Things Now Have Identities

Identity of Things

In the ever-changing IAM landscape, we need to consider that things have identities. With the number of connected IoT devices set to reach 75 billion by 2025, having a strong identity and access management (IAM) policy is more important than ever. IoT technology is now an integral part of the business world and may represent as much as 6 percent of the global economy. The rapid expansion of connected devices requires a new approach to identity, access, and security.

Identity and Access Management in an IoT World

What once involved keeping track of employee identity within a network has evolved into a complex web of monitoring and managing the interactions occurring between devices and system programs. Further complications also arise from transient access when devices connect to the network only part of the time and may or may not be running in privacy mode when they do. Each device may assigned to a unique user identity, but the device itself can communicate with other devices, and perform automated tasks such as accessing and transferring data.

This pivotal shift comes at a time when companies are still trying to get a handle on IoT technology and implement identity management protocols capable of handling the unique combination of corporate, employee-owned, and remote devices connecting to their networks every day. Each new device creates additional points of vulnerability, and the more complex the web of connectivity, the more robust the related security measures need to be.

While IAM has been associated with human users in the past, it now must also bridge the gap between devices, programs, and systems. This necessitates a fresh approach to identity management to prevent a situation in which devices get out of control and create security gaps for organizations that existing protocols can’t handle.

Say Hello to the Identity of Things

A new concept known as the identity of things (IDoT) has risen to describe the relationship between IAM and IoT. As the nature of connectivity changes, IDoT offers solutions for handling new types of digital interactions by proposing unique identities for devices. This essential evolution of IAM makes it possible for any company to handle not only the employee lifecycle but also the lifecycle of every device and program requiring access to resources.

To properly control access for both users and devices, a modern IAM protocol must take into account the kinds of data or tasks each device will access or handle as it interacts with other devices and programs in a network. Each device must be integrated into the network to facilitate seamless communication regardless of device type, manufacturer, or operating system. Requiring device registration and creating specific protocols for transient devices helps prevent unauthorized data access and makes it possible to monitor unusual behaviors across the network. When sensitive or proprietary data is involved, we also need to consider what data manufacturers collect when selecting, implementing, or monitoring a device to prevent data theft and leakage.

The Future of the Internet of Identities

The expanding network of connected “things” with their own identities is creating a new landscape for IAM in which device attributes are managed to carry out multiple functions within a network. Dubbed the internet of identities (IoI), this matrix of connectivity presents fresh security challenges requiring:

  • Employee training and technical capabilities to ensure device security;
  • Detailed protocols dictating when and how specific devices can gain access;
  • Privacy and security rules to govern inter-device communications and connections;
  • Updated security protocols and standards;
  • Use of behavioral analytics to detect unauthorized access attempts; and
  • Adequate IAM and security procedures to prevent bottlenecks and preserve open communications.

As IoT connectivity continues to evolve, businesses without a robust approach to IAM and device security will become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Assessing the current state of device use within a company and preparing for a steady increase in IoT technology over time can prepare organizations to manage their risks.

With reasonable IAM policies and procedures, organizations can manage the relationships between connected devices and make good use of IoT technology without facing the consequences of device vulnerabilities.

Adequate preparation for managing the identity of things today will make it easier to handle technical advancements, risks, and compliance. IoT is set to have a $3.9 trillion impact globally by 2025, thus implementing smart identity management strategies now has the potential for big payoffs in the future. An updated security policy and a solid training plan for employees prepare any company to step into the future of IAM with the lowest possible level of risk.

identity and access management certification