Converged IAM – Identity Security in the Cloud
Today’s digital world revolves around technology, and technology revolves around identity. As with most things in the tech world, identity security goes by many names. Whether you call it identity security, identity governance, or identity management, the objective remains the same - to protect your organization from risks that target digital identities. By 2025, Gartner estimates that 70% of Identity Access Management adoption will be through converged IAM platforms.
Enterprise faces various identity-related challenges, from digital transformation to securing remote workforces and cloud environments. These challenges are forcing leadership to think more strategically and holistically about digital identity. Digital identity is the chain that links users to services, data centers, applications, and devices in the cloud. This is an enormous change from the days when organizations secured their data and infrastructure with firewalls and within an office.
Identity seems like a straightforward concept. Identity used to refer to human users within an organization. But identity has been redefined as everything from bots to automated workloads. This redefinition has come about because of the introduction of things like cloud computing, automated workloads, and a remote workforce.
A digital identity is composed of identifiers called attributes, such as login credentials, job role, and so on. These attributes help identify users and what they’re authorized to access. To ensure identity security, attributes should be saved and updated periodically to keep access rights current.
However, managing identity security is becoming increasingly complex for reasons such as:
- An increase in the number of digital identities, both human and non-human
- Malicious actors targeting user credentials, and
- Cloud identity silos
- Enterprises using multiple clouds from multiple vendors that aren’t connected
These challenges make consistent enforcement of governance policies and processes difficult. In a survey of IT and identity professionals, 98% experienced rapid growth in the number of identities that must be managed, driven by growing cloud usage, third-party partners, and machine identities. Likewise, enterprises are also noticing an increase in breaches, with 84% of businesses experiencing an identity-related breach in the past 12 months, compared with 79% two years ago. Many breaches can be attributed to phishing or improperly managing user privileges. To address these issues IT leaders are focusing on securing digital identity by integrating, or “converging” governance, monitoring, and zero trust.
Identity management is comprised of three domains within IT Security:
- Identity governance administration (IGA)
- Access management (AM), and
- Privileged access management (PAM)
Each domain plays a critical role in an effective digital identity strategy. IGA automates processes by implementing user provisioning, access reviews, and policy-based enforcement. Access management focuses on authentication and enforcement of access, and PAM focuses on monitoring and managing privileged access.
Until recently, identity governance processes were carried out separately and in silos. But only by combing these domains into one solution will organizations be able to decrease their threat surface for bad actors to exploit. Converged IAM activities benefit the organization by weaving together identity, authentication, and access.
To give you a real-world scenario imagine a user with access to an application, that has not logged in for 90 days. Inactive accounts should be reviewed because user accounts with excessive privileges create entry points for bad actors. Or for example, if a Systems Administrator with privileged access makes changes to an application or to your configurations, those changes should be tracked, and privileged access revoked after 24 hours.
The staggering rise in the occurrence of breaches has made it clear that functioning in silos is no longer an option. If organizations want to safeguard themselves from risk, it is crucial to identify and remediate security gaps that require integrating IGA and access management processes. The challenge of silos is most evident in the cloud. Cloud service providers may have identity management controls to protect users and their data, but only on the vendor's platform. Security above the platform level is strictly the responsibility of the organization. Until recently, each cloud platform's policies were managed independently, creating silos that challenge security. All identity controls should align across clouds to ensure consistency and compliance and to reduce risk. Cloud resources and hardware are not safe in security silos, and the technologies that manage the various aspects of IAM and PAM.
Converged IAM – the future of identity security
Many enterprises use end-point solutions to handle their identity-related challenges. However, those solutions do not integrate with your other applications, servers, and databases. With identity orchestration, organizations can automate the management of their legacy IAM and ITSM systems and eliminate silos.
SafePaaS seamlessly integrates IGA, AM, and PAM using API services to embed fine-grained access controls. Once SafePaaS is integrated, you can ensure that user access is continuously monitored and periodically certified by management to comply with company policies for Segregation of Duties, cybersecurity, and data privacy policies. The ability to converge identity silos and legacy systems is a game-changer for management, process owners, and auditors required to maintain and verify the evidence of compliance across fragmented identity systems and silos.
Successful security outcomes are realized by putting identity first. When IGA, AM, and PAM function separately, they are not enough to protect your organization from risk. However, by converging all your IAM functions, you can create robust identity governance, identity security, and a zero-trust environment.
READ MORE about Converged IAM
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