Skip to main content

NEWS

How Can Identity and Access Management Prevent Cyber Attacks?

In recent times the network cyber security is serious task and challenge for each organisation. The impact of an identity management cyber security breach could have its negative consequences on staff productivity, your IT network, and company reputation, and profit as well. Cyber security threats occur at an increasingly alarming rate and become a day-to-day struggle for every company which is a potential target. Especially, most preferred targets are critical infrastructure organizations such as financial and insurance institutions, government agencies, public utilities, airports, energy and healthcare organizations.

The common practice of the attackers is to use the Internet, remote access, and partner network tunnels to penetrate your network and facilities. Attackers take advantage of vulnerabilities, wherever they exist, using a variety of techniques and tools to probe networks, publicize targets, stifle operations, gain business advantage and promote causes. For that reason organizations must create an effective enterprise security strategic plan based on identity and access management, ongoing vulnerability assessments, automatic intrusion detection and enterprise response planning.

IAM as a determining factor of cyber resilience

IAM is the foundation upon which each enterprise’s cybersecurity infrastructure must be built. It must have a comprehensive handle and always updated view of the identities flowing across your IT environment. With IAM, you allow only the right people, devices, and services get the right access to the right applications and data, at the right time. Without strong access control your organization faces a considerable risk of suffering a catastrophic security breach. By having tight control over identities, you boost your cyber resilience. Strong IAM makes your organization able to absorb the constant, inevitable changes, that businesses experience: mergers and acquisitions, new technology adoptions, continuous staff changes, pandemics and so on.

Effective identity security usually involves having an IAM solution in place that allows IT admins to centrally manage user identities and their access to IT resources. By using an IAM solution, IT admins can enforce password complexity requirements, MFA, and securely provision/de-provision access throughout the network – components that are vital to any solid identity security strategy whether your network is in the clouds or on-prem.

How Can IAM Prevent a Cyber Attack?

So how could Identity and Access Management help the enterprises to avoid or reduce the damage sustained in the attack? In this blog post PATECCO recommends a list of practices on how IAM can prevent an organization from a cyber attack:

  • Manage your IAM infrastructure centrally

Make sure your IAM infrastructure can ingest all identities and from ID stores wherever they’re located—on premises or in cloud—and manage them centrally, so that when changes happen, such as someone leaving or joining the company or changing roles, you can sync and consolidate the identity types in real time, without lags in status updates that cyber attackers are always ready to pounce on.

  • Automating the access privilege provision

For every new employee who needs to be added, assign all the privileges based on their roles and business rules. It’s better to have workflow automation. Besides, in case of an employee resignation or termination, you should be able to ensure that all the privileges will be taken away automatically. This practice will help in limiting and preventing unnecessary privileges.

  • Provide privileged account controls

Compromised privileged accounts are generally responsible for the most damaging breaches. Privileged users are still vulnerable to social engineering and phishing for shared passwords and those risks must be mitigated with a robust set of controls. Cyber risks from excessive privileges often go undetected indefinitely, which can allow intruders to expand their own abilities and privileges via those compromised privileged accounts.

  • Establish strong password policy

PATECCO advices to prevent the use of weak passwords across your network and systems. This is because increasing the complexity of a password makes it difficult to guess or crack. If enterprises prevent the use of weak passwords by enforcing every employee to fulfill some criteria while creating a password. It is recommended to use special characters, numbers, capital letters. Such a practice helps against the brute-force attack.

  • Use of Multi-Factor Authentication

When adding an extra layer in security precautions, you make a cybercriminal’s action more difficult. Using One Time Password, token, and smart card for multi-factor authentication fortifies the security infrastructure. Furthermore, the application of transparent multifactor authentication for critical applications and privileged identities is essential in the modern enterprise or government organization

  • Continuous Authentication

It is supposed that sometimes the hackers can destroy even the strongest authentication and authorization protocols Granted, they may need special tools, experience, and time, but eventually they could do so. So what you need in this case is an IAM tool that helps prevent hackers even beyond the login portal.

This is where continuous authentication comes into action. It evaluates users’ behavior compared to an established baseline often through behavioral biometrics. Hackers may have the right credentials, but each individual types in a particular manner that is not easily replicated. This can help stop phishing attacks before they happen.

The sudden and mass shift to remote work we experience since last year, as a result of the global pandemic, is a good example of why IAM is needed more than ever. With a strong IAM system and process, an organization can reduce the risks from such an abrupt and disruptive change. And it is sure that the importance of IAM will keep growing, as IT environments become more hybrid, distributed, and dynamic and as business processes continue to be digitized. Without strong IAM, modern IT technologies such as cloud computing, mobility, containers, and microservices could not be as efficient and secure as you would like them to be. 

Best Practices for Successful SIEM Implementation

Cyber-attacks and IT breaches are no longer something unusual in today’s information society. Day by day they increase more and more and have their influence on the enterprises’ reputation and profit. Attackers have turned into professionals who constantly look to exploit any gap in IT systems, applications, and hardware. One of the key security approaches to prevent and combat attacks is to identify and respond to security events in real-time to minimize the damage. That is possible by using Security Information and Event Management Software (SIEM). It is a security management approach that aims to have a holistic view of the security of a company’s information technology.

  • What does SIEM actually do?

SIEM is a system that is used to detect, prevent and resolve all cyberattacks while centralizing all the security events from every device within a network. The first function of a SIEM is gathering all the raw security data from companies’ firewalls, wireless access points, servers, and personal devices. The SIEM doesn’t just log events, but is customized to detect suspicious activity and recognize actual threats.

Furthermore, SIEM can create daily graphs and reports that show the user exactly what is going on. It filters through events and categorizes them by the severity of the threat. If the threat is not too serious but may carry some concern, a report is made; and if the event is critical, a notification is immediately sent to the IT team in order to diagnose the situation. Security architects would understand how much value it brings, given that individual software tools generate reports on their designated tasks. Collecting logs from multiple devices across different networks gives the IT staff an opportunity to analyze them and identify potential issues more easily, increasing operational efficiency.

  • Best Practices to Implement SIEM

Implementing SIEM will ensure you respect the rules and regulations of IT compliance, which requires monitoring and reporting on threats. There are several federal, state and local regulations dictating how the data is handled and stored, and these vary by industry. Some regulations that require compliance reports are the SOX, FISMA, PCI DSS, HIPAA, FERPA, etc.

This article provides you with several best practices for the successful implementation of what is an important defense mechanism and compliance control tool for information security teams.

1. Planning implementation

The first step in implementing SIEM should be to understanding the goals and the timeline of the integration. SIEMs are known with their complex nature and neglecting proper planning can expose weaknesses within the organization.

Based on requirements, you should use policy-based rules to define which logs and activities your SIEM should monitor and compare this policy against external compliance requirements to determine your needs. It’s a good idea to begin with a clear view of the use cases for SIEM for your particular business. Review the security processes and policies that can support your proposed SIEM implementation, including existing controls in place to meet compliance requirements. Proper planning ensures that the SIEM solution isn’t simply a generic security, but instead is tailored to the exact needs and expectations of the organization.

2. Start with a Pilot Run

It is not a good approach to implement a SIEM system throughout the entire organization’s IT infrastructure at the same time. A pilot run is a smart way to make a test by running the technology on a smaller subset of your technology infrastructure. Not only does this phase provide proof of concept, but it also demonstrates the potential return on investment for a SIEM system.

During this test run, collect as much data as possible to allow for a clear picture of how the system would run. The data you obtain from a pilot run is crucial in identifying weaknesses in security policies or compliance controls that should be plugged. Of course, it is not always possible to collect data from every single source across the organization. In this case, you should prioritize sections dealing with the critical systems and sensitive data.

3. Create rules

SIEM relies on information to be efficient. By applying correlation rules, it can detect events and threats that would be more difficult to identify in isolation. It is critical to ensure that correlation engines are functioning with basic policies. Besides, determining more customized rules to be implemented in the long term should be taken up in this stage. These rules help optimize documentation and alerting without damaging network performance. They should also be customized to meet any necessary compliance requirements.

4. Identify compliance requirements

SIEM software can help organizations meet compliance requirements and regulations. However, these requirements can often overlap. To avoid this scenario, you can draft documents that specify the compliance requirements you need to meet and check that list against potential SIEM solutions to ensure they cover your needs.

5. Define process

Before deployment, put a handoff plan in place to transfer control from the implementation team to security operations or IT management team. Adjust in accordance with your company’s staffing capabilities to ensure teams can effectively manage the SIEM going forward.

Any other long-term management processes should be outlined as well. Companies must train staff on general SIEM management as well as their team’s logging processes and data management plans. You may need to adjust to avoid understaffing, unmanageable logging rates, and storage capacity issues.

6. Continuously Update Your SIEM System

Extensive planning and step-by-step implementation are some best practices, but continuous refinement and improvement are of a great importance, as well. Cybercriminals come up with increasingly sophisticated forms of attack, so you should be a step ahead by continuously improving the security tools, policies, and procedures. Running a production SIEM deployment itself gives you a useful feedback for you to tweak and fine-tune everything to better protect against security threats.

Investing in Security Incident and Event Management solutions is of a great value and implementing it properly could help you to get significant business benefits. SIEM detects and responds to security incidents in real time, which reduces the risk of noncompliance. It also helps realize greater value across all underlying security technology and systems. Reporting with SIEM is more comprehensive and less time-intensive, helping to reduce capital and operational costs through consolidation. These are all important for any business that aims to stay on top of the market game.

Why Privileged Access Management Should Be a Cyber Security Top Priority For 2021

Cyber security is a hot topic for every enterprise in today’s hyper connected world. With the fast-growing technologies like cloud, mobile and virtualization, the security boundaries are a little bit blurred and not each organization protects its valuable and sensitive information properly. As a result, cyber attacks and data leakages occur more often and that’s why they are no surprise in the Information Security field. With the increasing sophistication of attacks on organizations of all sizes, the question is not whether the company will suffer a cyber attack, but when that attack will take place, and what its consequences will be.

Controlling privileged actions in a company’s infrastructure enables IT systems to be protected from any attempt to perform malicious actions such as theft or improper modifications to the environment – both inside and outside the company. In this context, a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution can be considered as an important tool to speed up the deployment of a cybersecurity infrastructure.

Privileged Access Management is an area of identity security that helps organizations maintain full control and visibility over their most critical systems and data. A robust PAM solution ensures that all user actions, including those taken by privileged users, are monitored and can be audited in case of a security breach. Controlling privileged access not only reduces the impact of a breach, but it also builds resilience against other causes of disruption including insider threats, misconfigured automation, and accidental operator error in production environments.

Here are the top 7 reasons why Privileged Access Management (PAM) should be your highest cyber security priority:

  • PAM ensures high level of security for privileged credentials

PAM has drastically changed the way enterprises protect access to critical systems. Using credential vaults and other session control tools, PAM has allowed managers to maintain privileged identities while significantly decreasing the risk of their compromise. By centralizing privileged credentials in one place, PAM systems can ensure a high level of security for them, control who is accessing them, log all accesses and monitor for any suspicious activity.

  • Secure Passwords

A privileged account is a door to a company’s valuable assets, therefore it demands a high level of security. Multi-factor authentication protects the login attributes of privileged accounts. The admin or user’s identity verify to authenticate more than one independent credential. Adding layers of security to the credentials in the form of OTP, biometrics, response questions, etc., make it highly difficult for hackers to access the data.   

  •  Monitor Access

Only a certain number of specific people have privileged access to the account. PAM can help you detect any unauthorized access, by giving you a clear picture of who can access and who can not. Privileged Access Management also has the capability to detect and alert on malicious activity which helps in enhancing the overall cybersecurity.

  • Keeping track of users

Privileged Access Management always keeps track of users who access the accounts. It is possible to record any request for password change or update along with the user’s details. Besides, it can generate an extended report of the users along with the number of times they logged in to any application. This provides the organization a clarity on usage and security of the account.

  • PAM enhances compliance

A large number of corporations have to comply with industry and government regulations and that leads to more challenges. Coming with strong security control recommendations, Privileged Access Management can help get ahead quickly and develop a strong baseline. For better compliance, strong policies have to be in place that cover privileged accounts, monitoring usage and secure logons amongst others. In this case a PAM solution enables you to get in control of managing and securing privileged accounts to meet the needs of the access control requirement for a good number of the regulations, fast-tracking your way to being compliant.

  • PAM enables fast recovery from cyber attacks

In case of a cyber-attack your Privileged Access Management solution gives you the opportunity to quickly audit privileged accounts that have been used recently, to discover whether any passwords have been changed, and to determine which applications have been executed.

Professionally-designed PAM software also lets you restrict access to sensitive systems, require additional approval processes, force multi-factor authentication for privileged accounts and quickly rotate all passwords to prevent further access by the attackers. Moreover, PAM can help compare a baseline to before and after the incident, so you can quickly determine which privileged accounts might be malicious and audit the lifecycle. This is a good way to ensure recovery and maintaining the integrity of your privileged accounts.

  • PAM provides a high return on investment (ROI)

One of the main reasons that Privileged Access Management should be a top priority for organizations in 2021 is that it could save them time and money. On one hand, most cyber security solutions only reduce risk and a lot of enterprises spend valuable budget on security solutions that actually add no additional business value. On the other hand, the right PAM solution makes employees more productive by giving them access to systems and applications faster and more securely.

Implementing a proper PAM solution protects the access to sensitive systems and reduces the risk of getting compromised by disclosed passwords on the dark web. PAM also minimizes the cyber fatigue and simplifies the process of rotating and generating new complex passwords. All of these core features save valuable employee time which leads to cost savings for the business.

Best Practices of Role-Based Access Control (Part 2)

Access control is an essential component of IT and data security for all kind of businesses. This term describes a variety of ways to control who has access to your organization’s information resources. Access control provides not only a greater control over your network, data, website, or other sensitive systems or assets, but it also help you stay compliant with various industry standards and regulations.

When restricting the access to sensitive systems or data, you are limiting the potential risks concerning data exposure. For example, if only a few certain people have access to your customer database, it is less likely that the database will be exposed through credential compromise or insider threats.

And talking about giving access to company’s resources, it is crucial to mention that this access is related to roles and groups. So, what is actually Role-Based Access Control? What benefits it brings to the large enterprises and which are best practices for its implementation?

You can probably guess from the name, that role-based access control gives access permissions based on user roles. Under “role” you should understand the functions that an employee performs. Users may have one or more roles and may be assigned one or more permissions. In RBAC system, user access provisioning is based on the needs of a group (for example marketing department) based on common responsibilities and needs. This means that each role has a given a set of permissions, and individuals can be assigned to one or more roles.  A well-designed RBAC system also simplifies and streamlines the administration of access by grouping sets of access in a logical way (i.e. via department, job title, region, or manager level). Grouping common access permissions into roles ensures a secure and efficient way to manage access, while simplifying the process for both administrators and users.

Roles versus Groups

A frequently asked question is “What is the difference between roles and groups?” Indeed, there is a superficial similarity between RBAC roles and traditional groups. Let’s explain: Groups of users are commonly provided in many access control systems. A major difference between most implementations of groups and the concept of roles is that groups are typically treated as a collection of users and not as a collection of permissions. A role is both a collection of users on one side and a collection of permissions on the other.

A group is a collection of users with a given set of permissions assigned to the group. You can assign a role to group or you can assign user to group. By adding a user to a role group, the user has access to all the roles in that group. When they are removed, access becomes restricted. Users may also be assigned to multiple groups in the event they need temporary access to certain data or programs and then removed once the project is complete.

What are best practices for implementing RBAC?

In addition to the above mentioned RBAC features, we could also say that role-based access control provides a number of benefits such as improving your security posture, complying with relevant regulations, and reducing operational overhead. However, implementing role-based access control across an entire organization can be complex, so it is recommended to follow some best practices.

  • Build RBAC Strategy

When creating a plan you should start with an evaluation of where you are (data, method, policy, systems), to determine your ideal future state (automated RBAC-enabled access provisioning for a collection of apps and systems), and to identify the critical gaps that need to be addressed (data quality, process problems, various system-to-system authentication/authorization models). Pointing the challenges upfront makes it easier to fix them head-on before the implementation starts.

  • Establish a Framework for Governance

Organizations preparing to implement RBAC should make decisions on project goals, set expectations, manage and support implementation, set performance metrics, and manage risk. To identify data and process problems and prioritize remediation efforts, the governance board should link up with the HR function.

  • Prepare a team

The next step is to hire experienced business analysts and role engineers who have a broad experience of interviewing business owners and IT staff to gather detailed RBAC requirements from each area of business involved in the RBAC program.

  • Define roles

Once you’ve performed your analysis and decided on the scope, you can proceed to design roles around what permissions different roles need. Define roles strictly based on persona’s duties and responsibilities. Make sure the roles you defined are applicable to groups of individual users, otherwise, your RBAC model will minimize efficiency and simplification. We also recommend consolidating automatically migrated End-User roles.

  • Test and verify your roles

Roles require testing and verification. If at the outset you define roles sub-optimally and place them into production, you can end up with a lot of users who have too little or too much access. A major cleanup effort may be required if you roll out a role structure that has not been properly set up or tested.

  • Roll out in stages

Do not miss to consider rolling out RBAC in stages to reduce workload and disruption to the business. You can start with a core set of users and coarse-grain controls before increasing granularity. Then it is necessary to collect feedback from internal users and to monitor your business metrics before implementing additional roles.

  • Get Started With a Pilot

Try to reduce the implementation risk by produce a quick win and by demonstrating the efficiency of the RBAC model. That is why we suggest choosing a small department or business feature as a beta project. Do not expect to achieve immediate full coverage of all access via RBAC. A comprehensive RBAC solution could take months or even years to complete. It is realistic to implement RBAC in several phases.

Understanding the best practices and adapting to them early in an RBAC project is an efficient way to reduce IT service and administration costs, and to greatly improve an organization’s overall security posture. A successful RBAC implementation can reduce or even eliminate insider threats. This is a critical measure for any organization looking to strengthen its cybersecurity infrastructure.

How Do Managed Services Help to Reinforce IT Security?

Nowadays the technology is moving at a faster pace than ever. Whilst advances in technology present a number of opportunities, they also present businesses with challenges they must manage effectively in order to remain successful and profitable. Many businesses have users with multiple computer models and operating systems, so it can be difficult to manage costs and keep people connected and productive. This is where Managed services can help. They include any information technology service and support handled by an outside firm through cloud-based software. These information technology solutions provide remote monitoring of your systems, along with proactive support, and timely managing, updating and resolving issues in real time related to selected IT systems and functions on your behalf.

Managed Services against Cyber threats

As cyber threats evolve and become more complex, many businesses recognize the opportunity to work with managed services providers that can provide a cost-effective alternative to manage the monitoring, detecting, investigating, alerting and responding to cyber threats. Managed services are able to provide security operations, information security and event management, solution implementation and integration, actionable threat intelligence, and incident response. They also ensure organizations the visibility needed to better protect their sensitive data and critical infrastructure, and the incident response solutions provide rapid response and recovery to cyber threats. Getting to cyber confidence first requires a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity offerings that integrate strategy and governance with the core capabilities needed for helping organizations become more secure, vigilant, and resilient.

6 Ways Managed Services Improve Cyber Security

  • 24/7 Monitoring

A significant way that managed services improve cyber security involves system monitoring. A reputable MSP can provide monitoring not just during business hours, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When using machine learning your MSP can identify unusual activity and proactively address issues even before a breach occurs.

Monitoring can include both your network and your cloud infrastructure and in this way addresses the numerous data access points. Furthermore, many providers offer automated compliance monitoring. Thanks to the privacy and security regulations affecting industries across the board, compliance monitoring can save problem situations and protects your business reputation.

  • Threat intelligence and analytics

Through MSP’s global network of threat intelligence-sharing, it is possible to proactively monitor the clients’ environments and the external threat landscape to help prevent and detect targeted cyberattacks and insider threats. Managed services are able to turn intelligence updates into actionable mitigation strategies to help the clients respond to threats relevant to their business. The global network for sharing threat intelligence and the powerful analytics resources provide organizations with the visibility they need to better protect their sensitive data and critical infrastructure.

  • Risk Assessment

Risk assessment supports the business to get an idea about its risk posture for key assets and systems, procedures, policies and controls. It also helps to assess and mitigate risks when sharing information, especially with third-party vendors. Besides, it also addresses emerging threats so that you can integrate new technology to secure the risks.

  • Vulnerability Identification and Remediation

As mentioned above, The MSP typically conducts risk assessments to determine the state of your organization’s cyber security and make recommendations. In this process they conduct vulnerability scans and penetration testing. A vulnerability scan often uses automated tools to identify weaknesses in the perimeter, places where unauthorized persons could enter the system. Penetration testing goes further by simulating an actual cyber-attack, with a skilled tester acting like a hacker to try and exploit weaknesses. Some regulations require vulnerability scans and penetration testing on a regular basis. But whether required or not, they both form an essential part of a comprehensive cyber security strategy.

  • Endpoint Protection

Endpoint protection ensures that all access points on the business’ network are secure. Without this element, it is practically difficult to know whether a network has been somehow breached. Having in mind that today’s businesses are widely implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to enable employees work from anywhere at any time, the Managed Services provide the assurance that the organization’s network is same irrespective of how its employees work.

  • Incident response

Sometimes, despite all attempts at prevention and detection, the inevitable could happen. Managed Services could help the clients to proactively respond to and recover from a sustained attack. The incident response capabilities support clients in the immediate, mid-term, and long-term aftermath of an incident, including crisis management, technical investigation, security remediation, cyber-risk program enhancement, and regulatory compliance.

With security breaches that are critically increasing day by day, businesses are looking for solutions that are more effective and cost-efficient. If you don’t know who to choose as your MSP, contact PATECCO today to understand more of what we have accomplished in terms of handling managed services benefits and risks. We are a reliable MSP and we commit to helping you achieve all the IT services mentioned above and even more.

PATECCO managed IT solutions allow a business of any size to focus on its core competencies while leaving its day-to-day IT needs to a team of professionals that are not only proactive in managing your IT services, but are also available 24/7 for your peace of mind. As your managed service provider, PATECCO offers a single point of contact, convenience and flexibility for all of your IT needs.

Which Are the Major Identity Management Services That Your Business Needs?

Identity and access management is a critical part of any enterprise security plan and it is tightly linked to the security and productivity of organizations in today’s digitally enabled economy. Fundamentally Identity and access management defines and manages the roles and access privileges of individual network users and the circumstances in which users are granted (or denied) those privileges. Those users are categorized into customers or employees. The main objective of IAM systems is one digital identity per individual. Once that digital identity has been established, it must be maintained, modified and monitored throughout each user’s “access lifecycle.”

Why does your business need IAM?

Identity management systems allow a company to extend access to its information systems across a variety of on-premises applications, mobile apps, and SaaS tools without compromising security. By providing greater access to outsiders, your business can drive collaboration throughout your organization, enhancing productivity, employee satisfaction, research and development, and, ultimately, revenue.

Identity and access management systems can also enhance business productivity. The systems’ central management capabilities reduce the complexity and cost of safeguarding user credentials and access. Along with that, identity management systems enable employees to be more productive in a wide range of environments – no matter they’re working from home, the office, or on the road.

IAM Implementation

  • Identity Management Services

PATECCO has extensive experience implementing complex Identity and Access solutions for medium and large enterprises from different industries. Organizations that partner with PATECCO benefit from our experienced consultants and proven delivery methodology, reducing risk and optimizing results.

IAM implementation is not a project that should be underestimated. Based on our own experience, customer cases and analyst advice, we have drawn up a list of best practices to get the most out of your IAM implementation.

  • Defining IAM roles and responsibilities
  • Developing IAM Requirements and Solution Design
  • Implementing the right IAM solution
  • Integration with Active Directory and Applications
  • Federation
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Privileged Access Management
  • Role Based Access Control
  • Testing and Production deployment
  • IAM Strategy

It is important to include in the main plan an IAM strategy. The main aim of IAM strategy is to identify your users. It helps you in monitoring your information and in protecting your data from attackers. It will also ensure that you are meeting your audit and compliance requirements. First, you should try to understand your business needs. You should monitor your processes and systems. This will help you in creating an effective IAM strategy. Besides, you need to make sure that your users are following your strategy. Cloud-based IAM solution is perfect for most of the businesses.

The key activities of an effective IAM strategy are the following: Conduction of business and technical stakeholder interviews, creation of phased approach to implement opportunities, development of IAM solution Roadmap, building IAM business case and presentation of IAM strategy and High-level Roadmap to the leadership.

  • IAM Roadmap

Your identity and access management (IAM) road map should be based on a well-defined strategy that establishes and articulates to technology and business leaders the business need and value of IAM. A good IAM road map should be flexible and specific, and it should describe short-, medium-, and long-term IAM activities for the next 18 to 24 months. It should be updated it at least one time per year.

Another factor for an effective Identity and Access Roadmap is to be developed in collaboration with the client based on current state and the desired end state. This engagement is a lightweight version of a Strategy engagement and will provide high-level recommendations around IAM systems/architecture and existing provisioning processes.

The specific activities concerning the IAM Roadmap refer to identification and prioritization of key IAM opportunities, creation of phased approach to implement key IAM opportunities, development and presentation of Road Map to leadership, and product evaluation.

  • Access Governance

In today’s digital world, no matter the method or location, people expect to access data seamlessly. The challenge is to ensure that access in a secure, reliable manner, so what we need in this case is IAM governance. The main goal of access governance is to develop a framework that incorporates standardized principles, responsible best practices, and a multidisciplinary management model that respects the diverse nature of the organization. Establishing centralized, comprehensive policies and standards is critical to ensure consistency among many decentralized environments and the integrity of data. A strong IAM system depends on a sustained commitment to administrative and technical privacy and security controls.

The key activities concerning Access Governance include use of recommended Access Governance structure, defining process to develop IAM policies, defining process to establish Technical Standards and defining process to prioritize future IAM opportunities

  • IAM Architecture and Design

Architecting an effective Identity and Access Management capability for the enterprise requires to carefully keep the balance between the organization’s risk management requirements and the need to not overcomplicate the end-user experience. With the requirements imposed by diverse technologies like remote network access, public cloud infrastructure, software-as-a-service, Internet of Things and mobile devices, today’s IAM often involves integration of multiple identity sources and tools leading to additional complication. Under these conditions, architecture requires a holistic approach that carefully selects processes and technologies that work well together. When building an IAM architecture, security teams should consider the different tools and features offered by those tools. IAM tools include password management, reporting and monitoring, access control, identity management, provisioning software and identity repositories

Identity and access management solutions and services offer unique and useful technologies for the cyber security professionals to help them control the user access within the limits of their organization. These solutions allow cyber security professionals to manage which user can access which information for how long. As a result, identity and access management solutions play an important role in keeping the sensitive information of your organization safe.

Which Are the Major Components of Identity Governance and Administration Solution?

Organizations embracing digital transformation are taking a hard look at Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) solutions which are becoming critically important amongst Identity and IT Security professionals. IGA is an area that provides operational management, integration, security, customization and overall support for an enterprise IAM program. Besides, IGA combines the entitlement discovery, the decision-making process, and the access review and certification of access governance with the identity lifecycle and role management of user provisioning.  So nowadays, what the enterprises critically need is a consistent framework to operationally manage and govern their rapidly expanding digital ecosystem. At its core, the goal behind IGA is simple – to ensure appropriate access, when and where it is needed.

IGA is considered as much more than a technology. It is also perceived as an ongoing means of governance through a set of controls, processes, and actions related to the determination and enforcement of appropriate access throughout the organization’s environment. This is a continuous process of grooming, review, decision making, documentation, and enforcement for how access privileges are issued.

IGA Main Components

IGA consists of multiple elements, each solving a specific piece to the puzzle and often originating from its own product category. IGA programs can look to each of these elements separately, and bring a set of point products from multiple vendors together to address the broader IGA problems, or they can look to vendors that have fleshed out their offerings to include these elements as part of their IGA offering. These elements can be described as follows:

  • Identity Lifecycle Management/User Provisioning – Automation of the identity lifecycle process through the creation, updating, and cleanup of user accounts and their corresponding information across multiple target systems.
  • Access Governance – Consists of two essential elements: Entitlement Management / Role Management (it is related to Collection and organization of current entitlement state across multiple target systems) and Access Review and Certification. That relates to presentation of current entitlement state, facilitation of review process, capturing access decisions made, and facilitation of attestation that the new access state is appropriate.

Identity Lifecycle Management

Today’s organizations are more connected than ever before. As the number of applications, systems, and resources have increased, so have the number of identities and user accounts. Creating, maintaining, and securing identities is a complex and costly effort. The complexity is often due to the sheer volume of identities. But, the complexity of managing identities is also compounded by the dynamic nature of an identity.

As a subject’s relationship with the organization changes the attributes and privileges associated with the identity must be updated. These dynamic changes are commonly referred to as the identity lifecycle. All identities go through a similar lifecycle which can be described in three basic steps: Join, Move, and Leave.

• Join: This phase involves the creation/registration of identities.

• Move: This phase handles the changing of identity attributes and elements that define the relationship such as group memberships, roles, entitlements, and permissions as the identity’s relationship changes over time.

• Leave: This phase involves the termination of the relationship with the identity. It could also relate to archiving of some information and deletion of other information.

Another point of focus with identity lifecycle management is the goal of gaining administrative leverage. Keeping the data consistent across systems is the only way to manage all the connected systems as a common whole, rather than a collection of silos. The data may be represented and persisted differently from system to system, but the job of the provisioning infrastructure is to deal with these differences, transform the data accordingly, and ensure that the relationships between the systems is preserved.

User provisioning technologies help organizations manage and enforce access policies. Access policies bind identities to entitlements. An access policy determines what systems, resources, and information a user can access. Furthermore User provisioning technologies employ a variety of techniques to assign and enforce access policies including Rules (Rule-driven policies determine access rights and entitlements according to a given set of attributes on a subject’s identity record), Roles (Users are assigned to roles based on a given set of attributes on their identity record. Each role has a set of associated permissions and entitlements) and Workflow (Workflow driven access policy management is used when rule or role driven policies are not available or when a human needs to make a policy decision).

The last phase of the provisioning process is fulfillment. Once the lifecycle event has been processed and access policies have been applied, the provisioning system knows which connected systems to provision the user to, what attributes to synchronize, and what entitlements to assign.

Access Governance

Access governance provides the needed “relation” between compliance, the access management policies, and the critical business systems that need them. It enables better control and produces intelligence so that key decision makers can have a better understanding of the state of access and how it is being utilized in order to provide greater insight for making better decisions. Access governance also provides a way to hold end users accountable for the access they use, it holds managers accountable for the access they approve and administrators accountable for the access they manage.

Entitlement Management

Access decisions are all about the entitlements. Entitlements are the “what” in the question of “who has access to what. Entitlements represent capabilities in business systems that in turn help the business achieve its varied missions. To use entitlements, enterprises first have to know they are out there – in every business system, application, and platform. But simple awareness is not enough.

Access Review and Certification

Usually the access review phase of access governance is of a great importance and is the most time and labor intensive. Everyone who has access to important systems and resources, such as those containing data that have regulatory implications, must be certified at reasonable intervals. This includes employees and nonemployees alike, regardless of location and business role.

Identity Governance and Administration is a unique combination of technology and processes with impact at the organizational level. It leverages components such as Identity Lifecycle Management and Access Governance to support compliance with regulations, internal controls, and audit pressure and is a powerful means to improve security and reduce enterprise risk.

Why Businesses Should Migrate to Hybrid Cloud Systems

Cloud structures are a hot topic, discussed from specialists and businessmen all over the world. Cloud computing, the disruptive technology that we know today, is the outcome of technological advancements over many years. It became a powerful tool and an enabler of business success through its attributes in today’s competitive market. Besides, it has also radically improved the way we interact with each other and perform businesses.

Now, the transformation to a „digital business“ by implementing cloud services and platforms is no longer an option – it’s an imperative for the existence and survival of any enterprise.  Organizations of all sizes have already access to more data to guide their decisions than at any point in history, and it’s turned data-access technology into big business. Gartner experts have stated that by 2021, over 75% of midsize and large organizations will have adopted a multicloud or hybrid IT strategy, so it’s important to understand what it is and how enterprises benefit from the hybrid cloud.

The essence of a hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud computing started its development in 2008 and offers the enterprises incredible customization and security. The foundation of a hybrid cloud model is the combination of private and public cloud infrastructures that allow workloads to move between the two interconnected environments. This mobility between cloud environments gives organizations greater flexibility and agility in their data deployment options. For companies that want to maximize the benefits of both public and private cloud environments, hybrid cloud deployments offer tremendous advantages. Versatile and responsive, hybrid clouds are a popular solution for organizations looking to adopt creative solutions for their IT and computing needs.

Here are the top 6 reasons why business moves to hybrid cloud?

1. Security Compliance

One of the big challenges that many businesses face with hybrid cloud are unauthorized access (both from outsiders and other cloud tenants), visibility and worries about how you respond to incidents. When implemented well, a hybrid cloud security strategy can help provide the right level of security for the right data.  With a hybrid cloud model, however, companies can leverage the security of a private cloud with the power and services of a public cloud. While data stored in a private environment will likely still have to be transmitted to the public cloud for analytics, applications, and other processes, extensive encryption methods can be implemented to ensure this data remains as secure as possible.

A hybrid cloud’s centralized management makes it easier to implement strong technical security measures such as encryption, automation, access control, orchestration, and endpoint security, so you can manage risk effectively. An ideal hybrid solution will also help to support compliance and will offer a suite of helpful security benefits, for instance, system hardening and vulnerability shielding for protected systems.

2. Increased Scalability

Flexibility is critical for growing businesses. A hybrid cloud system provides new tools and data for innovation, ensuring you are no longer constrained by what’s available onsite. Using both private and public cloud solutions increases power and scalability through higher speeds and advanced infrastructure and planning. Resources and workloads can also be easily moved between clouds. As your needs change, you can scale resources up and down, optimising for performance and efficiency.

3. Reduced costs

Cost is a key factor for many organizations considering migrating to the cloud. A hybrid cloud is a great option for companies that want more security and control of their data but need a cost-effective way to scale their operations to meet spikes in demand. The hybrid cloud option means organizations can house their core, business-critical, and sensitive data on their private, on-premise servers while offloading less sensitive data and applications to the public cloud.

Hybrid cloud environments allow businesses to leverage the resources they already have, without the requirement to adopt new tools or splash out on new hardware. When using both a mix of private and public clouds, the upfront costs of installing in-house technology can be removed, or combined with a simple monthly payment, in order to simplify costs.

4. Flexibility

As previously mentioned, solely using private cloud can be very limiting for a business. Increased security means that employees cannot access the private cloud or business functions through unknown devices, limiting their ability to work remotely on the move or from home. This can hinder the productivity of a business, and contrasts with the kind of flexibility a business can achieve with public cloud.

Through a hybrid environment, a public cloud solution can be used for employees who want to share and store data in a form that is accessible from anywhere, whilst a private cloud can host critical security compliant applications. This offers flexibility to businesses looking for both security and mobility, and reduces the need for businesses to invest in a costly in-house infrastructure for their security reliant applications.

5. Increased agility and innovation

The ability to respond automatically to changes in demand is a key factor for innovation and competition. Nowadays, speed to market can build or break a company’s competitive edge. A hybrid cloud model helps organizations increase their speed to market by optimizing IT performance and providing the agility needed to meet changing business requirements.

Due to the fact that companies with a hybrid cloud aren’t limited to their private on-premise infrastructure, they can easily expand their workload on the cloud and more quickly test, prototype, and launch new products.

6. Improved Customer Experience

We are living in the digital age, where businesses should be customer-centric in order to be competitive against industry disrupters. If a business is not able to adjust to extra demand from customers, there is a risk of losing valuable business. In order to remain competitive and relevant, a business should invest in a cloud system that is flexible, scalable and caters to all their business needs. For example, with a hybrid cloud model, healthcare organizations can interact with patients in real-time and financial institutions have better oversight over a customer’s full financial overview.

Hopefully after reading through the top six advantages of Hybrid Cloud you now have a better perception why it is becoming such a popular choice for IT executives all over the world. Furthermore, just choosing to go hybrid cloud doesn’t mean you are guaranteed these benefits. Depending on your company and its needs and inherent complexities, executing your hybrid cloud vision could be a complex undertaking and the best option is to do it with an experienced partner.

How to Manage and Protect Privileged Accounts?

In recent times a great number of organizations are highly concerned about the evolving threat landscape of cyber-attacks. This is due to the fact that large well-known enterprise organizations have fallen victim to cyber-crimes. Every year billions of records are stolen, identity theft increases, more credentials are abused and financial fraud is now extending into billions of dollars. This is the reason why senior executives are deeply involved in cyber security than ever before. While executives and CISOs continue trying to reduce the risk of these threats, compliance requirements are increasing, as well. The defence against cyber-crime should not rely on technology, but it must involve people, and therefore needs to be less complex and quick to value.

Start from the basics. Define what “privileged access” means in your organisation

The problem for many organizations is that they are not aware where to start and how they can easily adopt a privileged access solution that will lead them to success and maturity.  Most of the companies are just getting started with protecting and securing privileged access need to identify which privileged accounts should be targeted as well as ensuring that those who will be using those privileged accounts are clear on the acceptable use and responsibility.

Before implementing a privileged access management strategy it is recommended to identify what a privileged account is for your organization and to map out what important business functions rely on data, systems and access. A good practice is to classify or categorize privileged accounts. This helps for the clear identification of the privileged accounts’ importance to the business and makes future decisions easier when it comes to applying security controls. Like any IT security measure designed to help protect critical information assets, managing and protecting privileged account access requires both a plan and an ongoing program. You must identify which privileged accounts should be a priority in your company, and ensure that those who are using these privileged accounts understand acceptable use and their responsibilities. After defining and discovering your privileged accounts, it is time to focus on their protection. The privileged account access must be constantly and proactively managed, monitored, and controlled.

In what ways privileged accounts could compromise your security?

  • Unintentionally

Compromising the security is supposed to happen unintentionally. Unauthorized modifications to critical data can happen without thinking at any time. Besides, the files that store sensitive data can be shared without checking the legitimacy of the business need, getting you in serious trouble.

  • Maliciously

Privileged accounts have legitimate access rights, so if they engage in malicious actions, they would be quite difficult to spot. Malicious use of privileged accounts is a serious threat, since these users’ activity may not be closely monitored or they usually have the expertise to dodge controls and do maximum damage without leaving any trace.

  • By attackers

Cyber attackers use different kinds of techniques to obtain the powerful credentials of privileged accounts. Phishing, brute force or coercion are the most familiar.

Despite the steady recommendations and strict regulations, many privileged accounts still remain poorly protected, ignored, or mismanaged, making them easy targets. Having that in mind, here’s a number of essential policies that every IT manager or security administrator should follow to avoid compromised privileged account management:

1. Provide training to all your employees

It is important for all your employees to be able to recognize suspicious or unsecure behaviour. This aspect is crucial nowadays, since phishing and social engineering attacks are getting more sophisticated and more personal devices are being used for business purpose.

2. Limit IT admin access to systems

Developing a least-privilege policy is another good tactic. That means that privileges are only granted when required and approved. Enforce least privilege on endpoints by keeping end-users configured to a standard user profile and automatically elevating their privileges to run only approved and trusted applications. For IT administrator privileged account users, you should control access and implement super user privilege management for Windows and UNIX systems to prevent attackers from running malicious applications, remote access tools, and commands. Least-privilege and application control solutions enable seamless elevation of approved, trusted, and whitelisted applications while minimizing the risk of running unauthorized applications.

3. Develop a privileged account password policy

It’s critical to create clear policies that everyone who uses and manages privileged accounts can understand and accept. Put in place a privileged account password protection policy that covers human and non-human accounts to prevent unauthorized access and demonstrate compliance with regulations. It is better to use long passphrases and multi-factor authentication for human accounts. For non-human (services and applications) accounts, passwords should be changed frequently. PAM controls automatically randomize, manage, and vault passwords, and enable you to update all privileged account passwords automatically and simultaneously.

4. Choose the right solution

There are various PAM technology providers to choose from, offering different kinds of features and deployment options. Before choosing, it’s important to define use cases for privileged access in your environment and preferred solution capabilities such as service account management, discovery functions, asset and vulnerability management, analytics, file integrity monitoring, SSH key management, and more. Some organizations prefer a vendor-independent technology partner to help them test and evaluate potential solutions. When it comes to a successful deployment, professional security assessments are helpful, by identifying what your privileged accounts are protecting and objectively detailing current security policies, controls, and processes.

5. Monitor accounts with analytics

Privileged accounts should be monitored continuously in order to identify outsiders leveraging stolen credentials, insiders that are not following policies and procedures, and malicious insiders. Privileged user behavior analytics solutions help you gain insight into privileged activity with a behavioral baseline based on machine learning algorithms that consider user activity, account behavior, access behavior, credential sensitivity, and similar user behavior. In case a breach occurs, monitoring privileged account use helps digital forensics identify the root cause and identify critical controls that can be improved to reduce your risk of future cybersecurity threats.

6. Implement multi-factor authentication for employees and third parties

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, 80 per cent of breaches can be prevented by using multi-factor authentication. Implementing two-factor or multi-factor authentication for both PAM administrators and end users will guarantee that only the right people have access to sensitive resources.

7. Audit and analyze privileged account activity

Continuously observing how privileged accounts are being used through audits and reports will help identify unusual behaviors that may indicate a breach or misuse.  You should capture every single user operation and establish accountability and transparency for all PAM-related actions. The automated reports also help track the cause of security incidents, as well as demonstrate compliance with policies and regulations. Auditing of privileged accounts will also ensure you cybersecurity metrics that provide executives with vital information to make more informed business decisions.

8. Prepare an incident response plan

An incident response plan is urgently needed in case a privileged account is compromised. When an account is breached, simply changing privileged account passwords or disabling the privileged account is not acceptable. If compromised by an outside attacker, hackers can install malware and even create their own privileged accounts. If a domain administrator account gets compromised, for example, you should assume that your entire Active Directory, so the attacker cannot easily return.

The execution of these eight policies are not supposed to be an end-all solution to security – there’s always more to be done.The proper management of privileged access helps organizations prevent devastating data breaches and comply with regulatory requirements. But at the same time it can be difficult for security teams that are understaffed and struggling to maintain access information across complex IT infrastructures. By providing comprehensive and clear visibility into privileged accounts, implementing least privilege, investing in the right solutions, and monitoring activity, you can be able to prevent privileged accounts from being abused and effectively tackle security risks both inside and outside your organization.

PATECCO Will Exhibit as a Golden Sponsor at “IT for Insurances” Congress in Leipzig

For a second time, this year, the Identity and Access management company PATECCO will take part in “IT for Insurance” (IT für Versicherungen) live Trade Fair in Leipzig, Germany. The event is planned to take place on 24.11 and 25.11.2020.  It is known as the leading market place for IT service providers of the insurance industry with a focus on the latest technological developments and IT trends. The congress unites all exhibitors, speakers, trade fair visitors and gives the opportunity to socialize, exchange experiences and discuss current trends and projects in the IT industry.

During the two days of the event PATECCO will exhibit as a Golden sponsor and will present its services portfolio. Besides, the sales manager of PATECCO team – Mr. Karl-Heinz Wonsak will be a presenter of the company’s innovative solutions in the so called “Elevator Pitch.” The topic will be about insurance supervisory requirements in IT and cybersecurity.

PATECCO will have a counter where its team members will welcome each visitor who is interested in Identity Access Governance IAG, Privileged Account Management PAM, Security Incident and Event Management SIEM, Funktionale Taxonomie, Managed Service, Management und IT-Consulting and Cloud Access Control. Each one, who looks for solutions in these specific areas, will be invited in a personal meeting where all details will be considered. The IAM company will also provide a coffee counter with a professional Barista and each coffee-lover can enjoy a cup of aromatic Italian Espresso.

PATECCO is an international company, dedicated to development, implementation and support of Identity & Access Management solutions. Based on 20 years’ experience within IAM, high qualification and professional attitude, the company provides value-added services to customers from different industries such as banking, insurance, chemistry, pharma and utility.

Its team of proficient IT consultants provide the best practices in delivering sustainable solutions related to: Managed Services, Cloud Access Control, Privileged Account Management, Access Governance, RBAC, Security Information and Event Management, PKI and Password Management.