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

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

IAM against data breaches

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

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

How can AI improve Identity Management and Security

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

  • Advanced analytics

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

  • More precise access control

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

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

  • Automation and Flexibility

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

  • Going Beyond Compliance

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

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

The Advantages of Identity and Access Management in the Era of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation refers to different thinking, innovation and change of the current business models. This is possible by building up a digital strategy which is able to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. For the establishment of the new business and digital strategies, organizations need a strong IT infrastructure that supports all the upcoming changes with agility, productivity and security.

In the last several years a lot of organizations started their digital transformation, using Identity and Access Management technology. It ensures not only a safe and successful digital journey, but at the same time brings successful customer and employee experience.

Why IAM?

Identity Management plays a central role in the digital transformation, including all new business models, applications and ecosystems it supports. Identity Management provides the secure, flexible and adaptive IT infrastructure that every company, government agency or university strives to achieve. It helps to increase customer engagement through new digital channels, to streamline your business operations and to protect data privacy, and security to keep stable your reputation and finances.

According to Gartner, IAM is the security discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. Therefore, the lack of a proper IAM process in place, puts the data at risk and this situation may lead to regulatory non-compliance or even worse – a data breach event. IAM addresses the need to ensure appropriate access to resources across increasingly heterogeneous technology environments, and to meet all rigorous compliance requirements. This security practice is a crucial measure for any enterprise. It is increasingly business-aligned, and it requires business skills, not just technical expertise.

Talking about transformation in the digital era, it is crucial for the companies to develop long-term technology infrastructure plans that inform how identities are established, maintained, secured, leveraged by applications and distributed within and out of an organization. That means that the major IAM themes in the enterprise’s strategy should include Privileged Access Management, Identity and the Internet of Things, Cloud-based IAM, Identity Governance and Customer IAM.

Which are the main IAM advantages in the digital transformation?

  • Ability to manage digital identity for accessing information and resources:

Identity and Access Management solutions provide the ability to manage digital identity for accessing information and resources. That means that they secure content from unauthorized access by injecting authentication layers between the users and the critical apps and data. Protected target resources may include on-premises or SaaS applications and web service APIs across all business scenarios, from business-to-employee (B2E) to B2C. Besides, Identity and Access management solutions support bring-your-own-device (BYOD), through the use of social identity integration needed for registration, account linking and user authentication.

  • Ability to quickly enable access to resources and applications:

According to our partner, IBM, IAM technology quickly enable access to resources and applications, whether in the cloud, on premises, or in a hybrid cloud. Whether you’re providing access to partner, customer or employee-facing applications, you’ll be able to offer the seamless experience your users expect.

  • Ability to simplify activities:

Creating an identity-focused digital transformation strategy means choosing the right technologies that enable internal or external users to streamline actions, duties, or processes. When you create a strategy intending to enable users, you need to focus on which identities need access to the technology, how they use the technology, what resources they need and most important – how to control their access to prevent unauthorized access.

You are on the right way if your strategies closely align with the purpose of an IAM program.  IAM and IGA (Identity Governance and Administration) programs define who, what, where, when, how, and why of technology access. When composing your enterprise digital transformation strategy based on an identity management program, you are ready to successfully manage the data privacy and security risks.

  • Ability to enable digital interaction

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) is a whole emerging area in the IAM. The increased number of sophisticated consumers need more simplified digital interactions which helps them to easily build up a better and deeper relation with brands. Furthermore, CIAM technologies help drive revenue growth by leveraging identity data to acquire and retain customers.

As mentioned above, IAM is a critical element of the digital transformation which makes it substantial for protecting sensitive business data and systems. When implemented well, IAM provides confidence that only authorized and authenticated users are able to interact with the systems and data they need to seamlessly do their job. Effective IAM solutions include Access Management – a solution that streamlines and manages multiple accesses, as well as Identity Governance and Administration – a solution that helps you monitor and govern the access.