Cloud-Native Machine Identity Management for Today’s Security Challenges
The only constant in the cybersecurity landscape is change, and we find ourselves in one of the biggest evolutions in the history of our industry: the shift to cloud-native. A focus on securing on-prem environments may have once been sufficient, but would now leave a gaping hole in your strategy that could lead to compromise, misuse, outages, or worse.
This is why every organization must prioritize implementing cloud-native machine identity management enterprise-wide, a tall order that intimidates even the most highly skilled teams. But it doesn’t have to! The scalability and automation baked into every single Venafi offering, including TLS Protect for Kubernetes, makes this transition seamless. Let’s dive a little deeper into what cloud-native machine identity management is, why you need to be thinking about it, and the steps you can take today to start implementing it within your own organization.
What is Cloud-Native Machine Identity Management?
Machine identities are far too often overlooked when considering an organization’s security assets, which is shocking considering that the average organization is built upon upwards of 500,000 machine identities. Securing them requires the same time, budget and attention that is given to human identities, and that is where machine identity management comes in.
Machine identity management is the discovery, management, and protection of all machine identities within a given organization, with the goal of maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of secure communication between machines.
As cybersecurity becomes increasingly reliant on cloud environments, managing cloud-native machine identities is more important than ever. In 2022, 81% of organizations experienced a cloud-based security incident, and with cloud computing quickly becoming the new standard, there’s little doubt that the attack surface will only continue to expand. This is why every organization must prioritize implementing cloud-native machine identity management enterprise-wide.
Watch the video below to see how you can get started today!
Benefits of Cloud-Native Machine Identity Management
Ensuring security and compliance
While cloud-first strategies are a major evolution from traditional approaches, many of the foundational security tenants you’re already comfortable with do apply to these modern environments. For instance, maintaining consistent security policies and enforceable standards enterprise-wide is the only way to ensure there are no security gaps for threat actors to break through. This can be pretty overwhelming depending on the size of your organization, but a cloud-native machine identity management platform, such as TLS Protect for Kubernetes, utilizes total automation to achieve the scalability necessary to enforce security compliance for even the largest enterprises.
Protecting against cyberattacks
As we’ve already discussed, the attack surface for cloud-native is growing every day. Cybercriminals know all too well how many organizations opt to neglect the protection of machine identities within the cloud. Don’t leave yourself at risk of a compromise that could cost your organization millions in financial losses, not to mention the incalculable reputational damage that often accompanies a breach. Defining and enforcing a machine identity management policy ensures you always have an up-to-date inventory of every machine identity within your cloud-native environment, and the capability to be alerted the very moment unauthorized parties attempt to access your network.
Facilitating secure communication
If there is one thing industry experts can agree on, it’s that identity is King when it comes to the cloud. When dealing with large swaths of infrastructure and widespread applications, you need to be able to rely on the identity systems you have in place to know what is and isn’t trustworthy. Ineffective machine identity strategies leave a huge margin of error, allowing bad actors to slip through the cracks and infiltrate your network disguised as authorized parties. Only automation can provide the full scalability and to guarantee the integrity of the identities on your network and secure machine-to-machine communications.
Reducing operational costs
Far too many organizations fall into the trap of neglecting machine identity management platforms with the hopes of scaling back operational costs, but the truth is that doing so is infinitely more costly. How?
Firstly, the only alternative to automated cloud-native machine identity management is for employees to manually manage the machine identities in your enterprise, which is a bad idea for several reasons. The simplest of these being: people are fallible. No matter how efficient someone is, eventually they will make a mistake. Authenticating the machine identities on your network, renewing certificates before they expire, ensuring policy enforcement enterprise-wide… these are areas where even a single mistake can quickly become a full-blown catastrophe. Cyberattacks have been known to cost companies millions, and website outages can wreak havoc on even the most well-established brands.
Automated machine identity management is more efficient and cost-effective, and the benefits far outweigh any up-front savings that neglecting this security asset may provide.
Challenges in Cloud-Native Machine Identity Management
Lack of awareness
Did you know that most security teams don’t know how many machine identities they have on their network? It’s true! The conversation and education around the importance of machine identities is ongoing. The reality is that far too many leaders in the cybersecurity industry still don’t entirely grasp the importance of machine identity management, particularly within the scope of this new cloud-native shift.
It can be hard to start this conversation with the executives at your organization without a clear way to convey what’s at stake. Check out this insightful conversation with Venafi expert Mark Sanders to learn how you can best convey the importance of machine identity management, and the steps you can start taking today to implement these practices.
Venafi and Cloud Native Machine Identities
Venafi has the tools and solutions necessary for successful and secure cloud-native machine identity management.
How TLS Protect solves for Cloud Native Machine Identity Management
TLS Protect is a tried-and-true solution in the Kubernetes space, empowering developers to extend the functionality of various CAs within Kubernetes using a simple cert-manager integration.
How CodeSign Protect Solves for Cloud Native Machine Identity Management
Protect your enterprise’s internal software and software development pipelines, with centralized, secure key storage and role-based policy enforcement with CodeSign Protect.
How Zero Touch PKI Solves for Cloud Native Machine Identity Management
Microservices architecture, containerization and DevOps toolchains all increase the number of TLS connections that need to be managed by your internal PKI. Zero Touch PKI offers a hassle-free, SaaS-based alternative, and getting started is a breeze.
How TLS Protect for Kubernetes Cloud Native Machine Identity Management
TLS Protect for Kubernetes gives you total visibility, consistency and control of all cloud native machine identities, like TLS, mTLS and SPIFFE SVID certificates. It also allows you to monitor the health, status and configuration of cert-manager across all Kubernetes clusters- regardless of your cloud platform configuration.
How SSH Protect Solves for Cloud Native Machine Identity Management
SSH Protect can help you track and organize the vast number of SSH keys used in your organization, ensuring none of them are left exposed for adversaries to use and exploit.
Cloud-Native Machine Identity Management Resources
Want to learn more about how cloud-native machine identity management can be the game changer your organization has been waiting for?
Subscribe to the Venafi blog for the latest updates on all things machine identity, cybersecurity news, and more. This blog on how to simplify cloud-native machine identity management with TLS Protect for Kubernetes is a great place to start.
We have a free webinar on how to shift your current strategy to a cloud-native security strategy, including on how to communicate the benefits of this strategy to the executives in your organization. You can also check out this e-book about cloud native certificate management, and how a tool like cert manager can help you take control of all the machine identities you have within Kubernetes with the power of automation.
To learn more about how today's IT professionals and security leaders are approaching their own cloud native strategies, check out our latest report on the Impact of Machine Identities on the State of Cloud Native Security.