Your No. 1 Cloud Threat is ‘Excessive Permissions’ – CXOToday.com

By Nikhil Taneja

Migrating workloads to public cloud environment opens up organizations to a slate of new, cloud-native attack vectors which did not exist in the world of premise-based data centers. In this new environment, workload security is defined by which users have access to your cloud environment, and what permissions they have. As a result, protecting against excessive permissions, and quickly responding when those permissions are abused and this becomes the #1 priority for security administrators.

The Old Insider is the New Outsider

Traditionally, computing workloads resided within the organizations data centers, where they were protected against insider threats. Application protection was focused primarily on perimeter protection, through mechanisms such as firewalls, IPS/IDS, WAF and DDoS protection, secure gateways, etc.

However, moving workloads to the cloud has led organizations (and IT administrators) to lose direct physical control over their workloads, and relinquish many aspects of security through the Shared Responsibility Model. As a result, the insider of the old, premise-based world is suddenly an outsider in the new world of publicly hosted cloud workloads.

IT administrators and hackers now have identical access to publicly-hosted workloads, using standard connection methods, protocols, and public APIs. As a result, the whole world becomes your insider threat.

Workload security, therefore, is defined by the people who can access those workloads, and the permissions they have.

Your permissions are your Attack Surfaces

One of the primary reasons for migrating to the cloud is speeding up time-to-market and business processes. As a result, cloud environments make it very easy to spin up new resources and grant wide-ranging permissions, and very difficult to keep track of who has them, and what permissions they actually use.

All too frequently, there is a gap between granted permissions and used permissions. In other words, many users have too much permission, which they never use. Such permissions are frequently exploited by hackers, who take advantage of unnecessary permissions for malicious purposes.

As a result, cloud workloads are vulnerable to data breaches (i.e., theft of data from cloud accounts), service violation (i.e., completely taking over cloud resources), and resource exploitation (such as cryptomining). Such promiscuous permissions are frequently mischaracterized as misconfigurations, but are actually the result of permission misuse or abuse by people who shouldnt have them.

Therefore, protecting against those promiscuous permissions becomes the #1 priority for protecting publicly-hosted cloud workloads.

Traditional Protections offer Piecemeal Solutions

The problem, however, is that existing solutions provide incomplete protection against the threat of excessive permissions.

New Approach for Protection

Modern protection of publicly hosted cloud environments requires a new approach.

(The author is Managing Director-India, SAARC & Middle East at Radware, andthe views expressed here need not be in sync with those of the publication)

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Your No. 1 Cloud Threat is 'Excessive Permissions' - CXOToday.com

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