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Cloud Security 101: What is Identity Management?


This is the sixth blog of a series that provides the basics of information security in the cloud. In this series, we will provide definitions and best practices for many of the elements that should be considered as part of a cloud security program. In addition to a blog, each topic will also have a short video, providing some additional information on the subject.  The previous blog and video discussed the topic:  "What are Safe Harbor and GDPR Regulations?" In this installment, we will be discussing the topic: "What is Identity Management?"

Identity Management - sometimes also called access management or identity and access management (IAM) - is the various ways that an enterprise can use and manage to allow their employees and users to gain access to computing resources based on their identity anClouSec 101 Series.jpgd the rights and privileges associated with that identity.

The two most significant considerations when looking at an IAM solution are ease of administration and single sign on (SSO).

In any enterprise, employee rights, privileges and status are constantly changing. On any given day, an employee may need to have access to new resources, they may receive a promotion that requires additional access, or they could be a new hire that requires standard on-boarding credentials. The IT professional that administers the IAM system will likely have to make numerous changes on any given day, so the system must have safeguards and be relatively easy to use. Else, privilege escalations and user changes will be delayed or unfulfilled.

 Second, and more important, is the ability to provide user access through single sign on. As a hybrid cIdentityManagement.jpgloud infrastructure grows in complexity, it is in the best interest of the enterprise to adopt an IAM solution that can integrate with ALL of the various cloud and on premise environments. Users should be able to log into their machine once, and those credentials should move or transfer from environment to environment based on the workload and function they are trying to accomplish.

Identity and access management considerations should be a primary factor when selecting a cloud infrastructure solution. Understanding how identity management integrates into a company’s overall security vision is a critical component of any cloud infrastructure decisions. Regardless of the vendor an enterprise chooses as their cloud provider, understanding how identity management will be affected and implemented as part of their cloud solution will ensure that security considerations are appropriately addressed.

For the next blog in this series, we will discuss the cloud security topic: "What are Monitor, Detect and Response?" To learn more about hybrid cloud security, download the whitepaper from 451 Research Group. You can also learn more about the HPE Right Mix hybrid cloud, as well as the Right Mix approach to cloud security. To find the additional parts, please search for Cloud Security 101.

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About the Author


Chris Steffen is the Chief Evangelist for HPE Cloud Security. He is part of the HPE Helion team that works to educate and promote information security as it relates to cloud computing solutions. Before joining HPE, Chris spent over 15 years as an IT executive and security practitioner in multiple industries, including financial services, manufacturing and government. He is a noted industry expert, and has multiple technical certifications, including CISSP and CISA. You can follow him on Twitter at @CloudSecChris.