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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. 

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.

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.

PATECCO Launches a New White Paper About Identity and Access Management Solutions in The Era of Digital Transformation

As more and more organisations around the world move from on-premises software to on-demand, cloud-based services, there is a greater need for control around who can access what and when they can do so. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a framework of business processes, procedures and technologies used to manage and control digital identities. This the reason why IAM should be a key priority for any business executive looking to make big technology investments and should be part of all digital transformation strategies. This is especially true if your organisation wants to make the most of modern business solutions and mobile ways of working.

To help you on your IAM journey, we’ve created an IAM White Paper. It presents in details why IAM is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation success and highlights everything you need to know to sucessfully find an IAM solution that matches your business needs.

Some of the main topics covered in our latest eBook include:

  • The Role of Identity and Access Management in Cybersecurity
  • Why Identity and Access Management is so Important in preventing data breaches
  • Which Key IAM Capabilities Successfully Support Remote Work
  • Key Aspects of an Identity Access Management (IAM) Strategy

Interested? Download our free Identity and Access Management eBook today.

Click on the book below to download the content:

Key Aspects of an Identity Access Management (IAM) Strategy

The components and functionalities of identity and access management bring a lot of benefits to all users who are involved into the organisation’s ecosystem, no matter of the business sector they belong to. Before engaging yourself to an IAM project, it is critical to determine and to have a long-term vision of your IAM strategy. This initiative is much more effective and profitable than having to assemble various solutions that may not be appropriate or not always well integrated.

A clear identity and access management strategy is fundamental for organisations to operate effectively. It will guarantee secure access to the information system, ensure compliance with regulations, reduce a large number of operating risks, improve productivity and the quality of service delivered to users. Many organisations’ failures prove that fact that the lack of expertise and effective identity and access management strategy can led to risky implementations and expensive mistakes. This is the reason why many organizations look for experienced service providers for assistance.

Building an Identity and Access Management Strategy

1. Discovery Is the First Step

The first step in developing an IAM strategy is to gain a thorough understanding of the customer’s current state. This step is crucial, because an accurate picture of an organization’s current state helps to create a more realistic strategy and results in successful project implementation. There are three ways to develop a better understanding of the customers’ current environments, needs, and goals.

  • Understand the How. To better prepare and develop context before beginning a project, you should search for specific artifacts and documents that help understand how the organization functions. That could include any existing IAM policies and procedures, IAM architectural diagrams, relevant audit findings, and an overview of the network and server environments. It is also helpful to get to know the current technology elements: which are the main applications and systems being used, and how they are set up and customized.
  • Understand the Who. Developing a demographic profile of the organization is also very important, i. e – how many users there are, what is their location, and who gets access to what. Viewing the structure of the organization is also essential: who approves access requests, which users are employees or non-employees, and how HR interacts with the existing IAM process.
  • Understand the Why. Understanding the drivers for an organization’s IAM project is pivotal for the project’s success. It ensures that leaders are on the same page about their reasons for investing in IAM, sets clear expectations for the project’s outcomes, and helps champions justify the project internally.

2. From Discovery to Deliverables

When the discovery process is finished, the next step is to conduct an analysis of what you have collected as an information. For some companies, this means a roadmap and a strategy, but others might need a competitive assessment, an IGA recommendation, or advice on the best way to handle role-based access. Here are some examples of the deliverables that can be provided:

  • Architecture. A smart approach is to develop a map that captures how IAM currently functions at the organization and represents all the systems, architecture, tools, users, and connectors. This map should accurately reflect the organization’s environment, processes, patterns, and challenges. On the basis of this “big picture” of the organization’s current state, an architecture that reflects the ideal state could be created.
  • Roadmap. The roadmap describes the actions which companies need to take to get from A to B, and helps companies prioritize these actions and put them in the appropriate order.
  • Tool Recommendations. With a clear understanding of the customer’s requirements and extensive knowledge about the best tools for every situation, the needs to the appropriate vendors could be properly matched.

3. Perform a comprehensive audit

Another significant step is to perform a comprehensive audit of current practices so that you know exactly what types of systems or processes are used by employees to share and transfer information. You may find out that people in your organization are subverting security controls to get their work done. It’s a common issue that can help you build a stronger access management structure.

4. Develop IAM Governance Procedures

It is very important to ensure that risk management and compliance guidelines are followed consistently throughout the company. That could be verified by efficient provisioning and de-provisioning procedures. Besides, the privileged accounts should be handled with care. Compared with accounts for regular users, these accounts can have almost unlimited access to sensitive data, applications, and devices. You should strike a balance between access and security by following the guidelines of least privilege. When users need elevated privileges for a specific task, it is recommended to grant access for a limited time using unique credentials.

5. Compliance is a top consideration

Its crucial to ensure that compliance guidelines and risk management are incorporated into the identity management strategy. Privacy management and data access governance is an important aspect of IAM. It controls who is capable of accessing user data and how they can share or use it. This ensured that organizations meet the growing requirements of changing industry and global data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

6. Add Cloud-based IAM to Your Arsenal

If you are looking to the cloud for greater efficiency and easy scalability, cloud-based identity and access management services can be part of your IAM plan. Identity and Access Management-as-a-Service (IDaaS) simplifies even the most complex user management challenges. These systems exist in environments defined by strict access with regular monitoring and security for both IT and physical assets. Scheduled backups and data recovery plans prevent catastrophic losses. Further, the access control measures are certified to industry standards with frequent audits. You can meet necessary audit requirements by leveraging existing security certifications rather than investing talent and resources within a similar internal plan.

IAM projects are complex, that is why a defined strategy for success is required. Without a good IAM strategy, analysis and planning the projects usually fail. A successful IAM strategy balances security requirements with employee and customer experience and communicates these goals effectively to executives.

PATECCO is your partner through all phases of IAM strategy: Our practice is to work closely with your technology management and business leaders and to consult you for the sequence of projects needed to make your strategy a reality. Whether you would like to implement a new IAM strategy or update an old one,our consultants can offer their professional support to successfully build up your IAM strategy.

PATECCO Customer Success Story

Integrating One Identity, Service Now and Microsoft Azure.

Situation: А German energy supply and solutions company, has a started a project for the implementation of a PAM solution. They have chosen One Identity Safeguard as PAM tool. This innovative privileged access management solution provides a secure way to store, manage, record and analyze privileged access. It combines a secured and hardened password safe, and a session-management and -monitoring solution with threat detection and analytics.

The Challenge: The energy company has also an Azure Environment as part of their IT Infrastructure. During the implementation some challenges appeared – they wanted to get the Configuration Items (Server objects) to be integrated into the Safeguard solution. The sources of these CI`s were two – ServiceNow and Azure Environment. The customer’s requirement was to have our Event Based Interface to these two source systems. In this way the energy company has achieved its main goal: automation of the Data import to the Safeguard solution which leads to less human administrative interaction with the System. Before the Interface, Objects were manually imported which resulted in less efficiency and productivity.

Response:  PATECCO responded, drawing on 20 years of professional experience in IAM and PAM field. Its team of proficient IT experts provided comprehensive solution based on the latest technologies. The first step was to create a strategic plan and then to build an Event Based Interface, using the Safeguard API to get the Configuration Items into the system. Both Interfaces are using state of the art technology for the Microsoft Azure Technology Stack. The Interface works roughly like:

  • When a new Server Object is created in the Azure Environment or in the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) this Server Object will also be created in the Safeguard PAM Solution.
  • The same mechanism applies to any modification of Server Objects.

Results: In just a few months, the energy supply and solutions corporation has achieved major results related to less manual interaction and elimination of human errors. The Event Based Approach makes sure that only Server Objects are processed which are recently created or modified, instead of always process all Server Objects. In its work with PATECCO, the energy company will continue to emphasize on the technical, organizational, and financial benefits related to saving time and money, better scalability, minimized incidents of human error and the most important one – secure and controlled access.

Why Identity and Access Management Is So Important In Preventing Data Breaches?

For better optimization of efficiency, agility, and to drive greater collaboration, it is essential for the enterprise to be able to share information, resources, and applications with external value chain partners in a trusted way. This article explores how Identity Access Management (IAM) provides the policies and processes for ensuring that the right people in the company have the right access to secure resources, at the right time, while improving security, productivity and visibility.

  • Identity Is Core To Data Security

In the era of globalization, enterprises are undertaking significant digital transformation initiatives to integrate more applications and automate processes to increase productivity and innovation. These initiatives frequently involve the integration of information technology with operational technology, even bridging security domains, through direct integration with value chain partners. Digital transformation initiatives deliver significant value, but potentially put more resources at risk and increase the enterprise security threat surface.

Moreover, enterprise managers require visibility into the organizations and must be able to delegate administration of people and resources to trusted individuals within the supplier organization if they want to have the agility they need. At the same time, they must be able to govern those external users are authorized to do. This practice requires regular processes where delegated administrators attest to users’ validity and the resources to which they have access for a complete audit trail and to ensure compliance.

At its core, Identity and Access Management  ensures that a user’s identity is authenticated to a high degree of assurance, and that the user is authorized to access the right services he or she needs. So, Access Management solutions provide authentication and authorization services and enforce user access policy to a company’s employees and customers across the web, mobile apps, and other digital channels. According to Data Breach Investigation Reports, 80% of data breaches involve compromised or weak credentials, and 29% of all breaches involve the use of stolen credentials. That means that passwords are the main point of vulnerability and the more frequently you have to request or change access for lost or forgotten passwords, the larger is the risk for your personal and professional data to be hacked.

When applied properly, advanced Identity and Access Management tools can help detect suspicious activities quickly whether they are committed by external or internal criminals. In fact, insiders who have highly privileged access pose the greatest risks as they may be disgruntled or have financial problems, therefore have the incentive and opportunity to commit a perfect crime. Highly technical users who have privileged access can also cover their tracks by modifying system logs. Sometimes, users also make mistakes and errors which can also be mitigated with IAM capabilities such as Multifactor-authentication and Role-based Access Control.

Products like Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM 2016) is able to synchronize identities between directories, databases and applications, which means that employees’ identities are managed wherever they are working from. It also provides increased admin security with policies, privileged access management and roles. This, combined with Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (AAD) technology, provides additional cloud based self-service capabilities, secure remote access, single sign on, and multi-factor authentication.

How Can IAM Practices Prevent a Data Breach?

  • Automating the access privilege provision

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

  • Privileged User Management

Basically, the organized attacks target the privileged accounts of the organization. Once a privileged account gets compromised, it increases the chances of a massive security breach. Social engineering and phishing attacks are some common ways of tricking privileged users in sharing their passwords. Such attacks can remain undetected for a long period and that is why it is recommended to implement privileged user management. Any access considered privileged should be assigned to a separate account within the system for which the access is granted, and such accounts should be assigned to the user after an appropriate review of the user’s duties and justification for both the privileged account and the specific access. Any privileged access defined or granted should be limited in both scope and the number of users to which it is assigned and tailored to the needs of the business.

  • Account and access reviews

A useful practice is to conduct Account and access reviews. This can be done periodically in smaller companies and even in larger companies, as well. For example, if a user changes jobs, you should trigger an access review based on changes in the user’s job code or department code. Access reviews can also be based on risk, or when users request certain types of access, i.e., conduct a review of all of user’s access if the user requests domain administrator access, or if a user’s risk score reaches a certain level. Access reviews should be done either by the entitlement owners, or the current manager.

  • Entitlements warehouse

It is a good approach to set up an entitlements warehouse, which identifies all the entitlements in all the systems within the organization, who is assigned to those entitlements, and includes risk rating and privileged access flags for each entitlement. The entitlements warehouse can also be used to conduct peer analytics to identify unusual patterns of entitlement assignments based on entitlements assigned to other users with similar job functions, or assigned to users in similar or the same department.

  • Compliance

Another reason why Identity and Access Management is important in preventing data breaches is because organizations must comply with increasing, complex and distributed regulations, and they must ensure and demonstrate an effective customer identification process, suspicious activity detection and reporting, and identity theft prevention. Identity and Access Management solutions can be leveraged to manage various regulatory requirements such as having a Customer Identification Program (CIP), Know Your Customer (KYC), monitoring for Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR), and Red Flags Rule for identity fraud prevention.

Identity and Access Management is regarded as complex and critical solution in managing security risks. Although technology is an important part of identity and access management which can be leveraged to support an organization’s cybersecurity objectives and strategy, effective IAM also requires processes and people for user onboarding and identity verification, granting and removing access, detecting suspicious activities, and keeping unauthorized users out of the systems. IAM can help organizations achieve operating efficiency and optimal security through advanced technology and automation such as adaptive, multi-factor, and biometric authentication.

Eight Reasons Why Insurance Companies Should Move to Cloud

The Insurance and financial services industry is in a state of continual transformation. Rapidly evolving customer expectations, rice of digital platforms and increasing regulatory demand and Data privacy, requires a swift response from Insurance companies to ensure profitable sustenance. To function effectively in a customer-driven environment, business agility has emerged as a key imperative for all industries including Insurance. Cloud is disruptive technology that can help organisations gain the required agility as they strive to reduce costs, drive innovation and streamline operations. Cloud eliminates the need for heavy infrastructure investments and offers flexible operating models which enables the business to enhance its agility and increase its market responsiveness.

Recent threats and frequent cybercrimes have provoked the insurance sector, dealing with large amounts of sensitive data, to be at the forefront of integrating cloud technology into their digital eco system. It enables insurers to reuse their IT resources more efficiently, reducing the cost of acquiring and maintaining infrastructure. Cloud based platforms, storage and applications change the way of creating and delivering their products and services, managing risks and claims, collaborating with partners, and communicating with customers, agents and brokers.

The main reasons why insurance companies use Cloud-based solutions include different factors such as security and flexibility, rapid provisioning, better asset visibility, and robust data governance facilities. But that’s not all – let’s have a look at some of the top reasons for of cloud adoption in the insurance industry:

1. Improving operational efficiency and performance

Private cloud improves the operational efficiency and performance of the insurers by ensuring data security and accessibility to its employees in low risk and efficient way. While public cloud helps insurers to reduce cost by ensuring the availability of data and services to the customers and external networks. Cloud is much more than infrastructure, insurers are now exploring the levels to which cloud can lead to. Starting from infrastructure to platform to process, cloud expands its opportunities in business process solutions such as claims and expenses processing, managing a whole business process unlike traditional BPO.

2. Improving speed to market

Having in mind the greater pressure to reduce the time to market for new products and services, insurers can use insurance-based cloud computing solutions to deliver greater IT agility and shorter project implementation time. Cloud‑based benefit enrolment systems can thoroughly automate the enrolment process to support real-time pricing and validation of eligibility, allowing insurers to deliver a more convenient and personalized way to shop for benefits.

3. Faster Deployment

Unlike the traditional IT services Cloud computing takes a short time for deployment. It allows businesses to leverage their services and functionalities in a short time. Cloud has more than sufficient resources available at its disposal to allow for multiple tenants in the shared environment. These resources are always scalable.

4. Simplified Access

Simplified access is one of the most vital reasons of using the cloud-based system. The insurance companies, while leveraging the cloud-based solutions, could gain immense benefits. With Identity and Access Management, the companies can enjoy a single sign-on facility that makes the working easier and simpler. Furthermore, all the user’s access rights are controlled by their status and as soon as someone leaves the organization, his or her accessing rights are be removed automatically.

5. Advancing business growth

Cloud-based services offer the users a more holistic view and help them to understand consumer needs better. Cloud-based solutions can provide better social listening and higher conversion rates from opportunity to sale through targeted campaign management and improved opportunity and lead engagement models. This could result in higher cross-sell, upsell and retention rates. Cloud can also enhance the claims experience by providing better service and better communication with end customers.

6. Driving customer centricity

In addition, cloud technologies drive customer centricity with data unification, allow products and services reach market faster and improve the renewal process with external systems. Insurance brokers have the opportunity to embed broker management system modules to advise insurance to customers through various websites and portals. Cloud based collaborative tools allow advisors to answer questions on products and services round the clock and independent of geography. Besides, it encourages unified interactions within the distribution channel.

7. Effective Innovation

Nowadays every insurance company wants to innovate and offer new things to outpower other agencies. In such a situation, cloud-based solutions could help them to stand out from the competitive market by fitting and meeting the emerging needs of the customers. Furthermore, with the cloud-based systems, the insurers could quickly test and deploy new technologies and robust solutions very efficiently.

8. Streamlined Operations

Thanks to the reliable features and functionalities, Cloud-based solutions help the insurance agencies to reduce their overhead costs and streamline their business operations. The insurers could seamlessly free up the room in their budget and could help the employees to focus on other vital things. Whether you the insurers virtually communicate with their customers, or deploy new systems, cloud computing always makes sure that all these functions are quicker and more comfortable.

As a conclusion, we can say that cloud computing has become an essential aspect of the global environment, because it helps the companies to secure not only their data from breaches and cyber thefts but also provides flexibility in managing that valuable data. With cloud computing, the insurers could seamlessly identify new trends and could deploy new systems satisfying the emerging customer needs.

Which Are the Best Practices in Privileged Access Management?

The digital world often faces problems of abused privileges or stolen credentials which are seen as the main cause of data breaches. The reason is that many companies do not track how their employees use shared privileged credentials and do not engage in privileged user monitoring. These risks can be reduced through effective privileged access management (PAM). PAM is a set of policies and processes for assigning, controlling, and monitoring administrator-level privileges and should be a major focus for Security and IT management who are looking to mitigate the risks of data breaches and insider risks.

Why companies need strict access control?

As mentioned above compromised credentials are a main cause the vast majority of security breaches. Attackers cannot easily get around modern security mechanisms, so they find a way out and steal credentials by getting into the network. Usually, an attacker aims to get privileged credentials through the network by gaining low-level access to steal data, disable systems, and cover their tracks.

When it comes to controlling access to a company’s cloud workloads, big data projects and network devices, the practice shows that most enterprises are not doing enough to address modern security concerns. Today’s environment is much different than when all privileged access was constrained to systems and resources inside the network. Privileged access management not only covers infrastructure, databases and network devices, but is extended to cloud environments, big data, DevOps, containers and more.

Basically, PAM includes a collection of practices, policies and technologies that protect administrative or “privileged” access to the back ends of critical systems. Privileged users operate privileged accounts, where they are authorized to set up, configure, reconfigure or delete systems, servers, databases and storage volumes.  Privileged users are necessary for the proper functioning of the IT departments, but their features makes them very attractive targets for hackers. Some of the worst data breaches in recent times were a result from the abuse of privileged accounts and the impersonation of privileged user identities. Protecting privileged credentials is a major goal of cyber security policy and security operations.

PAM Best Practices

There are companies still using spreadsheets and common sense to manage privileged accounts, but this is no longer a viable and efficient approach.  Such companies should take PAM seriously and to integrate that solution within their Identity and Access Management system. Below is presented a set of PATECCO privileged access best practices which all organizations should follow:

1. Identity Consolidation

The management of privileged identities and their access to critical systems only makes sense if all identities that are to be managed are unambiguously recorded in the context of an initial survey. For this reason, PATECCO recommends starting a PAM project with an analysis, cleansing and consolidation of existing identities, roles, permissions, and local accounts across all, especially heterogeneous, resources.

Only if a uniform and unambiguous collection of all these identities is guaranteed, the next step can be taken meaningfully regarding the consideration of privileged access. Specifically, this means that all identities can also log into the system in a personalized manner, so that authorizations can then be granted to this unique identity even in administrative systems.

As best practices from the PATECCO project experience, an Active Directory is used to consolidate UNIX, Linux, and LDAP identities with a single, unique ID for centralized identity, role, and permission management and for Kerberos-based authentication

2. Privileged Access Request

The central challenge for any privileged access management system is the use of a (minimum) four-eyes principle that uniquely identifies the requestor and the approver and enables   traceability. A workflow-based request and approval mechanism for privileged access is usually used for this purpose.

Access to and use of privileged accounts is a key focus for regulators in many industries, but access to critical corporate resources should also be controlled, documented, and monitored in every other organization to improve security, governance, and compliance.

3. Super User Privilege Management (SUPM)

PATECCO calls the ability to enable a “least privilege” access model for authorized users via authorization extension tools SUPM, Super User Privilege Management. The aim of this procedure is to assign only the minimum set of authorizations at session runtime. An interactive session starts with as few authorizations as possible and is only elevated when required. In particular, the aim is to avoid the necessity of accessing shared accounts through a modified authorization model.

For this PATECCO uses the combination with Identity Consolidation in Active Directory. This provides further administrative advantages so that roles and authorizations for administrative users can be managed centrally. In addition, global changes can be made quickly and consistently under Windows, Linux and UNIX.

4. Shared Account Password Management (SAPM)

When implementing PAM projects, PATECCO puts great emphasis on the protection of the assets of the respective organization. Shared accounts ought to be prevented conceptually, because the containment of data protection violations is most effective if the attack surface can be reduced.

The aim is therefore to reduce the number of privileged accounts as far as possible towards zero and to use SAPM only for emergency login scenarios such as “Break Glass”. This applies to legacy and emergency scenarios in which privilege elevation cannot be reached sensibly and in which direct logon as administrator (for example, root) must be allowed in exceptional cases.

5. Application to Application Password Management (AAPM)

A key design deficiency in programs that require automated access to critical systems (such as provisioning systems or other programs that use service accounts) is the use of hard-coded credentials in application code, scripts, and other configuration files. AAPM tools provide a workaround by providing a mechanism (typically APIs) to make credentials securely available on demand by accessing a secure password vault. PATECCO supports during the execution of a PAM project in implementing AAPM as an extension of the SAPM tools. This helps in managing accounts used by applications or systems to communicate with other applications or systems (such as databases, web services etc.).

By implementing PAM capabilities and following PAM best practices, privileged users have efficient and secure access to the systems they manage, while organizations can monitor all privileged users for all relevant systems. PATECCO supports in ensuring that audit and compliance requirements are met and can support in implementing privacy policies adherent to regulatory and legal requirements, e.g. EU-GDPR.

The Role of Identity and Access Management in Cybersecurity

In today’s digitally transformed world, Identity and Access Management (IAM) plays an essential  role in every enterprise security plan. As the business stores more and more sensitive data electronically, the need to protect sensitive information and data becomes critical. In this sense, IAM solution gives or limits the access permissions of different employees according to their roles.

Why IAM becomes more important than ever for enterprises?

IAM solutions must be an integral part of any enterprise security system. Their central management capabilities can help in improving security while decreasing the cost and complexity of protecting user access and credentials. In addition to providing access to employees, organizations also need to work, collaborate, and connect with contractors, vendors and partners, each with their own set of access requirements and restrictions. Furthermore, data and applications spread across cloud, on-premises and hybrid infrastructures are being accessed by a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

Identity and Access Management is a Cyber and Information security discipline that ensures the right people have appropriate access to the organization’s critical systems and resources at the right time. For that reason IAM is based on three major pillars (Identification, Authentication and Authorization) which prevent the company to be exposed to cybersecurity threats like phishing, criminal hacking, ransomware or other malware attacks.

Benefits of IAM solutions having a significant influence in the cybersecurity

As mentioned above, effective IAM infrastructure and solutions help enterprises establish secure, productive, and efficient access to technology resources across these diverse systems while delivering several important key benefits:

  • IAM enhances security: This is perhaps the most important benefit organizations can get from IAM. Consolidating authentication and authorization capabilities on a single centralized platform provides business and IT teams with a streamlined and consistent method of managing user access during identity lifecycle within an organization. For example, when users leave a company, centralized IAM solution gives IT administrators the ability to revoke their access with the confidence that the revocation will take place immediately across all the business-critical systems and resources which are integrated with centralized IAM solution within the company. Thus, by controlling user access, companies can eliminate instances of data breaches, identity theft, and illegal access to confidential information.
  • Reduced Security Costs: Having a centralized IAM platform to manage all users and their access allows IT to perform their work more efficiently. In the digitally hyperconnected world, employees have access to hundreds of systems and resources as part of their job. Efficient centralized IAM solution can successfully address this challenge which results in huge savings of time and money for the company. A comprehensive IAM solution can reduce overall IT costs by automating identity processes that consume IT resources, such as onboarding, password resets and access requests, eliminating the need for help desk tickets or calls. Whenever a security policy gets updated, all access privileges across the organization can be changed in one sweep. IAM can also reduce the number of tickets sent to the IT helpdesk regarding password resets. Some systems even have automation set for tedious IT tasks.
  • IAM Provides direct connectivity: Connectivity is a hallmark of IAM because it provides direct linking to more than one hundred systems and applications. Supporting a wide range of systems, IAM makes it possible not only to apply Workflow Management and Self-Service to user account management, but also to a variety of other service provisioning processes including: requesting physical access to a work area, applying for a smartphone, or submitting a helpdesk ticket.
  • Least Privilege Principle: Least privilege is an important practice of computer and information security for limiting access privileges for users. With the increasing number of data breaches involving an insider, it is necessary to ensure access to all your corporate resources are secured and granted using least privilege principle. In a company it is a common practice for employees to move across different roles in the organization. If the granted privileges are not revoked when the employee changes the role, those privileges can accumulate, and this situation poses a great risk for many reasons. That makes this user an easy target for cyber hackers as his excessive rights can be an easier gateway for criminals to access the broader part of the company’s critical systems and resources. Or this can eventually turn into the insider threat where a person gets the ability to commit data theft. Sometimes companies forget to remove these excessive privileges from a user’s profile when he or she leaves the company. That leads to a security risk where the user can still access the company’s systems even after the termination. In this case, a well-designed centralized IAM solution can help organizations eliminate insider threat challenge by utilizing the Least Privilege Principle to a great extent.

There are many factors which have proved that Identity and Access Management evolution will influence on the cybersecurity industry. These factors refer to weaknesses in password security, increasing number of distributed and interconnected systems, technological advancements, and, the basic business needs to manage access and regulatory compliance risks efficiently. An end-to-end IAM implementation provides assurance that only authorized, authenticated users are able to interact with the systems and data they need to effectively perform their job. All that results in reducing the likelihood and impact of data breaches.