The security discipline of Identity and Access Management (IAM) involves the process of managing who has access to what information, applications, and systems, over time, within an organization. Threats from attackers are becoming increasingly more complex—far beyond simple phishing ploys—and these issues have made organizations more aggressive in protecting their sensitive data from intrusions—whether from within or without.
Managing digital identities via an IAM framework designed specifically for your business policies, processes, and technologies is vital to the security of your most critical assets. It enables control of user access to critical data and regulation of role-based user access to systems and networks by administrators. Not only does it play a critical role in your security plan, it also dramatically affects the productivity of your organization. If users suffer cumbersome processes to change and maintain passwords for multiple accounts that don’t synchronize, it’s not only inefficient but creates a security risk as well. In simple terms, IAM efficiently verifies how businesses allow employees access to critical data and applications, per their roles. In addition, it allows access from various infrastructures (cloud, on premise, and hybrid) and devices (tablets, smartphones, and laptops).
Security breaches are happening all the time, stealing the private data of governments, businesses and the public alike. Over the last year, breaches reached some all-time highs:
- 2.8 billion consumer records were exposed
- Estimated cost of breaches: $654 billion
- Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is the most sought-after data in a security breach
- The Healthcare industry accounted for 48% of all breaches, followed by financial services and government agencies
- 34% of all attacks involved unauthorized access
Many of the attacks focused on unauthorized access, and for good reason. The rapid transformation in technology and usage patterns make it a key entry point. The internal network with a perimeter of protection has disappeared; people connect from anywhere, using a plethora of devices, most of which are personal. They also share more personal data than ever before. The traditional assumptions of access control no longer apply to our interconnected world. However, many organizations still depend on legacy identity and access management environments for both their workforce and their customer-facing services. These systems are often internally developed using legacy technologies or toolkits that have not kept up with advances in technology. Furthermore, these systems are often tailored for singular-use cases that make upgrades expensive and onerous.
According to Gartner, there are several key business drivers for modernizing traditional IAM. These include incorporating support for the following key capabilities:
- Any user or thing – The IAM system should support all user-types, including employees and customers, as well as anything that needs an identity and connects to resources.
- Any device, anywhere – Employees are no longer working from a designated office or using company-issued computers. And customers are global. This means the IAM system needs to authenticate and authorize any device that connects from anywhere in the world.
- Any application, anywhere – The number of applications has exploded, and they’re no longer all within the corporate perimeter. They could be on-premises, a public SaaS application, or hosted on a public cloud infrastructure. They all need an identity and need to be authenticated and authorized to ensure security.
- Take advantage of the cloud – Everything is moving to the cloud, and so should identity. This includes configurations of infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and ID as a service.
- Increase trust and reduce fraud – Safely enable sensitive transactions with customers and partners by requiring and enforcing higher levels of security and assurance, and build trust by conforming with privacy rules and regulations.
- Leverage existing IAM investments – Few organizations can rip and replace everything. Look instead at augmenting existing investments with modern advanced capabilities.
IAM solutions empower organizations to enhance the customer experience. They also enable organizations to protect customers against cyber threats while delivering personalized customer experiences across multiple channels. But the level of risk varies for each company, so the need for controls will vary as well. However, it’s important for all organizations to have a strategy in place to address security concerns. From small to large companies, we see breaches, crypto virus attacks, data exfiltration, and much more. The adage, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” comes to mind. Are you prepared?
Be sure to reserve your spot for our upcoming webinar on April 28th: Modernize Your IAM to Prevent Ransomware Attacks. Anexinet experts discuss the Principle of Least Privilege (POLP) and Privileged Access Management (PAM). Further, the webinar explains how advanced Identity and Access Management solutions dramatically reduce your attack surface to make you far less vulnerable.
Lastly, if your organization needs help getting its Identity and Access Management program started, or just seek a second opinion on how well your IAM program is progressing, be sure to take a look at our IAM Modernization Assessment.