Connect with us

Expert Speak

Why CIEM Will Become an Indispensable Part of the Region’s Future Technology Environments



Written by Michael Byrnes, Director – Solutions Engineering, iMEA, BeyondTrust

The GCC is humming with cloud activity, and understandably so. The cost-benefit analysis of cloud services had already proved favorable before the pandemic. Governments looking to deliver on economic visions were using it. Businesses looking to align with those visions and be part of their success story were using it. And consumers looking for streaming entertainment and cheap storage for self-made media were using it.

When COVID reared its head, those organizations that were still evaluating cloud had to get down from the fence and run to the barn. The cloud was the only way to deliver safety to employees (through remote work) and business continuity (through several other services). Right now, the list of hyperscale cloud providers that have regions in the GCC or are building them includes Google, Oracle, Microsoft, AWS, and IBM. Many of these launches were before the pandemic, so these companies definitely believe in the future of cloud in the region.

But the downside of cloud is the complexity of the technology environment, especially as it relates to security and identity management. Multiple clouds, personal devices and overworked IT and security staff — these factors combine to impose severe risk burdens on regional organizations.

Say ‘Hello’ to Kim
CIEM, pronounced “Kim”, stands for Cloud Infrastructure Entitlements Management, and it is designed for precisely the kinds of environment that we see more commonly today. Not only does it manage permissions and entitlements, it discovers them. And most importantly it enforces least-privilege standards throughout cloud ecosystems. CIEM is the ultimate multi-cloud watchdog.

Good for both public and private single-cloud setups, CIEM’s value is unlocked to a greater degree in multi-cloud. It is of immediate benefit to security teams that currently rely on a disparate bunch of tools, each native to a different cloud. The cloud’s flexibility adds a layer of complexity in multi-cloud arenas where different identities weave in and out of sensitive areas. These identities, whether for employees or third parties, tend to be over-provisioned. They therefore present a risk because if they are hijacked, they can offer widespread access to a malicious party.

Another tendency that exacerbates risk is the lack of portability of native identity-management tools. They cannot be used to manage identities in other clouds. This issue is at the center of the risk factors associated with multi-cloud.

The need for CIEM
Managing cloud identities and their entitlements through just-in-time (JIT) provisioning and least privilege may be Cloud Security 101 but finding the right solution to cover multi-cloud environments can be tricky. Such a system requires standardized controls, full visibility of the environment, and the ability to plug cloud security gaps and uncover compliance anomalies. Only then can security teams be assured of being able to chase down and prevent breaches.

CIEM enables the discovery, management, and monitoring of entitlements in real time. It can build comprehensive behavior models for each identity across multiple cloud infrastructures, including hybrid environments. Anomalies are flagged. Least-privilege is enforced. The changing of policies and entitlements is automated and capable of extending to traditionally incompatible cloud resources.

CIEM integrates with Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions to homogenize the management of secrets, passwords, least privilege, and remote access. Least-privilege security models mean that each session, machine, employee, contractor, process — anything that uses a digital identity — will only receive enough permissions to perform a specific task. Additionally, the JIT access model ensures that those permissions expire when the task is completed. These practices greatly reduce the risk of compromised credentials, so the integration of CIEM with PAM is an excellent way to plug gaps.

The benefits of CIEM
By now, the benefits of CIEM should be clear. It is able to reach into every corner of the environment (from premises to multi-cloud) and provide a rich view of cloud identities and their entitlements. It enables the granular monitoring and configuration of permissions and tracks privilege models across the different cloud service providers they visit. And it automates a range of processes to maintain the integrity and relevance of each active identity and ensure it has access to every resource it needs for its owner (human or otherwise) to be productive, but no more than necessary.

CIEM is also capable of comparing cloud environments, discovering their differences, and issuing actionable insights on how to address the risks these dissimilarities may pose to the organization.

The ideal CIEM solution
CIEM has become a prerequisite of robust cloud-identity security and should be sought as part of an advanced PAM platform if security teams are going to receive the tools they need to address all the challenges they face regarding identities in cloud and multi-cloud environments.

The ideal CIEM solution will be able to automatically discover accounts and assess their entitlements, create an inventory of identities, and classify them by permissions sets, all in real time. This capability alone is a boon to organizations that are trying to align their security posture with the dynamic nature of cloud environments and the fleeting existences of their native resources.

Part of the discovery and inventory will be the determination of which identities are unique to a cloud and which are shared. The result will be a searchable repository that can be readily audited, and managed. Based on the information gathered, CIEM solutions can flag over-provisioning and enforce least privilege automatically. Real-time discovery also enables the identification of changes in account privileges, and the judgement of their necessity or appropriateness. Anomalies can be flagged for assessment as potential liabilities. And identities can be deleted or blocked if they violate any policy.

The future
CIEM will be an indispensable part of the region’s future technology environments. Its uncompromising policing of identities across multi-cloud environments is a perfect fit for current technology trends. Only with CIEM can organizations hope to conquer the unavoidable complexities with which they wrangle daily.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity on a Budget: Affordable Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses



According to a survey by Statista, typically, global enterprises dedicate a minimum of 12% of their IT expenditure to information security measures. While larger companies can afford to spend a lot on building a robust cybersecurity strategy, smaller businesses cannot. So, let’s explore some affordable cybersecurity strategies for small businesses that may cost less but have a greater impact.

Train your employees
An article from Forbes found that, annually, 34% of businesses worldwide encounter incidents involving insider attacks. Whether intentional or unintentional, employees tend to be the reason for most data breaches. Per the same article, phishing emails account for 67% of accidental insider attacks.

Phishing attacks mostly instil a sense of urgency in the victim, making it harder for them to think clearly before making a decision. For example, employees may click an email announcement about a bonus that actually came from a malicious outsider impersonating your company’s CEO.

To avoid such mistakes, it’s imperative to train employees on the types of phishing attacks and the ways to identify them. Even going as far as sending a mock phishing email occasionally to test their instincts and educate them can go a long way.

Assess your vulnerabilities
One of the most important cybersecurity strategies is to assess all your risk points by periodically reviewing all your business processes. Pay more attention to teams that deal with a lot of customer data. For instance, sales and marketing teams may handle customer data on a day-to-day basis, so they are at high risk of leaking or mishandling data. Assess their daily activities, create a record of all the risk points, and find ways to mitigate them.

Encrypt your data
Encrypting your data can be an effective method to protect it in case of data leaks. Let’s say a hacker gets hold of your company’s data, but it’s encrypted. Unless the hacker gets the encryption key from you, they cannot access your company’s data. This adds another layer of protection in addition to the everyday cybersecurity best practices that you should be following in your company. So make it a point to encrypt all your data, especially sensitive and critical data.

Limit access to critical data
Not everyone requires access to all data. Try to limit access to critical and sensitive data to fewer employees by basing access on work duties or requiring approval for access, making it a multi-step process to access it. Additionally, periodically review who has access to what data to ensure there aren’t any misallocations of access.

Secure your Wi-Fi
A secure network will reduce the chances of a hack or unauthorized access to your sensitive data. So switch your Wi-Fi to WPA2 or later, as it offers more security. Your business might already be using it, but it’s best to be sure. Additionally, change the name of your SSID and have a strong pre-shared key to keep your Wi-Fi safe from hackers.

Prevent physical theft
Through April 2023, there were 3,785 robberies in London, and 1,765 were of mobile phones. This highlights how important it is to secure your physical assets, as they might contain critical and sensitive information about your organization.

Here are some ways to protect your physical assets, such as PCs, laptops, scanners, and printers:

  1. Restrict unauthorized access to assets.
  2. Install a physical tracker on all devices to track down lost items.
  3. Enable remote wiping of data to erase information if a device is lost.

Cybersecurity strategies are seldom drafted with affordability in mind. However, it is crucial to consider them from a financial perspective, as small businesses are also increasingly susceptible to cyberattacks. These tips can help you take the first step toward creating a secure IT environment. Learn more about cybersecurity solutions for your business.

Continue Reading

Cyber Security

Managed Security Service: Right Choice for Your Company?



Written by Lev Matveev, SearchInform Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors

75% of information security experts consider insider threats more dangerous than hacker attacks. This is proven by the SearchInform survey conducted annually. Insider threats include data loss, fraud, theft, kickbacks, business on the side, etc. These are serious risks for any business, resulting in major financial losses, reputational damage and fines from law enforcement agencies. Nevertheless, many companies still do not ensure reliable protection against insider threats.

The reasons are the following:

  • Hardware and software for data protection are costly
  • The market lacks data security experts
  • SMEs cannot compete with large enterprises to engage professionals.

According to our 2022 survey, one-third of companies recognize an acute shortage of information security experts and cannot ensure protection in-house. Therefore, in 2019 we decided to launch a managed security service based on our protection solutions, which gives the opportunity to use them without hiring security specialists.

The SearchInform service provides protection against data breaches, internal fraud, document forgery and other violations by employees. It solves the tasks of monitoring employee working hours, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and many more.

We take on all tasks that are usually handled by in-house security staff. Our experts install and maintain security software, customize security policies for effective control, constantly monitor the situation in the company, detect incidents and investigate them. The client receives detailed and visual reports, as well as emergency alerts if it is required to take urgent measures and prevent an incident.

Availing the service, the client does not need to hire a security expert and therefore does not need to spend on social benefits, vacations or sick leaves. The client’s business remains protected if a security employee resigns or takes an unpaid leave. At the same time, our analyst has diverse work experience, knows the solutions well and has all the necessary competencies to work with them.  Since we are unacquainted with the client’s employees, our expert will be impartial and will not take anyone’s side. All this allows the clients to save time and money.

When do companies really need MSS?
According to our observations, the service is the best choice for companies with 30-500 employees and without an in-house IS department.  When the staff number increases, top managers can no longer control everything and face a high risk of incidents.

Here are a few common situations when you should choose managed security service.

  1. A company does not have internal security officers or lacks the budget to form a security department. Our service was originated to make data security more affordable. It significantly reduces the company’s costs, as there is no need to purchase software licenses, hardware, or hire a full-time information security officer. 
  2. Full-scale protection is required immediately. Companies often turn to managed security services after an incident has already occurred. It becomes clear that to prevent this in future, it is necessary to implement special security software, purchase additional equipment, and hire a data security officer. These steps will take a lot of time. The service will start protecting your business within 1-2 days.
  3. A company is not sure that the purchase of security systems will pay off eventually. Our service is an opportunity to test them in real conditions and assess whether they are worth purchasing in each specific case. One first month of the service is free.
  4. A company wants to conduct a security audit and get a complete picture of the corporate security. The service allows you to quickly find out what data is stored, where exactly it is stored and whether there are access rights violations. As far as the first month, our expert detects cases of corporate fraud, document forgery and other violations, as well as cases of idleness, business on the side or work for competitors. 
  5. For compliance with regulatory requirements. More and more regulations are being adopted or waiting to be adopted. SAMA, GDPR, and DCC incentivize companies to take measures to ensure data security. Some regulations, such as the UAE Information Security Regulation issued by the United Arab Emirates Telecommunications and Digital Technology Authority, even stipulate the use of DLP as a means of preventing data loss. To avoid the risk of hefty fines or lawsuits for non-compliance, you can use our managed security service.

I believe that outsourced data security should soon become as widespread as outsourced accounting or IT services. It is just a matter of time.

SearchInform offers a free trial version for one month! 

During this month, clients can assess whether the service really meets their needs. According to our experience, 100% of companies discover some kind of problems during the trial, ranging from the idleness of their employees to corporate fraud and confidential data leakage. 70% of companies that request a free trial continue to work with us.

Request a free trial of the service for one month!

Contact us for more information:
Office Address: 10C-15, I-Rise Tower, Hessa Street, Barsha Heights, Dubai, UAE.

– Sponsored Content

Continue Reading

Expert Speak

Five Tips to Stay Out of the Phishing Trap



Written by Bashar Bashaireh, Managing Director, Middle East & Turkey, Cloudflare

Email is the most exploited business application. It is the primary initial attack vector for cybersecurity incidents and contains vast amounts of trade secrets, PII, financial data, and other sensitive matters of value to attackers.

On top of that, email is one of the hardest applications to secure. If it were simple, there would be fewer headlines about business email compromise (BEC) losses topping $50 billion, and fewer breaches resulting from someone falling for a phish. Once an attacker has infiltrated one email account, they can move laterally and impact a wide range of internal systems. Phishing is as common in the public sector as it is in the private sector and besides the obvious financial implications, there is also the issue of damage to the reputation of the enterprise.

Cloudflare recently published its 2023 Phishing Threats Report. The three key takeaways are:

  • Attackers use links as the #1 phishing tactic— and are evolving how they get you to click and when they weaponize the link.
  • Identity deception takes multiple forms and can easily bypass email authentication standards.
  • Attackers may pretend to be hundreds of different organizations, but they primarily impersonate the entities we trust (and need to get work done).

Below are some recommendations that will help organizations stay out of the Phishing trap:

  • Secure email with a Zero Trust approach – Despite email’s pervasiveness, many organizations still follow a “castle-and-moat” security model that trusts messages from certain individuals and systems by default. With a Zero Trust security model, you trust no one and nothing. No user or device has completely unfettered, trusted access to all apps — including email — or network resources. This mindset shift is especially critical if you have multi-cloud environments and a remote or hybrid workforce. Don’t trust emails just because they have email authentication set up, are from reputable domains, or “from” someone with whom you have a prior communication history. Choose a cloud email security solution rooted in the Zero Trust model and make it more difficult for attackers to exploit existing trust in “known” senders.
  • Augment cloud email with multiple anti-phishing controls – A multi-layered defence can preemptively address high-risk areas for email exposure, including:
    • Blocking never-before-seen attacks in real-time, without needing to “tune” a SEG or wait for policy updates
    • Exposing malware-less financial fraud such as VEC and supply chain phishing
    • Automatically isolating suspicious links or attachments in email
    • Identifying and stopping data exfiltration, particularly via cloud-based email and collaboration tools
    • Discovering compromised accounts and domains attackers use to launch campaigns

More organizations are choosing a layered approach to phishing protection. As noted in The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2023, “The email security vendors you work with should demonstrate an ability to connect and share data with each other and with key tools in your security tech stack.

  • Adopt phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication – Any form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is better than none, but not all MFAs provide the same level of security. Hardware security keys are among the most secure authentication methods for preventing successful phishing attacks; they can protect networks even if attackers gain access to usernames and passwords. Consider replacing MFA methods like SMS or time-based OTP with more proven methods like FIDO-2 compliant MFA implementations.Applying the principle of least privilege can also ensure hackers who make it past MFA controls can access only a limited set of apps, and partitioning the network with micro-segmentation can prevent lateral movement and contain any breaches early.
  • Make it harder for humans to make mistakes – The larger your organization, the more each of your teams will want to use their own preferred tools and software. Meet employees and teams where they are by making the tools they already use more secure and preventing them from making mistakes.For example, email link isolation, which integrates email security with remote browser isolation (RBI) technology, can automatically block and isolate domains that host phishing links, instead of relying on users to stop themselves from clicking.
  • Establish a paranoid, blame-free culture– Encouraging an open, transparent “see something, say something approach” to collaborating with your IT and security incident response teams 24/7 helps get everyone on “team cyber.”Minutes matter during attacks. Establishing a paranoid but blame-free culture that reports suspicious activity — as well as genuine mistakes — early and often helps ensure incidents (no matter how rare) are reported as soon as possible.
Continue Reading

Follow Us


Copyright © 2021 Security Review Magazine. Rysha Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.