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What is Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM)?

Posted 25th Feb 2024 by Travis Swientek

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) is a class of cybersecurity identity and access management (IAM) solutions focused on reducing access risk for cloud technologies by automating entitlement management across a multi-cloud deployment, enabling an organization to maintain consistent access controls across its cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) is a class of cybersecurity identity and access management (IAM) solutions focused on reducing access risk for cloud technologies by automating entitlement management across a multi-cloud deployment, enabling an organization to maintain consistent access controls across its cloud infrastructure. By focusing on the granular management of identities, entitlements, and access policies, CIEM solutions empower organizations to enforce the principle of least privilege across all cloud resources, mitigate the risk of excessive permissions and reducing the risk of human error that could expose sensitive data or workloads to cyber threats.

Benefits of CIEM

CIEM solutions approach security challenges inherent in cloud and hybrid environments by managing diverse cloud permissions, preventing data breaches, and improving cloud security posture. By streamlining the provisioning and management of cloud identities and entitlements, CIEM solutions help organizations optimize their cloud security posture, enforce privileged access management policies, reduce operational complexities, and protect against unauthorized access and cyberattacks.

CIEM Key Features

Some key features of a CIEM solution include:

  • Discovery: CIEM solutions identify human and non-human identities, account activities, and entitlement policies.
  • Identity Governance: CIEM solutions provide robust mechanisms for defining, managing, and auditing user identities and their access across various cloud services, from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Azure and Google Cloud (GCP), ensuring alignment with organizational security policies. CIEM solutions enforce granular access control, governing who can access specific cloud resources and the actions they can perform, significantly reducing the attack surface and mitigating security risks.
  • Multi-Cloud Support: CIEMs simplify entitlement management in multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environments with native support for major public cloud platforms.
  • Visibility & Monitoring: CIEM solutions provide a visual graph that map identities and resources, and support natural language-based queries. With advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities, CIEM offers visibility into cloud access activities, enabling security teams to detect and respond to anomalies, misconfigurations, and potential security incidents promptly.
  • Entitlement Optimization & Protection: CIEM solutions should identify underused, overused, or ineffective entitlements and provide recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness. CIEM solutions should help to identify and correct entitlements that are unusual and potentially risky and be able to automatically remediate risky configurations or access entitlements based on prebuilt rules or through creation of support tickets.
  • Security Posture Analytics: CIEM solutions should be able to compare policies to regulatory requirements, producing gap analyses and suggesting modifications.
  • Logging and Reporting: Compliance reports surface Information about an organization’s entitlements. A CIEM should automatically generate logs and populate built-in compliance reporting templates with relevant entitlement data.
  • Visibility and Monitoring: With advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities, CIEM offers visibility into cloud access activities, enabling security teams to detect and respond to anomalies, misconfigurations, and potential security incidents promptly.

CIEM vs. Cloud Security Posture Managment (CSPM)

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) often pairs with CIEM solutions to enable organizations to monitor cloud security configurations and/or to identify potential misconfigurations of cloud security controls. To effectively secure a cloud environment, an organization needs to properly configure a range of security controls across different vendor environments and vendor-specific security settings. Some solutions that bundle CIEM, CSPM and other technologies are called cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPP).

Teleport's Take

Many organizations with modern computing environments bring together disparate access, entitlement, and configuration management solutions in order to reduce vulnerabilities. In contrast, Teleport Access Platform is designed to unify access control (Teleport Access), identity security (Teleport Identity), and policy management (Teleport Policy). Teleport Policy builds in the features of CIEM solutions that are relevant to secure infrastructure access, for human and non-human identities and across multi-cloud environments and on-premises infrastructure. Further, Teleport Access Platform reduces vulnerabilities that arise from human error and misconfiguration, enforces the principle of least privilege, and employs a zero trust design, supporting the primary goals of privileged access management (PAM). The tight integration of these products reduces the operational burden of sourcing different products for CIEM, IGA, CSPM and secure access and then unifying them.

Key features of Teleport Policy include:

  • Access Graph: A core component of Teleport Policy, the access graph provides comprehensive visiblity of all user and non-human identities within an organization's infrastructure, visually demonstrating access relationships between identities and resources and facilitating the effective deployment of security policies across all environments.
  • Policy Query & Management: Teleport Policy enables organizations to write and enforce consistent access policies not just in cloud environments but also across on-premises data centers, bridging the gap between cloud and traditional IT security.

Teleport's innovative approach to CIEM, embodied in Teleport Policy, offers a holistic solution for managing cloud identity entitlements and securing access across the full spectrum of cloud and on-premises resources. Teleport Policy empowers organizations to achieve a secure, efficient, and compliant cloud security posture, ready to tackle the challenges of modern cloud computing infrastructures.

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