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Identity and Access Management – The Evolving Paradigm

Identity and Access Management

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is going to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. The reason for this nightmarish number? The digital landscape is extending exponentially every day, increasing the number of opportunities for bad actors.

Organizations are now seeing the value in cybersecurity solutions. This has led to a drastic increase in cybersecurity spends – A report stated that the global IAM market size is projected to grow from $12.3 billion in 2020 to $24.1 billion by 2025, at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.5% during the forecast period.

What is Identity and Access Management?

Before we get into the details of the projected exponential growth of the IAM space, let us understand what is IAM and why it is extremely relevant to organizations of all sizes across verticals today.

Identity and Access Management brings people, processes, and machines together. To bring coherence between these in a way that brings in a culture of compliance, user-friendly access control, and enhanced security.

Identity and Access Management can be broadly divided into three main pillars – Access Management (AM), Identity Governance and Administration (IGA), and Privileged Access Management (PAM).

Access Management

Most organizations who start off on the journey of IAM usually start with Access Management because it is a straightforward mechanism that deals with the individual experiences of users.

Access management has quite a few modules in itself and each one of them is critical to organizational security today. Access management includes Single Sign-On (SSO), Password Management, and Multi-Factor Authentication(MFA) that also encompasses Passwordless authentication(or Zero Factor Authentication).

Single Sign-On helps users access all their applications with just a single click, greatly reducing downtime in logging into individual applications every day. On a large scale, this is an ideal solution to access applications without the hassles of remembering multiple passwords.

That brings us to Password Management – A tool that lets organizations help users manage their passwords, reducing helpdesk assist time with self-service password reset capabilities. With this, users can reset their password and even navigate their way out of an account lockout situation on their own. However, passwords have gathered the reputation of being a major security loophole. Users tend to forget passwords, reuse and/or note them down insecurely. Thus, solutions like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) are also part of AM. It works on the 6 factors of authentication:

password management

For example, when you log in for the first time on a new device, you may be prompted to answer challenge-response questions that are customized by you and only you know the answer to them. This can be followed by an OTP to your phone number, another factor that only you can have. Since you know and have both these authentication answers, you will be allowed to use the application. However, if hackers try to get in, these will prove to be hurdles in their way to reach any account as they will not be able to answer them all.

Identity Governance and Administration

These solutions deal with the interaction between the organization and the access it provides to the users.

Identity Lifecycle Management ensures accesses are seamlessly provided to users and managed from the day they arrive in an organization until the time they depart.

In Identity Administration, users are given the access they need based on role-based access control. Here defining roles, entitles someone to a series of applications – this, in turn, is predefined by the admins. This is a user experience changing tool for new hires who no longer have to wait for their applications, movers, and transfers who need new applications for their new location/roles within the organization.

Identity Governance deals with the end-to-end management and review of these accesses.

It streamlines –

  • Approval workflows for accesses
  • Revoking of accesses with a dashboard that provides all the access details in a single pane of view
  • Access review/recertification processes that make compliance and audit trail details extremely easy

Identity Analytics

It is an intelligent addition to IGA. It is powered by state-of-the-art technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that constantly monitor the accesses in organizations, and help weed out false alarms from real threats. They manage a lot of threat alerts without human intervention. If a security incident requires human intervention then it notifies the respective person as defined in the tool. Thus, your security professionals don’t have to lose sleep every time there is an alert. It only considers the truly time-bound and sensitive threat factors as serious. It manages the rest on its own by either elevating the authentication factors or blocking the accesses altogether depending on the sensitivity of the accesses.

Privileged Access Management

According to a Forbes report, 80% of data breaches involve privileged credentials that hold access to sensitive applications and data. Privileged accounts and accesses are gold mines for bad actors who can get the gateway to exploit an organization. Thus, now as a part of the Identity and Access Management solution, PAM is an integral function.

In a Privileged Access Management solution, access requests are approved or denied with predefined policies. Stringent session monitoring and recording are done. To make it more secure, passwords are rotated for added security. Just-in-time PAM is the latest trend in this field, where accesses are provided for a limited timeframe as needed and revoked immediately after.

Identity and Access Management is an absolute necessity

IAM is responsible for so many important aspects related to a user’s access in an organization. This makes IAM an integral and indispensable part of an organization’s security posture. Traditional methods of castle and moat no longer serve the digital landscape of today – Identity is the new perimeter! It is no longer valid that external accesses are the reason for doubt, even insider threats are equally harmful! All accesses, be it internal or external, are reasons for doubt unless verified to be secure.

Models like the zero trust security model provide guidelines on how to achieve this. In recent years, this has been glaringly clear. With the advent of the pandemic, the digital shift was accelerated, leading to widespread adoption of work-from-home culture, putting security tools in an organization to test. Cyber attack attempts were at an all-time high leveraging the remote work vulnerability.

According to a new IDG Research Services survey commissioned by Insight Enterprises, although they invested in IT security in 2020 to deal with work from home challenges, 80% of security and senior IT leaders believe their organizations lack sufficient protection in this threat landscape against cyberattacks.   

This makes the importance of IAM solutions distinctly clear. Especially one that can overcome the traditional IAM challenges and provide a new perspective. However, the domain of IAM presents some challenges that make adoption harder.

The typical IAM solutions are

  • Fragmented into different niches with each provider having a separate AM, IGA, MFA, and PAM solution
  • Complicated to implement and use, requiring additional in house IAM experts
  • Low on user adoption and ROI
  • Riddled with integration complications
  • Challenging to convince stakeholders
  • Too expensive
  • Mostly one size fits all, making vertical-specific solutions a challenge
  • Not practical for mid-market organizations

These are just some of the challenges that come with IAM today. The one true way to deal with the predicament is to unify these solutions as originally intended. This makes solutions simpler, and more affordable. If such a solution is crafted well, it does not even need an in-house expert. The outcome of a good IAM solution must be high user adoption, early ROI, and satisfied stakeholders.

The solution to IAM Challenges – Converged IAM

A converged IAM solution brings Access Management, Identity Governance, Identity Administration and Identity Analytics together in one comprehensive platform.

CONVERGED IAM Update 6MAY22 | Cross Identity

Cross Identity CI is recognized as a market leader in the converged IAM space by leading industry analysts. CI is built with deep experience of 20+ years in the IAM domain by understanding the nuances of the industry and user perspective.

The Converged IAM approach in CI makes IAM more feasible and easy to implement for all verticals and market sizes. Organizations could even start with simple Access Management capabilities and expand their IAM landscape as the organization matures. It is a solution that grows with you at your pace. When all the different aspects of Identity and Access Management are crucial for a well-defined security posture, why should the solution be fragmented? Most importantly, acquiring multiple solutions to fulfill the IAM purpose just makes it more cumbersome. Skip the additional steps and acquire a Converged IAM solution at once.

Identity and Access Management is an essential security asset. Converged IAM makes acquiring this solution an easy feat. Reach out to us today if you want to know more or understand how we can cater to your needs – Because we are certain we can.

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