4 Best Practices For Your Organization's IAM Implementation
With Identity and Access Management (IAM) now being a necessity for any modern organization's security plans, it is vital to ensure it is properly configured to maximize its benefits. However, this is only one of many fundamental steps in implementing an effective IAM program, as every organization has different needs and risk tolerances to take into account. Given that the results of IAM largely depend on how well it is incorporated into one's IT security policy, it makes sense to get to know the best practices for effective IAM implementation.
Before we delve into these best practices, let us first take a quick look at what Identity and Access Management is all about and why it matters, especially in today's age of digital transformation.
What is Identity and Access Management?
IAM is essentially a framework comprising policies, business procedures, and technological advancements that simplifies the management of digital identities. IAM frameworks, therefore, empower IT teams to efficiently manage all user access to sensitive data within an organization. The technologies behind Identity and Access Management solutions also come with other capabilities, such as safe storage of profile and identity data and features like data governance settings that ensure only the necessary and pertinent information can be shared.
With the mounting pressure on C-suites to safeguard access to their corporate resources, it makes sense to leverage IAM and its automated capabilities to streamline the auditing and control of granular access to vital assets stored in the cloud and on-premises. When this framework is combined with the best practices covered in the following sections, organization leaders can have total visibility on who has access to critical information and under what circumstances.
Best practices that ensure effective IAM implementation
1. Follow a centralized approach
Growing businesses typically encounter issues with visibility in their network as the increasing number of users, devices, and tools that become a part of it makes it harder to get a handle on who has access to which corporate assets and at what privilege levels. Hence, centralizing identity management procedures promotes greater visibility and enables a smoother user experience.
Since identities must be established whenever a user is added to a network and managed for the entirety of the user's lifecycle, organizations must choose a reliable centralized solution with robust security, such as Active Directory. This is a common choice for managing all network identities in one place. Still, it may soon be replaced with a better solution that leverages blockchain technology that can create, verify, and cache unchanging identities in a secure and neutral environment.
2. Find a tailored solution for your unique needs
Every organization needs an IAM that is customized to the specialized needs of their industry and the on-site infrastructure they have in place. Risk levels, threats, and compliance regulations will differ depending on the unique combination of user access requirements, devices, and tools required to integrate applications and programs with different authentication protocols. Another element that adds complexity to this whole equation is when some legacy systems must remain for whatever reason, which also brings a different set of concerns.
Optimizing productivity and streamlining workflows without sacrificing security are the top priorities of any IAM implementation, in addition to being sufficiently scalable to accommodate future growth, including new devices, applications, and systems. IT teams require an administrative dashboard complete with straightforward reporting and analytics tools, enabling them to gain visibility into the organization's endpoints and access patterns. This capability facilitates prompt responses to potential security issues.
3. Identify and eliminate high-risk systems
Despite the availability of cloud-based applications and frameworks, many organizations still cling to legacy systems that have long lost manufacturer support. These unsupported and unpatched systems are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and thus have a high risk of becoming a source of data leaks. This situation highlights the urgent need to address the great cyber security integration gap.
Companies who continue to rely on these systems for whatever reason need to take a step back and evaluate what business needs these legacy tools are responsible for and how they are being used in workflows to better understand which newer solution can replace their role. It may be possible to safely continue using these legacy systems if they remain supported. However, looking for a more modern solution is still recommended because legacy tools generally lack the features required for seamless integration into newer systems with diverse access requirements.
4. Adhere to a zero-trust policy
Given the increasing complexity of modern business network environments, the best approach is to trust no one until proven otherwise. This is essentially what the "zero-trust" model is. Focusing on identity ensures that the right users and other entities have the right access to the right resources at the right time. It also provides continuous and automated visibility to exposures and can aid organizations in establishing a least-privilege principle for access.
This allows businesses to discover potential threats or intrusions into a system and launch a proactive response as soon as behavioral discrepancies arise rather than the average of 197 days, as discovered by countless studies. As a result, hackers can no longer gain free reign upon initial access to the organization's network, and businesses avoid the serious consequences of extensive data breaches.
The IAM sector continues to evolve, but its core best practices still apply regardless of how much it improves, and they will continue to be the first right step towards developing your own IAM strategy.
To get started with implementing IAM in your organization, partner up with our experts here at Deep Identity. By working with our trusted team of highly experienced identity management professionals, you can instantly tap into their decades of experience in identity access management (IAM) and identity governance & administration (IGA) to optimize your identity solution and ensure compliance. With Deep Identity's Managed Services team operating alongside yours, scaling and growing your company effectively and with confidence becomes easier than ever. For more information about our IAM and IGA solutions in Singapore, don't hesitate to reach out to us at any time.