How can your business recognize and select the right identity management solution for its use-case? If no IAM solution is created equal, how can you recognize what matches your IT infrastructure and employee or user demands?
Identity management now represents the core of enterprise-level cybersecurity. It forms the new digital perimeter designed to keep out external threats and bad actors. Furthermore, identity management also ensures only authorized users can access sensitive data on the network and continuously authenticates their authenticity.
In other words, the necessity of identity management is unquestionable. However, every solution differs from their brethren. Some solutions may offer capabilities your organization desperately needs. Others may not suit your business goals or your cybersecurity use case. How can you tell which is which?
The editors of Solutions Review have developed this questionnaire so your business can get a better sense of its identity management use case. Here’s what you need to ask yourself:
How To Identify The Right Identity Management Solution for Your Use-Case
Business Size (Now and Later)
The first (of several) questions you need to ask yourself concerns the size of your business. This isn’t a simple series of questions. Identity management does not only concern employees; it also needs to monitor the behaviors and authentication factors of individual devices. After all, devices can access data regardless of the user operating it—if it ends up in the wrong hands, your company may end up breached.
How many employees does your company currently employ? How many devices does your business use in a professional context for work processes? The difference between a company with 50 or fewer employees and a company of 200 employees proves substantial, even though both don’t qualify as major enterprises.
However, as alluded to above, evaluating just the size of the business as it stands now could blind you to major factors. In fact, you need to judge identity management use-case for your business’ evolution as much as for its current state. For example, how do you plan to scale your business’ IT infrastructure as its market presence grows? Do you have future employee projections? Moreover, how will you adapt to new devices connecting to the network?
Additionally, you need to think about the actual roles of the users connecting to your business network. What is your ratio of employees to managers? What titles and functions do your managers have? How many customers do you have, and do they conduct business with you online?
The answer to these questions can not only help you find the right-sized solution for your identity management use-case (some solutions specialize in small businesses). In addition, it can help you find your IAM focus. You may need privileged access management, identity governance, or customer identity and access management (CIAM).
What Does Your IT Infrastructure Look Like?
Does your business still operate primarily on-premises? If so, you need an IAM solution suited to protecting on-premises infrastructure.
Alternatively, did your enterprise migrate to the cloud or does it use a multi-cloud environment or does it have a hybrid infrastructure? Different identity management solutions help protect those radically dissimilar environments.
Of course, this represents only the tip of the identity iceberg. Your IT infrastructure also incorporates components such as third-party partners and vendors and remote workers. Also, it incorporates bring-your-own-devices policies (BYOD), which introduces several new devices into your identity management use-case. Your solution needs to handle all of these concerns and ensure full monitoring of all users.
If you can’t monitor the logins and behaviors of all of your users and devices, then it can’t help ensure your cybersecurity.
Your Compliance Requirements
Every industry vertical comes with its own compliance mandates, and almost all of them carry with them data privacy requirements. Usually, they require that only authorized users can access certain data collected through their work processes.
If you can’t ensure that you know which users can access which databases, your enterprise won’t have to contend with the normal substantial costs of a data breach; it will have to deal with the compliance fees (including the legal fees involved with the compliance fees) in addition to those costs.
Therefore, you need a solution that regards your compliance requirements as a critical part of your identity management use-case. Additionally, you need monitoring that can ensure that users can’t escalate their privileges unilaterally or without permission (this is a common threat actor move). You also need to be aware and in control of your Shadow IT for when employees create new accounts without direct supervision.
After all, you can’t shut down the Shadow IT entirely. Doing so might hamper your employee’s productivity and workflows. But not monitoring and regulating it can create orphaned accounts, a serious IT vulnerability.
What Do You Need to Protect?
Or perhaps more accurately, what needs the most identity and access management protection? Which privileged users need the most management? Which credentials could do the most damage to your enterprise in the wrong hands?
Remember, 81 percent of data breaches start with weak, compromised, and reused passwords. 81 percent of the time and 80 percent of breaches involve privileged credentials. If you don’t know all of the privileged users in your network, your business will end up with severe security holes regardless of your cybersecurity.
When in doubt about your own identity management use-case, consult your IT security team. As your boots on the ground, they should have a comprehensive understanding of your IT infrastructure. If you don’t have an IT security team or have an IT team stretched thin due to lack of resources, consider finding an IAM manage security services provider. These can supplement or serve as your IT security team to conduct round-the-clock monitoring and incident management.
We hope this article helps you find a solution for your business needs. For more information, check out our Identity Management Buyer’s Guide.