What is the Value of CIEM to SMBs?

Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) has quickly risen to be an important market segment in mitigating cloud data breaches. However, between the costs and complexity of the technology, the value of CIEM has only just begun to be realized by enterprise customers. While traditionally, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) may be slow to integrate new processes, CIEM may be that extra element they need to optimize their cloud security management portfolio.

Rise of CIEM for Enterprise customers

Emerging from the proverbial stew of new Gartner and Forrester defined segments, Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management has been quickly rising as a must-have cloud security process essential for reducing identity access risk and securely managing data and resources on the cloud.

CIEMs are ‘œspecialized identity-centric SaaS solutions focused on managing cloud access risk via administration-time controls for managing entitlements and data governance in hybrid and multi-cloud IaaS architectures. CIEM Solutions leverage analytics and machine learning to detect anomalies around identities and entitlements.’

As CIEM technology has only recently entered the market, its prime customers have been enterprises with the resources and technical wherewithal to invest in not yet market established solutions to mitigate identity access and entitlement risk. As an effective solution to managing cross-account access and over permissioned active identities, CIEM has begun to show its worth in the enterprise segment.

The questions now turn to what is stopping SMBs from utilizing CIEM to mitigate their cyber risk, and what model of CIEM solutions can become viable for SMBs?

 Obstacles for SMB integration

SMB, more than almost any other business segment, faces the complex balance of how to mitigate risk by implementing the most advanced and technologically capable solutions while also managing their serious budget constraints.

SMBs must seamlessly manage the high and evolving cyber risks facing their businesses today with the realization that the impact of just one significant cyber attack could force them to cease operations. (60% of SMBs close within 18 months of a cyber-attack). These structural limitations coincide with apprehension over implementing new technologies in general and CIEM in particular.

Cost of integration

SMB demand that SaaS-driven models meet their budget constraints. For CIEM products to be viable for the SMB market, they must be priced to meet the very sparse budgets of SMB, already overwhelmed by other security product costs.

According to CPO Magazine, “38% of SMBs allocated less than $1,000 for their IT security budgets with 32% identifying budget’ as their greatest barrier to greater IT compliance, compared to 29% in 2019 and 27% in 2018’ Consequently, for CIEM to realistically be implemented by SMB, vendors and software distributors must find creative ways to illustrate added value.

Lack of awareness of new technology

Most SMB face a significant lag in awareness of new technological solutions as well as an ability to implement them into their IT practices. Hampered by the practical limitations of their day-to-day tasks, budget, and a need to prioritize existing/currently deployed solutions to meet security needs, SMBs often don’t look beyond buzzwords and commercially publicized management products to meet their evolving security dynamics.

As an emerging category of access management security solutions, CIEM faces an uphill battle in building resonance with SMB as it requires broader segment recognition, as well as SaaS solutions to meet market needs.


Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solutions efficiently manage human and service identities, and their entitlements, at a fraction of the cost, onboarding time, and complexity of managing numerous dynamic cloud-based systems.

CIEM systems provide value in:

  • Minimizing the impact of human error through automation and entitlement management
  • Centralizing visibility of cloud-based functions
  • Tracking thousands of identities with seamless integration and access of data points
  • Providing a process for detecting and rectifying anomalies
  • Remediating excessive entitlements and configuration risk

For SMBs, the CIEM core focus of managing and reducing the risk of overprivileged cloud infrastructure entitlements associated with the machine and human identities brings immediate added value. By bringing together previously disjointed cloud-based data into one centralized and easily managed process, CIEM enables SMBs to decrease the quantity and cost of whatever approach they are using to reduce and manage risk in their cloud-based entitlements.

Practical solutions to solve complex problems

The stakes have never been higher for data security in the cloud. With the scale and scope of cyber-attacks on the rise, the SMB market is demanding easy to implement and cost-effective solutions to empower system admins, security, and IT teams against the evolving risks of cloud migration and cloud data management.

In practice, this increasingly means looking to Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) solutions to better mitigate human error and manage cloud-based access to resources. For SMBs, CIEM products can streamline cloud management by ensuring data regulation compliance and enhancing data visibility across multi-cloud networks. By leveraging analytics and machine learning to detect risk and anomalies around identities and entitlements, CIEM systems give SMBs an essential tool to mitigating cyber risk in the cloud.

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