Modern organizations conduct transactions online – whether exclusively with data or with financial transactions, it all happens online. By giving everyone the ease of doing business remotely, the shift to digital enables companies to accomplish their tasks with ease. But, despite these advantages, it’s hard to ignore the potential risks that come with operating remotely.
Ultimately, the more business activities your organization pursues on the web, the more exposed you are to cybercriminals. If you’re operating within the financial sector, you should know by now that you are the primary target of hackers. Since your institution deals with large sums of money and handles sensitive information regularly, falling victim to a breach can pose serious consequences.
Luckily, there are several ways you can ensure your company’s protection.
Identity and Access Management Explained
Identity and access management (IAM) is a comprehensive framework of all policies, procedures, and tools that are used to identify users and grant them access to your organizational systems. Simply put, the goal of IAM is ensuring the right people (or systems) have access to the right data or systems at the right time, and do not have more access than they are authorized to have. Robust IAM strengthens your protection against a cyberattack and, consequently, avoids the detrimental effects of a data breach. That is crucial for businesses in the financial sector where the secrecy of client information is of utmost importance.
With IAM in place, you have better control over who gets access to sensitive data and resources from your organization’s servers and systems. That is achieved via careful recognition and management of identities, including that of a person, software, or hardware. A user logging in on your e-commerce platform or digital workplace will have to pass through a layered but seamless identity verification system before they can access it.
How can I implement an IAM strategy into my organization?
1: Utilize multi-factor authentication
Get creative with layers of protection—supplement unique passwords with an authentication app or explore biometric identity verification systems. Other options worth considering would be the use of one-time passwords and digital certificates.
2: Use least privileged access
Not all members of your organization need full access to your company’s data. To minimize the risk of insider threats, make it a point to assign permissions to the relevant individuals only. As a rule of thumb, authorize access only to the specific data or systems a given user needs to accomplish their daily tasks.
3: Adopt a zero trust policy
Under the IAM concept, there’s the zero trust framework that champions the need to be discriminating when it comes to identities, from users to applications. No one or nothing can be trusted until identities have been thoroughly verified. It’s in your company’s best interest to adopt this approach.
4: Get rid of high-risk systems
It’s understandable to fear the cloud. After all, many believe it to be the goldmine for cybercriminals. However, even your on-premises data storage infrastructure can be just as susceptible to data breaches, particularly if it is reliant on a single person for institutional knowledge on how to run it. Given that on-premises is often also extremely costly to maintain, it’s high time for you to retire the system and instead find a cloud solution that promises foolproof protection.
5: Be wary of orphaned accounts
Deprovision and remove an account as soon as the owner leaves the organization or moves to another department that needs separate access. Hackers can use orphaned accounts to masquerade as legit stakeholders in your organization.
Every time you hire a new employee or partner with a new vendor, your IT team needs to conduct onboarding. Once professional ties are severed, offboarding follows. However, these processes burn a large amount of resources. An IAM solution that allows the automation of these processes will save you a great deal of time, energy, and budget.
A centralized system for visibility is crucial. This is particularly true if you’re running an enterprise-sized organization whose operations are made more complex by a large number of partners and clients. You need to have an all-encompassing view of how identity and access management transpires across the entire organization for quick assessment. Centralized IAM helps bring you closer to the “single pane of glass” type of visibility into your cybersecurity stance.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, over 791,790 cases of internet crime were reported in 2020. Given that this is a 69% increase from 2019, the need for a proven and secure identity management system has never been this greater. As the digital space continues to advance, it’s expected that traditional methods of authentication such as the use of passwords will not be enough.
If you are in the financial sector, you must be responsible enough to acknowledge and prepare for the eventuality of a data breach. By guarding your operations with identity verification and authentication systems, you can ensure the safety of every client and staff member in your system. Contact us today to learn more about Identity and Access Management solutions!