In today’s threat landscape, cybersecurity is top of mind for businesses and individuals alike. These days, attacks can come from all vectors, including the cloud tools you use every day.
The average employee uses 36 cloud-based services daily. Managing access to sensitive data and resources has become a vital piece to maintaining robust security, and just one breached account in a business app can lead to significant consequences.
It’s important to ensure you’re addressing identity & access management in your cybersecurity strategy; otherwise, you could suffer serious financial consequences as well as the loss of reputation that comes with a data breach. But what is identity & access management, exactly, and why do you and your business need to know about it?
Why Identity & Access Management (IAM) Should Be a High Priority
Mitigating Insider Threats
Simply put, Identity & Access Management (IAM) gives secure access to a company’s resources—like emails, databases, data, and applications—to verified employees (whether in-office or not), ideally with a bare minimum of interference. The goal is to manage access so that the right people can do their jobs and the wrong people, like hackers, are denied entry. IAM solutions enable businesses to install granular access controls and permissions, ensuring that employees have access only to the data necessary for their roles.
By minimizing excessive privileges, organizations can reduce insider threats. Access management also provides visibility into user activities and enables businesses to detect and respond to suspicious behavior in real time.
Strengthening Data Protection
Data breaches can have severe consequences for businesses. They can lead to things like:
Permanent closure for those that can’t recover
Effective access management helps strengthen data protection by limiting access to sensitive information, as well as enforcing strong authentication measures.
Multi-factor authentication, encryption, and user authentication limit who can access what in a system. Access management solutions also enable organizations to track and control data transfers, which helps ensure that data remains secure throughout its lifecycle.
Enhancing Regulatory Compliance
Compliance with data privacy laws is a top priority for many organizations. IAM solutions play a vital role in ensuring regulatory compliance by providing necessary controls and audit trails.
IAM tools also help companies adopt best practices, such as:
Role-based access control (RBAC)
Least privilege principles
Contextual multi-factor authentication
Using access management, businesses can show compliance with regulatory requirements. IAM solutions also help with regular access reviews by enabling organizations to maintain an accurate record of user access and permissions. This is essential for regulatory audits and assessments.
Streamlining User Provisioning and Deprovisioning
Managing user accounts and access privileges manually can be a time-consuming process. It’s also prone to human error: just one miskeyed entry can increase the risk of an account breach.
IAM systems automate user provisioning and de-provisioning, ensuring employees have appropriate access rights throughout their employment lifecycle.
When an employee joins an organization, access management simplifies the onboarding process. It quickly provisions the necessary user accounts and permissions based on their role.
When an employee leaves the organization, IAM tools ensure prompt de-provisioning of accounts, as well as the revoking of access rights. This reduces the risks of dormant or unauthorized accounts.
Remember the big data breach at Colonial Pipeline a few years back? The breach originated from an old unused business VPN account that had never been de-provisioned properly.
Enabling Secure Remote Access
Two things have largely changed the look of the traditional “office” in the last decade: the rise of remote work and the increasing reliance on cloud services. This change makes secure remote access vital for organizations.
IAM solutions provide secure authentication and authorization mechanisms for remote users. This enables them to access corporate resources and data securely. IAM is there whether employees are working from home, traveling, or accessing data via mobile. Access management ensures that they can do so without compromising security.
It includes features like:
Virtual private networks (VPNs)
Single sign-on (SSO)
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
These help secure remote access while also maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of corporate data.
Using an identity and access management system can boost productivity. Imagine how much time your HR or IT team spends provisioning user accounts: it can take a significant amount of time to add all those login credentials, not to mention deciding on user access permissions in each tool.
IAM systems automate this entire process. Using role-based access protocols, they can immediately assign the right level of access. If an employee leaves, the system can also immediately revoke access. This saves your administrative team considerable time and effort.
Need help putting a strong IAM solution in place? We can help! Get in touch at email@example.com to start a conversation.