What is Cloud Governance?
As organizations migrate to the cloud, they need visibility over every cloud platform, application, and service. Cloud governance is a set of rules or controls used to manage user access, compliance, budget and reduce security risk across your multi-cloud environment. It helps discover, protect and govern access to all apps, data and privileged accounts across your cloud infrastructure.
You’ll get a centralized view of which users have access and from which access points, monitor suspicious activity and mitigate risk by preventing unauthorized access from external networks, users and services.
Cloud Governance Best Practices
Moving to the cloud opens companies up to data exposure, security and compliance violations and other threats. This is why visibility and control are vital for governing access to cloud resources.
Here are four cloud governance best practices that help strengthen your cloud infrastructure.
1. Align Business and Governance Objectives
Businesses often lack the ability to effectively and securely govern access across multi-cloud environments. This leaves businesses open to the risk and costs of non-compliance, cyberattacks and human error.
When aligning business and cloud governance objectives, it’s important to understand the cost. Moving to the cloud can already create budget constraints, so cloud governance can often seem like an additional concern. Make sure to fully understand and articulate cloud cost with your finance department prior to deployment.
In addition, you’ll also want to make sure your implementation aligns with business objectives. You want to enact a governance policy that falls in line with your business. Some industries need tighter cloud governance than others, so keep that in mind as you build out your own plan.
2. Incorporate Automation
Automated cloud governance solutions help to auto discover and alert on user access, security and policy violations, as well as who has access to what, when they are accessing, and how. You can also automate the creation of secure credentials as users are provisioned and create and certify accounts and user access. This significantly reduces the burden from IT and increasing the security threshold.
Automation gives you real-time visibility and creates efficiencies in the provisioning workload.
3. Routinely Audit Your Security Tools
As cloud services evolve, it’s important to manage and assess risk. Cloud audits help to lower the risk of data loss, breach or unauthorized users. You should also ensure your cloud governance policy falls in line with compliance guidelines.
4. Keep Up to Date Cloud Resources
Once you’ve set up a cloud governance policy, it’s important to review regularly to ensure there aren’t any inconsistencies in identity requirements, cost management, and that you’ve enabled proper access controls and security.
The Four Biggest Challenges to Managing Identity in the Cloud
It’s not easy to keep track of the identities of all the humans, applications and machines accessing cloud-based workloads (applications, servers, storage, databases).
But there’s also another challenge to overcome in the multi-cloud environment: managing identity with respect to instances, objects, and credentials created, developed and tested in the cloud.
These often have very short life spans and may be known only to the individuals who put them there. Access to them is defined not by roles and groups but by policies that need to be managed – an activity that should not take up cycles on the part of DevOps teams.
Managing the relationships between access rights assigned to users on the one hand, and ephemeral instances and objects on the other is complicated in the case of just one cloud platform. Trying to do so in a multi-cloud environment is simply not possible given conventional tools and processes.
But failing to govern this access is both dangerous and costly, as we know from cloud-based cyberattacks and the fallout of non-compliance with regulatory requirements. There are four obstacles organizations using multi-cloud environments need to overcome.
- Lack of visibility. There’s no easy way to look across cloud platforms to discover who and what is out there at any given time. Understanding how they relate to each other is even more challenging – but is key to developing the right access policies.
- The difficulty of federated access. Lack of visibility also impedes your ability to know who has what cloud access from your enterprise system of record, such as Active Directory.
- Lack of automation. Lack of visibility has even more serious implications in a multi-cloud environment where users and workloads multiply, move and change at a much faster pace than on-premises. This makes it hard to protect privileged access to the most sensitive and valuable data and processes running in the cloud.
- Inability to take action. Even if organizations could get eyes on users, workloads, and access; there’s no easy way to control the quality of identity governance in multi-cloud environments.
Best practices automation of identity governance can now help organizations overcome these obstacles.
Check Out SailPoint Cloud Governance Services
SailPoint Cloud Governance gives you a comprehensive view of access to all resources across your multi-cloud infrastructure. From a single dashboard, our AI insights help you make faster, more informed access decisions, detect potential risks and easily enforce access policies for all users.
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