Overall, we tend to think of cybersecurity as just that: security. It protects us from digital threats and malicious actors. Yet we also tend to think of it as a giant fence; it surrounds our IT environment where all the important business processes occur. Cybersecurity—identity management and security in particular—constitute a barrier to entry for normal transactions and communications.
However, this doesn’t reflect reality in the modern digital workplace. In fact, identity security can improve your business processes. Here are the ways identity management can make your business processes smoother and more productive long term!
How Identity Security Improves Your Business Processes
Without IAM: Cloud Environments Unruly
Enterprises migrate to cloud and hybrid environments more and more each passing day and the reasons why prove obvious. The cloud offers:
- Faster communications.
- Easier collaboration.
- More productivity.
- More flexibility.
- A stronger bottom line.
However, the cloud offers its own challenges. Often these take the form of security challenges: who can access what from where, in addition to a porous digital perimeter.
However, it also presents some unique challenges to business processes. If everyone can access everything on the cloud, how does your chain of command look? Who is responsible for which project? How do you know only the necessary employees have the right access? What if you need someone outside of those employees?
With IAM: More Control Over Cloud Environments
Identity security can improve your cloud business processes. First, identity security ensures your business processes stay safe regardless of the environment. In fact, identity allows your enterprise to protect your users wherever they work—inside the network or outside of it. This allows them to move smoothly and securely while fulfilling their day to day tasks.
Further, identity security allows for scalability to match the limitless potential of cloud environments. As you grow your business on the cloud, your identity management solution should facilitate adding more users to the network.
Simultaneously, identity management—specifically identity governance and administration (IGA)—can help you maintain control over your cloud business processes. IGA allows your business to tightly control the access each user possesses, allowing for more streamlined workflows. Also, you can give employees temporary permissions for special projects, which automatically revoke to prevent access creep.
Without IAM: Password Problems
Think about passwords for just a second: are they really convenient?
Of course, we could list all of the security issues that accompany passwords and other forms of single-factor authentication:
- Users repeat their passwords, which increases the risk of a credential stuffing attack.
- Most passwords exist in some form of the Deep Web for easy malicious use.
- Employees frequently share their passwords with one another or write them down.
- Even novice hackers can guess users’ passwords through information publicly available on social media.
However, the above list focuses on the cybersecurity aspect of passwords. What about convenience? Sure, passwords represent a known quantity, but think of all the headaches that come with them.
For example, employees tend to forget their passwords—unsurprising given how many passwords the average user commits to memory; actually, each employee may have 100 accounts to keep track of on average.
Whenever an employee forgets their password, they call your Help Desk to retrieve or reset it. This easts up valuable time in more than one way. Your employee has to wait for the password, letting precious work time slip by unused. Meanwhile, your Help Desk must let other critical tasks go unfulfilled and thus create a long wait for other employees.
It certainly doesn’t sound convenient.
With IAM: Streamlined Logins and Authentication Protocols
Some of you reading this may have lifted an eyebrow at this claim. After all, isn’t identity management authentication notorious for impeding the user experience and causing delays in business processes? Don’t employees work faster if they remain familiar with the system—which always means sticking with the legacy identity management solution?
This may have been true back in the legacy identity management heyday. But you may find it far from true now.
Focusing on your business processes, let’s look at the opposite of single-factor authentication: multifactor authentication (MFA).
In modern MFA, many of the factors used for authentication take place behind the scenes. These include:
- Time of Access Request.
- Device Registration.
Sure, the user experiences a login experience not all that dissimilar to a “traditional” one. However, their identity remains under heavy scrutiny during login.
Moreover, next-generation multifactor authentication doesn’t end at the login stage. No one can overstate the importance of this distinction. Most legacy identity security solutions allow free reign after login, which lays out the welcome mat for hackers.
Yes MFA presents so many obstacles most hackers choose instead to target low-hanging fruit. Yet assuming invincibility never did anyone good in the long term. You should constantly evaluate your users’ identities and their intentions. Through continual behavioral analysis, you can do that.
Also, you can deploy behavioral analysis—including monitoring typing behavior—quietly.
Without IAM: Constant Risk
Unfortunately, identity management and cybersecurity don’t just work as a gate. They need to become full-fledged aspects of your business processes if you aim to succeed.
Think about the consequences of a data breach—the majority of which begin with stolen or cracked credentials. A single breach costs more than just finances pilfered and legal fees paid (both of which prove substantial by themselves). You also need to consider the damage to your enterprise’s reputation, its customer loyalty, and its attractiveness to new customers.
After all, consumers and clients are statistically less likely to patronize a business if they feel their data is handled carelessly. Think of the damage that attitude could do to your long term growth.
In other words, your business processes may truly be next-generation. It won’t matter in the wake of a data breach due to missing identity security.
WIth IAM: Better Business
Incorporating IAM into your business processes creates a digital perimeter which deters most hackers. Sure, you should still engage in threat hunting and have an incident response plan ready. But you can rest assured you took every step possible to keep yourself secure. Your customers and employees will thank you for it.
Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.