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PATECCO Is Proud To Announce its Thycotic PAM Pub Quiz Winner

PATECCO team is proud to share that one of its IAM analysts – Sebastian Martin won the third place at the annual online PAM Pub Quiz, organised by Thycotic, on 1st April. A lot of participants tested their knowledge in the quiz, but only the best professionals who proved their expertise are the winners.

For Sebastian Martin the quiz was not only a challenge, but also a funny experience where he proved his knowledge in Privileged Access and security. His participation was not also a great example of a professionalism, but also a great proof that that PATECCO as an IBM partner is leading the PAM topic to its best.

PATECCO Organizes a Free Webinar About Managed Services in Partnership with Eu-hub.net

The Identity and Access Management company, PATECCO, organizes in partnership with EU-HUB Network, a free Webinar on topic “The mapping of growing responsibilities to predictable budgets”. The online event will take place on 07th of May 2021, at 10.00 a.m. CET. The webinar’s duration will be one hour and it will be divided into three parts – introduction, Managed services description as well as presentation of other IAM solutions and Questions and Answers.

Interested companies from all industries could register for the webinar on the following webpage: https://www.eu-hub.net/english/webinar-events/, with a key word: “Managed IAM Services“. In the webinar all participants could learn more about the specific features and capabilities of Managed Services, what are the advantages and benefits of working with managed service provider and how this kind of services could contribute for the increased security, efficiency and productivity of your business. Moreover, PATECCO IAM experts will share best practices of several use cases related to implementation of solutions such as Privileged Access Management, Security Information and Event Management, Identity Governance and Intelligence and Cloud Access Control.

Before you register for the webinar, here is some more information about PATECCO:

The IAM consulting company is established in the year of 2009, in Herne, Germany. It is a privately held enterprise providing services in the areas of the development, implementation, and support of Identity & Access Management solutions. PATECCO provides value-added services to customers from different industries such as banking, insurance, chemistry, pharma and utility. Keeping long-term partnership with Microsoft and IBM supports the success for numerous international consulting projects.

As a managed service provider, PATECCO ensures a cost-effective alternative to manage the monitoring, detecting, investigating, alerting and responding to cyber threats. 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 IT services, but are also available 24/7. As a managed service provider, PATECCO offers a single point of contact, convenience, and flexibility for all of IT needs.

The Importance of Security Information and Event Management in Business

We live in a digital era when modern businesses rely mostly on their IT infrastructure in order to conduct their daily activities. Of course, the reliance on IT brings a few advantages to organizations which become more streamlined and productive, but at the same time there is a persistent challenge that all businesses have to face: cybersecurity threats and incidents.

Cybersecurity incidents are not something unknown for the enterprises. Most businesses try to ensure the security if their IT infrastructure by establishing special safeguards. However, just slapping up some firewalls or subscribing to an antivirus software is not a serious approach anymore, not only because they are ineffective but also because the cybersecurity threats are continually evolving, and criminal hackers become more sophisticated. So, to resolve this problem, businesses have begun to turn to a more robust method of managing the security of their IT infrastructure: security information and event management (SIEM) software.

How does SIEM work?

Security information and event management (SIEM) software gives security professionals both insight into and a track record of the activities within their IT environment.  It is a group of complex technologies that provide a centralized view into a network’s infrastructure. SIEM provides data analysis, event correlation, aggregation and reporting, as well as log management.  While SIEM technology has been around for more than a decade, it becomes a critical component of a comprehensive security strategy in today’s threat environment.

The function of SIEM in cybersecurity is to provide a complete overview of a business’ entire IT infrastructure. Log data from applications, devices, networks, firewalls, antivirus software, wireless access points, and similar sources are collected to identify, analyse, and categorize different types of security threats the business may experience. SIEM products also provide dynamic, up-to-date information on the overall health of a business’ security system. This information can then be used to complete security compliance reports, analyse areas of weakness, and strategize solutions that may best protect the business’ entire IT systems in the future.

How Does a SIEM Help with Log Monitoring and Management

Effective log management is essential to an organization’s security. Monitoring, documenting and analyzing system events is a crucial component of IT security. Log management software or SIEM’s automate many of the processes involved. A SIEM handles the two following jobs that prior to today’s SIEM’s were handled individually:

  • SIM – Security information management provides long-term storage as well as analysis and reporting of log data. This was and is still tricky and time-consuming if you must build your own connectors to your IDS/IPS, Firewalls, DLP solutions, Application servers and so many other log generating assets in your IT environment. Most SIEM’s have some connectors out of the box today.
  • SEM – Security event manager provides real-time monitoring, correlation of events, notifications and console views. This is the key benefit of SIEM’s because a good SIEM will turn data into insights and a great SIEM, tuned correctly will turn insights into visual dashboards to assist analysts in uncovering anomalies and threats.

Effective SIEM solutions rely on logs from all critical components of a company’s business and network. These should include all firewall logs, logs from intrusion detection systems and antivirus system logs. As well, logs from primary servers should be included, particularly key application and database server logs along with the active directory server logs and web server logs.It is also important to protect your sources of log information, particularly when attempting to prove any legal culpability from computer misuse. This is because cyber attackers can try to delete or falsify log entries to cover their activity in your system.

Why SIEM is important and beneficial for the business?

To establish a capable cybersecurity team, SIEM solutions are a must-have for businesses in any industry. Today’s enterprises need a solution that can centralize, simplify, and automate security workflows to enable better analytics and incident response procedures. The key important pillars of a Modern SIEM are:

  • Incident Detection

SIEM enables the detection of incidents that otherwise would go unnoticed. Not only can this technology log security events, they have the ability to analyze the log entries to identify signs of malicious activity. And by gathering events from all of the sources across the network, a SIEM can reconstruct the series of events to determine what the nature of the attack was and whether or not it succeeded.

  • Efficient Incident Management

An SIEM solution can significantly increase the efficiency of incident handling, saving your security professionals time and resources. More efficient incident handling ultimately speeds incident containment, therefore reducing the extent of damage that many incidents cause. A SIEM improves efficiency by enabling rapid identification of all sources that were affected by a particular attack and by providing automated mechanisms to attempt to stop attacks that are still in progress.

  • AI Cybersecurity

In recent years, advanced technologies like machine learning have made SIEM platforms more robust. It gives the companies the power to defend their businesses with complex threats before they become irreparable. It accurately analyzes event correlations for unique patterns that may lead to the detection of complex concerns over information and system security.

  • Better Security Analysis

With SIEM solution, organizations get to integrate risk assessment services. SIEM tools make it possible for you to analyze network behavior in different circumstances and factors based on security sources for that particular condition.

  • Proper Categorization

Businesses can categorize and standardize network logs for effective monitoring and achieve a responsive workflow with in-depth visibility of your backups and security. It provides your IT team with access to additional features like quick data encryption, system access management, SSO integration, and other quality management services.

Businesses now have multiple services available in the market that can accommodate any SIEM requirements. Some of the most powerful software are IBM QRadar and Splunk Enterprise Security. Based on your system requirements, you can decide what SIEM features you want from your SIEM solution. Moreover, considering elements like budgeting, storage array, customization preferences, and training needs is also essential. And finally – businesses must determine their current resource capabilities before integrating any SIEM tool into their systems.

7 Important Features of a Privileged Access Management Solution

Nowadays IT organisations are under increasing business and regulatory pressure to control access to privileged accounts. Establishing controls for privileged access continues to be a focus of attention for organisations and auditors. Prevention of both breaches and insider attacks has become a major driver for the adoption of privileged access management (PAM) solutions, in addition to compliance and operational efficiency.              

But what is actually Privileged Access Management?

PAM is a set of technologies designed to help organisations address the inherent problems related to privileged accounts. According to the analyst company Kuppingercole, Privileged Access Management has become one of the most relevant areas of Cyber Security associated with Identity and Access Management that deals with identifying, securing and managing privileged credentials across an Organization’s IT environment. Once considered a technology option for optimizing administrative efficiency by managing passwords and other secrets, PAM has evolved into a set of crucial technologies for preventing security breaches and credential thefts. PAM today concerns Security and Risk Management leaders as well as Infrastructure and Operation (I&O) leaders across the industries for several security and operational benefits.

To effectively and efficiently control privileged accounts, it is required a combination of adaptive access management features. In this article, we list the most critical features that can help you secure privileged access to your company’s sensitive data.

  • Privileged Session Recording

It is important that the privileged access management solution has the privileged session recording feature to record the actions performed by the user within the system while using a privileged credential. This is one of the main tools to check if users are performing actions relevant to their tasks, ensuring the confidentiality of the company’s sensitive data and that all actions are tracked and audited.

Next-generation privileged session management should enable you to observe the date, time, and location of each session. Moreover, you will have a visibility over their very keystrokes to ensure the authenticity of each privileged user. This can prevent insider threats and hackers alike by making sure users use their permissions according to business processes. 

  • Multifactor Authentication

Despite the availability of multiple security protocols, there is still a possibility for privileged accounts to be breached. That is why PAM software must have an additional layer of security with multi-factor authentication protocols when a user requests access. Multifactor authentication can include passwords, hard tokens, time of access monitoring, and behavioural analysis. The last of these proves especially important; it allows your cybersecurity to conduct continuous authentication even after the initial log-in.

  • Centralization  

You should take into account all users, applications, databases, and everything else that could comprise your IT environment. For that reason you need to keep an eye on all of these moving parts simultaneously to ensure proper permission and privileges policies. 

Legacy identity management solutions cannot possibly provide your IT security team with the centralized view necessary. In this case Privileged access management can help, because it centralizes your view, controls, and authority over users’ identities.

  • Backup

One of the most important elements of a PAM solution is to have automatic backups. Even with all the security locks, the backup appears as one of the last information security features. This ensures that even with leaked and/or deleted data, the company is able to have access to all data protected by the privileged access management solution.

  • Access Reporting

Access reporting is also a key feature, so that the responsible person has a complete view of the actions performed through privileged sessions, allowing the identification of security breaches and points for improvement. A complete set of reports optimizes time and work, as there is no need to conduct audits from session to session.

  • Real-time notifications

It’s critical to stop the attack in time. And the earlier it is prevented, the lesser its consequences will be. So, to be able to respond to a possible security incident in a timely manner, you need to be notified in a real-time. That’s why, when selecting a privileged access management solution, you should make sure to check if it has a fine alerting system.

Most PAM solutions offer a set of standard rules and alerts. For example, responsible security specialists will be notified every time the system registers a failed login attempt for a privileged account. To go further, you can create custom alerts for specific events, activities, or even groups of users.

  • Centralised Audit Logging

Protecting privileged accounts includes centralized audit logging with a detailed record of user activities. Effective PAM solution could deliver consolidated audit logs and reports from across your server domains and be kept on a separate security domain.

The misuse of privileged access can lead to disastrous consequences, allowing attackers to easily get the most valuable and sensitive information. Deploying a quality PAM solution is a crucial step for every modern organization, which needs secure and properly managed privileged access.

Is Artificial Intelligence a Factor for Improving Identity Management and Security?

In today’s global and highly interconnected business environment people and companies collaborate constantly together. From one side, the business becomes more productive and efficient, but from the other side grows probability for the company to become a victim of a data breach or another cyber threat. Determining who should have access to what information is a hard task for many businesses and leaving that problem aside could make their systems vulnerable. That is why the importance of a smart and mature Identity & Access Management (IAM) strategy shouldn’t be underestimated. Researches from analyst companies report that more than 70% of organizations do not have a serious approach to IAM. That means that the risk for these organizations to get suffered from a data breach is twice as high compared to organizations that have their IAM strategy applied. Research reports also show that the smarter an IAM approach is, the smaller is the security risk.

IAM against data breaches

As mentioned above, for many organisations, IAM is a critical weapon in their cyber security arsenal. It is a great solution to mitigate against data breaches as well as manage the additional risks coming with remote working and Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD). Identity and Access Management (IAM) involves tracking the behaviour and actions of each individual and asset in the IT environment, specifically your system administrators and mission-critical assets. IAM enables individuals to access the correct resources at the right times for the proper reasons, which requires significant systems integration so that all platforms have the situational awareness necessary to properly enforce policy. If properly implemented, IAM can drastically increase visibility and security.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2021, securing identity access will once again be everywhere, but we are predicting that with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AIML), there will be a more positive narrative to creating and managing an immutable digital identity. New AIML authentication technologies that continuously protect pre-, during and post-authorization, while leveraging individual behaviours in a secure and private manner will become mainstream, leaving cybercriminals in the dust.

How can AI improve Identity Management and Security

AI and machine learning (ML) technologies can be a major help for effective IAM and can help to avoid a lot of problematic situations. These technologies can assist enterprises to grow from an overly technical approach of access management into a form of access management that is understandable on all levels within a business.

  • Advanced analytics

Analytics in a combination with artificial intelligence can provide more focus and contextual insights so that both technical and non-technical employees can work more time efficient. Modern technologies provide ways to learn new insights and automate processes, which are able to drastically speed up the existing IAM compliance controls. They can detect anomalies and potential threats, without the need of security experts. This gives employees the needed information to make correct decisions. Such progress is crucial, especially in the area of fraud detection and in the area of combating insider threats. In this way the enterprises are continuously in control, continuously secure and compliant.

  • More precise access control

Moving on from biometric passwords, it is not hard to conceive that AI could identify a user with extra security by using sight and sound. Rather than checking against pre-defined credentials, a machine would be able to understand and confirm whether a person was who they claimed to be, by using visual and aural clues. It could also learn when to grant access, and act accordingly. Permitting access on the basis machine learning is the logical next step on from biometric ID.

Working within a user’s access permissions, AI systems could also monitor in a real-time any unusual or irrational behaviour. They could detect whether a user is trying to access a part of the system they wouldn’t normally or downloading more documents than they usually would. The rhythm of a user’s keyboard and mouse movements could be observed to identify irregular or uncommon patterns. These security policies allow the companies to safely conduct their business and to rely on a better breach detection and prevention.

  • Automation and Flexibility

 AI has the capability to monitor subtle details of users’ actions, so it’s possible to automate authentication for low-risk access situations and in this way it offloads some of the burden of IAM administration from the IT department. Considering these details before granting network access makes IAM contextual and granular and can control potential problems caused by improper provisioning or deprovisioning. AI-powered systems are able to apply appropriate IAM policies to any access request based on needs and circumstances, so that the IT department doesn’t have to waste time figuring out the basics of “least privilege” for every use case or resolving problems with privilege creep.

  • Going Beyond Compliance

Many enterprises make the mistake when thinking that complying with security and privacy regulations is sufficient to keep hackers away. Actually these laws are not enough to meet the security needs of every organization. The basics of compliance refers to ensuring information is only accessed by those who need it and ignoring everyone else. The flexible and adaptable nature of AI-powered IAM is very helpful in these situations. Due to the fact that AI and ML constantly monitor traffic, learn behaviors and apply granular access controls, enterprises face less of a challenge when enforcing security protocols, and it becomes difficult for hackers to get any use out of stolen credentials.

AI is no longer some special idea that nobody can realistically implement. It becomes a trend in the cyber security environment. The high degree of interconnectivity, the increasing number of human and device identities and the common practice toward global access will force the enterprises to incorporate smarter technologies into security protocols. And to implement a risk-based approach to Identity and Access Management (IAM), the enterprises will need advanced identity analytics powered by Machine Learning (ML). Best practices across the industry have proven that ML based identity analytics delivers significant improvements to IAM architecture and program management.

Why Organizations Need Identity Governance In their Journey to Digital Transformation

In March 2020, the enterprise business landscape drastically changed. Within two weeks, thousands of businesses closed, working remotely became the new normal, and malicious hackers took the opportunity to attack the increasingly vulnerable business systems. Enterprises, with poorly structured or monitored identity and access management system became a common target for cyber attackers. In such a long-lasting situation Identity governance and administration (IGA) is a critical component in reducing identity-related vulnerabilities and creating policies to manage access compliance. Now, more than ever, we need these two things to overcome the challenges of post-COVID-19 enterprise business security.

Why Identity Governance matters?

Organizations embracing digital transformation need a consistent framework for operationally managing and governing their rapidly expanding digital ecosystem and IGA is an important piece. At its core, the goal behind IGA is to ensure appropriate access, when and where it is needed.  IGA is the branch of identity and access management that deals with making appropriate access decisions. It allows your company to embrace the benefits of hyper-connectivity while ensuring that only the right people have access to the right things at the right times. When it’s done right, IGA improves the security and gives valuable insights about employee activity and needs.

In this article we will explain why Identity Governance matters and why it is a critical factor for the companies in their journey to the digital transformation.

Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) is becoming increasingly important amongst Identity and IT Security professionals. This is an area that provides operational management, integration, security, customization and overall support for an enterprise IAM program. 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. Inappropriate and outdated access to the company resources is a commonplace in many enterprise IAM programs today and it creates substantial risk. A comprehensive IGA program across diverse constituencies can help identify and manage these risks and address compliance requirements. Organizations can implement IGA in phases, making it easier to adopt and will quickly find it provides a solid foundation for reducing risk and improving security.

  • IGA Delivers Timely and Effective Access to the Business

Identity governance and administrations give your users speedy and efficient access to the resources required to do their work. It makes it happen by leveraging tools such as single sign-on software equipped with functionalities like multi-factor authentication and more. This allows them to become and stay productive regardless of how quickly or how much their responsibilities change.

Likewise, IGA also authorizes business users to manage and request access, which reduces the amount of work in information security or IT operations teams. Your employees can meet service level requirements with automated policy enforcements without compromising compliance or security.

  • IGA Automates labor-intensive processes

Identity governance and administration cuts on operational costs by automating labor-intensive processes such as password management, user provisioning, and access requests. Automation helps IT administrators save time on administrative tasks and fulfill business needs of higher importance.

Many IGA tools provide a simple user interface through which users can self-assist their requirements and address service requests independently without IT admins’ intensive involvement. The tools provide a dashboard that populates with metrics and analytical data on user access controls, helping organizations optimize and reduce associated risks.

  • Regulatory Compliance

With regulations like the GDPR, SOX, and HIPAA the industries are focusing on access issues more than ever. Limiting and monitoring access to only those that need it is not only a crucial security measure, but one that is becoming critical to staying in compliance with these regulations.

IGA solutions not only help ensure that access to sensitive information like patient records or financial data is strictly controlled, they also enable organizations to prove they are taking these actions. Organizations can receive audit requests at any time. An effective IGA solution makes the required periodic review and attestation of access business friendly, effective, and comes with built-in reporting capabilities to meet relevant government and industry regulations. Taking a visual approach to the data can make this whole process more accurate and easier to deploy to the business.

  • Identify risks and strengthen security

Organizations face significant threats from compromised identities triggered by stolen, vulnerable, or default user credentials. With a centralized and comprehensive overview of user identities and access privileges, identity governance and administration solutions empower IT administrators to identify weak controls, policy violations, and improper access that can open the organizations to disruptive risks and rectify these risk factors before they escalate. It keeps track of user identities and allows you to detect compromised accounts, which enables you to strengthen your assets’ security.

  • IGA Monitors the Non-Employee Identities on Your Network

Making identity governance a business process priority means exerting concrete control over your network. You can use it to monitor and regulate the behaviour of your enterprises’ nonhuman and third-party identities, ensuring they participate only in the necessary workflows.

Identity governance can segment and restrict, enforcing discipline when programs try to take advantage of every leniency. In this case, you can view identity governance not only as a cybersecurity measure but as a way to keep your workflows uncluttered.

Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) provides the identity foundation that powers today’s most important security initiatives, including Zero Trust, Digital Transformation, and Cyber Resilience. With a comprehensive IGA program, you’ll have the critical capabilities and identity services to bridge data and product silos and adapt at the speed of change.

Identity and Access Management – One of the Pillars of Keeping Data Safe in the Cloud

The way companies conduct and manage their business is changing. Nowadays storing data in the cloud is becoming the norm. With cloud computing, consumers and companies can scale up to massive capacities in an instant without having any investment in new infrastructure or they can even shrink to a desktop within a second. As enterprises increasingly store applications and data files that contain personal and confidential information in the cloud, they need to take all measures to secure cloud assets to prevent system breaches and data theft. This is the reason why Identity and Access Management is considered the most effective way to ensure cloud security.

More safety in the cloud with IAM

Managing access control and governance within IAM, to meet today’s business needs in the cloud environment, remains one of the major hurdles for enterprises’ adoption of cloud services. Today’s aggressive adoption of immature cloud computing services by enterprises creates extreme thrust to have a strong cloud-based IAM system which provides support for business needs. It ranges from secure collaborations with global partners to secure access for global employees consuming sensitive information, from any location and using any device at any time.

Cloud Identity and Access Management tools allow security administrators to authorise who can access specific resources at specific times by giving the enterprise administrator full control and visibility to handle their cloud resources. In some cases IAM can offer control for Software as a Service based applications for even more management. With any IAM tool, enterprises could provide a unified view into security policy across the organisation and have built-in auditing to ease compliance processes.

In this article we will discuss several major IAM functions that are essential for successful and effective management of identities in the cloud:

– Identity provisioning/deprovisioning

– Authentication and federation

– Authorisation and user profile management

– Support for compliance

  • Identity provisioning

One of the major challenges for organisations adopting cloud computing services is the secure and timely management of on-boarding (provisioning) and off-boarding (deprovisioning) of users in the cloud. Further, enterprises that have invested in user management processes within an enterprise will seek to extend those processes to cloud services.

Identity provisioning practice within an organisation deals with the provisioning and de-provisioning of various types of user accounts (end-user, application administrator, IT administrator, supervisor, developer, billing administrator) to cloud services. It is very common for cloud services to rely on a registry of users, each representing either an individual or an organisation, maintained by the cloud service provider to support billing, authentication, authorisation, federation, and auditing processes.

  • Authentication

When organisations utilise cloud services, authenticating users in a trustworthy and manageable manner is a vital requirement. Organisations must address authentication-related challenges such as credential management, strong authentication, delegated authentication, and managing trust across all types of cloud services.

Authentication is the process of validating or confirming that access credentials provided by a user (for instance, a user ID and password) are valid. A user in this case could be a person, another application, or a service; all should be required to authenticate.

Many enterprise applications require that users authenticate before allowing access. Authorisation, the process of granting access to requested resources, is pointless without suitable authentication. When organisations begin to utilise applications in the cloud, authenticating users in a trustworthy and manageable manner becomes an additional challenge. Organisations must address authentication-related challenges such as credential management, strong authentication, delegated authentication, and trust across all types of cloud delivery models.

  • Federation

In the cloud computing environment, Federated Identity Management plays a vital role in enabling organisations to authenticate their users of cloud services using the organisation’s chosen identity provider (IdP). In that context, exchanging identity attributes between the service provider (SP) and the IdP securely is also a requirement. Organisations considering federated identity management in the cloud should understand the various challenges and possible solutions to address those challenges with respect to identity lifecycle management, available authentication methods to protect confidentiality, and integrity, while supporting non-repudiation.

  • Compliance

For customers who rely on cloud services, it is important to understand how identity management can enable compliance with internal or regulatory requirements. Well designed identity management can ensure that information about accounts, access grants, and segregation of duty enforcement at cloud providers, can all be pulled together to satisfy an enterprise’s audit and compliance reporting requirements.

By deploying IAM tools and following related best practices, a company can gain a competitive edge. IAM technologies enable the business to give users outside the organisation, like partners, customers, contractors and suppliers, access to its network across mobile applications, on-premise apps, and software-as-a-service apps without compromising security. This allows better collaboration, improved productivity, increased efficiency and reduced operating costs. Privacy is considered a vital issue in the cloud environment protection and can be gained through identity and Access Management, ensuring the highest level of data security.

IBM Champion Program Recognizes Two of PATECCO Employees as Top Influencers and Experts

The tight partnership between PATECCO and IBM brings benefits not only for both companies and customers, but for their employees, as well. PATECCO is proud and happy to share that two of its highly qualified experts – Igor Migrić and Lars Thiemann – have been recognized as IBM Champions 2021 among 2000 nominations. IBM Champions is the largest and most representative class ever, including bringing the IBM Partner Ecosystem officially into the program for the first time.

The IBM Champion program recognizes both experts as innovative thought leaders in the technical community and rewards these contributors by amplifying their voice and increasing their sphere of influence. The program catalyzes their ongoing contributions by providing education, engagement, and opportunities.

Igor is honored to be recognized as a returning IBM Champion for providing support, mentoring and technical contribution to get the most out of the IBM solutions, especially for IBM Security Verify Governance. Lars is also nominated as an IT Professional in the area of Security, who demonstrate practical expertise in IBM technologies while providing extraordinary support and advocacy in IBM digital and local communities.

As a reward, the two distinguished IBM Champions receive IBM Champion-branded merchandise, IBM Champion digital badges, and invitations and discounts to IBM conferences. Moreover, they are highlighted online and recognized at events. As thought leaders they will be offered various speaking opportunities that enable them to raise their visibility and broaden their sphere of influence.

The Advantages of Role-Based Access Control in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an advanced emerging technology and it is regarded as a computing paradigm in which resources in the computing infrastructure are provided as a service over the Internet. Cloud computing provides a platform to cut costs and help the users to focus on their core business instead of being impeded by information technology obstacles. However, this new paradigm of data storage service introduces some security challenges for the business. A great part of data owners are concerned that their data could be misused or accessed by the unauthorized users in the cloud storage system.

Cloud stores a large amount of sensitive information that can be shared by other users of the cloud. Hence, to protect this sensitive information from the malicious users, access control mechanisms are used. Here, each user and each resource is assigned an identity, based on which they may either be granted or denied access to the data. These methods are called identity-based access control methods. One of the examples of such method is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Role-Based Access Control Method

To protect sensitive data from improper use, change or deletion, companies need a system to restrict employee access. Role-Based Access Control refers to a method for restricting data access based on a user’s role in the company. With RBAC, employees can access only the resources and files they need to fulfil their responsibilities. Their credentials allow or restrict access based on the tasks they are assigned, so the chance for data misuse is minimised.

RBAC systems can be especially useful in larger enterprises and in companies that use third-party contractors. As the number of employees increases and the authorized contractors change, it can be difficult to provide unique credential settings for each employee. Using a role-based access control system means that admins can sort employees or contractors into pre-existing groups, or roles, which grant access to a defined set of resources. This access is temporary, as the employees can also be removed from the group when the task is complete. Admins can also reset the permission levels for the groups, which means they can better manage employees at scale, increase efficiency, and even improve compliance.

RBAC enables administrators to divide users into groups based on the different roles they take on, and a single user can belong to multiple groups. Typically, employee access takes into consideration the person’s active status and roles, any security requirements, and existing policies. The best practice is to provide minimal authorization for any given user – only enough so that they can do their job. This is known as the principle of least privilege, and it helps ensure data security.

Benefits of RBAC

For many organizations, divided into multiple departments, with hundreds of employees often equipped with their own computers, the role-based access control system is the best solution to apply for optimal security. If implemented efficiently, RBAC has many benefits for both your team and the entire organization.

  • Reducing administrative work and IT support

When a new employee is hired or if a current worker changes his job position or department, role-based access control eliminates the need for time-wasting paperwork and password changes to grant and remove network access.  Instead, you can use RBAC to add and switch roles quickly and implement them globally across operating systems, platforms and applications. It also reduces the potential for error when assigning user permissions. This reduction in time spent on administrative tasks is just one of several economic benefits of RBAC. It also helps to more easily integrate third-party users into your network by giving them pre-defined roles.

  • Maximizing operational performance

RBAC systems also can be designed to maximize operational performance and strategic business value. They can streamline and automate many transactions and business processes and provide users with the resources to perform their jobs better, faster and with greater personal responsibility. With RBAC system implemented, organizations are better positioned to meet their own statutory and regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality, which is crucial for health care organizations and financial institutions. Directors, managers and IT staffers are better able to monitor how data is being used and accessed, for the purpose of preparing more accurate planning and budget models based on real needs.

  • Providing solid security and high business value

Low maintenance costs and increased efficiency are among the key benefits of RBAC as a security strategy for midsize and large organizations. Here’s how it works: Once all of the employee roles are populated into the database, role-based rules are formulated and workflow engine modules are implemented. Through these elements, role-based privileges can be entered and updated quickly across multiple systems, platforms, applications and geographic locations – right from the HR or IT manager’s desktop. By controlling users’ access according to their roles and the attributes attached to those roles, the RBAC model provides a companywide control process for managing IT assets while maintaining the desired level of security.

  • Role-Based Access Control Helps Protect Against Data Breaches

Roles can also help minimize damage caused by a data breach. Besides data encryption and other security measures built into the storage repository, user access limitations help seal off potential hackers and limit any adverse impacts arising from a breach. Businesses can alert users trying to view data that they don’t have proper access and prompt them to contact an administrator for additional access.

Many businesses utilize single sign-on (SSO) connected to Active Directory (AD) to authenticate users. Employees can then connect locally or log in with a VPN. Once the data lake verifies their information, it produces a signature of their identity and role. If an employee is accessing data in your cloud-hosted data lake remotely, it’s critical to secure their connection.

  • Better security compliance

All organizations are subject to federal, state and local regulations. With an RBAC system in place, companies can more easily meet regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality. Furthermore, IT departments and executives have the ability to manage how data is being accessed and used. This is especially significant for health care and financial institutions, which manage lots of sensitive data.

A core business function of any organization is protecting data in the cloud. RBAC system can ensure the company’s information meets privacy and confidentiality regulations. So, if your business does not have an established data governance plan, it is time to develop one. Moreover, learning to recognize the potential dangers and establish proper responses to a data breach will help you to react faster and minimize damage.

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.