March 26, 2021

Imagine what a data breach can do to your organization. Hackers have varying levels of interest in your, your business, and your data. Some work to expose every piece of information that the organization holds dear. Everything will be in the public domain. Enter: an Identity and Access Management strategy. 

Identity + Access Management: Level-setting on IAM

Proficient young male employee with eyeglasses and checkered shirt, explaining a business analysis displayed on the monitor of a desktop PC to his female colleague, in the interior of a modern officeOrganizations have the digital identities of their employees. It’s through these identities that the workers access the firm’s networks. Keeping track of what each employee is doing in/on the network at all times is cumbersome for IT personnel. So, as a business owner, you need to ensure that the people on your network can only access what is necessary to perform their duties for your organization. an IAM strategy with the right service and software will manage and authenticate the user(your employee) is actually what they say they are. 

IAM: The Role in Preventing Cyber Attacks

Some of the ways IAM protects organizations from security threats and vulnerabilities include: 

1. Automating the Provision of Access Privileges

Picture a big firm like Google hiring personnel whose sole responsibility is to assign access credentials to new employees. This is a real scenario, however, the number of people, levels of data, access, and controls needed in place would be costly and very inefficient practice. Besides, the process will be lengthy, and the margin of errors high for such a critical yet manually run effort. Identity and access management automates the assigning of privileges to new employees subject to their roles. The workflow automation limits and stops the issuance of unnecessary privileges. Even the employees with the wrong credentials in their custody are a threat to the organization.

IAM protects further by ensuring that it revokes of the privileges employees who resign or lose their jobs in the organization. IAM uses identity analytics and intelligence to periodically check on the users. This technology enables it to detect unusual activity from user accounts while detecting and thwarting the efforts of an intruder who’s using an account with proper credentials to infiltrate the company.

2. Additional controls for Privileged Accounts

Did you know that a hacker’s appetite whets when they spot privileged accounts? Yes, cyber-criminals love to get into your organization through privileged accounts. Hackers can access almost every part of the firm’s system through these accounts. And usually, it's a while for an internal team to spot any problems given the rights and access this "employee/user" has to the information. We recommend prioritizing Privileged Access as part of your IAM strategy. Start with the users that have the most access and the most to lose in the process.

There’s a need for more robust controls for privileged accounts. Passwords alone aren’t enough. A good hacker can use social engineering or even phishing to obtain passwords from authentic users. At a minimum you should set robust password controls and changes on these accounts and users, good Identity Governance also comes into play here.

3. Removing Orphan Accounts

Orphan accounts refer to inactive accounts or those accounts that users are no longer using or actively managing. The orphan accounts pose a huge risk to the organization’s security. Hackers will target and use them for fraudulent activities. That is why you must remove these accounts from the system. Identity and access management services will routinely scan for idle accounts in the system, and build a process for the proper mitigation of accounts, users, employees, and guests with access to your data, tools, and systems. 

Businessman pressing modern technology panel with finger print reader4. Multi-Factor Authentication

Let's face it, some hackers are good. Real good. They will crack your password. And, if your password was the only thing between the hacker and your crucial business data then, to put it plainly; you've lost. How much you and your employer lose varies, but you've lost nonetheless. A sound identity and access management strategy coupled with knowledgeable service team members, the right software mix, and dedicated management give your organization a second and even a third fighting chance.

We always recommend Multi-factor authentication (MFA) regardless of your organization's size, industry, or data. MFA adds extra layers of security to the users and your accounts. This means that the system will request another security credential every time you want to access that system, data, or tool. Typically done via a text to your mobile phone or an email delivering you a code to enter into the system for access, this additional one-step can virtually eliminate the hacker's access to your systems. Now they need both your tool/system password AND access to your email or mobile phone to continue on.

Protect Your Data with Identity + Access Management Strategy 

How much will the business lose if cyber-criminals pounce on an inactive and privileged access account? Protecting your data is not a new strategy. Take a step beyond protecting either the user or the access with a complete IAM strategy. Watch the user, how and when they access your data and systems, and manage it regularly with a specific set of remediation approaches should a breach happen. Learn more in our Guide: How to Implement Identity and Access Management.


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