How Identity Management Helps to Secure the New Network Perimeter

Traditionally, there was a clear, static network perimeter. Organizations implemented security strategies that focused on blocking threats at that perimeter. Then came the cloud. Then came mobile. Then came the remote workforce. As a result, users are accessing IT resources on virtually any device from any location, whether they’re working from home, the airport, a coffee shop or a hotel room.

This new dynamic has created a fluid network perimeter defined by user identities. Organizations need to adapt by supplementing traditional security solutions with a comprehensive strategy that protects data, applications and other business assets inside and outside the network. At the same time, security must not hamper the user experience or productivity. Organizations need to shift their focus from invisible network borders to user identity management.

Identity management is the process of identifying, authenticating and authorizing users in order to control access to network resources and systems.This process is based on identity governance policies, which are used to determine which users have access to what resources. Identity management and access management systems are then employed to manage user identities and enforce role-based access controls consistently across the organization.

When users have access to systems, data and applications that their jobs don’t require, it becomes easier for hackers to compromise sensitive data. Instead of stealing the credentials of an administrator or senior executive, they can target lower-level users who have been given more access privileges than they need. Unfortunately, this scenario exists for many small to midsize businesses.

Organizations should develop security policies using the principle of least privilege, which states that users should have access to the minimum amount of resources required to do their jobs.In other words, only certain groups of users are authorized to access the most sensitive data and applications.

Identity management systems make it possible to consolidate user access to one platform, simplifying security management and making life easier for the end-user.Single sign-on is usually an option with identity management, eliminating the hassle of signing in multiple times with multiple credentials.

Implementing an identity management system requires organizations to create identities and access controls for all users and systems. What IT resources need to be secured? Who needs access to various resources? Who requires remote access? To answer these questions, you need to take inventory of all technology, as well as all users and their roles and responsibilities.

Which IT systems should be prioritized based on the level of risk? A comprehensive risk assessment will tell you where and how to allocate resources. Based on your inventory report and risk analysis, define user groups and determine which systems they absolutely must access to do their jobs.

Because your network has more points of access than ever, multifactor authentication should be part of your identity management solution.Start with users who have the most access privileges and require multifactor authentication for cloud applications, digital workspaces, VPNs and any system that holds sensitive data.

The SSD Assurance program provides you with comprehensive assessments to identify vulnerabilities, multilayered security solutions to protect IT resources, and ongoing reviews to make sure these solutions are working as they should. Let us show you how to control access to data, applications and assets by incorporating identity management into your security strategy.