How Password Security Can Improve Your Cloud Identity Management

How Password Security Can Improve Your Cloud Identity Management

Enterprises the world over obsess over their digital transformation and cloud adoption. The cloud offers so many benefits to enterprise productivity and growth, not pursuing it would be an act of folly. However, a factor enterprises looking to embrace the cloud often fail to account for can either make or break their efforts: cloud identity management.

Cloud identity management resembles typical enterprise-level identity and access management; the solution protects users’ credentials, authenticates users as they login to networks and databases, and ensures users only have access to the resources they need to perform their roles.

However, instead of dealing with on-premises databases, cloud identity management deals with a radically different infrastructure…and with it radically different demands.  

Cloud Identity Management Is Your Responsibility

Enterprises often look to cloud adoption as a means to alleviate their IAM responsibilities. However, the truth proves far more complex.  

One lesson continues to elude enterprises about cloud identity management: cloud providers only provide the cloud. Unless the attack directly targets their servers, cloud providers won’t repel hackers from attacking your credentials and your cloud databases. Cloud identity management, much like on-premises identity and access management, remains your responsibility.

Additionally, protecting credential theft and abuse on the cloud reveals itself as a markedly different animal. A simple configuration error can result in uncontrolled access to proprietary data. The cloud security perimeter, where logins occur, can prove so nebulous recognizing all the potential attack vectors often proves an exercise in frustration. Cloud identity management must scale as your infrastructure scales across the nearly infinite digital expanses. Furthermore, the cloud’s interconnectedness often results in hackers having far more access to databases than they would in an on-premises environment.     

Hackers want nothing more than to take advantage of these vulnerabilities.

Weak Password Security Means Weak Cloud Identity Management

User identities serve as an enticing target for hackers, and for good reason; credentials allow for the easiest path into endpoints and networks. Therefore, instead of focusing on infecting endpoints with malware, hackers now focus on stealing employee and privileged user credentials. Phishing attacks have seen a rise in popularity as a result, as they create the best opportunities to obtain credentials while simultaneously subverting users’ normal filters.

However, the other side of credentials theft involves hackers not needing to steal passwords at all. Instead, they just have to guess. Weak password security can and does completely subvert your cloud identity management efforts. Hackers can effortlessly crack simple passwords. Reused password invite credential stuffing attacks. The combination of the two results in compromised cloud databases.

What can you do to improve your password security and therefore improve your cloud identity management?

Deploy a Next-Generation Identity Management Solution

Cloud identity management exceeds the capabilities of legacy IAM solutions. If you truly intend to take your enterprise to the cloud, you must ensure you have the proper security to match your demands. Only a next-generation, continually updated solution can provide the cloud functions you need.          

Multifactor Authentication

Part of improving your password security is not relying on passwords alone to protect your cloud identity. Utilizing multifactor authentication strengthens your password security by ensuring a stolen password doesn’t compromise the entire cloud identity management platform. You can choose the factors which will best bolster your security, including geofencing, time and location monitoring, and hard token incorporation.  

Encourage Password Security Best Practices

With a solution to supplement your cloud identity management practices, your enterprise can achieve a high degree of security. However, password security and identity protection for the cloud is a two-way street. Your employees need to embrace password security best practices to facilitate and strengthen your enterprises’ cloud identity management.

This includes no longer sharing passwords among colleagues, no longer reusing passwords, and avoiding passwords which can be cracked or guessed.

Ben Canner

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner