Gaining Trust in Your Identity Management: The Secret Weapon of Great InfoSec

Gaining Trust in Your Identity Management: The Secret Weapon of Great InfoSec

How important is gaining trust in your identity management solution? Why do you need employee trust for optimal identity management? Can trust help deflect or prevent insider threats? 

Some IT decision-makers believe that by just buying the right solution, you can solve all of the security challenges facing businesses. This line of thinking is a holdover from the earlier period of “set-it-and-forget-it” cybersecurity. Unfortunately, it no longer holds true today. First, you need to ensure that you deploy your cybersecurity and identity security solutions correctly for best effectiveness. 

Second, you need a certain amount of buy-in and trust from the largest attack vector in your business IT environment: your employees. In fact, you can think of gaining trust in your identity management as an integration problem, akin to integrating with other solutions and tools. 

Here’s why this matters. 

Gaining Trust in Your Identity Management

How Employees Can Leave Your Vulnerable

What do solutions, authentication portals, workflows, databases, and applications all have in common? 

At some point, a human is going to interact with them. And that makes them vulnerable. 

Humans could for example create new databases with no authentication protections whatsoever (which often leads to data leaks down the line). Alternatively, they could share their credentials with other employees, increasing the likelihood of an insider threat. Worse, employees may protect your valuable data with incredibly weak passwords hackers can easily guess or crack. 

Hackers learned over time how to exploit the worst instincts of ordinary employees to cause cyber-attacks. Through phishing and spear-phishing attacks, they can convince employees to simply hand over valuable data or their credentials. Through other threat probing attacks, they can find the vulnerabilities left behind through careless actions. 

Every behavior your employees engage in can have a ripple effect across your entire enterprise, changing your cybersecurity position. 

So what can you do? Use identity management as an incentive to change behaviors, thus gaining trust in your identity management. 

Here’s how. 

Stop Weak Passwords and Password Sharing

First, you need to use identity management to encourage employees to embrace stronger passwords and discourage password sharing. 

Part of the problem with passwords is that employees need to remember so many accounts to complete just their basic workflows. To maintain the speed necessitated by modern businesses, they pick efficiency over security, and thus weak and repeated passwords. 

Incorporating a password vault into your identity management encourages employees to pick unique and strong passwords because the fear of forgetting is removed. Thus hackers have less porous digital perimeters to exploit. 

Additionally, employees may share credentials and other permissions with each other. Usually, this isn’t malicious, but instead necessary for completing special projects or workflows. However, it can leave accounts more open to insider threats over time, or cause access creep to create whale targets for hackers. 

This is where identity governance and administration (IGA) steps in. It can help assign special, temporary permissions to accounts that automatically revoke after a set period. Additionally, it monitors accounts for unnecessary permissions to revoke them and sets each role in the IT environment with set permissions, so employees have what they need and no more. 

What matters most is utilizing these tools in conjunction with training and education encouraging employees to work with, not against these tools and capabilities.

Remember, disgruntled employees or employees confused by your identity management tools may choose to develop workarounds. In turn, these workarounds become hard-to-detect but blatant openings for external threat actors. Gaining trust in your identity management isn’t an idle activity. It’s key to your survival as a business. 

You can learn more in our Identity Management Buyer’s Guide

Ben Canner