Identity And Access Management Best Practices

The arrival of modern technology has been revolutionary, and rightly so. Whether it be communication, security, manufacturing, healthcare, or education, it has transformed every field of life. Today, the corporate sector is eager to adopt sophisticated technology to gain an advantage over its competitors. This refers to generating business leads, higher profits, hiring a competent workforce, and deploying a fool-proof security system.

Cybersecurity is a hot topic in today’s digitalized world. With the world shifting towards a technological future, the need to implement modern security measures is ever so high. While technology has created ease for humankind, it has also given rise to multiple security risks associated with it. However, luckily, IAM tools provide organizations the luxury to minimize potential and existing threats while maintaining a robust security posture.

Here is an all-in-one guide to the best identity and access management practices corporations can undertake to accomplish their goals effectively.

What Is Identity And Access Management?

Identity management or identity access management is a framework of organizational policies and technologies which ensures that only authorized users have access to technology resources. It outlines the access privileges of individual users within an organization that is part of the network.

Typically, user access to company resources is defined by their job nature, position, and authority. The identity and access management systems can effectively save user login information, manage organizational databases, and mobilize issuance and exclusion of access privileges.

Identity and access management holds key value in ensuring an organization’s operational efficiency and data security. It is tailor-made to protect businesses from compromised credentials and weak passwords that cyber attackers can exploit.

By implementing IAM technology, organizations can ultimately increase their overall business productivity and streamline their digital systems.

Identity And Access Management Best Practices That Organizations Must Adopt

Identity and access management is integral to an organization’s security policy. Managing user access to business resources is crucial to prevent sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.

This is only possible if the organization correctly sets up its IAM tools and procedures. Here are several identity and access management best practices that corporations can deploy:

Implement Zero Trust Security Policy

More often than not, organizations utilize cloud applications, platforms, and tools that have built-in trust features. In case a user logs into the network, the system automatically prompts for user information, which is later saved into its database. Upon the next access request, the system won’t prompt to verify user information since it is available in the database. Such privileged access can lead to major security breaches and compromised network perimeter.

Deploying a zero-trust security model is one of the primary IAM best practices that enterprises can consider to mitigate data breach risks. The zero-trust identity and access management model implies a never trust and always verify policy for every user who wants to log into the network. Regardless of their authority or job position, users are prompted for verification by the system whenever they demand access.

In most cases, the access systems would apply least-privileged access to unauthorized users. Only authorized users or privileged accounts can access cloud resources upon identity verification. Consequently, the constant verification prompts foster IAM best practices by minimizing the risk of providing excessive permissions to unauthorized users.

The IAM tools and zero trust framework work harmoniously by ensuring compliance with organizational policies. The zero-trust framework assists in defining access control measures, while the IAM tools streamline the verification process.

Classify And Safeguard Sensitive Information

Organizations must ensure that their valuable information is secure. For this purpose, offering limited access to such information is a viable strategy. However, they must classify how and where classified information is stored to restrict access.

Some organizations would declare their identity management system and the information it handles as high-value assets. Any information related to trade secrets, customer identity, or employee records falls under this category.

Once the classified information is identified, corporations must acknowledge where it is stored and who has access to it. Rather than storing data in multiple locations, most organizations store data in the cloud, so assigning security teams to control access to it is mandatory.

Implement Strong Passwords And Multi-factor Authentication

The IAM technologies deployed by an organization are only as effective as the IAM best practices that back them. For instance, If the employees use SSO tools, every user’s password must be unique and strong.

Ideally, passwords deployed within an organization should be complex and challenging to guess for secure access control. They must be complicated enough to resist cyberattacks or at least delay them. In addition, passwords should be changed recurrently while ensuring similar passwords are not created for several sign-on requirements.

A reliable way to protect information assets is to enforce multi-factor authentication throughout the organization. Multi-factor authentication is an electronic security measure requiring users to present two or more pieces of credentials before granting them data access. Although this layered approach is highly secure, it still requires constant monitoring.

Organizations must not oversee their password policies despite integrating the best security measures. Instead, they should conduct regular audits to review their security policies and meet compliance regulations.

Mechanize Workflows

Identity and access management technologies provide organizations with an opportunity to automate their workflows to enhance data security. Mechanized workflows significantly reduce human errors, increase operational efficiency, and ensure compliance with set policies.

IT teams can implement IAM technologies supported by AI algorithms and sophisticated machine learning models to streamline multiple operations. These include creating user accounts, password reset, changing passwords, granting access to organizational databases, defining user privileges, determining connected apps, and handling orphaned accounts.

One thing to note is that all these automation facilitate identity management best practices for access control. They can also assist in safeguarding company assets from internal and external threats while helping new employees during the transition phase.

Automation can also simplify generating, recording, and auditing reports to meet compliance needs. Consequently, it helps corporations reduce desk requests and save time and financial resources while fully utilizing their IAM capabilities.

Deploy The Least Privilege Principle

Implementing the least privilege principle is one of the most common identities and access management best practices that enterprises turn to. This principle encourages organizations to eradicate any efforts to grant unnecessary privileges to users without affecting their workflows.

Organizations can introduce role management best measures to determine minimum privileges for users to execute their job roles. Apart from role-dependent access controls, they can also implement attribute-dependent access control to refine the granted user permissions further.

However, the objective is to review usage recurrently and minimize unnecessary user permissions. Plus, ensure that certain individuals do not have excessive provisioning access via privileged access management practices.

Adopt Time-limited Access

On certain occasions, the principle of least privilege might not offer the flexibility that some situations demand. For instance, there might be a need to temporarily elevate the privileges of a receptionist to cater to a customer’s ticket. This is where time-restricted access comes into play.

Time-restricted access allows organizations to temporarily elevate user permissions without giving them disproportionate authority that they might not require often. The user may be given credentials applicable for single use without altering the organizational policy.

Outside users such as retailers and partners benefit most from time-restricted access as it gives them temporary privileges to access a system.

Perform Regular Audits

Unnecessary user permissions are a common problem that most organizations face nowadays. Luckily, they can ensure sustaining the least privilege principle by conducting regular audits.

Complex organizations often introduce new software and tools to increase operational efficiency and productivity. Initially, organizations offer access to employees who might not require these tools and applications for work. As a result, it leads to orphaned accounts that employees do not use.

By conducting regular audits of usage logs and access permissions, organizations can limit unnecessary user permissions, thus minimizing the risk of a data breach. Restricting access is an integral part of a successful IAM strategy, and determining who to provide access to can only be done through audits.

Consolidate Log Collection

Most IAM apparatuses generate logs automatically, which can be necessary to meet conformity requirements. Organizations also use these logs for auditing usage while consolidating their IAM policies. But only a few make efforts to store their logs collectively in a single place.

Instead of retrieving logs from numerous locations, businesses should store logs in the cloud for easy retrieval. They can utilize cloud applications such as Microsoft Azure to centralize all logs in the same place. It is more convenient and highly affordable, accessible, and secure.

Utilize The Right IAM Solutions

Using the right tools goes a long way towards successfully implementing identity and access management best practices. Rather than forcing IAM solutions to fit existing organizational technologies, introducing the right IAM solutions is essential.

Likewise, several existing tools must be reconfigured to sustain the new IAM technology. Corporations can determine and approve user account management practices before setting up those solutions. As a result, it would help organizations improve their IAM framework in the long run.

Bottom Line

The identity and access management best practices help organizations manage user access to sensitive information. By adopting these practices, the organization can minimize cybersecurity threats compromising its data security. We hope our IAM best practices list helps organizations secure their data from potential threats.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.
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