Are You Prioritizing Digital Identity Management?

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The rapid shift to remote working has created newfound challenges for organizations when it comes to digitizing their operations. One major hurdle is managing employees’ digital identities. So much so, that the vast majority of organizations (84%) report experiencing some form of identity-related breach within the past 12 months, which is undoubtedly a huge security risk.

A recent study found that nearly all organizations have seen an exponential increase in the number of identities they have to manage. This is because more applications and workloads are being moved to the cloud, while organizations are typically also working with more third-party software providers than ever.

Organizations must understand that they have a responsibility to protect their employees' digital identities. Without a well-developed digital identity security strategy, they can face huge risks, such as operational disruption, negative publicity, and costly regulatory fines.

In this article we will examine some of the measures organizations can put in place to ensure the security of their digital infrastructure and regain control over employees’ digital identities.

Zero Trust Architecture – The ‘Be All and End All’ Solution? 

Security strategies have to evolve with the times. With the hybrid working boom, it's no longer enough for organizations to just protect the perimeter of their networks. Employees are now often logging in from multiple locations and on different devices; all they need is a reliable internet connection. Organizations have to take this into account – and understand that traditional measures are no longer fit for purpose.

The evolving business landscape has created new challenges for enterprise network security. Zero trust architecture (ZTA) is becoming an increasingly popular approach, as it provides a higher level of security than a perimeter-centric model. ZTA assumes that all devices and users are potentially malicious and requires that they be authenticated as they move laterally within a network, making it more difficult for attackers to breach the system.

The effective management of users’ digital identities is the cornerstone of ZTA. Its implementation typically centers around a host of identity and access management technologies, including multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA solution offers a secure method for user authentication and access to data and applications. It employs established practices, such as username/password validation, in combination with dynamic factors like one-time passcodes or text messages.

In the new era of working, ZTA is vital to ensure a safe and secure working environment. However, it's important to note that implementing a ZTA alone isn't enough. Instead, organizations should consider creating a more robust digital identity management plan consisting of multiple strategies and tactics.

Security Certificates

Security certificates – which depend on encryption – are a less commonly-talked about pillar of digital identity security.

It’s more important than ever for organizations to ensure their website is equipped with the latest security features. SSL server certificates are a great way to do this, as they activate the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. This secure protocol will encrypt all data exchanged between an organization’s website and its visitors, making it virtually impossible for anyone to intercept and tamper with sensitive information.

At the same time, ensuring the security and authenticity of emails is vital. Email security is a crucial feature of any popular email application. Through the use of signaling protocols, users can add an extra layer of confidentiality to emails by digitally signing and encrypting the messages. With this protocol in place, emails can remWith signaling protocols like the S/MIME protocol, users can add an extra layer of confidentiality to emails by digitally signing and encrypting the messages.

Delete Complexities

The high number of user accounts that each employee is expected to maintain increases security risks. When trying to memorize too many login credentials, employees are likely to start making dangerous shortcuts, such as reusing passwords or sharing credentials with colleagues. Businesses can help reduce the risk of employee account security issues by using password managers and single sign-on solutions. These enable employees to set strong passwords that are harder to guess, ensuring better password hygiene.

Furthermore, when staff members leave their positions, their corresponding accounts need to be deactivated quickly to prevent them from accessing confidential data and/or systems.  Implementing automated provisioning and deprovisioning is the best way to make this a reality and prevent any ‘zombie accounts’ from being compromised. Role-based access controls offer additional safeguards by limiting employees’ permissions to access only the resources needed for their job functions.

Bumping up Digital Identity as a Priority

In the face of increasing cyber threats, and organizations adopting a ‘work from home’ culture, it’s essential to have robust digital identity management processes in place to protect digital environments.

It can be tough for organizations to prioritize digital identity management when setting IT/operational budgets – particularly with inflation driving up prices and ongoing supply chain disruption. But it should be a priority, especially for those undergoing digital transformation, as they’re increasingly reliant on a distributed web of cloud-based digital platforms and systems. To avoid falling victim to an unexpected attack, organizations must act now to regain control of employee identities.

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