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Building an Identity and Access Management Strategy

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Building an Identity and Access Management Strategy

Did you know that 81 percent of hacking-related breaches were aided by a combination of stolen and weak passwords? The 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report also shows that 62 percent of breaches featured hacking, while more than half (51%) were driven by malware.

Cyber criminals are currently targeting business identities, planning to use these credentials to bypass tougher security controls, while IT departments are struggling to prevent outside intrusions yet still allowing necessary access to legitimate users. It’s becoming more difficult for IT departments to balance cyber security with ease of entry.

Other factors are making it more difficult to secure critical digital assets. The incorporation of BYOD protocols offers flexible access for workers while also allowing an easy introduction to insecure devices. New connections to enterprise networks also offer potential entryways for malware, leading to costly security breaches.

Access management comes in at this point. For businesses across the spectrum, building and maintaining a sound Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy translates into a higher level of security for the organization. It also enhances the customer experience by ensuring the privacy of personal data. As you implement your strategy, remember these keys to success.

Understand the Needs of Your Business

Giving access to the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons, is the driving force behind access management. Always keep this idea in the back of your mind as you create and implement IAM for your company.

The next step is a comprehensive audit of current practices so that you know exactly what types of systems or processes are used by employees to share and transfer information. You may find out that people in your organization are subverting security controls to get their work done. It’s a common issue that can help you build a stronger access management structure.

Download the Data Security Guide: Learn how to prevent, detect, and contain a  data security incident.

Keep the UX in Mind

End users—including employees and customers—can make or break your security strategy, so as much as possible, you’ll need to streamline the process of gaining access to a company portal or a piece of software.

Limit authentication steps as much as you can. When the process to access emails or accounts seems too long or too difficult, people may try to find their own shortcuts, thus limiting the effectiveness of your security controls.

Develop IAM Governance Procedures

An IAM, an identity management strategy, is only as effective as your day-to-day procedures. It's critically important to ensure that risk management and compliance guidelines are followed consistently throughout the company.

These are some of the key areas of focus:

1. Efficient provisioning and de-provisioning procedures. Boost performance and security with automated processes that offer necessary resources to new employees from the start, while cutting off access for departing workers.

2. Handling privileged accounts with care. Compared with accounts for regular users, these accounts can have almost unlimited access to sensitive data, applications, and devices. Strike a balance between access and security by following the guidelines of least privilege. When users need elevated privileges for a specific task, grant access for a limited time using unique credentials.

3. Recording user actions. Track all user activities to gain the data you need in case of a security incident. You can also use this information to meet audit and compliance requirements.

Add Cloud-based IAM to Your Arsenal

If you’re looking to the cloud for greater efficiencies and easy scalability, cloud-based identity and access management services can be part of your plan. That’s because these trailblazing as-a-Service models can help move forward your cloud-first initiatives.

Identity and Access Management-as-a-Service (IDaaS) simplifies even the most complex user management challenges. It also bestows multiple security advantages.

These systems exist in environments defined by strict access with round-the-clock monitoring and security for both IT and physical assets. Scheduled backups and data recovery plans prevent catastrophic losses. Further, the access control measures are certified to industry standards with frequent audits. You can meet necessary audit requirements by leveraging existing security certifications rather than investing talent and resources within a similar internal plan.

Creating the right identity and access management plan for your company requires knowledge, insight, consistent governance, and the flexibility to make changes along the way. It’s a cornerstone of your defense strategy that you can’t do without.

 Data Security Guide: Prevention, Detection, and Containment