How Identity Governance and Administration Solve Business Security Challenges
Identity governance and administration (IGA) is becoming more important due to changes in security threats and business risks. Today’s business is more connected, flexible, and collaborative than ever. Cloud use has seen a surge in popularity, as well as remote and hybrid work. This is due to the challenges faced over the last 18 months. Rod Simmons discusses how IGA, or identity security, can help solve the dynamic problems of business security.
Technology improvements often come with security threats rising and a more risky business environment. All organizations need to consider identity security the core pillar of their operation. Chief information security officers (CISOs), need to have a consistent approach to managing identity across all systems, including hybrid and cloud.
Digital Technology and Digital Identity
New data and applications provide access rights and new identities, which can be used to attack criminals, hackers, state actors, and malicious insiders. These identities need to be managed properly. To protect their data, organizations rely on three pillars: confidentiality and integrity as well as accessibility. These are essential to defend against cyber-attacks and reduce the risk for the business. They also ensure correct access for employees, partners, and customers.
Cloud computing has made it much easier for businesses to expand geographically, collaborate across supply chain chains, and move to remote work. Security must adapt to the new ways of doing things and changing threats.
Good security starts with strong identity governance and administration policies. Ransomware and supply-chain hacks are just a few examples of high-profile cybersecurity incidents that have exploited weak access management and identity management. Over the past two decades, 79% of businesses experienced an identity-related security breach.
Not because of a zero-day vulnerability exploited in a nation-state, but because of something simple like a compromised account that allowed unauthorized access to a computer network, or unauthorized privilege e, some of the most prominent attacks ever recorded were possible.
Organizations need to be aware of who has access to applications and systems and make sure that access is removed when no longer required. This is where a strong IGA system can help.
New Risks and New Threats
We have witnessed a shift towards hybrid work over the past year and a quarter, fueled by the global pandemic.
Because they are not within the corporate firewall, remote workers and third-party employees are easy targets for malicious hackers. Even more important, because they are not part of the corporate security culture, remote workers and third parties need to be aware of potential security breaches. Hackers also exploit the online office suites, such as by creating fake login dialogues or stealing credentials.
Attackers are now turning to technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to breach security measures. An AI-based attack is designed to imitate human behavior and learn from it. This AI-based attack could even use the information available in the public domain to identify a target organization and bypass its defenses.
The legacy perimeter cannot be secured by organizations. The possibility of attackers finding a way in is now a certainty. However, companies can secure identities that can be used as the new perimeter. They are required to carry out reconnaissance and extract data. Avoidance of these attacks is possible. However, it is important to look at access and identity management tools again and consider the impact on your business.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), should be made more frequently and earlier? Access to networks should be restricted to company-owned devices or to specific business hours or geographic locations. Access to sensitive data and critical systems should be made to expire or granted only on a task-by-task basis. These are crucial questions for both the CISO and the business users they serve.
Using Identity Protection to Stay Ahead of Threats
While limiting access to systems can reduce risks, it comes with a price. Too much access can make an organization vulnerable. However, too little access can impact efficiency.
However, there are ways to balance efficiency, security, and compliance. Zero Trust is being looked at by more CISOs to help them future-proof their systems against new threats. Zero Trust is a long-term plan that has been developed over time. It cannot be solved overnight.
Other options for organizations include investing in automation to manage identity, such as automating approval workflows. This will reduce overhead and make it easier for business users to use security measures like multi-factor authentication, or time-limited access key systems.
This could be done by restricting access to certain devices, limiting access times throughout the day, or forcing MFA based on behavior. Attackers have always focused on getting access to administrator accounts or high-level users in the past. Businesses have taken steps to protect administrator accounts and educate users about cyber security.
Two Identity Management Use-Cases
The first case involved a managed security consulting firm and an IGA provider. This partnership allowed for improved identity governance. It enabled the company to account for all their identities, as well as their entitlements, and access rights across the entire organization. Customers are thus able to improve their security and Microsoft environment.
A multinational luxury vehicle manufacturer implemented a central role management system to expand its identity management platform. This solution is used to support a global team of employees, contractors, and business partners. It also serves as the main tool for management and overview of business roles.
Attackers have many targets to choose from with the increase in remote knowledge workers and cloud-based work. It is easier to compromise knowledge workers, as they have access to more valuable data and are therefore more attractive targets. Administrators are less secure than knowledge workers. Organizations need identity governance and an administration system that scales.
Consistent automation is a key pillar in identity security. Investing in IGA for security compliance makes it easier to comply with security and access requirements. IT teams also save time on repetitive administrative tasks. CISOs and boards are now looking beyond identity management. IGA is at the heart of security and governance discussions.
Investing in IGA and technologies that use cloud technology will help employees follow business processes better, protect identities and improve efficiency. It helps to align security and business.