Cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) is a system that provides an organization with the ability to monitor and control its usage of a cloud computing network. It is installed on-premises and gives IT managers complete visibility into their resource consumption in multiple clouds, whether public or private. The CIEM platform also allows for administrators to restrict access to aggregated resources when thresholds are reached, ensuring business continuity at all times.
Purpose of CIEM
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management is tailored for organizations that have a dynamic and varied use of cloud computing resources. An organization might need to monitor and control the usage of 3,000 virtual machines (VMs) that are scattered across eight public cloud providers. If one or more VMs becomes compromised, IT personnel can quickly isolate it from other VMs in their network through CIEM.
Additionally, CIEM gives organizations the ability to cut costs and manage resource consumption more effectively. If an organization’s business grows, a cloud can be added or increased without incurring extra charges from any third-party provider.
How CIEM works
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management contains a knowledge engine that collects information about applications’ usage of resources at regular intervals. The collected data is sent to SIEM, which aggregates it with other information from syslog servers, application performance management (APM) tools and source code repositories into a searchable database for reporting purposes.
All this happens behind the scenes; users don’t need to be aware of how their environment looks like and whether it matches their needs. When a change takes place, such as when a new business unit is added or when an existing one grows, the organizational knowledge repository, which is stored in the CIEM system, is also updated to reflect these changes.
Benefits of CIEM
Separation of duties
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management gives organizations the ability to separate the roles of administrators, auditors and managers. Using CIEM, IT personnel can monitor the consumption of cloud resources while ensuring that they comply with quotas; auditors can verify that all processes are performed properly and managers have a thorough overview of their organization’s consumption at any time.
CIEM allows for more efficient use of cloud computing resources by providing users with information about applications’ resource usage so they can make informed decisions on adding capacity before any issues occur. Besides being able to upgrade or add new cloud environments without incurring extra charges from providers, organizations will also be able to cut down their monthly subscription fees based on lowered consumption levels.
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management’s capabilities help organizations to continue operations quickly and without major disruptions even in the event of natural disasters, power outages or other business-related disruptions. The platform allows IT managers to restrict access if thresholds are reached so that any potential issue can be resolved before it occurs and potentially jeopardizes business continuity.
Integration into existing systems
CIEM integrates smoothly into existing security and compliance management tools, including SIEMs, automated audit checklists and patch management solutions. All this makes it easier for IT managers to ensure that their organization’s processes are followed while still getting all the pertinent information about their cloud usage from a single source.
Drawbacks of CIEM
Varying levels of effectiveness
If cloud consumption is not properly aligned with business priorities, one might not need a CIEM-like system. For example, an enterprise may be using up to the maximum amount allowed by its provider but getting no noticeable return for those expenditures. In this case, the organization’s cloud spending is growing faster than it can add new resources and will eventually reach a point when excessive amounts of VMs are being shut down because they violate their resource quotas.
Even though having more in-house control over the monitoring, upgrading or decommissioning of VM servers should save money in the long run, such as avoiding unnecessary charges from service providers during initial setup time or when users don’t have enough knowledge to request new capacity before exceeding SLAs, Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management is not free. A good system can cost tens of thousands of dollars annually just for installation and maintenance.
In addition to the high costs involved in implementing a sophisticated CIEM environment, users must also be willing and able to dedicate enough time to learn how it works so they can take full advantage of its capabilities. Not only do they need to properly understand the principles behind this type of data collection, but they also have to ensure that their organization’s strict security policies don’t conflict with those used by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers or other cloud computing services such as Office 365 for Business.
CIEM, being an enterprise-wide solution that is used to collect and analyze large amounts of cloud service usage data, also poses a number of threats. One example, which has been cited by several security experts as the biggest concern among enterprises dealing with IaaS/PaaS providers, is a breach of sensitive information such as client credit card numbers or intellectual property (IP) assets. Since IaaS/PaaS services usually involve the disclosure of important business functions – from payroll operations to project management – it may be difficult for users to pinpoint what information might have been exposed in case unauthorized third parties gained access.
Who needs a system like CIEM in place and why
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management is of particular interest to organizations that are moving into the cloud in a big way, such as enterprises and service providers (SPs).
If an organization experiences multiple spikes in resource consumption during specific months or days, it might be due to a deal with some other party whose terms require certain constraints. Organizations need real-time information about how their resources are being used so they can quickly address any incidents before problems arise.
These incidents may include unauthorized systems accessing company data stored on cloud-based storage services. In this case, administrators might be able to determine if there is an issue by checking the collective log files of all the systems that are connected to the company’s cloud.
If multiple servers show up from one IP address, it might mean someone is trying to access data stored on a file server without authorization or that an extra storage device has been attached to the network. In either case, administrators should be notified of these unauthorized operations immediately so they can take immediate action to put a stop to them and prevent any further damage from occurring.
Tips for picking a CIEM system
If an organization is considering leveraging a cloud provider for its infrastructure, it should first think about what type of information needs to be collected. The following are some questions to ask when looking into a system like Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management:
- What does the organization want to monitor? Do they have a firm need for metrics relating to storage consumption and usage, or do they need information about how much capacity will be needed before taking on additional workloads?
- How many resources (servers, databases) must be monitored by this solution? If an SP has tens of thousands of customers using its platform, then it will require a tool that can support tens of thousands. An MSP would likely find several hundred satisfied with reporting tools provided by the cloud provider.
- What type of data needs to be reported? Does it have to support public/private (hybrid) cloud environments or not?
- How much money is available for a system like CIEM? If an organization has several hundred thousand dollars at its disposal, then it can purchase products that will provide enterprise-class reporting. The same organization would likely have trouble finding such solutions if it only had $100,000 in the budget.
The future of CIEM in the private cloud market
Many organizations are moving their infrastructure into various types of clouds because they realize they can save money and time by doing so. While this is true, customers need some way to know what’s going on with their resources at any given moment rather than guessing. As it stands, no other solution can provide the level of data and overall insight that CIEM systems are capable of gathering and reporting.
If an organization is interested in leveraging a service provider’s cloud services but wants to ensure nothing will ever get out of hand, then it should look for solutions that monitor all network activity and alert administrators about suspicious logs before they have a chance to do any damage.
Users should look for a CIEM system that is flexible enough to support different models of deployment. For example, providers might want to implement what’s known as “pay-as-you-grow” billing, which allows them to grow their usage as their business increases. This model is suitable for organizations that have yet to settle on their long-term cloud strategy and those that don’t need massive amounts of capacity right away but would like the option of growing into it. It’s also important that users check whether CIEM systems integrate well with existing tools and applications they already use, such as HR software or project management apps.
Frequently asked questions about CIEM
What kinds of information can a CIEM system provide to customers about their usage?
A CIEM system will typically report several different types of metrics, such as storage capacity and query throughputs for databases, powered by synthetic transaction monitoring. It will also collect logs from every host in the customer’s cloud environment to see which ones are consuming more resources than they should be.
What kind of logs does CIEM collect?
CIEM collects various kinds of logs, such as operating system events (which cover nearly all components and processes on the host server) and database query execution times. It’s also important to note that CIEM systems collect all SNMP traps from network devices, which can be used to correlate with what is happening on the infrastructure level.
How much does a CIEM system usually cost?
The final cost of a CIEM system is heavily dependent on the cloud provider it’s purchased from. The best way to find out how much such an application costs is by getting quotes from various providers and comparing all three in order to see which one offers the best value for money.
What size should I aim for when selecting a CIEM solution?
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a large, small, or even medium-sized business; your choice of CIEM solution will depend entirely on what kind of data you want to capture and what kind of help you need tracking consumption. For example, if you want something that’s capable of recording only basic network activity without any correlation tools, then most free solutions available online would suffice.
If you want to go beyond basic tracking and be able to take action in real-time, then you’ll need a fairly sophisticated CIEM system that will collect data from the start of every process on a guest virtual machine. And if you’d like to track network-level events along with server-level events, operations management tools for your cloud environment, and all other platforms all in one place, you might consider using a more advanced tool.
If your company needs something cheap but highly effective due to budgetary constraints, then it’s wise to look into purchasing an open-source solution or at least check whether there are any freeware versions available. It’s also important to understand exactly what features are included within the price range you’ve chosen so you don’t feel disappointed when the results don’t match your expectations.
How should I select a CIEM system?
Before making any final decisions, it’s important to understand the difference between non-integrated and integrated CIEM solutions. Both of these kinds of systems can collect data about cloud resource consumption but only integrated ones will also automate the resolution process by automatically rebalancing workloads or moving them into a different region when resources are low, for example. Integrations are crucial because they’re what make the outcome truly effective since many people don’t know how to use automation effectively without integration.
Integrated CIEM systems are also more flexible because they allow users to customize the solution with their own automated processes. Even better, integrated solutions that come from cloud providers tend to be much easier to work with because they’re tightly coupled together, and this is what makes integration an attractive feature for businesses trying to save time while improving ROI.
What benefits do structured CIEM tools offer?
CIEM solutions tend to provide several significant benefits for companies of any size or complexity. The most immediate advantage is automating resource management by leveraging machine learning algorithms in order to predict future needs based on historical data. This means no more guesswork when it comes to figuring out how many resources a business will need in the future since these automated tools will always know what the best approach to scaling up or down is in order to keep costs as low as possible.
How does CIEM work?
CIEM consists of three parts: part one is where all resources, services, and events are being recorded by the system; the second part is where analytics run over the data to find correlations between idle servers and missing patches, for example; and third but not least is part two which includes automation tools that can manage IT on a day-to-day basis. What ties these parts together is a centralized database that stores all sorts of information about cloud resource consumption without any gaps in coverage.
One way to understand this better would be to look at it from an architectural point of view. Simply put, CIEM is the generic term for a system that collects user data of any kind from the start and end of every process on a virtual machine. The output is then sent to all systems that are necessary in order for analysis to proceed, and when it’s time to take action based on this analysis, notification alerts go out so users can decide how they want to respond.
How can I benefit from CIEM integration?
Reliable cloud environments are best designed with the help of CIEM because it provides reliable visibility and transparency across all layers of the infrastructure. It’s easy to see how this makes operations easier by providing a single source of truth, minimizing the time spent monitoring and troubleshooting servers or networking gear in order to identify problems.
CIEM solutions help reduce resource waste that results from common human errors like forgetting to shut down VMware virtual machines before shutting down physical servers, for example. It also helps optimize server utilization while improving network performance by automatically moving workloads around when necessary since many IT departments struggle with manual balancing processes due to staff shortages and having too little time on their hands.
What do I need to do before setting up CIEM?
As is the case with many advanced technologies, setting it up isn’t for beginners. The first step before getting started would be to write a clear and concise work order that includes all important details about how you want things done in order to get the right people on board from an IT standpoint. Once your team is hired, they’ll put together a schedule of implementation that involves several internal meetings with other teams so everyone can get a sense of what these new tools will do while being careful not to overwhelm users who will need time in order to adjust their methods of daily operations.
Is there anything that should be kept in mind when picking a CIEM integration solution?
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re getting everything for the price you pay. After all, it doesn’t matter how advanced your tools are if they can’t perform as advertised for thousands of dollars per month. The same rule applies to service levels and support because companies who don’t offer 24/7 support aren’t worth considering, especially since every problem can cost quite a lot of time depending on its complexity. Luckily enough, most reputable vendors will have no problems demonstrating their capabilities before signing a contract so that means taking an hour or two out of your schedule to meet with potential partners is definitely worth the effort.
How will CIEM change the way we manage cloud environments?
The beauty of CIEM lies in its ability to provide a reliable and consistent level of service that is otherwise hard to achieve by using manual processes. Since many companies are struggling with issues like having multiple control centers without clear communication between them which results in poor security, this is a must-have feature for any IT professional or business owner who wants their infrastructure to run as quietly and flawlessly as possible.
It also has the power to transform the way businesses think about their cloud strategies because it allows them to be more flexible when planning their IT around changing circumstances caused by supply and demand dynamics. It makes it easier for organizations of all sizes to take advantage of public clouds while reducing costs compared to a private cloud strategy. This is because there’s less margin for human errors, thus the need to compete against rival organizations is reduced while improving security and performance at the same time.
How should I prepare my team for CIEM integration?
Anyone from an IT professional to a manager must have a proper understanding of how CIEM works in order to avoid panicking when things don’t work as expected. For example, you can integrate your current CMDB with your company’s new CIEM tool but if no one has any experience with this technology or are sceptical about it, they’ll end up blaming themselves and wasting time on pointless tasks like double-checking every change that their colleagues make.
In addition to that, everyone needs to know that CIEM isn’t a silver bullet that solves all problems at once. Depending on your company’s size and infrastructure, implementing this software can be expensive so there must be a clear definition of its primary goals and what sort of challenges will have to be solved using manual processes in order to avoid future issues. It might sound silly but having the right strategy for dealing with CIEM is crucial when trying to adapt it into internal processes because every little thing matters when you’re working with technology, especially if the wrong decisions are made.
Why should I use cloud IT entitlement management?
Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) has been around for almost three years now and it didn’t take long before everyone realized they needed it in their day-to-day operations because it provides a proven method of processing requests and monitoring their status as well as preventing the misuse of cloud resources. Its main focus is on the audit trail which helps companies manage how customers use IT services without having to worry about provisioning them in an unmanageable way.
Regardless of where you’re located, if your company has a public or private cloud infrastructure, CIEM can be used for managing customer subscriptions and overall capacity across multiple environments with no single point of failure or security vulnerability. This solution can also optimize numerous manual processes including subscription management, usage compliance management, SLA enforcement monitoring as well as resource requests and allocation. If anything goes wrong when working with dozens of different suppliers that don’t have any clear relationships with your team, the audit trail is there to hold them accountable and get you out of trouble.
Will CIEM solve all my cloud management problems?
It’s a common misconception that CIEM is a perfect cloud management solution but it can’t be used to fix every problem you run into when trying to optimize your infrastructure. When you first start using this powerful software, you’ll find out that there are some things that need to be handled manually so don’t forget about them in the long run.
In addition to that, even though CIEM systems do have an intelligent monitoring feature with automated alerts, it won’t tell you if the new subscription request from one of your biggest clients will exceed the allocated limits or whether additional capacity must be provisioned before they go live on their new service. If you want to address these issues yourself then make sure everyone knows what needs to be done so there’s no confusion about your current services and how to use them.
How can I make my management team responsible for using CIEM?
Since IT professionals need to adapt their workflows and daily routines when integrating this system with the rest of the company, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of why this is necessary in order to avoid any kind of disappointment or frustration after its implementation. In fact, your whole team needs to be involved in every step because they’re the ones who will be dealing with all sorts of requests from customers which might turn into ticket numbers if they aren’t managed properly.