When it comes to running an organization, identity security is of great importance. It’s crucial that systems are in place to safely control user and system information and that the users can only access resources through the correct authentication methods at all times.
Making sure only certain people and systems have access to your important corporate data is what identity management is all about. Get it right and you have made a vital step in developing a rock solid security strategy.
Essentially, when talking about identity security, it is the process of identifying people within your business infrastructure and controlling which resources those people can access, and when they can do so. After each user has been created an identity, it is then determined what resources that identity can access. Access is simply allowed for people to be able to do the job that is required of them, anything more than that is usually restricted to them.
Why is identity security so important?
Experience has taught us that identity security is the foundation for a secure IT infrastructure. The challenge is controlling the flow of information to allow for frictionless access for the right people while minimizing the risk from potential attackers. Shifting identities to the cloud has only added a degree of complexity to this balance.
A compromised user identity can be devastating to a company and especially when the modern user identity is spread across a huge variety of resources. As a result, the thought of hosted identities makes a lot of IT departments feel uneasy. However, the future of the cloud is very much an area that is ongoing and moving forwards.
Digital transformation shifts the security perimeter, moving it from firewalls to identity. As organizations integrate new technologies into their business models, they need to protect identity and access more proactively.
Why are identities valuable?
Most people are familiar with the concept of identity theft. Someone uses information linked to your identity to carry out acts you’d never dream of. Thieves can do anything from making fraudulent insurance claims to spending thousands of your dollars at a department store.
The same can be done with company digital security. When a bad actor takes someone’s identity, most often in the form of their credentials, they can use that information to install ransomware, steal data, commit fraud, or sell it on the dark web. That’s why it’s so important to keep identities under lock and key.
What should it include?
Identity management systems should include a central directory service of user identities and access permissions. This should be able to grow as an organization and identity access management should also help in setting up users’ accounts and provisioning users by enabling a workflow that cuts down on errors and abuse.
Access requests should be reviewed at multiple stages with approvals required to mitigate security risks. There should also be a mechanism to prevent privilege creep, the gradual process of a user acquiring access rights beyond what they need.