63% of all internal data breaches within organizations are a result of compromised usernames and passwords—the indicators of a flawed security foundation that cybersec firms can ill afford. Without a robust identity access management strategy for your cloud infrastructure, your consumer data, confidential information, and trade secrets may be protected with nothing more than “password123”. However, the issue is even bigger than that.
A holistic cloud infrastructure security plan includes the following pillars:
All the usual cloud security concerns persist within IAM: losing millions of dollars in remediation and revenue, a tarnished professional reputation, and losing customer trust. When it comes to identity and access management, though, the stakes are infinitely higher.
In this blog, we’ll cover actionable risks, your top priorities when developing a strategy, and 3 steps towards a robust approach to identity and access management.
Government regulations mandate that companies handle consumers’ personal information in a secure, ethical fashion. In situations where ethical behavior comes into question, executive leaders that didn’t invest in IAM strategy and prioritize transparency may face legal repercussions. (For instance, a federal jury recently convicted Joe Sullivan, former CISO of Uber, for charges related to covering up a data breach.)
To address the stakes, focus on actionable risks, such as:
1. Unauthorized access
2. Data breaches, leakage, and loss
3. Consumer identity theft
4. Account hijacking
With millions of data breach victims in any given year, developing an IAM strategy for your organization has never been more crucial.
Historically, IAM was viewed as a tedious compliance process. Organizations can’t afford to treat IAM like a necessary evil anymore. To progress, IAM must be centered as a primary pillar of a holistic cloud security strategy. Fighting outdated perceptions of identity and access management slows you down—that’s why it’s important to show your work to demonstrate value and increases your chances of long-term adoption.
Your end users or customers often represent a challenge, too. For maximum safety, it may be tempting to force users through multiple identity verification steps … which makes users feel frustrated, not protected!
With such a nuanced landscape, it’s important to focus on your top three priorities when you develop an IAM strategy: increased visibility, improved security, and improved compliance with data regulations.
A measured approach to IAM strategy relies on three priorities: business, people, and process.
Start by assessing the internal and external factors that drive your business. In your industry—and your organization—what outcomes indicate success? Your IAM strategy must work with, not against, business goals. Once you’ve identified your destination, it’s time to audit your current digital strategy. What is your organization’s current state of governance, risk, and compliance?
The human element of your IAM strategy is crucial. Often, organizations run into trouble when they don’t support the headcount (or education needed) to actually implement their initiatives.
Talk to your current security and IT team. Does the current structure and headcount match your organization’s needs? Even if you have enough people, they may not be properly trained. Or they may need access to different tools to support your vision. According to Akash Agarwal, Chief Business Officer at Procyon, “…there are multiple tools on the market that are helping customers eliminate passwords. Technologies like Trusted Platform Module encrypt your password in the hardware chip of the device … or [solutions] that cryptographically encrypt your credentials, eliminating the need for passwords.” Providing the tech your team needs is a critical investment.
When users or customers engage with your organization, what does that experience look like? Plot out their experience from start to finish, accounting for every single touchpoint they deal with as new, current, or recurring customers.
Then, identify what your IAM process currently looks like, and compare it to the current customer experience. When conducting this audit, identify chances for automation to replace current manual processes. 95% of data breaches are a result of human error, not technical failures. Giving automation a chance to do what they do best – play by the rules – is a great first layer of defense for your organization.
When you build an IAM strategy, remember the end goal: an innovative, equitable, safe digital economy. That’s what we are all striving for, an ecosystem where organizations, developers, users, and consumers can interact safely and efficiently in a forward-thinking digital ecosystem.
A successful IAM strategy prioritizes security, privacy, and consent: the three tenets of well-structured digital identity solutions within the cloud infrastructure. When these steps are properly implemented, IAM strategies should serve as a tool to perpetuate inclusion and equity.
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