How identity addresses the challenges of modern IT evolution

Posted by Prince Kapoor on May 9, 2017 10:22:52 AM

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The online world is going through massive changes, are you coping up with it? Read on the article to understand how identity is playing an important role in modern IT evolution.

The way organizations are providing services to customers across multiple channels is going through massive change. Mobile adoption, cloud computing, big data services, are the indications that providing security is no more simple. But identity is one of the ways both the new as well as traditional systems can be cured to ensure security. Read on the article to find out how identity can help with creating a robust secure parameter that can address the challenges of modern IT evolution.

Architecture of modern security parameter:

In general, the modern security parameter must combine the traditional defenses along with the additional layers to tackle the modern infrastructure and new ways of connecting. On the other hand, the traditional and modern defenses must be designed in a way that it can handle issues like cyber attacks, phishing, etc.

In short, the modern security parameter will come with traditional defense facilities like firewalls, IDS, etc while alongside providing features of privileged access security and user activities auditing. Let’s get into more details.

  1. Identity based defenses:

Identity can either be used as a separate protective layer or can also be used along with traditional defenses. Below are some ways identity can be used to ensure security:

  • For mobile and remote users, proof of identity and access management can be used.
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication will ensure elimination of unauthorized access.
  • Robust account credentials for sensitive data along with monitoring, auditing and tracking facilities to stay safe.

Along with above mentioned, there are many defense facilities that cannot be facilitated by traditional security parameters but the combination of both surely can.

  1. Traditional security defenses:

Layered security is the most crucial demand of today and traditional security defenses are present in every organization. But most of these traditional security perimeters were designed under the assumption that the only way to get your data compromised is via external entities. Insider threats were absolutely ignored thus making businesses more vulnerable towards security attacks. Read here the most common traditional security defenses and how they can be combined with additional layers to bring the most out of it.

  • Firewalls: Firewalls are an effective way to prevent the traffic that is arriving from suspicious sources thereby eliminating attacks from malicious networks. But if you are looking for more, combine firewall with your identity management platform in order to achieve centralized access control, smooth yet secure authentication and minimum burden on IT teams.
  • IDS and IPS: Intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are helpful in detecting as well as preventing attacks. By integrating it with your identity management platform, you can permit this traffic specifically for administrators or for some specific group of people.
  • Network devices: From network devices I mean switches, wireless access points, routers and what not and most of these come with exclusive security capabilities. If integrated with your identity platform, you can ensure your privileged accounts are safe and all admin activities are audited and logged.

Exploring modern IT security perimeter- identity management platform:

An ideal identity management platform will provide extensive security features while leveraging and enhancing existing traditional security defenses. Below are some of the key features found in identity platforms:

  1. Single Sign-On (SSO):

The world wide web of today is ruled by passwords. With increasing websites and application, the only choices users have is to either reuse the passwords to multiple places or choose a weak password. Single Sign-On not only addresses this problem but also provides a centralized place to provide robust authentication. Moreover, implementing single sign-on solution will reduces the number and frequency of help desk calls regarding “forgotten and reset passwords” thus less burden on your IT help desk team.

  1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA):

Multi-factor authentication works as a savior when your user credentials are compromised. Thanks to the various techniques like brute-force attacks, phishing scams, stealing passwords is no longer a big deal.

Multi-factor authentication, in this scenario, makes sure that hackers are not able to get access to your sensitive data using the compromised credentials. In order to prove his/her identity, users must provide an additional factor (code, security question or biometric identity) along with the passwords. It means even if the hackers have credentials, their authentication is not completed unless they have the second factor handy as well.

  1. Provisioning and lifecycle management:

Provisioning can be defined as creation of account for users and providing the needed access to the resources. How provisioning is important when it comes to identity management is that provisioning is the only way to define who has access to what and via what channels. Workflows are required to ensure that only the authorized users are able to access the resources.

But we all know how difficult the scenario is. Most of the employees are given more access than they deserve and this frequency follows them throughout their career as they grow. Similarly, accounts of employees who already left the organization also tend to stay longer than they deserve. Here centralized provisioning and lifecycle management is needed to perform a simple analysis against what is the actual role of an employees and what are his rights according to the role.

  1. Mobility and device management:

If you have a look at the mobile users around you, how many of them have set a security code on their setup? Honestly, most of them don’t. Every mobile device around you is a potential attack vector for hackers. To that end, you need to make sure that your identity platform should not only be extended to all applications but to all mobile devices as well. This will help you can secure your applications, the places where these apps are being accessed along with the data that is residing on mobile devices as well.

  1. Secure remote access:

With increase in mobile adoption, remote access is the need of today but so is the need of ensuring security in it which is not that simple. The two most common solutions here are VPN (Virtual private network) and ALG (Application gateways).

VPNs rely on the identity to authenticate users and place them in the right networks based on their identity. On the other hand, application gateways secure apps by proxying data without offering broader access to the network and uses identity to determine who has access to what. An identity platform that has strong workflow capabilities will make sure to segment users based on their access right while also providing monitoring capabilities.

  1. Elimination of identity silos:

Today, many of the organizations have more than one store and thus multiple identities scattered across their infrastructure. But these identity silos indicate complexity and risks. By combining these identity silos using a centralized identity management platform will ensure a single view of identity thus providing a single way to control users access and their monitoring.

Finally, the world is evolving like never before, and to cope up with this massive changes, it is important for businesses to make identity platform a part of it.

Topics: security, IT, Identity and Access Management, mobility and device management

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