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Top 3 Ways to Improve Identity and Access Management Security

Top 3 Ways To Improve Identity And Access Management Security

Top 3 Ways to Improve Identity and Access Management Security

Identity and access management security is an essential aspect of cyber security, as 80% of all cyberattacks use identity-based methods to gain access to target systems. Organisations that don’t adequately verify their users’ identities or ensure they’re only accessing what they need could be at risk of costly data loss—or worse!

Identity and access management (IAM) ensures your users are who they say they are. In this blog, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of IAM security and show you three ways to improve your own IAM security strategy.

What is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and access management is a set of systems within your business that manage individuals’ roles and access privileges within your organisation. These systems ensure that only the right people can access your network’s data, resources, and systems.

This is important as it helps you control who can access what within your business and protects you from identity-based attacks. IAM lets you restrict sensitive data and functions to only those who need them, meaning that if criminals successfully infiltrate a user’s account, you can easily limit the footprint of the attack.

The two aspects of IAM are:

  • Identity management: Identity management uses an identity management database, an ongoing record of everyone within your organisation that requires access. Users present their credentials to a login system and may use another factor to verify their identity (multi-factor authentication).
  • Access management: Access management ensures that users can only access whatever they’re permitted to, to ensure that they don’t access files and systems that are not available to them or they cannot access that.

Implement Least Privilege

The principle of least privilege is a vital framework for access control and identity management. Essentially, it’s the idea that users should only have access to the information and systems they need to do their work.

This is important for a few different reasons:

  • Security: Using the principle of least privilege will ensure that your organisation’s security is less likely to be compromised through one of your employees’ accounts. Fewer accounts able to access your most valuable assets is always a good thing. If identity management fails and an attacker can access your system, the least privilege principle limits the damage they can inflict.
  • Insider Information: If you limit what users can access, you reduce the risk of sensitive information being leaked by an insider within your organisation. Malicious insiders may use information they’re not supposed to access for personal gain or industrial espionage.  Insider disclosure may not even be malicious, as employees may come across information they don’t know is sensitive or secret – and share it. The principle of least privilege greatly reduces the chance of this happening.

Because of these, using the principle of least privilege can be vital to ensuring that your organisation is using a key practice—something that your organisation should be utilising at all times.

Enforce MFA and Use SSO Where Possible

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single-sign-on (SSO) are two vital tools that are practically everywhere in the modern world. MFA ensures users are who they say they are, while SSO reduces the likelihood of credential-stuffing attacks.

Multi-factor authentication ensures that people authenticate themselves by using another authentication factor than just a password whenever they log in. This means using a phone text, an app code, or whatever else MFA is set up within their business. Single-sign-on lets you log into multiple programs or platforms with one login, meaning you must log in fewer times.

Using a Single Sign-On service like Microsoft Entra ensures that your services and apps all use one login. If users had separate logins for different apps, a password breach in one service could put all their other credentials at risk – as hackers will likely use the same password and login to access different services. An SSO is one access point, and passwords can be easily reset.  While good password hygiene is still essential, SSO ensures that one point of failure doesn’t turn into more.

Make Use of Conditional Access

Conditional access is a feature within Microsoft’s IAM platform, Entra. It uses many ‘signals’ to verify access attempts to your apps and data during sessions. It continually looks for signs of an attacker attempting to access your network.

Entra

 

Entra uses these signals to decide what access to grant users. It does this based on the real-time risk of attack and the sensitivity of the data or applications being accessed.

This helps network administrators strike a balance between security and convenience. Verifying your identity before every task you need to complete is frustrating, so low—or medium-risk actions may warrant a less restrictive decision. However, sensitive information requires a higher standard of security.

Read this guide to learn more about conditional access with Entra ID.

Looking for Support?

Your organisation’s security is vital, and identity and access management security will help you ensure that your organisation doesn’t leave any gaps to make the whole process far more complex and more stressful for you and your team.

If you want to start with identity and access management security but need help, reach out to us today. Our experts are here to help you get started and will provide support throughout your journey to ensure that you have all of the support you need at all times.

Get in touch with us now and see how we can help.

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