What is IAM? What are the risks involved?
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a process of managing, defining and assigning access of correct information to the right user over time. It provides the basis of any information security program and is the most interacted security area. It involves creating distinct identities for systems and individuals, to then associate application and system-level accounts to these identities.
Due to poor IAM practices, businesses have been exposed to loss of employee data, incorrect access controls, cloud environment exposure, financial losses, and loss of customer data. Businesses and organizations expose themselves to a wide range of security risks when they don’t implement a better identity approach.
9 tips for a simpler and secure IAM strategy
An improved IAM strategy can help implement a secure and easy method of access for employees, while maintaining complete IT control.
1. Single sign-on
Single sign-on allows IT professionals to manage the access of employees to applications, which is crucial for overall security of an organization. It provides IT teams the flexibility to grant or revoke access to an application as needed for an individual or a group of users. This solution also simplifies the login process for employees by eliminating the requirement of multiple passwords for IT-supported apps.
2. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Due to the risks of compromised and weak passwords, it’s a top priority for businesses to strengthen user authentication, especially when employees are working remotely. Multi-factor authentication offers increased security across every access point and the authentication login experience for workers becomes flawless.
3. Contextual policy
With employees working remotely, it’s better to implement contextual policies that enforce authentication requirements for the login with greater control and flexibility. This will improve security by considering factors, such as location, device or time.
4. Secure VPN
An organization needs a virtual private network (VPN) to connect its remote workers to the corporate network, especially if they’re using a public Wi-Fi. Applying MFA and strong passwords on the VPN will increase security and ensure employee authentication before providing access.
5. Workstation protection
Employee workstations are at a higher risk of being compromised with workers operating remotely. Therefore, it’s important to implement MFA on workstations to ensure only legitimate employees are authenticated.
6. Secure sharing
When workers are remote, there’s a need to collaborate and share credentials for teamwork. Using password sharing applications help keep credentials secure and provides access to the required information to complete the task.
7. Password-less authentication
To improve the efficiency and security, organization should make the login experience easier by removing passwords, also known as password-less authentication. This will reduce the risks associated with passwords, frustration of remote employees dealing with password problems, and valuable IT time that is mostly spent solving password-related requests.
8. Prevent scams
It’s vital for remote workers to be aware of malicious content or phishing scams that cybercriminals might use to try and gain fraudulent access to the system. It’s possible to mitigate the risk of phishing using password management applications and by avoiding the autofill options on suspicious sites.
9. Detailed reporting
With IAM capabilities, it’s a key priority to monitor the activities of its users, either in the office or working remotely. Detailed reporting will allow IT to monitor the activity of workers and to make necessary access and authentication adjustments.
Identity and access management can keep both the business and remote workers safe as it maximizes business security while enhancing employee productivity through various IAM strategies, such as single sign-on, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and password management.
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