“Hackers”Like most criminals, hackers look for opportunities and weak targets. A hacker doesn’t usually have a specific target in mind. Instead, they want to look for companies that have weak identity and access management: Companies that are vulnerable to their attack.
But what are they looking for? What is the corporate equivalent of a “broken window”?
There are a lot of mistakes hackers are just waiting for you to make. Here are some of the most important ones.
The only way you can identify failings with your current access management solutions is to perform an audit. An in-depth audit should be an assessment of any potential security gaps, risks to the security solution, and areas in which the solution is currently falling short. A good audit should also consider the company’s future needs, and whether the solution is going to continue to be scalable and stable.
Hackers don’t want you to be thinking about your security at all, and luckily for them, most businesses aren’t. Many businesses are concentrating on productivity and sales, and security falls to the wayside.
Organizations tend to focus on the revenue-generating features of their IT planning. Rather than looking at core security solutions, it’s easy to look at the solutions that improve productivity and efficiency. But nothing hurts productivity and efficiency more than a major security event. IAM solutions should be included on every level of IT planning, especially when examining new IT solutions.
There are a number of identity and access management solutions available today. Any third-party system can be a vulnerability, and companies may find that their third-party solutions actually represent a weakness. An IAM solution could either cause security-related issues in itself, or it could just be a bad fit for a company. If the solution can’t easily integrate with existing software solutions, it may not be a good choice.
When vulnerabilities are found in third-party systems, you have to patch them out fast. If they aren’t updated, there will be criminal attackers specifically looking for those vulnerabilities, often on the same day that they’re discovered.
Automation is a buzzword now, and it’s something that everyone desires. After all, the more automation you have, the less you have to do. Automation improves security because automation doesn’t make mistakes. But you can’t automate every part of a process: There still needs to be someone watching to ensure that mistakes aren’t made.
Sometimes, it takes more time and effort to automate processes than it would take to simply do them. There’s an old parable: two companies find that some of their boxes are coming out empty on their production line. One company spends thousands of dollars on a machine that can detect the weight of a box and alert technicians if it’s light. The other company spends $10 on a fan that blows the empty boxes off the production line. A cost-benefit analysis has to be done when it comes to automation.
Integration is one of the major failings of many businesses. Not only can third-party solutions be vulnerable, as noted above, but they can also fail to integrate properly with an IAM solution, creating both frustration and security vulnerabilities. Integration testing is critical to identify these problems before they enter into a live, production environment.
Employees need to be properly trained on IAM. Entry-level employees and new recruits need to understand how to properly secure their identity; if employees are trading their login information back and forth, it’s going to be difficult to manage security and identity access. Likewise, if managers have the ability to hand out permissions, and are doing so regularly, the system itself cannot work.
Employees need to understand why security is important, how to protect security, and what the consequences are for not protecting their security. Without there being consequences, it’s difficult for employees to truly connect with how serious an issue is.
Employees need to have the least amount of privileges necessary to complete their work. This can be achieved easily through role-based access, which will limit employees to only the privileges that they need in their hierarchy. But role-based access also shouldn’t be leaned on too much, or simplified too much. It’s critical that roles be audited and assessed.
A major issue with role-based access is that roles can be too broad. If there are “employees,” “managers,” and “administrators,” you can almost guarantee that employees are getting too many privileges. Role-based access is only a start, meant to be utilized to control who can access administrative controls, install software, and other important events. Privileges often need to be more granular than this.
There are an extraordinary number of mistakes that someone can make with their identity and access management, especially if security hasn’t been audited for some time. If you’re concerned that you could potentially be vulnerable to hackers, it’s time to get help. The more you think about and manage your security, the better. Contact us to schedule a consultation about your security today.
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