Cybersecurity concerns dominated most organizations in 2021 as they struggled to find suitable methods that could help them protect themselves. The best cybersecurity tactics that can help you protect your digital business in 2022 are Identity and Access Management solutions.
The IAM framework consists of business processes, policies, and technologies that help manage digital identities. With an IAM framework, IT managers can restrict access to sensitive information stored on the organization’s cloud. You can deploy an IAM system on your on-site infrastructure or a hybrid cloud.
Fundamental components of an IAM system
An Identity and Access Management system works with the following functions:
- Identifying individuals using the system
- Defining roles and assigning them to individuals
- Adding and removing individuals
- Updating their roles when required
- Assigning access privileges to individuals or groups of individuals
- Protecting sensitive data while securing the system
Components of an IAM system include:
- Role-based Access Control
An IAM system not only controls the user’s access to critical information but also implements a role-based access control that enables administrators to regulate individual roles. These are defined by the individual’s job title, responsibility, and authority.
- Automatic de-provisioning of Users
An IAM solution can also prevent security risks from arising when employees leave an organization. Since manual de-provisioning is time-consuming, a former employee can gain time before the administrator rescinds his user rights. However, there is a possibility that the administrator forgets to conduct manual de-provisioning, which leaves a security gap for hackers. An IAM system automatically de-provisions access rights once the user leaves the organization.
- Automatic Identification of Users and Devices
The IAM solution manages the digital identities of users, devices and applications. It establishes a trust to provide access to users after it authenticates them and verifies their access entitlement.
Composition of an Identity and Access Management system
Numerous components and systems combine to build an IAM solution. Here are some of the most common deployments that can help you improve your cybersecurity.
Single Sign-On (SSO) is a category of access control that allows users to use numerous organization-owned applications or services with one set of credentials. However, applications and services rely on a trusted third party to authenticate and authorize the user, which assists in:
- Enhancing user experience
- Reducing password fatigue
- Simplifying password management
- Minimizing security risks
- Limiting credential usage
- Improving identity protection
IAM uses multi-factor authentication to verify the user’s identity by requiring additional information such as:
- A predefined password is set by the user
- A token or code that can be sent by Email or SMS
- Biometric information
Since usernames and passwords are perfect targets for brute force attacks and can be stolen by third parties, you can enforce the use of MFA to increase the safety of your organization. Therefore, even if credentials are compromised, MFA will act as an additional security layer to restrict access and secure the cloud.
Privileged Access Management
Businesses rely on PAM to protect them from external and internal threats by assigning a higher permission level to accounts required to access critical corporate resources. IT managers commonly integrate PAM with MFA to ensure only the intended user is authenticated and authorized to access administrator-level controls.
A risk-based authentication solution considers contextual features like IP address, location, network details, or device ID before authorization whenever a user requests access to an application or service.
It uses these features to determine whether or not to allow access to the user or send a prompt for additional authentication factors like MFA. Therefore, a risk-based authentication system helps businesses immediately identify potential security risks by gaining a deep insight into the user and increasing security if needed.
Federated Identity Management
FIM is an authentication-sharing process that allows businesses to share their digital identities with trusted partners and use the same verification method to access resources. Each organization maintains its own identity management that serves as a trust mechanism. Once the system establishes trust, the users can access various services from multiple partners with the same account or credentials.
Digital businesses use data governance to manage their data’s availability, usability, integrity, and security. They use data policies and standards to regulate data usage and ensure their data remains consistent and does not get misused. For an IAM solution, it’s important to have data governance because all Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools or services require high-quality data.
As a digital business, you can deploy a Zero Trust approach to move away from the traditional approach requiring blind trust or putting everything behind a firewall. As organizations develop remote workplaces, the traditional approach cannot keep the cloud secure.
Therefore, you need to implement Zero Trust on your cloud that uses IAM to continuously authenticate and authorize users before granting access to company resources. Additionally, organizations gain real-time visibility into identity attributes like:
- User identity and type
- Privileges assigned to devices
- Endpoint hardware
- Authentication protocols
It’s never too late to take the right steps and enforce the security of your cloud resources. Identity and Access Management is the best option for digital businesses as it combines various technologies and components. You can restrict user privilege by granting minimum access to the users to shorten your perimeter. Even if someone gains access to the cloud by using a compromised username and password, they won’t be able to get past the multi-factor authentication component of IAM.