Access Management

September 8, 2022
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Swapna Mannem
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Cloud Security
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Compliance
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To create a comprehensively secure cloud environment, any organization should have well-defined Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies. The AWS Shared Responsibility Model enables a customer to share the operational risks and burdens with AWS.

Access Management is a crucial part of workload security that runs either on-premises or in the cloud. It is responsible for authenticating and authorizing access to users and applications. Access Management is designed to strengthen security and reduce risk. The best practice in access management is “least privilege.” It means controlling access by setting granular policies so only authorized individuals can access the resources.

Identity Access Management (IAM) is the access management system built into AWS. IAM helps to create AWS users, groups, and roles. It has a set of policies for defining and managing users' roles and access privileges.

AWS Security and Compliance is a shared responsibility between AWS and the customer. This shared model can help relieve the customer's operational burden. AWS operates, manages, and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the service’s facilities.

Identity and Access Management Risks:

When a company designs and implements IAM—especially when coupled with maintenance—they should consider several identity and access management risks. The following are the more common risks associated with IAM deployments:

  • Centralized Management: When you centralize the management of usernames and authentication mechanisms, you create a much bigger and more centralized security target. Thus, great care must be taken to secure an IAM platform properly.
  • Improper access management: Another misstep is managing an organization’s role-based access control (RBAC). RBAC is a method used to bind multiple users into groups based on their need to access similar resources. While the use of access groups is a great way to reduce the number of access policies that need to be created and maintained, the result is that some users gain access to applications and services they don't need. In a best-case scenario, this leads to a situation where user access isn't nearly as stringent as it could be. In worst-case scenarios, this can result in users with inappropriate separation of duties, leading to access control compliance violations.
  • Lack of scheduled access management auditing: Access management can suffer from poorly enforced access policy rules. It is generally relatively easy to grant access to services or resources via a policy. However, revoking access to previously required resources is a common problem. If regularly scheduled audits are not performed, it can lead to users and groups having access to the services or resources they no longer need—or worse, they invite dangerous, unauthorized activities.

Solid processes to protect against these types of IAM risks are essential. These include the necessary firewall and intrusion prevention system protections and the creation of a strict access policy that significantly limits who has access to manage the platform.

Ibexlabs ensures that IAM is configured in the best way possible to strengthen an organization's security. We follow the least privilege principle in configuring IAM policies.

Ibexlabs helps customers to:

  • Implement Single SSO with MFA to eliminate human users and to lower IAM user management overhead.
  • Eliminate access key usage in apps by replacing them with IAM roles wherever possible.
  • Enable a strict password policy for IAM users on password length, frequency of rotation, and repeatable passwords.
  • Centralized IAM access analyzer for AWS organizations.
  • Establishing access between AWS accounts using IAM roles with external ID
  • Regular Analysis of Access Analyzer findings which helps to identify the resources in AWS organization and accounts, such as Amazon S3 buckets or IAM roles, that are shared with an external entity.
  • Solutions to scan IAM resources and recommend customized IAM policies by analyzing access patterns over time and establishing a regular review of scan reports.

To get the best of IAM, configuring the resources securely and efficiently matters the most.

Almost all AWS services should be managed with a shared responsibility model. AWS will help secure the underlying configuration, which is the ‘security of the cloud,’ but ‘security in the cloud’ is the responsibility of the configurations we jointly make. We have to make sure to configure IAM in the right way to build a comprehensively secure environment.

As a SOC2-certified AWS Security Partner with a special focus on Identity and Access Management, we have the experience and expertise to manage the integrity, availability, and security of customer data using IAM policies and standards that ensure that data is not misused.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a big part of AWS cloud security assessment, and there is a good reason for that. Most breaches and security failures today are still caused by the mismanagement of IAM resources. Ibexlabs ensures the customer environment is configured in an ideal way to build a secure system.

Swapna Mannem

As a Sr DevOps Engineer, we design and develop automation to support continuous delivery and continuous integration processes. All this is done in order to ensure high levels of availability, performance, and Scalability. As a DevOps Engineer, we will also build different strategies to make sure the process follows the DevOps concept. I got a chance to work on internal project Oppsync where I built AWS Infrastructure, CI/CD by following all the best practices.

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