What are the core capabilities of identity management in the modern era? How does next-generation identity management provide critical cybersecurity protections for businesses of all sizes? How should you weigh the core capabilities of identity management?
Identity management represents the new keystone to successful, optimal business cybersecurity. In fact, many IT security experts declare identity as the new digital perimeter, taking the place of legacy antivirus. However, some enterprises struggle to understand what core capabilities identity management brings to the table.
Here, we outline the core capabilities of identity management.
The Core Capabilities of Identity Management
1. Authentication Protections
The core of the core capabilities of identity management centers on authentication. This can begin with the login process and can continue into the network itself via behavioral biometrics.
Most enterprises utilize the most basic form of authentication i.e. single-factor, password-only logins. However, this proves increasingly untenable in the current threat landscape; passwords alone cannot protect enterprises against the onslaught of hackers and other external threats. Too often, hackers can crack passwords with readily-available tools or just guess them based on social media profiles.
Instead, the core capabilities of identity management now feature multifactor authentication (MFA). Multifactor authentication asks users to provide multiple factors to verify their authenticity. These can include passwords, yet it can also include hard tokens, biometrics, and SMS messaging.
Notably, multifactor authentication is not synonymous with multi-step authentication; many of the key multifactor authentication factors operate without active input from users. Geofencing, time of access request monitoring, and behavioral biometrics all trigger passively and can determine the authenticity of your users.
2. Single Sign-On
We discussed some of the problems with passwords above. Yet that doesn’t cover the sheer number of challenges that come with this authentication strategy. One of the most pressing and damaging issues concerns password reuse.
Users may need to remember the passwords for dozens if not hundreds of accounts, both in their work capacities and in their personal lives. Therefore, many users feel the need to repeat their passwords so they don’t have to experience password resets; each password reset represents an interruption in normal workflows and potentially another ticket to your IT desk.
Instead, your organization needs to adopt a critical capability in identity management: single sign-on (SSO). This reduces the vast majority of logins needed throughout the workday to just one. This not only saves time, but it also reduces the number of passwords users must remember. In turn, this promotes the creation of stronger passwords.
3. User Session Monitoring and Visibility
Visibility matters profoundly to modern cybersecurity. You cannot protect what you cannot see, and that applies doubly to the activities of your users.
If users operate without visibility, if hackers gain access to their accounts, they could operate with relative impunity. Additionally, if privileged users’ accounts become invisible, they could persist as orphaned accounts—a prime attack vector for external threat actors. Further, a lack of identity management visibility could allow insider threats to subvert and sabotage normal workflows.
Identity management offers numerous capabilities to help increase visibility on users and their credentials. In privileged access management, this includes session management; session management traces the activities of privileged users throughout their workflows. If suspicious activities occur on the account, then it allows IT security teams to thoroughly investigate (often with visualization aids).
More generally, the core capabilities of identity and access management include active directories and tools to prevent credentials from becoming lost in the IT infrastructure; otherwise, these credentials could start accruing permissions beyond the scope of their job.
How to Learn More
Check out the Identity Management Buyer’s Guide. We cover the top solution providers and their key capabilities in detail.
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