IAM: 3 Letters That Will Drastically Improve Your Company’s Security

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Uncover security vulnerabilities at your company and much more with this automated tool—a pandemic essential. 

The way we do business has changed dramatically over the last year. In droves, employees vacated highrises and fled to home offices for remote work, trading in daily commutes for short walks to our desks, and daily cups of Starbucks for homemade brews. But those aren’t the only shifts in lifestyle we’ve seen of late: A major challenge for businesses this year has been overseeing company security. This challenge has been amplified during the transition from in-office to working from home due to unsecured at-home WiFi and the many personal devices, like tablets and laptops, that employees use to access company data. While businesses may struggle to secure these devices, hackers see an opportunity: (Insert the emoji with green tongue and dollar signs for eyes!) 

Remote work isn’t the first time we’ve seen these types of security vulnerabilities. Cloud-based storage and BYOD (bring your own device) policies have long provided hackers with opportunities for cyberattacks. Additionally, regulations like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPR) are putting an added burden on companies to abide by strict legislation. 

But your company doesn’t need to feel helpless—IAM (identity and access management) is a tool that takes a thorough look through your company’s network connections and user activities to identify risks and resolve security gaps. 

More problems, more money: Cyberattacks are growing, and at huge costs

More than ever, hackers are able to circumvent corporate firewalls, and launch cyberattacks with malware. A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that 69% of SMBs experienced a cyberattack in 2019. Not only are these attacks increasingly complex, they’re also more costly. Small businesses are the most at-risk, with the average cost of compromised data for SMBs in 2019 at $1.24 million, and for business disruption $1.9 million, according to the same study. It’s estimated that due to these breaches, 50% of small and medium businesses will go out of business within six months of a cyberattack

A lack of resources, like budget and personnel, is a major contributing factor to these types of breaches, and another reason small and medium companies are hit the hardest. Without the ability to manage in-house security and anomalous network activity, businesses are at an increased risk for cyberattacks. 

What is IAM, and what can it do for businesses? 

IAM is an automated, cloud-connected system that can provide security solutions quickly. Here’s a quick overview of what it can do:

  • Centrally manage user roles
  • Track and generate reports on activity
  • Enforce company security policies and compliance obligations through automated, in-depth audit trails and metrics that help prove compliance and accelerate reporting.   
  • Continually monitor connected systems to uncover suspicious behaviors that may signal cybersecurity risks and identify incidents in progress.  
  • Streamline and resolve security gaps that can arise from common situations, like an employee promotion that requires a new set of access rights. 

A three-letter acronym with a four-step solution

A real-time overview of network connections and user activities is essential for businesses to manage in-house security, which is exactly what IAM provides. Through four domains: authentication, authorization, user management, and a central user repository, IAM can flag security gaps, automatically implement changes, and help companies manage activity, easing the pressure on company admins. 

1.     Authentication: The employee provides credentials for access to an application or a particular resource and, once authenticated, the system creates a session. Most authentication tools include a password service that centrally maintains the user session and provides SSO for automated access to other business applications or resources. 

2.     Authorization: This determines whether a user has permission to access a particular resource. The system checks the resource access request against authorization policies stored in the IAM policy store. Authorization also implements role-based access control and can provide intricate access controls based on data like user attributes, actions taken, and resources requested. 

3.     User management: Comprises user management, password management, role/group management, and user/group provisioning. This area employs user lifecycle management throughout the lifespan of a user account and can delegate user management tasks across functional units to directly distribute workloads. 

4.     Central user repository: Stores and transmits identity information to other services and verifies credentials submitted from clients. The central user repository presents an aggregate or logical view of an enterprise’s identities. Directory services, both meta-directory and virtual directory, can be used to manage disparate identity data from different user repositories. A meta-directory typically merges data from different identity sources into a meta-set. A virtual directory also delivers a unified Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) view of consolidated identity information. 

Learn more about how to enable the right employees to the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. Read our latest white paper, Identity and Access Management 101

    Dashlane

    Dashlane is a web and mobile app that simplifies password management for people and businesses. We empower organizations to protect company and employee data, while helping everyone easily log in to the accounts they need—anytime, anywhere.

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