Access to business files and systems is critical to productivity for many teams. But limiting access too severely can compromise security.
IAM solutions with automated capabilities lighten admins’ workloads and ensure that policies like least privilege are followed by default. They also make setting up new user accounts easy using standardized role-specific templates.
Establish a Zero-Trust Policy
Zero trust is a security model that rejects the notion of a secure network perimeter. It requires that every access request is verified as if it were coming from an open network. It is based on the principle of “never trust, always verify.”
Establishing this security policy can be challenging for small businesses, but it can also be highly effective. A few key elements of a Zero Trust policy include multi-factor authentication (MFA), micro-segmentation, and the principle of least privilege. These are all methods that can help prevent the lateral movement of cyber threats, which is often the cause of successful breaches.
Implementing these tools will require a little time and effort, but the payoff can be substantial. By implementing these security measures, small businesses can ensure that their remote workers are not leaking sensitive information to hackers or being taken over by rogue employees. Additionally, it will limit the impact of a breach if one does occur by limiting the scope of credentials or access paths that can be exploited. This will give systems and humans time to respond and mitigate the threat.
Use the Principle of Least Privilege
The Principle of Least Privilege is an access management best practice that limits user privileges to only what they need to do their jobs. This reduces the damage that a cyberattack can cause by limiting the scope of the impact on an organization’s system.
It’s important to note that this principle applies to more than just users; it also applies to networks, devices, programs, and services. If any of these entities have full administrator rights, they could be used as entry points for attackers to gain broader access to the network.
Unfortunately, many operating systems don’t enforce the Principle of Least Privilege by default. For example, the root account on UNIX can terminate processes and read, write, and delete files. As a result, it is crucial to implement granular security controls for each user and tools that can automatically update those privileges to be as minimal as possible. This, combined with access control tools that provide one-time credentials or session privileges that expire, will help prevent privilege creep and improve the effectiveness of your security posture.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
As cyberattacks become more advanced and aggressive, businesses must take measures to safeguard their sensitive data. One of the best ways is by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA). This technology adds another layer of security by requiring users to provide more than just their password when logging in. This can be anything from a code sent via email or text to a biometric scan on a mobile device like a fingerprint or face.
When MFA is combined with RBAC and ABAC, it can be used to restrict access to systems based on factors like a user’s location or time of day. This can make it much more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to the data they’re trying to steal and makes it more likely that they’ll fail in their attack.
To implement MFA effectively, choosing a solution that meets a business’s specific needs is important. This includes ensuring the solution is accessible for all employees, easy to use and offers plenty of training resources. It also helps to find a third-party provider that can integrate seamlessly into an existing IAM system and offers 24/7 support for any issues that may arise.
Remove High-Risk Systems
Cybercriminals are getting more advanced by the day, digitally pillaging businesses and stealing billions of dollars in revenue. To combat these threats, it’s important to implement effective and easy access management protocols for those needing access.
A robust IAM platform allows companies to centralize their tools, allowing for a single login to gain access to all systems. This makes it easier for employees to use the system but also provides a stronger security barrier for cybercriminals who may try to attack a company’s tools from outside the perimeter.
Lastly, taking steps to remove high-risk systems within the business is important. This includes removing outdated systems with no software patches or other security measures. This helps to protect the organization from cyberattacks that could take advantage of these old systems.
Identity and Access Management best practices help secure a business’s information assets, protecting shareholders, partners, and customers from malicious cybercriminals. By following these five tips – establishing a zero-trust policy, using the Principle of Least Privilege, implementing MFA, getting rid of high-risk systems, and removing orphaned accounts – companies can create an airtight access management plan to defend against hackers.
Remove Orphaned Accounts
Cybercriminals are relentless in their pursuit to breach your company’s digital perimeter. They use various methods; one of the most common ways is through orphaned accounts. These accounts don’t have an assigned user, but they still contain all the information and permissions of a former team member. When these aren’t revoked promptly, cybercriminals can easily hack them and gain access to your customer data.
Centralizing your identity and access management (IAM) system lets you track every account created or used in your environment. This enables you to quickly and accurately compare the identities of new and existing user accounts. It also allows you to identify orphaned accounts that don’t match any external source.
Automating functions like employee onboarding and offboarding reduces your IT team’s workload. This makes it easier for them to ensure that a new team member receives the right access privileges and that these privileges are taken away immediately when they leave the organization. Be sure to extend this process to contractors and partners who have ceased working with you, too.