The Reasons Why Identity Must Be at The Center of Your Security Efforts

More and more workflows are being digitized and, at the same time, the number of data leaks is increasing. This raises entirely new challenges for the organization’s security work – demands that an increasing focus on identity security can help to address.

Today, sensitive (personal) data or business-critical data are omnipresent. Data that is constantly changing is moved and accessed by internal and external users in the organization. At the same time, the number of applications has exploded in most companies, and the use of both cloud services and mobile phones continues to increase. It creates a flexible workforce, but it also means that the organization’s potential attack surface expands.

This places significant demands on security activities. Especially after the GDPR came into force in May 2018, inadequate data protection has had wide ramifications – just as the organization’s brand value and customer loyalty may suffer serious harm if the right measures are not taken.

Identities Are Any Cybercriminal’s Dream Target

A firewall once used to be the primary security defense of most organizations and the boundary that prevented malicious, external actors from penetrating the infrastructure. However, as more and more data accumulates and internal and external IT users within the organization demand to be able to access resources both inside and outside its own network, the defense line has shifted.

This, in turn, poses new challenges for the management of users who must be able to access the organization’s resources. They must be easily identifiable, verifiable, and granted access. And they need to be protected.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of identity-related data leaks increased by a staggering 424 percent, whilst the amount of stolen identity data circulating on the Internet increased by 71 percent. If anything, this underscores the increasing use of identity information for criminal purposes, such as takeover and misuse of user accounts, identity theft and other criminal acts.

This is a threat your organization will have to take seriously. Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report points out that the exploitation of stolen user credentials is the single largest contributing factor to data security breaches. Once criminals have gained access to an identity, they have also gained quick access to the entire organization’s infrastructure.

If you are employed at a small or medium-sized organization, you do not have to worry, do you? Yes, you do! Most attacks are opportunistic in nature and do not hit the richest or largest companies, but they do prey on the unprepared. In 2018, the number of attacks on smaller organizations increased significantly – precisely because cybercriminals targeted organizations with unsophisticated security safeguards.

Identity Is The New Security Perimeter

Digital transformation is on the agenda of an increasing number of companies. As more workflows are digitized, the groundwork for a new perimeter that defines the organization’s security level is laid: Identity.

Moreover, the threat landscape described above makes Identity & Access Management an indispensable discipline. It is simply the best way to safeguard the organization’s digital identities. Employees, customers, partners, and everyone else who needs IT access to the organization’s resources must be identified and verified. In this case, an Identity & Access Management tool serves as the doorman that determines whether users gain access to the organization’s data and infrastructure – entirely based on their digital identity.

A solution for Identity & Access Management gives you a full overview of who in the organization has access to which resources, and it becomes much easier to grant employees access quickly and easily to the resources that their job descriptions require.

In this way, you may prevent an excessive number of users from having unauthorized or unnecessary access to sensitive data – and thus make it much harder for cybercriminals to access your most business-critical information.

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