Alibaba Cloud RAM — Part 2: Overcoming IAM Challenges with Alibaba Cloud RAM

By Shantanu Kaushik

In today’s complex compute environments, a strong user name and password isn’t enough. With ever-increasing threats, top-notch security practices, and Identity and Access Management systems, such as Alibaba Cloud Resource and Access Management (RAM), are essential services.

Identity and Access can also incorporate biometrics, such as machine learning for artificial intelligence and risk-based authentication. When it comes to user-level authorization, the latest authentication methods are in place to better protect identities. Hardware tokens and smart cards still help a lot of enterprises with two-factor authentication, which is a combination of a passcode and a smart-card.

Alibaba Cloud RAM has standardized many practices and regulated user access. Outside of the traditional methods of authentication and user verification, such as password protection, certificates, tokens, and smart cards, new technologies are changing the game when it comes to Identity and Access Management.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, no-contact verification and authentication have almost become a requirement. Digital Transformation fueled by Alibaba Cloud’s technological leadership has been driving a lot of enterprises to utilize their products and services to achieve this feat. Alibaba Cloud RAM is deeply integrated with IAC or IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS-based products, the Elastic Compute Service (ECS), and almost every product from Alibaba Cloud. This serves as security for almost every identity and resource access security need.

Let’s discuss a few of the benefits associated with Alibaba Cloud RAM.

Console Operations | Alibaba Cloud RAM

  • Set security policies to protect your Alibaba Cloud account
  • Create RAM Users: A RAM user is created in the Alibaba Cloud account. It can be a person or application that interacts with Alibaba Cloud Resources.
  • Create RAM User Groups: Classify and organize RAM users within your Alibaba Cloud account to enable easier user and permission management
  • Grant Permissions to RAM Users: Enable the users to access Alibaba Cloud resources
  • Create Custom Policies: Perform fine-grained permission control operations

Log on to the Alibaba Cloud Management Console as a RAM user. Then, you can access Alibaba Cloud resources and perform the necessary operations.

Multi-Factor Authentication | Alibaba Cloud RAM

As an administrator, you need more reliable and detailed identity management systems that offer advanced user auditing and reporting features. Alibaba Cloud RAM offers network access control and risk-based authentication (RBA) systems.

Different user policies along with version control enable a fail-safe for authentication needs. Risk-based authentication tries to determine the outcome of different event-based metrics. Risk-based authentication works with different risk profile attributes to dynamically make decisions. It works with a certain degree or proportion to the risk factor; the higher the risk, the more authentication restrictions will be in place for a user.

A user trying to access an enterprise resource while traveling to another geographic location that changes the IP address may incur additional authentication before access is granted.

Federated Identity Management | Alibaba Cloud RAM

This feature is also known as “single sign-on”, which enables a user to carry over an authenticated status when moving to another network. This system works with a baseline of organizations working together to form a trusted partner group. Alibaba Cloud RAM supports user-based SSO and role-based SSO.

Overcoming Challenges | Alibaba Cloud RAM

Alibaba Cloud RAM provides an extensively unified and centralized approach for resource access and identity management needs that largely reduces risks. Alibaba Cloud RAM proves to be a one-stop solution that provides security and oversees user authentication and access scenarios.

Migration to the Cloud | Identity and Access Management | Implementation

However, the implementation of identity and access management across an enterprise is difficult for users to comprehend and adjust to, especially if you recently made the shift to the cloud. A successful implementation requires a detailed strategy and collaboration from the users. That is why many enterprise have leveraged products such as Alibaba Cloud RAM to simplify this shift. A RAM-based solution automatically gets activated and is ready for you to configure and use, without the hassle of a manual setup.

Synchronization | Automation | Alibaba Cloud RAM

Revoking access privileges for users leaving an organization can be handled automatically with Alibaba Cloud RAM. Revoking access across all applications, products, and services is a one-click solution and automated task with Alibaba Cloud RAM. The user data and user-created instances will still be intact for the organization and other users to access after user removal.

Wrapping Up

In Part 3 of this series on Alibaba Cloud RAM, we will list all of the usage scenarios and product scope associated with RAM.

Upcoming Articles

  1. Alibaba Cloud Firewall — An Overview

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