Identity Security Risk Mitigation for Enterprises: The Basics

Identity Security Risk Mitigation for Enterprises: The Basics

How can you improve your enterprise’s identity security risk mitigation? Deter hackers from targeting your business in the first place? Make maliciously dwelling on your network or stealing a legitimate users’ identity as hostile and difficult as possible?

 

These question torment enterprises of all sizes. Security experts the world over contend identity now serves as the new digital perimeter—the foundation of all future cybersecurity efforts. Therefore, identity security risk mitigation takes on special prominence.

We provide the basics of identity security risk mitigation via a few key best practices.

Make Multifactor Authentication an Easy Transition

Identity security risk mitigation requires deploying and maintaining the top IAM capabilities from next-generation identity solutions. These include:

  • Single sign-on.
  • Password vaulting.
  • Behavioral analytics.
  • Privileged access management.
  • Application management.
  • Lifecycle management.

However, few prove as contentious to implement on an enterprise-wide scale as multifactor authentication (MFA). Mandating as many authentication factors as proves feasible before granting access secures your digital assets more effectively than single-factor or two-factor authentication.

The latter certainly offers better protection than simple passwords. However, hackers have plenty of schemes to bypass two-factor authentication or otherwise obtain the missing piece of information.

Multifactor authentication reduces the chances of hackers obtaining illicit access significantly. However, enterprises and users alike see multifactor authentication as a burden or as a simple annoyance. This perspective must change if enterprises wish to enact identity security risk mitigation.

You can achieve this change by:

  • Slowly deploying multifactor authentication across the enterprise network, allowing employees to adjust to the new access process over time.
  • Enforcing multifactor authentication factors which place less burden on employees, such as biometrics (physiological or behavioral), geofencing, or time parameters.
  • Enforcing multifactor authentication as a granular process, only enforcing it on the most sensitive access requests.

Secure ALL Identities

Identity security risk mitigation mandates keeping a close eye on your employees’ behaviors; watching for suspicious requests, unusual login attempts or login times, or performing of tasks not usually part of their job descriptions all constitute security events worth investigation.

However, enterprises continually neglect the other identities which enter, exit, and work on their network. These often include third-party actors, applications, and other bots. Each possesses access credentials of their own, and these need to be carefully monitored to prevent access creep. Thus, you must monitor these identities closely as well for the same suspicious behaviors as your users.  

Identity security risk mitigation involves watching for unexpected attack vectors, which include third-party identities.

Involve Your Employees

Your employees are your largest attack vector. Unless something dramatically changes in identity management, cybersecurity, or the very concept of digital interaction, employees will forever remain your largest attack vector.

Therefore, if you intend to make identity security risk mitigation a top priority, you need to involve your employees. Only their behaviors and their following of best practices can ensure their safety…and, by extension, yours.

You can achieve this in part through a continual process of cybersecurity education. Employees don’t inherently know what to watch for in their digital interactions or what practices put their credentials at risk. Investing in engaging and reinforced identity security training can result in a significant long-term gain worth a short-term cost.

However, you can also involve your employees through a clear and comprehensive incident response plan; if an employee ever feels they’ve lost their credentials (through a phishing attack, for example) or notices suspicious activity on their accounts, they should know who to speak to and how to frame their message to trigger an investigation.

Identity security risk mitigation doesn’t just focus on prevention. In addition, it must incorporate detection and remediation to fit with the modern cybersecurity paradigm.   

Enforce Strict Roles 

Each identity and their corresponding set of credentials should come provisioned with a set allowance of key permissions on your enterprise network. You need to make sure these credentials remain consistent and no identity gains unnecessary credentials through special projects or through lateral movement in the enterprise.

Identity governance should be part of your security monitoring, watching over unnecessary permissions accumulation (access creep). All special permissions grants should remain temporary. Additionally, they should expire in a timely fashion once the project concludes.

Don’t. Reuse. Passwords.

We’ve written about password security over the past few weeks. We’ve written quite a bit on the subject. Through all of those articles and news posts, the most recurrent theme remains incredibly predictable: don’t reuse passwords.

Want to improve your identity security risk mitigation? Prevent credential stuffing? Avoid hackers using one data breach to cause another one? Reduce the chances of an insider threat?

Then Don’t. Reuse. Passwords. Tell your employees, your privileged users, and your third-party vendors. If you suffer a security incident of any kind, mandate enterprise-wide password changes. No exceptions.   

In conclusion, identity security risk mitigation doesn’t have to be complex or frightening. In fact, with a few adjustments to your behaviors, you make your identities stronger than concrete.  

Ben Canner

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner