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The Essential Role of Identity and Access Management in Remote Work

Since fast two years, the pandemic has pressured organizations of all sizes to embrace IT transformation at a rapid pace and to adapt to new models of business related to a transition to remote workforces.

Nowadays, streamlined accessibility of critical applications is top of mind for executive leadership than ever before. However, a company’s IT security posture and administrative governance remain vital, as cybercriminals see unsecured home offices as attack vectors to exploit for personal gain. The rapid evolution of work-from-home technologies highlights a need to validate full coverage and completeness of an organization’s IT ecosystem, operational impacts and cybersecurity foundation. Furthermore, a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity helps enhance end-user productivity and remove the barriers for further IT transformation.

Identity and access management are crucial starting points

For these reasons, Identity and Access Management (IAM) has distinguished more critical to IT departments and organizations overall. Identity and Access Management (IAM) both secures the work-from-home networks and enables employees to easily access the data and applications they need for their role.

A good Identity and Access Management solution helps to securely connect the right employees to the right business resources at the right time. From an end-user perspective, IAM enables an employee to log into a critical application as they normally would, but their sign-on would also apply to a whole suite of commonly used and IT-approved applications. Meanwhile, IT staff can monitor who accesses what application when, add or remove approved applications for sign-on, and adjust security controls across the IT ecosystem in one platform.

  • Least Privilege Principle

To better secure your data with employees working from home, your IAM solution should include least privilege access capabilities. This provides you the opportunity to customize each employee’s level of access, so they only have what they need and nothing more. In this way the companies have a greater level of control over who is accessing their sensitive data each time.

  • Secure Sharing

For remote teams, the easy and secure virtual collaboration is a necessity. When it comes to sharing access to accounts and data, teams need a way to share credentials without increasing the risk of cyberattacks and data breach. Enterprise password management provides central and safe storage of shared corporate credentials, so remote team members can access shared accounts, from anywhere, any time.

  • Secure Authentication

To alleviate cyber threats when working remotely, businesses should think about adding layers of security that slow down attackers – but not employees. Additional login requirements and behind-the-scenes analysis of many factors helps reduce the risk of a cyberattack. Multifactor authentication (MFA), especially a solution that incorporates biometric and contextual authentication, can significantly increase security in a way that is quick and easy for employees.

Building an Identity and Access Management Strategy for Remote Work

A lot of studies show how critical IAM is, especially as remote work becomes the new normal. Businesses need to prioritize their IAM strategy and ensure they are crafting one that supports the new normal of work-from-anywhere.

The enterprises should realize how critical IAM is, especially as remote work becomes the new normal. As employees work remotely, organizations will need to craft an IAM strategy that makes it easy for employees to connect to work resources, while maintaining a high standard of security.

  • Managing every access point

If secure access is a top priority, your IAM solution needs to combine SSO and password management. SSO simplifies login to many apps, and password management ensures any password-protected accounts are properly stored.

  • Sharing the secure way.

For remote teams, virtual collaboration is inescapable. Any credentials or sensitive information like credit card numbers that need to be shared among team members should be done in a way that is encrypted and private, while making it easy for team members to get the information when they need it.

  • Enabling MFA for additional protection.

Choose a solution that is simple for employees to use, and then turn on MFA everywhere you can (apps, workstations, VPNs, and more) for an additional layer of security across every employee login.

In the future remote work will continue to change as the companies develop new normal work routines for the employees. Identity and authentication methods must develop alongside those changes to ensure secure access and simplicity for both employees and companies.

Identity and Access Management – Concept, Functions and Challenges

Identity and Access Management is an important part of today’s evolving world. It is the process of managing who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Identity and the Access are two very important concept of the IAM which are needed to be managed by the company. Companies are now relying more on the automated tool which can manage all these things. But then it creates the risk. Because tools are not intelligent enough to take the decisions, so we can add the intelligence by using the various data mining algorithm. This can keep the data over time and then build the models. This article covers the key challenges associated with  Identity and Access Management

1. IAM as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits

Currently, companies are more and more concerned in complex value chains also they necessary to both integrate and offer a range of information systems. As a result of this, the lines among service providers and users and among competitors are blurring. Companies therefore need to implement efficient and flexible business processes focused on the electronic exchange of data and information. Such processes require reliable identity and access management solutions. IAM is the process which manages who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Identity and Access Management IAM has recently emerged as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits in terms of cost savings, management control, operational efficiency, and, most importantly, business growth for ecommerce. Enterprises need to manage access to information and applications scattered across internal and external application systems. Moreover, they must provide this access for a growing number of identities, both inside and outside the organization, without compromising security or exposing sensitive information.

IAM comprises of people, processes and products to manage identities and access to resources of an enterprise. An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes that facilitates the management of electronic identities. Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance, because if the organization is audited, management will not be able to prove that company data is not at risk for being misused.

Additionally, the enterprise shall have to ensure the correctness of data in order for the IAM Framework to function properly. IAM components can be classified into four major categories: authentication, authorization, user management and central user repository (Enterprise Directory). The ultimate goal of IAM Framework is to provide the right people with the right access at the right time.

2. Key Concept of IAM

Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Modern IAM solutions allow administering users and their access rights flexibly and effectively, enabling multiple ways of cooperation. Also, IAM is a prerequisite for the use of cloud services, as such services may involve outsourcing of data, which in turn means that data handling and access has to be clearly defined and monitored.

  • Identity The element or combination of element that uniquely describes a person or machines is called Identity. It can be what you know such as password or other personal information what you have or any combination of these.
  • Access The information representing the rights that identity was granted. This information the access rights can be granted to allow users to perform transactional functions at various levels. Some examples of transactional functions are copy, transfer, add, change, delete, review, approve and cancel.
  • Entitlements The collection of access rights to perform transactional functions is called entitlements. The term entitlements are used occasionally with access rights. Identity and access management is the, who, what, where, when, and why of information technology. It encompasses many technologies and security practices, including secure single sign-on (SSO), user provisioning/de provisioning, authentication, and authorization.

Over the past several years, the Fortune 2000 and governments worldwide have come to rely on a sound IAM platform as the foundation for their GRC strategies. As more organizations decentralize with branch and home offices, remote employees, and the consumerization of IT, the need for strong security and GRC practices is greater than ever

3. Function of Identity Management

The identity management system stores information on all aspects of the identity management infrastructure. Using this information, it provides authorization, authentication, user registration and enrolment, password management, auditing, user self-service, central administration, and delegated administration.

Stores information The identity management system stores information about the following resources: applications (e.g. business applications, Web applications, desktop applications), databases (e.g. Oracle, DB2, MS SQL Server), devices (e.g. mobile phones, pagers, card keys), facilities (e.g. warehouses, office buildings, conference rooms), groups (e.g. departments, workgroups), operating systems (e.g. Windows, Unix, MVS), people (e.g. employees, contractors, customers), policy (e.g. security policy, access control policy), and roles (e.g. titles, responsibilities, job functions).

• Authentication and authorization

The identity management system authenticates and authorizes both internal and external users. When a user initiates a request for access to a resource, the identity management first authenticates the user by asking for credentials, which may be in the form of a username and password, digital certificate, smart card, or biometric data. After the user successfully authenticates, the identity management system authorizes the appropriate amount of access based on the user’s identity and attributes. The access control component will manage subsequent authentication and authorization requests for the user, which will reduce the number of passwords the user will have to remember and reduce the number of times a user will have to perform a logon function. This is referred to as “single sign-on”.

• External user registration and enrolment The identity management system allows external users to register accounts with the identity management system and also to enrol for access privileges to a particular resource. If the user cannot authenticate with the identity management system the user will be provided the opportunity to register an account. Once an account is created and the user successfully authenticates, the user must enrol for access privileges to requested resources. The enrolment process may be automated based on set policies or the owner of the resource may manually approve the enrolment. Only after the user has successfully registered with the identity management system and enrolled for access will access to that resource be granted.

• Internal user enrolment The identity management system allows internal users to enroll for access privileges. Unlike external users, internal users will not be given the option to register because internal users already have an identity within the identity management system. The enrolment process for internal users is identical to that of external users.

 • Auditing The identity management system facilitates auditing of user and privilege information. The identity management system can be queried to verify the level of user privilege. The identity management system provides data from authoritative sources, providing auditors with accurate information about users and their privileges.

 • Central administration The identity management system allows administrators to centrally manage multiple identities. Administrators can centrally manage both the content within the identity management system and the structural architecture of the identity management system.

4. Challenges in IAM

Today’s enterprise IT departments face the increasingly complex challenge of providing granular access to information resources, using contextual information about users and requests, while successfully restricting unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data.

Distributed applications

With the growth of cloud-based and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, users now have the power to log in to critical business apps like Salesforce, Office365, Concur, and more anytime, from any place, using any device. However, with the increase of distributed applications comes an increase in the complexity of managing user identities for those applications. Without a seamless way to access these applications, users struggle with password management while IT is faced with rising support costs from frustrated users. Solution is a holistic IAM solution can help administrators consolidate, control, and simplify access privileges, whether the critical applications are hosted in traditional data centers, private clouds, public clouds, or a hybrid combination of all these spaces.

  • Productive provisioning

Without a centralized IAM system, IT staff must provision access manually. The longer it takes for a user to gain access to crucial business applications, the less productive that user will be. On the flip side, failing to revoke the access rights of employees who have left the organization or transferred to different departments can have serious security consequences. To close this window of exposure and risk, IT staff must de-provision access to corporate data as quickly as possible. Manual provisioning and de provisioning of access is often supposed to cause human error or oversights. Especially for large organizations, it is not an efficient or sustainable way to manage user identities and access. Solution is a robust IAM solution that can fully automate the provisioning and de-provisioning process, giving IT full power over the access rights of employees, partners, contractors, vendors, and guests. Automated provisioning and de provisioning speed the enforcement of strong security policies while helping to eliminate human error.

  • Bring your own device (BYOD)

The challenge with BYOD is not whether outside devices are brought into the enterprise network, but whether IT can react quickly enough to protect the organization’s business assets—without disrupting employee productivity and while offering freedom of choice. Nearly every company has some sort of BYOD policy that allows users to access secure resources from their own devices. However, accessing internal and SaaS applications on a mobile device can be more cumbersome than doing so from a networked laptop or desktop workstation. In addition, IT staff may struggle to manage who has access privileges to corporate data and which devices they’re using to access it. Solution is enterprises must develop a strategy that makes it quick, easy, and secure to grant—and revoke—access to corporate applications on employee- and corporate-owned mobile devices based on corporate guidelines or regulatory compliance.

  • Regulatory compliance

Compliance and corporate governance concerns continue to be major drivers of IAM spending. Ensuring support for processes such as determining access privileges for specific employees, tracking management approvals for expanded access, and documenting who has accessed what data and when they did it can go a long way to easing the burden of regulatory compliance and ensuring a smooth audit process. Solution is a strong IAM solution can support compliance with regulatory standards such as HIPAA. In particular, a solution that automates audit reporting can simplify the processes for regulatory conformance and can also help generate the comprehensive reports needed to prove that compliance.

Efficiency, Security and Compliance are important keys of Identity and Access Management. Benefits of deploy a vigorous IAM solution are clear, the complexity and cost of implementation can disrupt even the most well-intentioned organization. A robust IAM solution can ease organization pains, streamline provisioning and de-provisioning, and improve user productivity, while lowering costs, dropping demands on IT, and providing the enterprise with comprehensive data to assist in complying with regulatory standards.

For more information about PATECCO Identity and Access Management Solutions inThe Era of Digital Transformation Whitepaper, click on the image below:

Which Are the Best Practices For Securing APIs?

APIs play an essential role in the modern enterprise, and their value will continue to grow as new applications, and IoT devices are created. APIs make integrations and connecting ecosystems much easier for developers, which has added benefits for enterprises and their customers. But with a growing number of smaller application “pieces” trying to communicate with each other, APIs (your own and those from third parties) are becoming increasingly challenging to secure.

For that reason, organizations should, use a layered security approach that includes security controls such as authentication, authorization, encryption, denial-of-service protection, and ongoing monitoring. This layered approach combines several methods to protect your APIs. While each individual approach within this multi-layered approach covers a specific focus area, the unified effect increases the chances of stopping API breaches. But before presenting some API security best practices, let us introduce the main API security issues that can put your business assets at a risk. Negligence with API security can cause massive repercussions, especially if the application’s user base is too high.

Top security issues in APIs:

  • Broken Object Level Authorization

APIs tend to expose endpoints that handle object identifiers, creating a wide attack surface Level Access Control issue. Object level authorization checks should be considered in every function that accesses a data source using an input from the user.

  • Broken User Authentication

Attackers often compromise authentication tokens or implementation flaws to assume other user’s identities temporarily or permanently due to incorrect implementation of authentication mechanisms. Compromising a system’s ability to identify the client/user, compromises API security overall.

  • Excessive Data Exposure

Looking forward to generic implementations, developers tend to expose all object properties without considering their individual sensitivity, relying on clients to perform the data filtering before displaying it to the user.

  • Lack of Resources & Rate Limiting

In most cases, APIs do not impose any restrictions on the size or number of resources that can be requested by the client/user. This can impact the API server performance, leading to Denial of Service (DoS), and also leave the door open to authentication flaws such as brute force.

  • Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

Insufficient logging and monitoring, coupled with missing or ineffective integration with incident response, allows attackers to further attack systems, maintain persistence, pivot to more systems to tamper with, extract, or destroy data.

As said above, the most critical API risks are data overexposure, lack of resources, no security configuration, insecure user-level authorization, and broken objects. Clearly, it is essential to ensure the security of the API so that application user data remains safe and the application is secure and trustworthy.

Here are eight best practices to ensure APIs are shielded and do not lead to critical security exposures.

1. Identify vulnerabilities

The only way to effectively secure APIs is to know which parts of the API lifecycle are insecure. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially as the organization’s use of APIs scales. It is important to consider the whole API lifecycle, since APIs need to be considered software artifacts on their own and, as such, must follow a complete lifecycle, including maintenance and retirement.

2. Use strong Authentication and Authorization

Many publicly available APIs have a major issue of zero or insignificant authentication and authorization. Many APIs are the entrance to the database of the organization, so it is essential to strictly control the authentication and authorization so that the database is not exposed. Poor or non-existent authentication and authorization are major issues with many publicly available APIs. For authentication, developers can use a powerful token-based tool known as OAuth. It is a framework that authorizes the information to be shared with a third party without disclosing the user credentials.

3. Identify vulnerabilities in the API

To make an API effective against security threats, it is essential to know which parts of the API cycle are insecure and vulnerable to security risks. It might be pretty challenging to comprehend this, as a software organization might use thousands of APIs at a time. The best way to identify a vulnerability is by rigorous testing. The vulnerabilities must be identified in the initial development phase so that rectifying them becomes comparatively easy and quick.

4. Don’t expose more data than necessary

Some APIs reveal far too much information, whether it’s the volume of extraneous data that’s returned through the API or information that reveals too much about the API endpoint. This typically occurs when an API leaves the task of filtering data to the user interface instead of the endpoint. Ensure that APIs only return as much information as is necessary to fulfill their function. In addition, enforce data access controls at the API level, monitor data, and obfuscate if the response contains confidential data.

5. Encrypt data

This cannot be stated more strongly or more often: All data, especially personally identifiable data, should be encrypted using a method such as Transport Layer Security (TLS). Developers should also require signatures to ensure that only authorized users are decrypting and modifying data.

6. Use an API gateway

API gateways act as the major point of enforcement for API traffic. A good gateway will allow organizations to authenticate traffic, as well as to control and analyze how APIs are used.

7. Adopt a zero-trust philosophy

In the perimeter security model, what’s “inside” is trusted and what’s “outside” is not trusted. The network is not that simple anymore, which is why a zero-trust model makes sense, especially with remote users. With a ZTM, the security focus shifts from location to specific users, assets, and resources.

8. Use Tokens

Access tokens allow an application to access your API. Once the authentication and authorization process is completed, an access token is provided. Tokens enable you to create trusted identities and assign tokens to those identities to control access to the API.

As mentioned before, APIs have become an integral element in creating modern applications, especially for smartphones and modern IoT devices. Since using an API means pulling the information from the outside source to your application, it poses a significant security risk. Too often, APIs are developed with the functionalities in mind, not the security, that’s why organizations must take API protection more seriously and dedicate effort to ensure end-to-end security.

What Are the Main Principles Behind Zero Trust Security?

Nowadays the security modernization should be on the top of mind for most organizations, especially with increasingly complex hybrid environments and the need to support a remote workforce. At the same time, IT budgets are getting reduced in many organizations, and the cost to maintain aging legacy infrastructure continues to grow. To struggle the rising costs, more and more enterprises are turning to cloud-based services with the goal of enabling posture-driven, conditional access and zero-day threat sharing. Large companies need to streamline the security environment with cross-platform automation which provides secure access to applications and data.

As cybersecurity professionals defend increasingly dispersed and complex enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber threats, embracing a Zero Trust security model and the mindset necessary to deploy and operate a system engineered according to Zero Trust principles can better position them to secure sensitive data, systems, and services. As we mentioned in our previous articles, Zero Trust is a security model, a set of system design principles, and a coordinated cybersecurity and system management strategy based on an acknowledgement that threats exist both inside and outside traditional network boundaries.

Principles of Zero Trust security

To be fully effective to minimize risk and enable robust and timely responses, Zero Trust principles and concepts must impregnate most aspects of the network and its operations ecosystem.

  • Comprehensive security monitoring and validation

The Zero Trust security model assumes that a breach is inevitable or has likely already occurred, so it constantly limits access to only what is needed and looks for anomalous or malicious activity. Zero Trust embeds comprehensive security monitoring; granular risk-based access controls; and system security automation in a coordinated manner throughout all aspects of the infrastructure in order to focus on protecting critical assets  in real-time within a dynamic threat environment. This data-centric security model allows the concept of least-privileged access to be applied for every access decision, allowing or denying access to resources based on the combination of several contextual factors.

The philosophy behind a Zero Trust network assumes that there are attackers both within and outside of the network, so no users or machines should be automatically trusted. Zero Trust verifies user identity and privileges as well as device identity and security. Logins and connections time out periodically once established, forcing users and devices to be continuously re-verified.

  • Least privilege

Another principle of zero trust security is least-privilege access. The principle refers to the concept and practice of restricting access rights for any entity (users, accounts, computing processes) where the only resources available are the ones required to perform the authorized activities. The privilege itself refers to the authorization to bypass certain security restraints that would normally prevent the user to use the needed resources. This is extremely important to prevent the risks and damage from cyber-security attacks.

Implementing least privilege involves careful managing of user permissions. VPNs are not well-suited for least-privilege approaches to authorization, as logging in to a VPN gives a user access to the whole connected network.

  • Variety of Preventative Techniques

To prevent breaches and minimize their damage, a variety of preventive techniques are available. Multi-factor authentication is the most common method of confirming user identity. It requires the user to provide at least two forms of evidence to confirm credibility. These may include security questions, SMS or email confirmation, and/or logic-based exercises. The more means required for access, the better the network is secured.

Limiting access for authenticated users is another layer used to gain trust. Each user or device only gains access to the minimal amount of resources required, thus minimizing the potential attack surface of the network at any time.

  • Microsegmentation

Zero Trust networks also utilize microsegmentation. Micro-segmentation is a network security technique that involves separating networks into zones, each of which requires separate network access. For example, a network with files living in a single data center that utilizes microsegmentation may contain dozens of separate, secure zones. A person or program with access to one of those zones will not be able to access any of the other zones without separate authorization.

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multifactor authentication (MFA), or strong authentication, is a key component to achieving Zero Trust. It adds a layer of security to access a network, application or database by requiring additional factors to prove the identity of users. MFA combines two or more independent credentials: what the user knows, such as a password; what the user has, such as a security token; and what the user is, by using biometric verification methods.

The goal of MFA is to create a layered defence that makes it more difficult for an unauthorized person to access a target, such as a physical location, computing device, network or database. If one factor is compromised or broken, the attacker still has at least one or more barriers to breach before successfully breaking into the target.

Implementing the five principles of zero trust listed above will enable organizations to take full advantage of this security model. A continuous process model must be followed that cycles though each principle – then it starts over again. The zero-trust model also must continually evolve to accommodate how business processes, goals, technologies and threats change.

For more information about Zero Trust, watch the video below:

How the Benefits of Automated IAM Save You Money and Time?

Do you know that a great percent of businesses still face challenges with manual management of access to systems and applications used by their employees? From a long time, the world has gone digital and the automation is regarded as an essential factor for specific business processes. As a result, businesses can benefit in their daily activities from having automated Identity and Access Management.

We all know that identity is regarded as the foundation of security and robust automated identity and access management (IAM) system keeps your company’s information an data safe. This is the reason why so many businesses adopt IAM systems. IAM can both increase convenience and reduce the security risks by giving the users only as much access as they need, when and where necessary. So, the automation of IAM reduces not only the probability of a human error, but it also reduces IT department workload, increases end user productivity, and ensures ongoing compliance of user accounts. But these are not all the advantages that IAM solution provides – it also saves you money and time. In this article we will list some of the financial benefits companies can gain by using an automated IAM.

Why manual IAM is risky and not effective?

In contrast to manual IAM, which requires admins to manually change these factors for each individual within the organization, the automated IAM technologies enable administrators to automatically provision and monitor users and grant time-based access. In such situations, the manual IAM can lead to errors in access restriction and eventually large losses in time, money and security. According to Forrester report, which examined the pitfalls of manual IAM and the benefits of automated IAM, around 47% of technology decision-makers have experienced internal data breaches. On the other hand, their competitors were more successful by securing their organizations with automated processes. All these facts show, that the lack of automated IAM could pose detrimental effects on the business in this modern era. The disadvantages of having a manual IAM system include: lack of evidence for access activities, delayed action and unpremeditated disclosure of data, difficulties in making changes, lack of security, risk of data loss or theft.

Why companies schould have an automated IAM?

IAM automation provides a significant number of positive outcomes. Before any of them can be realized, however, automation must be prioritized. Here we will mark several important benefits of identity and access management automation which increase efficiency, resiliency, and accuracy in a number of ways.

  • Reduces IT costs

An automated IAM solution saves IT workers a great amount of time. The savings occur throughout the employee lifecycle. When new employees come, they need a username, password, and access to all the apps and company data they need. With manual provisioning, it takes the average IT worker half an hour to set this up – when they can get to it. With automated provisioning, an account is created in minutes. Automated provisioning saves many hours of labor as new workers are hired. The same is true for deprovisioning when an employee leaves the company. This is a huge benefit from a security perspective but also eliminates the risk of a former employee accessing data causing a costly breach or compliance violation.

  • Increases end-user productivity

When maintenance functions like password resets and privilege changes are executed automatically, the end users should no longer wait for IT personnel approval before performing routine tasks. In this way employees are able to focus on their working responsibilities, rather than identity upkeep. The system allocates users with the rights and privileges to access the system and will keep the user confined to those capabilities.

So, with automated IAM, such kind of processes are smooth and efficient. The employee requests access through a portal, and the request is automatically routed to the right manager. All the manager has to do is click a box to approve or deny the request. IAM sets easily workers up for single sign-on, meaning they only need to log in once at the beginning of the day. There is no need to waste time logging in and trying to recall the right password every time they switch apps. In this way the employees are more productive, your business operates more efficiently, saving time and money.

  • Eliminates deprovisioning

Imagine the situation when an employee needs to move to a different role in your company. That means that he/she needs a whole new set of credentials or access. Not having an automated IAM, makes the process more complex. Your IT department must manually check all credentials of the employee across the database, and then undergo onboarding process.

Now imagine another case – when the employee leaves the company. The system administrator or user may forget to revoke individual permissions for the employee after accessing sensitive information. When not cancelling certain user rights, this can lead to costly mistakes that may lead to compliance issues. Automated IAM systems make it easier to revoke specific user access authority after a while. Once the user logs out, authority and authentication require those rights to be fed into the system again. This process allows the company to avoid security breaches that would lead to loss or leakage of sensitive data.

  • Audits and compliance are easier, cheaper, and better

Companies spend so many hours compiling paperwork to fulfill compliance regulations, perform internal audits, and prepare for external audits. A good and automated IAM solution has compliance tracking built into the system. In addition to saving time and money, automated tracking prevents costly errors that may be caused by manual processing. It gives auditors and regulators timely, punctual and detailed reports.

After reading all the above listed benefits, a question quickly comes to our mind – why do people still use manual IAM? One of the primary reasons is the assumption that switching to automated IAM will not benefit the organization’s bottom line. However, companies who utilize automated IAM can achieve over 100% more ROI than they did with manual processes. Adopting automated IAM will reduce  costs while increasing return on investment. In fact, according to the report, manual IAM costs can actually be double that of automated systems. The excess costs of manual IAM can be attributed to the expense of IT hours required to maintain the system and its inefficiencies.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Help in Identity Verification?

Nowadays Identity theft is regarded as a growing problem. With the increase in online shopping, the number of online identity theft increased rapidly. According to Internet security report from 2019, cybercriminals diversify their targets and use smart methods to commit identity theft and fraud.  Unfortunately, the number of fraudulent transactions and massive data breaches increases as the fraudsters and cybercriminals become more sophisticated. For most businesses, it is essential to identify and verify the identity of their client in order to decrease the potential risks. To deal with that challenge, various ID scanning and security solutions have been implemented using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Automated Identity Verification

Thanks to the modern AI technology, that process can now be automated. A stable AI system can solve this time consuming task in a matter of a few minutes. So, now let’s see how an AI based identification and verification solution can help solving this problem.

From one side, Artificial intelligence enables computers to make human-like decisions and automating a particular task. It empowers everyday technologies like search engines, self-driving cars, and facial recognition apps. AI cannot only deter online frauds and scams, but IT plays a pivotal role in making payment frauds a thing of the past if used with appropriate intelligence. From the other site, machine learning and deep learning make it possible to authenticate, verify and accurately process the identities of the users at scale. Here are some ways AI and machine learning are used to scale identity verification.

KYC (Know Your Customer) checks

First of all, KYC (know your customer) checks is a common process used in most businesses. The aim behind these checks is to ensure that they know what their customers are, what type of activity is expected from a certain customer and also the type of risk they could bring to the business. Such checks are important to ensure the sustainability of the business. This, however, is a long and a tedious process. With the added advantage of machine learning algorithms, an AI-powered system can detect any attempt of document fake information on an identity document at much more quicker pace and with much efficiency as compared to a non-AI system or a manual review process. The biometric features captured during the facial verification process can be cross-matched with the face image present on an identity document. This establishes the ultimate verdict either against or in the favor of the identity of the incoming user.

AI and Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication is used to fulfil KYC and KYB (Know Your Business) compliances. It uses fingerprints, eyeball scanning or face scanning to verify a person’s identity. It can also be used to authenticate the employees at the workplace. The old method of authentication like passwords or PIN code has long been finished due to biometric authentication. With the help of AI, biometric can create data-driven safety protocols and the verification solution cannot be manipulated by fraudsters. Here we will list some of the ways AI can work with Biometric verification:

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition processes can be tricked easily with a picture or a video of the owner. There are many cases where the system has been fooled were due to 2D facial recognition. This is where AI plays an important role by using 3D biometric facial recognition technology. It detects the face of the person and learns from many different pictures. AI can also detect if a person is using a face mask, using a picture of a picture, a picture of the screen, or using a tampered document with a fake picture. That’s why AI matched with biometric makes a perfect solution for bio authentication.

Voice Recognition

AI can be used to recognize voices in these biometric systems. Different voice patterns like speed, tone, accent, etc. can be analyzed as well. AI can evaluate a person’s voice for biometric verifications.

Keystroke dynamics

Just like writing, the typing pattern of the person differs as well. AI can recognize a person from their typing pattern and verify their identity. It uses dwell time, speed, and fight time. Dwell time is how much time the user puts in pressing a key, and fight time is a time in releasing a key and pressing another key. This system can also identify a person with their frequently used keys.

  • For more information about Identity verification, check out here.

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.

Best Practices for Role Based Access Control (Part 1)

In organizations that have major divisions, creating a role-based access control system is essential in mitigating data loss. Role-based access control (RBAC) is already a proven concept in IT systems, which is realized by many operating systems to control access to system resources. For the last 25 years, it has become one of the main methods for advanced access control.

Basically, what RBAC does is to restrict network access based on a person’s role within an organization. The roles in RBAC are related to the levels of access that employees have to the network. That means that they are only allowed to access the information needed to effectively execute their job tasks. Access can be based on several factors, such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. As a result, lower-level employees usually do not have access to sensitive data if they do not need it to fulfil their responsibilities. This is especially helpful if you have many employees and use third-parties and contractors that make it difficult to closely monitor network access. Using RBAC will help in securing your company’s sensitive data and important applications.

Why RBAC matters?

For many organizations which are divided into multiple departments and have their own set of dedicated employees with their own computers, the role-based access control system is the best solution for enhanced security. With role-based security, administrators can achieve both optimal data protection and user productivity by granting varying levels of permissions to users based on their role. As a result, only the authorized users can easily access information pertaining to their department and specific function and the access to all other company data remains restricted.

Best practices for implementing RBAC

Managing and auditing network access is crucial to information security. With hundreds or thousands of employees in the enterprise, security is more easily maintained by limiting unnecessary access to sensitive information based on a user’s established role within the company. That is why implementing role-based access control across an entire organization is important, but at the same time could be complex. To successfully implement RBAC, you should follow these best practices:

  • Develop an RBAC Strategy

To create a strategy you should start with an assessment of where you are (data, process, policy, systems). The second step is to define your desired future state (automated provisioning of access through RBAC for a set of apps and systems), and at the end to identify your gaps that must be addressed (data quality, process issues, different authentication/authorization models across systems).

  • Scope your implementation

In case you do not necessarily have to implement RBAC across your entire organization right away, it is better to consider narrowing the scope to systems or applications that store sensitive data first.

  • Role classification

The primary step to provide role-based security is to assign roles. This can be done by distinguishing between the various users within the business and their diverse functions. Usually, these roles are based on the job titles that fall under major divisions such as finance, marketing, human resources, etc. Administrators should also provide a name and a description for each role-based access control policy that they create. For easy categorization and tracking of these policies, you can name them by the job title they apply to, and in the description, you can specify the department as well as other important details about this role.

  • Build policies related to a role

After a policy is named and its description is filled in accordance with a role, the settings can be configured. First, the devices that belong to the more prominent users who have administrative or executive roles can be added into the whitelist. These devices can be granted increased mobility when it comes to accessing various information across their department. Then, for the majority of the other employees, their devices can be given read-only permissions or delegated specific rights to access only the information critical to their job requirements while access to all other data remains restricted.

  • Modify policies and user privileges to stay updated

Since there is always a constant influx of employees, no matter they are new or come from other departments of the organization, their devices should be categorized as trusted or blocked, and their computers should be inserted into a custom group. This best practice also applies if existing users obtain new equipment. This proactive approach ensures that device and file control policies are enforced right from a user’s introduction and through the rest of their career in the company. In this way their activities always remain monitored, and the opportunity for data loss is eliminated.

  • Roll out in stages

A useful practice is to consider rolling out RBAC in stages to reduce workload and disruption to the business. You can begin with a core set of users and coarse-grain controls before increasing granularity. Then proceed collecting feedback from internal users and monitor your business metrics before implementing additional roles.

3 Steps for Building Your Identity Management Strategy

Today a lot of enterprises rely on higher security and governance to run and keep their business successfully. We are witnessing a trend where the more connections are increasing, the more security breaches affect companies from all around the world.

The enterprises suffering such data breach problems experience significant losses in terms of recovery costs and brand damage. That hard situation comes when there is some type of “unauthorized access” (whether from internal or external threats) to corporate applications and sensitive data.  As a result, companies make a detailed review of their current Identity and Access Management (IAM) processes and after detecting some gaps, start looking for new IAM approaches. In this way they want to ensure that their organizations are safe from access-related security breaches, optimize the operational costs associated with access control and meet their internal and external compliance requirements.

Regardless what IAM system you will choose, in this article we will give you an idea of what steps to take for building an effective Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy, focused on mitigating key risks for the organization.

1. Use federated identity management approach

Companies could implement a federated identity management approach whereby the organisation providing the data or service trusts the authentication measures in place at a collaborating organisation. If you use such an approach, it’s not necessary to share the personal details of the user requesting the access, only an assertion from the trusted party that the user is authorised to make the request. 

2. Keep a good governance

Good governance ensures that there is a consistent approach to risks and compliance across different lines of business. It is able to reduce costs by avoiding multiple, ad hoc, approaches to compliance and risk management. Identity and access governance ensures that only authorized persons have access to the confidential and regulated data.

Remember that the power of identity and access governance is in managing privacy across the enterprise. Governance is your procedure and framework that makes everything consistent across the board. That means risk management and compliance for all your lines of business.

3. Avoid multiple authentication

Authentication process is used for confirming the user identity. The typical authentication process allows the system to identify the user via a username and a password.

The less authentication your users have to go through, the better. You could have a negative feedback if users have to go through a multiple authentication levels to gain access to an email or account. Some may even find their own shortcuts, which is where problems can arise.

Single sign-on can help, but cannot resolve the problem. Users operating in an SSO environment could have negative feedback from their home and mobile workers due to the extra levels of authentication required to access the new system.

There are stronger methods of authenticating the user, including certificates, one-time passwords, and device fingerprinting. Thanks to them, could be provided a stronger combination of authentication factors.

Phases of IM Strategy

Building the Identity Management Strategy requires three distinct phases: assessment, analysis and planning, as well.

1) Assessment Phase: Assess your current infrastructure and architecture and identity-related processes;

2) Analysis Phase: Determine key technology and process gaps and identify needed identity capabilities and integration points;

3) Planning Phase: Define high-level, future-state identity architecture; Develop a phased implementation roadmap; Document and present final recommendations

In order to secure identities and data, as well as tо ensure readiness, organizations need to respond proactively to the coming changes by adapting the right strategy, operations and architecture of their IAM and its supporting tools and services.