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The Role of Identity and Access Management in Incident Response

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You hear reports of data breaches of different scales every other day. Sometimes the companies are applauded for the way they handled the scenario, and sometimes it is followed by lawsuits.

From apprehension to a user whose credentials were wrongfully accessed to the unavailability of crucial data after a breach—these are real issues that can shape the way the organization functions once a breach has occurred.

You might have also heard about how a data breach is a matter of when and not if—with uncertainty such as this, one must always have a robust incident plan in place. Irrespective of how strong your security mechanisms are, there is, unfortunately, always room for error.

Thus, a fool-proof incident plan helps keep the damage to data and reputation to a minimum.

Role of Identity and Access Management during incident response

Your incident response strategy must involve key actions to be taken. It must answer questions like, what must be protected immediately, who should be the first ones to know, how will you let your customers know of breached data, statements to the media, and more. These questions and the actions taken accordingly will determine the faith of your customers after the breach.

However, there is another crucial role. It is to understand “what” has been breached and by “who”. Another important aspect is to understand the extent of the breach.

While identity and access management itself will ensure you know who has access to what at all times and streamlining security in innumerable ways, sometimes human error does come in the way.

More so, with attacks from bad actors getting more and more sophisticated, a data breach is always an ongoing battle. Hence identity management helps you in securing your data, minimizing damage during a breach, and helps ramp up the incident response helping organizations focus on their priorities rather than finding a needle in a haystack to figure out what actually happened.

Insider threats are a reality, and CISOs must account for these when creating an incident response plan,” says Jonathan Care, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. He added, “CISOs need to know who is at risk, what the source of the risk is and what the triggers are that can activate risky behavior.”

Identity Management functionalities

A comprehensive IAM solution gives you a comprehensive understand and control of accesses. You can map every access to a role, and most importantly, set contextual attributes to every access with a detailed workflow to approve or revoke every access.

Identity management enables you to revoke accesses as easily as you approve them, with a dashboard that provides all the access related data in one plane of view. This means no orphan accounts will remain as it is. Neither will any residual accesses which have to be revoked will remain as it is.

Two features, especially, which prevent an internal breach, are ensuring the least privileges to users along with maintaining segregation of duties to provide a balance of access control.

Map every access, reduce employee apprehension

Even after all the measures, if your data is breached, then it is crucial to know who is responsible for understanding the depth of breach. Sometimes, you might know which credential was breached, but how do you know if the employee in question is the culprit?

This is where the intelligent risk engines from identity management come in. You can always go back and look at the user data. If an account has been breached, the attributes such as location, IP address, time of login, could all tell you if it is different from your user’s usual attributes. You are lifting the blame game on who was responsible.

Stay compliant even after a breach

Several compliance measures stress on maintaining audit trails for accesses. Identity management seamlessly tells you who has access to what. So, when all eyes are on your organization, you can show for yourself how stringent you have actually. EU’s GDPR requires organizations that deal with the data of EU citizens to report a breach within 72 hours. The functionalities of IAM help you in determining what exactly has happened and where you should begin in safeguarding data.

Data breaches are overwhelming as it is. The panic that spreads amongst employees and customers must be managed well. To manage this, you must know what exactly has gone wrong and how. Empower yourself with an IAM solution that supports your organization in all instances.

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