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Top 6 Reasons Why Identity Is the New Digital Security Perimeter

Posted on May 20, 2021 by IDMEdge

The modern cybersecurity world is transforming with the changing security mechanisms, rising sophisticated attacks, and shifting business dynamics.

A few years ago, network firewalls and antivirus software programs were enough to create a protective dome for organizations to function securely. And keeping the security perimeter safe and maintained with these technologies was the only concern as all the business processes happened inside that perimeter.

However, the present business infrastructure is different. Employees, contracts, and vendors work from anywhere they like using the available network. Hence, the perimeter does not exist, or you can say it has extended globally.

As a result, securing an organization’s network, apps, devices, and data has become a huge concern.

All thanks to digital transformation, we now have identity and access management (IAM) solutions in place to secure your digital perimeter no matter where your workforce operates from.

And this is why cybersecurity professionals are saying – identity is the new digital security perimeter.

So, let’s find out the reasons why they say so and how identity management solutions can help secure businesses.

Increased Cloud Adoption

Digital transformation is rapidly spreading across sectors. And the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this pace, forcing organizations to adopt the cloud infrastructure quicker than expected.

Moving to the cloud has become a necessity for many businesses out there to run their operations and survive in the market. It offers a bunch of benefits, including cost-efficiency, higher scalability, effective communication and collaboration, ease of use and maintenance, and many more.

However, security is the one thing that’s still a challenge when it comes to the cloud infrastructure. All the information and operations running in the cloud invite a lot of cybersecurity issues, such as data leaks, malware, viruses, and whatnot. Even your firewalls and antivirus systems are not enough to protect your systems and data.

To this, identity and access management (IAM) seems like a viable protection mechanism. It can enforce access protocols and restrictions in your cloud infrastructure and require users to go through a strict authentication process to gain access to systems. This way, IAM helps secure your digital perimeters.

Remote Work

Many organizations globally are enabling remote work after the pandemic, while others were doing it already. It’s because remote work allows people to work from anywhere they want and organizations to hire the best talents from across the world. It not only offers convenience but also saves organizations from investing in a large number of systems and hardware.

Now, the problem with remote work is again security. Remote workers can work from multiple locations – their homes, coffee shops, or any other place they find comfortable to work. That said, they might connect to an unsafe network or public Wi-Fi that can lead to data thefts, malware, spoofing, or other online threats. Ultimately, it is hazardous for your organization.

Even if you enable VPN tunnels to counteract this issue, they are still not enough as they have problems concerning capacity, configuration, management, networking, and high hardware costs. Similar issues arise when people bring their own devices (BYOD) to work.

But if you use identity and access management solutions, they can extend your security perimeter to remote devices no matter where they are located. You can enable IAM technologies such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) to monitor logins and gain information about what devices are connected to your network and from which location.

This way, you can keep an eye on all your connected systems and determine if anything looks suspicious to take security measures.

Advanced Cyber Threats

The incidents concerning cybersecurity are growing at an alarming rate. This number multiplied after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Many organizations that were already succumbing financially became the target.

From Google and Facebook to SMBs, no one is spared. According to a report, around 533 million personal data and phone numbers of Facebook users were leaked online this year.

Despite the organizations enabling modern protecting technologies like network firewalls, VPNs, and antivirus software programs, intruders managed to penetrate the networks and devices. They are also advancing with the technology and implementing the latest techniques to break the security perimeters, including the strongest organizations.

This raises the demand to have another layer of security that can filter these attacks. And it can be achieved with the help of IAM solutions. As most intruders use stolen and subverted credentials to hack into the systems, it’s the user identity that must be protected first.

For this, identity and access management solutions work like a charm and restrict users with suspicious credentials or authentication. Thus, they won’t be able to penetrate your systems or network due to robust authentication mechanisms.

Using Different Types of Devices

The modern workforce involves employees accessing organization networks from an array of systems and devices; the organizational network perimeter seems to have been blurred. If you don’t have the mechanism to track all the devices, it becomes challenging to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate devices.

As a result, this infrastructure becomes a breeding ground for attacks. And organizations run the risk of data breaches, thefts, reputation damage, and penalties. These are devastating events that organizations must always be ready to counteract.

Therefore, enterprises are adopting advanced security techniques like identity management and authentication instead of relying on traditional perimeter methods. Identity-focussed technologies such as public key infrastructure (PKI) that provide digital certificates are efficient.

Contractors with Changing Access Needs

Back in the day, the IT department had a greater level of ownership over who accessed and how and controlled their operating centers, machines, and IT hardware. Now, the dynamics have changed considerably.

Organizations these days are not limited to hiring just employees that they can monitor easily. They also hire contractors, freelancers, and vendors to perform certain tasks for a specific duration. In addition, their responsibilities are temporary, and an organization can re-staff in different capacities, move to other teams, or hire new ones altogether.

This arrangement is difficult to monitor and control. Not only do the temporary workforce bring their own devices and connect to any network to accomplish their task from anywhere, but their reporting process is also unclear. Ultimately, companies find it difficult to enable a strong security perimeter that can cover these devices.

Hence, IAM solutions are a great way of establishing a reliable security perimeter. Each user, machine, IoT device, server, and business process can have its unique identity to prevent unauthorized access.

In addition, you can trust or let your employees or contractors rely on passwords alone. These are easy to guess, which leads to data breaches. Hence, mechanisms like 2-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication are helpful to add another layer of security as a part of your IAM implementation.

DevOps and IoT Challenges

The need for digital certificates is increasing exponentially for advanced Information architectures like DevOps environments. They need a unique digital certificate for every new software container built in the cloud.

In the absence of secure digital certificates, a hacker can inject a faulty software container into the DevOps environment. As a result, they can steal data, disrupt the process, grant others access, and perform other malicious activities.

Therefore, you can use identity management solutions to counteract these incidents. Digital certificates must be assigned quickly to containers that can last for a few seconds or minutes before getting destroyed upon fulfilling their purpose.

Similarly, IoT environments are also at risk as hackers can deploy themselves into IoT environments and access communications within the network by impersonating valid devices. In addition, they can also stead data, disrupt business operations, and pose other threats.

The solution to these problems is identity management and authentication. It will prevent unauthorized machines or users from accessing your network and devices and protect your systems and sensitive data.

Conclusion

Identity is the new digital security perimeter for various reasons that you can understand from the above pointers. It will help you secure your systems, networks, apps, and data from intruders by declining access to them and allowing only legitimate users and devices. Thus, enable an identity management solution today for your organization to stay protected.