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Insights Summary: Britive’s 2023 State of Cloud Identities and Privileges Report

November 2023 by Britive

Insights Summary: Britive’s 2023 State of Cloud Identities and Privileges Report provides comprehensive insights and best practices for cloud access based on a survey of more than 1,000 IT and cloud practitioners at leading organizations across multiple verticals. The report sheds light on top cloud identity trends and challenges, offers critical recommendations for enterprise decision-makers regarding cloud access management and equips them with the strategic guideposts they need to succeed in their multi-cloud environments. A few key findings from the 2023 State of Cloud Identities and Privileges Report follow:

Looking Back: Cloud Identity Challenges

Organizations struggle to maintain a state of least privileged access as part of their overall security posture: just 13%1 of companies maintain zero standing privileges regardless of the CSPs they utilize in their cloud footprint.

Development, platform engineering and security teams are hobbled by fragmented, manual access procedures for request reviews and the granting and revocation of entitlements.

Some organizations try to build their own cloud access tooling based on CSP-native identity frameworks—but it’s costly and does not scale cross-cloud: 31%2 of organizations cannot effectively implement just-in-time (JIT) cloud access controls without extensive development work or outside assistance.

Also in the report it’s also noted that when security and operations stakeholders realize the amount of time lost to back and forth asynchronous communication using fragmented, manual processes, they consider a second option: internally design, build, deploy and maintain a "Do It Yourself (DIY)" JIT access tool based upon the various CSP-specific identity frameworks—but the pitfall here is that each CSP has a different identity framework, each of which can change over time which creates the need for software maintenance and staff time diverted by tool maintenance and end-user support.

73% of organizations that Britive surveyed reported legacy IAM tools and developing their own DIY access tooling using CSP-native identity frameworks as their biggest challenge.

And, as multi-cloud usage grows, limited insight into user, group, and role privileges results in:

Excessive privileges issued to too many identities increase an organization’s attack surface and puts critical business data at risk. For GCP users especially, gaining visibility into the privileged entitlements of their organization will strengthen security strategies and reduce cloud security risks. Britive’s access management survey found that 47% of organizations have sufficient insight into privileged access in the multi-cloud, but this drops to 41% for GCP users.

Inadequate understanding and control of the user behavior in cloud platforms and applications.

Guidance Looking Forward to 2024 and Beyond

The lessons learned from the trends and data of our 2023 cloud access management survey provide insights for the future and sets the stage for what lies ahead in 2024 and beyond. Clearly, modern JIT multi-cloud permissioning is not only a response to immediate identity-based threats but also a necessary best practice that empowers organizations to secure access to their cloud environments for the long-term. Additionally, the challenges of multi-cloud privileged access cannot be ignored:

Organizations seek to maintain a state of least privileged access as part of their overall security posture but relatively few do, leaving their cloud infrastructure, apps and data open to identity-based attacks.

Fragmented, manual processes access processes for request reviews and the granting and revocation of privileged access block the productivity of development, platform engineering and security teams.

Building, maintaining, and supporting cloud access tooling based on CSP-native identity frameworks is a costly endeavor both short and long-term and does not scale across multiple cloud service providers.

As you look to help your organization overcome these challenges, look to implement JIT tooling that can be deployed quickly and works effectively to future proof your organization’s cloud environments by:

Eliminating static privileges and ensuring least privileged access with ephemeral just-in-time access, reducing the risk of security breaches and insider threats.

Enabling the adoption of cloud technologies more rapidly and securely with an automated approach to controlling cloud access.

Integrating with your DevOps team’s tools and processes to streamline operations, reduce IT workload and eliminate over-privileged accounts consuming cloud resources, all of which saves time and resources that can be refocused on high-value initiatives.

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