There was a time when all of a company’s data was completely on the premises. Even an employee who needed to work remotely would use a VPN to get into the company’s on-premise physical network. This was an environment with many fewer challenges to authentication security. Everyone who was in a position to access a company’s data was someone who was supposed to be there, so as long as the building’s physical security was strong, cybersecurity would be strong as well.
Times have changed, and now a company’s perimeter is fluid when it comes to cybersecurity. Attacks can come from almost anywhere, and an on-premise firewall is rarely enough to do the job. In the modern world of cybersecurity, something more is often required.
Data breaches are happening to companies all over the world all the time, and it has become almost expected. Now that so many companies use cloud services, even more security measures are required to prevent malware attacks. Passwords used to access cloud services may be vulnerable, and many employees use the same passwords for this access that they do to access your company’s internal data.
The same issue arises with BYOD. Many companies have moved to a Bring Your Own Device model because it offers many advantages, including lower costs, higher productivity and increased flexibility. But it also creates another point of vulnerability that can be difficult to manage.
How Does The Identity Firewall Work?
The solution that many companies are beginning to embrace is making identity authentication and authorization the new firewall. Identity Access Management (IAM) tools allow a company to control access to its data no matter where users are accessing that data from.
How does IAM security work? When it comes to IAM and the identity firewall, we need to think about the intersection between people, devices and data. You need a way to make sure the people using devices to access your data are the right people. This is the principle behind authentication. Authentication is the first element of a security-based IAM platform. The second is authorization, which refers to granting the proper access to an individual once they have been authenticated.
One effective method of authentication and authorization companies are adopting is Federated Identity. This is a Single Sign-On (SSO) system in which, once you identify yourself at your endpoint, you gain access to all the systems that subscribe to that Federated Trust. This means fewer passwords to lose or have stolen, and it means that users can move through the system more freely and easily without sacrificing security.
The most effective IAM security platforms allow you to tailor authorization based on a variety of factors, including who the identified user is, what their role is, what location they are accessing from, what device they are accessing from and even the time of day. The more of these factors that the system can use for authorization, the greater chance you have of controlling and protecting access to your data.
You may also want to require a form of step-up authentication. If a user is trying to access a certain part of the system outside working hours or from a non-corporate device, they need to provide multi-factor authentication (MFA), such as a password and a code sent to a designated device, for example.
You can further control access by giving administrators control over who gets access to which applications. Your administrators should know which applications employees need access to in order to do their jobs so they are in a position to restrict access without interfering with productivity. The more you can restrict access, the safer you make the system. You can periodically audit to make sure that everyone has proper access.
Many companies are also using Time-Based One-Time Passwords (TOTP). These are randomly generated, time-based passwords that you can send to users requiring access via their devices. Think of them like giving someone a key to your home that dissolves after 30 minutes. They are a great way to provide access because they become useless after a short amount of time, which means even if they are stolen, they are of little use to a potential hacker.
Third-Party Identity Firewall Solutions
As you can see, there are a lot of tools at your disposal if you are making the wise decision to create an identity firewall rather than rely on your internal network firewall. But setting up solutions like multi-factor authentication and one-time passwords can be costly, time-consuming and challenging. You will need to make sure your IAM solutions can integrate with your existing internal systems, you may have to come up with a cloud solution and you need people to manage all of it.
For this reason, many companies choose to outsource their identity and access management to an organization that already has the necessary infrastructure in place. This allows you to create the level of cybersecurity protection you need without putting a strain on your resources.
Optimal IdM is just the company to help you build your identity firewall and manage your identity authentication platform. We offer a wide range of customizable, affordable enterprise solutions, including cloud multi-factor authentication, virtual identity servers, federation and identity services and authentication as a service.
We have both on-premise and cloud identity management solutions and are happy to discuss how we can employ our solutions to best protect your data. Contact us now for more information about any of our products and how they can fit into your system. If you’d like to see for yourself just how our identity and access management systems can work for you, request a demo or sign up for our free trial.
Optimal IdM is a leading global enterprise identity management solutions and services provider that has serviced some of the largest companies in the world. We’re happy to show you how we can protect your business from data breaches. Get in touch with us today.