.
Many organizations are still dealing with software-based shadow IT, but the tides are shifting back to risks that are “hardware-based.” Although employees have largely moved beyond suddenly bringing new hardware into the workplace, by setting up unsecured servers, they are essentially recreating the same vulnerabilities via cloud-based infrastructure.
This may be done purposely because they want to circumvent what they consider to be onerous security controls as well as inadvertently because these servers are not exposed to the operations team, so they do not apply the usual security controls to them.
The ease with which department leaders or any employee with a company expense account can buy and set up new virtual devices has reduced their dependency on the IT department. Still, it has done little to increase their understanding of security. Security is far from the only issue in situations like this; without a centralized management system for the virtual machines of your company, costs will easily spin out of control as IT efforts are duplicated through teams.
Traditionally, IT practitioners have been focused on handling hardware, not users. This makes perfect sense through an on-premise paradigm: The company knows what hardware it owns, and the IT department knows how to manage and protect it.
IT no longer has complete insight into what endpoints they manage as companies transfer their technology and applications to the cloud. An internal developer, for instance, could easily set up a production machine that IT has no understanding of, leaving that endpoint in the dark and unsecured.
Organizations need to concentrate on the management of employee identities through programs, making it simpler for workers to request access to new features and assistance while keeping IT in the loop. The identity management platform of your organization should allow your company, both by the endpoint and by privilege, to monitor employee access at multiple levels. Crucially, rather than locking the company into a small list of supported vendors, this platform must seamlessly integrate into a multi-cloud environment.
IT agencies need to reconsider the way they treat end users, too. Instead of relying on the access of a user’s device to set rights, they need to work more closely with HR to make employee roles the basis for access. A developer is more likely to require access to multiple systems than a marketer or accountant. Setting permissions on a per-system rather than a per-employee basis leaves endpoint security in the hands of workers rather than IT professionals. This is not a new creative approach but a fairly classic access technique that is often lost because of device constraints or the time it takes to prepare and execute it properly.
During their cloud transformation process, companies cannot afford to lose visibility of their critical resources, and workers cannot be trusted to master security through a variety of emerging systems.
Instead of allowing the digital transformation of your business to develop into a disorganized scramble, position identity by implementing a structured employee identity management system at the core of your organization’s cloud migration strategy. This enables you to monitor who has access to key systems as well as supervise operational risks such as unsecured server spin-up.