As the definition of “identity” expands beyond human identity to include devices, animals, robots, and applications, we need to recognize why identity and access management is important and reassess our identity management practices. Additionally, increasing number of distributed cloud systems, BYOD, remote workforce, IoT, and data breach cases require smarter approach to identity and access management by leveraging new technologies in the areas of authentication, and artificial intelligence with machine learning to address system intrusions and data breach detection.

Many in the cybersecurity industry are recognizing the importance of identity and access management while risks continue to evolve worldwide as new threats, solutions and laws are introduced. Specifically, cyber crime, identity theft,  fraud, and incidents of data breach are on the rise and global governments are scrambling to address privacy of consumers and manage risks through regulations.

Below is a list of reasons why identity and access management is important to the cybersecurity, data protection and privacy industries:

Definition of the Term “User”

As mentioned, the complexity of managing multitude of identities which need to be connected and have access to resources requires advanced IAM capabilities to validate access requests, grant the most appropriate access, and monitor activities to detect anomalies and prevent data breach. The term “user” referred to humans in the past but the definition of the term goes beyond humans to include robots, applications, and Internet of Things (IoT). One of the main objectives of IAM is to make sure authorized users have the appropriate access to the right resources at the right time as quickly as possible. This is why proper onboarding, access provisioning, and offboarding is so important to ensure continued and efficient security without hiccups.

User Offboarding

Offboarding is a high risk area as managers do not have the same incentive to offboard contractors and temps as they do during their onboarding phase. Managing employees and their access may be more straight forward as they are often tied to the payroll system with integration to the central identity directory which has tighter controls than other systems, yet, if some systems are not integrated with the central identity directory, then removing a user from the directory will not trigger the removal of the user from all systems which is why offboarding is much more important.

Offboarding is a “silent” process according to Henry Bagdasarian which means no one complains when a user is not removed form the system until it is discovered during an audit or incident. However, onboarding is not a silent process as users and managers will complain for not having access to desired systems and data.

User Access Risks

Users who have system and data access are often targets of phishing attacks to steal their credentials. More specifically, privileged users who have elevated access are prime targets of cyber-criminals to access high value systems, data, and transactions such as invoicing, procurement, and payments. Stealing existing access is much more easier when targeting naive users than trying to hack into systems. This is because all of our high tech security investments can not prevent a data breach when an authorized user access is stolen and used consistent with the user’s usual activities to evade anomaly detection.

When applied properly, advanced identity and access management tools can help detect suspicious activities quickly whether they are committed by external or internal criminals. In fact, insiders who have highly privileged access pose the greatest risks as they may be disgruntled or have financial problems, therefore have the incentive and opportunity to commit a perfect crime. Highly technical users who have privileged access can also cover their tracks by modifying system logs.

Sometimes, users also make mistakes and errors which can also be mitigated with IAM tools and education. Identity and access risk awareness education is very important to prevent hackers from stealing user credentials.

Compliance

Another reason why identity and access management is important in cyber security is because organizations must comply with increasing, complex and distributed regulations, and they must ensure and demonstrate an effective customer identification process, suspicious activity detection and reporting, and identity theft prevention. Identity and access management solutions can be leveraged to manage various regulatory requirements such as having a Customer Identification Program (CIP), Know Your Customer (KYC), monitoring for Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR), and Red Flags Rule for identity fraud prevention.

Conclusion

Identity and Access Management is extremely complex and critical in managing security risks. Although technology is an important part of identity and access management which can be leveraged to support an organization’s cybersecurity objectives and strategy, effective IAM also requires processes and people for user onboarding and identity verification, granting and removing access, detecting suspicious activities, and keeping unauthorized users out of the systems. IAM can help organizations achieve operating efficiency and optimal security through state of the art technology and automation such as adaptive, multi-factor, and biometric authentication.

Identity and access management certifications

As companies become more aware of the urgent need for managing security risks through identity and access management, deploying systems, designing processes, and employing skilled staff also become apparent. 

Please visit our identity management blog for more articles.

Rising cyberattack frequency and costs point to the need for a better approach to security. Attacks occur an average of once every 39 seconds, and the cost of a breach could exceed $150 million by 2020. Although businesses and organizations are aware of these threats, it still takes about six months to detect breach activity. Long delays between initial network compromise and security responses allow hackers to make off with large amounts of data, as was seen in the 126% jump in the total number of records stolen between 2017 and 2018.

Recent news shows no company, service or even country is safe from attack, but some promising changes in security programs and cybersecurity tools indicate an increasing understanding of threats and the steps necessary for prevention.

Creative Cloud Compromise

A “misconfigured” prototype environment is likely to blame for a breach at Adobe, which exposed information from almost 7.5 million Creative Cloud accounts to the public. The open database was discovered on October 19 and could have been exposed for a week or more. No names, passwords or credit cards were compromised, but hackers could have gotten their hands on email addresses, member IDs, product subscription information, payment status and other details.

The breach could have wide-ranging effects if hackers use email addresses and member IDs to launch phishing attacks in an attempt to collect passwords from unsuspecting Adobe subscribers. Replying to these emails and sharing credential information puts users’ accounts at risk may open the door for more malicious activity in the future.

Widespread Cyberattack Hits Multiple Targets Around Georgia

Over 2,000 websites were compromised in an attack in Georgia on the afternoon of October 28, including those of the country’s president, various courts, businesses, newspapers and media outlets. An additional 15,000 pages hosted by Proservice were also affected when the web hosting company was hit by the breach. The attack replaced many website home pages with an image of former Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili standing in front of a banner bearing the words “I’ll be back.”

Georgia’s national TV station, Imedi TV, suffered a blackout as a result of the attack, and some computer systems remain compromised. Imedi stations and those of Maestro, another major broadcaster, went off the air, leaving the country’s residents without access to normal programming. Known vulnerabilities and a lack of strong cybersecurity may have contributed to the country-wide breach. The source of the attack is unknown, although some are pointing the finger at Russia as investigations continue.

Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity: Where to Now?

New and more complex forms of cyberattacks are allowing hackers to surpass the abilities of human IT teams to detect and respond to malicious activities on enterprise networks. In an ideal cybersecurity environment, systems would make use of predictive measures to create defenses against breaches before attacks occur. With artificial intelligence (AI), this model is closer to becoming a reality.

AI systems can use machine learning to track activity and create detailed profiles of users and how they interact with networks. By monitoring across the entire user lifecycle, AI tools can identify who accesses a network at what times, the actions they typically perform and the devices they prefer to use. This expands cybersecurity far beyond pre-determined parameters and single devices to create a holistic approach enterprises can use to enhance security protocols and respond to a diverse range of threats.

Using known breach characteristics to build data sets feeds more information into AI systems and increases the sensitivity of both monitoring and detection, which increases the accuracy of risk level predictions and enables dynamic responses when malicious activity is discovered. However, because the technology can still be subject to errors, AI can’t replace human teams entirely. It’s best used as an additional tool to improve threat hunting, speed up incident responses and minimize false positives so that IT teams can focus on bigger security issues.

Identity and access management certifications

Although $6 trillion in global cybersecurity spending is projected for 2021, 77% of organizations still lack cybersecurity incident response plans. The continued shortage of cybersecurity professionals presents a challenge for those seeking to develop and implement better solutions. Properly addressing threats, securing systems and leveraging the power of AI requires a detailed security plan and the help of a professional IT team to meet the evolving security needs of enterprises and government agencies.

Identity theft and ID fraud are issues that most consumers across the globe are worried about. With the growing online population and rising identity theft cases, it is becoming crucial for individuals and firms to consider protecting their identity. In 2017, the U.S. had an estimated 16 million cases of ID theft. The types of ID theft and identity fraud are diverse which are sometimes difficult to detect or resolve, necessitating the need to seek identity theft companies for complete and automated protection against the fraudsters. Identity theft protection is a collective effort and consumers alone are not capable of protecting themselves as they do not have the control to prevent identity theft or the skills to detect and resolve identity fraud.

There are many ways that identity theft criminals can obtain personal information to commit fraud. Whether cyber-criminals hack into systems that store personal data, or tap into data that is sold in the dark web following a data breach resulting from a variety of critical security vulnerabilities, or steal identity information directly from consumers through phishing and social engineering attacks, the criminals use the stolen information to create fake identities and use the information to extract money from a bank account, apply for new credit line, or make illegitimate purchases on various platforms across the web, among numerous other felonies.

How Can Consumers Find the Best Service?

When looking for an identity theft service, consumers must ask themselves a few questions:

  • What major services do identity theft companies offer?
  • Who are the major identity theft companies?
  • What differentiates one company from another?
  • What services or ID theft protection do I need?
  • How do I know which company is better than the others?
  • What are the company’s security, privacy, and data retention practices specially after customers stop doing business with the company?

The best way for consumers to answer the above questions and select the best service is to ask the identity theft company if they offer an independent audit report or an identity theft company certification report issued by Identity Management Institute. This independent report typically validates the company’s assertions about their services and describes in a simple language the company’s privacy and security policies. Most privacy policies are either unclear, incomplete, or too detailed that no one reads. An independent product certification offers the best validated information that consumers can trust for selecting an ID theft product. Sure consumers can go online and review other customer reviews or visit the company’s website, but can they truly trust the consumer reviews some of which may be fake or incomplete? Or can consumers trust the information on the company’s website which has not been validated by an independent third party?

The Cost of Identity Theft Protection

The typical price for a monthly subscription in identity theft companies is between $10 and $35. Basic plans usually just monitor credit reports. The most expensive subscriptions offer advanced services like dark web scans, notifications about any activity on your bank and investment accounts, three bureau credit reports and reports on any fraudulent activity carried out in your name.

Overview of Identity Theft Companies

This article is designed to give consumers limited information about identity theft companies and their services. Identity theft services must be designed to help individuals safeguard their identity while surfing different social media platforms, online banking systems, and data transfer platforms, or detect signs of identity theft, and support the identity theft victims overcome the hurdles of identity theft.

The review of identity theft protection companies in this article is limited and may change at any time after this article is published. Consumers are encouraged to learn from this article and visit the identity theft company website of their choice to get the latest information.

Below is a list of some ID theft companies and their services:

1. IdentityForce

IdentityForce offers one of the most extensive protection services. IdentityForce has a tremendously far-reaching service provision for its clients. Among them are monitoring Social Security Numbers, names, credit card numbers, and street addresses for any signs of unauthorized activities.

The company’s extensive scope allows tracking of loans, public record databases, sex offender registries, and lease records. Various other companies may offer some of these services, but very few monitors all the areas.

As much as IdentityForce is not able to prevent your data from being stolen, it notifies you immediately when it notices any suspicious activity in any of the areas. One of the company’s product features is that the client can set a specific range of transactions to monitor. They will then receive notifications as soon as a transaction exceeding the amount is made on their account. Clients also get notifications if an unidentified alias or address is associated with the account or name. Consumers don’t have to buy a transaction monitoring services as many financial institutions offer account alerts, however, consolidation and automation may be of interest.

Since identity criminals can affect your credit score adversely due to their occasional use of your data, IdentityForce sends regular reports to you from the three bureaus. To top it all off, the company offers you tracking tools to keep you updated on changes in your credit score over time.

There are various tools that the company offers to recover your stolen ID. These tools include a fully managed restoration service. The feature provides support for filling out the paperwork on your behalf.

2. LifeLock

LifeLock offers one of the most comprehensive and thorough identity theft protection services. Its Ultimate Plus plan monitors an extensive range of public records, online databases, and even dark web sites to see if your data is compromised.

The company scans for addresses and names linked to your Social Security Number to safeguard you from any criminals looking to open a fraudulent account using your data. LifeLock’s service monitors most areas that other service providers will not. It scans popular data-sharing sites to see if any of your personal information has been uploaded to any of them. It also monitors sex offender registries that use any of your personal information.

Another powerful tool offered by LifeLock is its Privacy Monitor service. The tool is essential in alerting clients when fraudulent activity has been detected using their details. The alerts are programmed to ask the client if they have made any purchases, or if an address change is legitimate. If fraudulent activity is confirmed to have taken place, LifeLock will act swiftly to resolve the situation. The company has identity restoration specialists who will deal with the situation on a personal level to its remedy.

On top of its identity monitoring services, LifeLock also offers its clients the tools for credit monitoring. Annual reports from the three bureaus are sent to the clients with monthly access to their Equifax score.

One of the cons of using LifeLock is its high prices. It offers one of the priciest services among the companies with a monthly subscription fee of $29.99 but higher prices come with more services.

LifeLock’s protection against identity theft goes beyond credit cards, bank accounts, email addresses, and phone numbers. On top of these protection services, the company also monitors its clients’ medical insurance and public record databases to check for possible fraud.

3. Identity Guard

Identity Guard offers the most appealing balance of cost to service. It is a crucial part to consider prices in your buying decision. However, when choosing an identity protection service, you must keep in mind the scope of the service you require to keep your identity safe. You need a service that not only covers a broad scope but also provides you with timely alerts on activities that use your data.

You can access a complete coverage close to the best services provided in the market for just $16.99 per month. Some service providers offer even lower prices than Identity Guard, but their services may be limited.

The company’s features match the services offered by the companies we have reviewed. Its protection monitors your address, credit card numbers, and Social Security Number. It also provides monitoring services for other aspects of your identity, like driver’s license information and criminal records.

As an additional feature, Identity Guard also offers you tools to gauge the risk of your data theft. The device can become an invaluable feature in helping you safeguard your data by changing behaviors that put your personal information at risk. In case your identity has been compromised, the company also offers immediate recovery services and quick alerts. The recovery services include fraud insurance of up to one million dollars.

4. IdentityProtect by Intellius

IdentityProtect specializes in general searches and background checks. Our research found that the company excels in these areas more than all the companies we reviewed. Intellius’ ID theft protection service, “IdentityProtect,” is one of the most efficient at tracking information matching your data in public record searches.

For instance, the service can track sex offender registries and addresses. Besides free monitoring services, Intellius’ other protection services are mostly basic. The company sends you alerts in case of any suspicious activity in your credit report. If you are a victim of identity fraud, resolution experts are available 24/7 to help you resolve your problem. Its monthly subscription fee is $19.95, and a seven-day trial is available for potential clients who need to understand how the service works.

5. IDFreeze by myFICO

IDFreeze, according to our review, will provide you with the most thorough and efficient credit report monitoring service. The company also sends you regular reports from the three bureaus. Like all the above ID protection services, it sends alerts whenever there is an activity on your credit reports.

IDFreeze also provides dark web monitoring services to its clients. If your personal information has changed hands or has been used to carry out fraud on any of the popular platforms across the web, the service works hand in hand with you to get the issue resolved.

One of the few cons of the service is that it is one of the more expensive options charging $29.95 per month.

certified product

Conclusion

Identity theft is an increasingly worrying problem for most people. The best way to protect yourself from fraudsters looking to use your information for personal gain is by using the best identity theft company and protection service. Sometimes, consumers must sign up with multiple service providers to get a complete protection if they are extremely worried and cost is not an issue.

The services listed above are just some examples of identity theft service providers but the best validation tool for consumers to select the best identity theft company in terms of the service quality, scope and coverage; and system security or privacy policies is an independent certification by Identity Management Institute.

It’s time for identity and access management (IAM) to grow up. Hackers are getting wise to the ways enterprises commonly approach security and coming up with subtler methods for infiltrating networks. Detecting unauthorized access attempts requires detailed scrutiny of which human monitoring is no longer capable. In response, enterprises are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including machine learning (ML), to implement better IAM practices for improving access security and maintaining the integrity of user identities.

artificial intelligence and machine learning for transforming identity and access management

Increased Visibility

The concept of identity has expanded to include not only human users but also devices and applications, creating a challenging situation for those in charge of identity governance. There may be hundreds or even thousands of identities accessing resources across an enterprise network on a regular basis, each with its own unique set of circumstances. The landscape becomes more complex when cloud systems allow users to access networks from any location or device and flexible or remote workers enter the picture. Add access by customers, clients or third-parties to the picture, and consistent enforcement of IAM policies can become difficult or even impossible for IT teams to handle on their own.

Introducing AI puts eyes on everything, all the time, and a machine can detect nuances people can’t. Complex interactivity across the network becomes visible, which enables IT teams to implement smarter administrative actions and make more informed decisions regarding user permissions. Role-based access can be updated to a more nuanced approach with better privileged access management and a lower risk of privileged access abuse at times when temporary permissions must be granted.

Automation and Flexibility

Because AI is able to monitor subtle details of users’ actions, it’s possible to automate authentication for low-risk access situations, thereby offloading some of the burden of IAM administration from the IT department and preventing “security fatigue” among users. AI is capable of looking at the total set of circumstances surrounding access requests, including:

• Time
• Device type
• Location
• Resources being requested

Considering these details before granting network access makes IAM contextual and granular and can control potential problems caused by improper provisioning or deprovisioning. AI-powered systems are able to apply appropriate IAM policies to any access request based on needs and circumstances so that the IT department doesn’t have to waste time figuring out the basics of “least privilege” for every use case or resolving problems with privilege creep.

Breach Detection and Prevention

Contextual monitoring also reveals anomalies in user behavior, which could indicate malicious intent or breach activity. Machines can handle enormous amounts of data and scan it faster than even the most dedicated IT department is capable of and alert enterprises to abnormal behaviors far enough in advance to prevent serious network compromise or data loss.

Security policies incorporating ML “learn” patterns of user behaviors by observing how different identities interact with enterprise networks. In this way, the system can detect what’s normal and appropriate and what should be flagged as suspect. The process continues around the clock, providing continual monitoring and allowing the ML algorithms to form clearer pictures of routine network activity.

What happens if a hacker gains access to the system with a legitimate user’s credentials? The system picks up on changes in behavior or unusual activities during the session and alerts the IT department or responds automatically by denying access requests.

Going Beyond Compliance

Many enterprises make the mistake of thinking complying with security and privacy regulations is sufficient to keep hackers at bay, but these laws aren’t nuanced enough to meet the security needs of every organization. The basics of compliance involve ensuring information is only accessed by those who need it and shutting everyone else out. However, the specifics of these access requirements differ from industry to industry, and looking to compliance to solve security problems will inevitably leave loopholes.

To complicate the issue, regulations are constantly changing. Implementing compliance rules for new security laws can be a burden, and noncompliance is a common occurrence. The flexible, adaptable nature of AI-powered IAM is useful in these situations. Because AI and ML constantly monitor traffic, learn behaviors and apply granular access controls, enterprises face less of a challenge when enforcing security protocols, and it becomes difficult for hackers to get any use out of stolen credentials.

Identity and access management certifications

AI is no longer some vague, futuristic idea nobody can realistically implement, yet 83% of organizations haven’t yet matured the way they approach IAM. Because of a greater degree of interconnectivity, an increasing number of human and device identities and the trend toward global access, enterprises must begin to incorporate smarter technologies into security protocols. When AI and ML are introduced with the appropriate monitoring and reporting tools, it becomes possible to visualize network access and reduce overall breach risk using intelligent, adaptable IAM policies.

As we all know, identity theft continues to affect millions of consumers and there is no shortage of data breach cases which can lead to identity theft and fraud with stolen personal information. Many identity theft companies have leveraged this trend to start successful businesses some of them backed by investment banking entities which are looking to increase their return on investment in a growing and competitive market.

Certified IAM Product

Selecting an Identity Theft Service

When selecting an identity theft service, consumers are faced with many choices of identity theft service providers which offer somewhat similar services in a very competitive market. Comparing their product features, service quality, and prices may be confusing and time consuming to consumers who attempt to select one identity theft company over another one.

When selecting an identity theft company, how do consumers know which identity theft company offers the best and most appropriate identity theft service for them? Often consumers read service reviews written by various blogs and news outlets or read online reviews written by other customers but these reviews are often not based on adequate product testing by experts. They are based on information provided by bloggers or consumers who share their limited experience which may be false and incomplete.

Identity Theft Company Certification

Identity Management Institute offers an identity theft product audit and certification that identity theft companies can undergo in order to receive a certification report and seal to showcase their services and gain a competitive edge. The report typically lists what services the company offers, claims made by the company, and other information such as comparative analysis, quality of customer service, system access and security based on ISO 27002/27001, data retention, and privacy policy. The certification process requires detail testing of the company services and claims regarding their product features, system management, and customer service.

If a company does not have an independent audit report to confirm their claims, then consumers must ask a few questions to themselves and others in order to select the best service and may end up selecting the wrong identity theft company or just another service instead of yours.

Consumers may ask themselves why they plan to buy an identity theft protection service and which company can meet their needs. Often, people decide to buy an ID theft service after they have experienced identity theft. Next, they try to understand what services the companies offer, do these services meet quality standards, and do companies collect the information from reliable sources?

Another important question that consumers may ask themselves is what does the company do after they collect all that personal information in order to analyze and notify their customers about potential signs of identity theft? Where do they store the information? Is the data secure? Do they sell that information? Do they delete the information after consumers stop using their services?

These are not easy questions to answer if the company does not share with consumers through a detailed report which is why it is important that identity theft companies voluntarily undergo a certification of their product by an independent party in order to demonstrate why they are one of the best identity theft companies and answer as many of consumers’ questions as possible upfront in order to gain their trust.

The ID theft product certification report and badge have many benefits including:

  • Attempt to answer as many of the consumer questions upfront
  • Clearly communicate your services and benefits
  • Validate your claims by an independent party
  • Use the report as a marketing tool
  • Showcase the IMI seal of “Certified Product”

Identity Management Institute is a global independent organizations which offers identity theft training, professional certification, program consulting, and product certification.

Partner with us and rise above the crowd!

Increased cloud adoption across enterprises is presenting new security challenges for IT professionals. More companies seek to take advantage of the accessibility and flexibility offered by cloud environments, but many businesses and managers are unaware of the potential threats to their systems.

Monitoring the trends in cloud security can guide enterprises to best practices for protecting users, identities and data in the cloud. Preparing in advance for changes in cloud use and technology equips businesses to handle attacks and avoid catastrophic breaches.

Understanding Cloud Security Threats

When it comes to enterprise cloud computing, 66% of IT professionals say security is the “most significant concern.” No one is immune; statistics show credentials from 92% of organizations can be found for sale on the dark web. With so much information readily available, compromised credentials continue to be a major problem for businesses of all sizes.

Part of the issue stems from a combination of poor identity and access management practices and user ignorance. Failing to protect user accounts with strong identifiers and proper authentication protocols opens the door for account hijacking. Once a hacker gains access to the network using legitimate credentials, malicious activity can fly under the radar for months or even years before being detected. Such subtle infiltration can lead to significant data loss and compromise, threatening not only the integrity of the network but also the identities of users and customers.

Sharing public links to private data represents another significant problem in enterprise network environments. Twenty-one percent of cloud files contain sensitive data, but many users engaged in collaborative efforts share unrestricted links, which may then be passed on to others who aren’t authorized to access or view the data.

Enterprises also tend to overlook the importance of correct cloud configurations. Misconfigurations, including in cloud storage, rank third among top cloud security vulnerabilities. This highlights the need for more care during cloud implementation and greater awareness of the unique threat landscapes today’s businesses face.

Best Practices for Improved Cloud Security

Because these threats represent only a fraction of potential cloud security issues, robust protection is of the utmost importance for enterprises considering partial or total migration to cloud environments. On average, organizations experience 12.2 compromised account threats per month, and nearly 90% of all data breaches and cyberattacks result from user behaviors. Establishing and adhering to cloud security best practices helps correct these issues and guard against network compromise in the future.

To help mitigate against cloud security threats, businesses should seek to:

• Improve visibility through the use of platforms where all network and application access can be monitored and configurations can be adjusted as needed
• Implement policies to regulate shadow IT, application use and data sharing
• Consistently reinforce security and access policies
• Gain a better understanding of new technologies and the associated security issues before moving forward with adoption
• Get expert help with cloud configuration and application setup
• Perform regular access and security audits of all systems
• Educate users regarding proper protocols for data access and transfer

Evaluating risks and implementing appropriate practices prior to cloud migration is essential. Attacks are becoming more subtle and complex as time goes on, and business owners must get comfortable collaborating with IT professionals to gain a fuller understanding of how security issues in one area may affect the network as a whole. By taking this “holistic” view of threats and threat prevention, enterprises become better able to protect sensitive data and prevent credentials from being compromised.

Close-up Of A Businessperson Drawing Trends Chart On Office Desk At Workplace

Trends to Watch as Cloud Adoption Increases

As of 2018, the average enterprise was using 1,516 cloud apps. A look into the future indicates this is only the beginning of the expansion of cloud environments, and businesses need to pay attention to trends in order to be proactive with their security practices.

IT professionals can expect to see an increase in containerization of applications as enterprises look for ways to speed up application creation and deployment. Containerized apps share the same operating are more lightweight, start faster and use less computing power than full virtual machines. However, security configurations for containers are often lacking. In combination with an increased interest in edge computing, this could represent a significant threat to enterprise networks. Security and access control may one day move entirely into the cloud, making it possible to focus more on identifying anomalies and watching patterns of user behavior to detect potential breaches and allow for better protection of new technologies.

Identity and access management certifications

Migrating business applications and processes to the cloud can improve efficiency and productivity at the enterprise level, but it also introduces numerous security challenges. Business owners must understand current threats and learn to anticipate potential issues to guide implementation of appropriate security practices. Establishing stronger protections to improve visibility and control safeguards enterprises against emerging threats and is a critical aspect of planning for the future in modern business environments.

When planning for the future, identity management professionals must consider continuing changes in data privacy and security regulations and take into account the evolving nature of enterprise systems. Robust identity and access management (IAM) is a critical component of any security framework, but many businesses still fall short when it comes to handling how and when users access applications and resources. To maintain security and ensure ongoing compliance, these businesses must carefully assess current IAM strategies and follow best practices for user account management.

Recognize Weaknesses of Traditional Security Measures

Network security options like setting up firewalls and protecting endpoints lack the dynamic detection abilities necessary to pinpoint subtle changes in user behavior indicative of a breach and can’t shield systems from hackers using legitimate accounts to gain access. Such basic protective measures also aren’t designed to prevent data from being copied or transferred to unsecured devices and databases.

Although traditional protections do have a place in a security framework, businesses must take additional steps to cover how data is accessed, used and transmitted in every possible use case. Any action or environment without adequate security creates a loophole hackers can exploit to take over accounts, compromise networks or steal data.

Clean Up the System

Routine network and IAM audits give IT staff greater visibility across systems and reveal vulnerabilities, including:

• Unsecured devices
• Orphaned accounts
• Compromised accounts
• Inappropriate privileges
• Incorrect group assignments

Issues discovered during audits should be resolved immediately to prevent improper access to or use of data and applications. Removing unused or unneeded accounts and restructuring groups reduces the number of potential access points for hackers.

Creating an audit schedule and implementing routine network monitoring helps ensure appropriate access levels and reveals where stronger security is needed to protect critical assets and data from emerging threats.

If privileges are found to be too extensive or too narrow for any account or group, businesses should seek better provisioning and deprovisioning solutions. Privilege creep leaves sensitive data open to compromise or theft, and excessive restrictions can prevent legitimate users from completing basic workflows.

Exercise Discernment with Privileged Access

Seventy-four percent of data breaches start with the abuse of privileged credentials, but many can be prevented with proper privileged access management (PAM). IT staff need IAM platforms providing tools allowing for consistent monitoring of all accounts, permissions and network activity, including privileged users. Real-time updates are necessary to reveal anomalies, although some changes in user behavior are more easily detected using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. Automating provisioning and deprovisioning of privileges based on need and context provides further protection against account abuse.

Be Mindful of Third-Party Privileges

Outsourcing has grown into an $86.5 billion dollar global market, and more businesses are seeking to outsource everything from basic processes to customer service. Remote workforces are also growing as businesses seek to lower costs and employees request more flexibility in their schedules. To effectively manage the third-party and offsite access required to support these changes in business and employment structure, companies need to monitor a broader range of network activity.

Avoiding blanket permissions is of critical importance. Vendors and remote employees require different levels of network access at different times, which necessitates a granular approach to access management and the same detailed visibility used to monitor and manage privileged accounts. Businesses must also evaluate the IAM and employee lifecycle management practices of all vendors prior to granting access to ensure vulnerabilities within these systems don’t compromise the security of in-house networks.

Consider All of the “Things”

The internet of things (IoT) is on its way to being omnipresent in businesses across industries. From basic hardware like networked printers to complex automated machinery used in manufacturing, IoT devices have the potential to improve efficiency and productivity for numerous companies. However, these same devices present big security problems for IT staff. The access protocols governing user behavior within networks often aren’t compatible with IoT devices, and many devices lack onboard security with the power or sensitivity necessary to handle modern threats.

This has given rise to the need for separate management strategies for device identities, known as the identity of things (IDoT). Successful IDoT management hinges on context-aware provisioning throughout the lifecycle of each device to ensure it can access resources and perform tasks efficiently without compromising network security.

Identity and access management certifications

Certification gives IT professionals a better idea of the steps and processes involved in developing, implementing and maintaining the complex IAM frameworks and policies modern networks require. Because cybersecurity, data protection and data privacy have all become standard components of enterprise security strategies, IT professionals who pursue certification become better equipped to handle emerging IAM challenges. Businesses working with certified professionals benefit from insight into compliance regulations and potential threats, which leads to stronger, more dynamic and more reliable access protocols.