Identity Management Services (IMS) safely store information, and control the distribution and restriction of that data throughout your network. IMS are a common cyber security tool for organizations with a large number of users and data in their network.
The larger the network, the trickier it is to control access and safely store information. Current employees may require access to more information than past employees. Managers and employees with more responsibilities may need more access than entry-level employees. Outside users may need to log into the network, but shouldn’t be able to see insider information. And some users may have more access privileges than necessary, leaving you open to security risk.
The list of scenarios goes on and on—and each can pose a security issue if the right precautions aren’t taken. Enter Identity Management Services (IMS).
IMS are designed to ensure each user in your network has the appropriate level of access for his or her role. Here’s what you need to know about this tool, and why your company should get serious about managing user access levels.
Why Are Identity Management Services Important?
According to IBM’s latest Cyber Security Intelligence Index, roughly 60% of data breaches are caused by an organization’s own employees. About 25% of those breaches were accidental. Meanwhile, an increasingly mobile workforce is opening up companies to a variety of security risks, and giving hackers easier access than ever to your network’s vulnerabilities.
Simply put, whether your network has 10 or 100 employees, your users’ information and credentials must be organized. Managing the safety and access of every user can be a painstaking process, especially if users are able to access the network from remote locations. Employees may eat away at company time by entering multiple passwords and jumping through hoops remembering and constantly setting up new passwords. Having multiple passwords leads to other poor security practices, and opens the door to cyberattacks.
Meanwhile, your network likely contains some information that’s only appropriate for some employees. If information gets into the hands of the wrong employee or outside user, your data’s safety can quickly be compromised. Restricting access for each individual employee can be close to impossible without a system that controls your network and who can access your information.
IMS allow your network to store and restrict who can access important information, leaving you with a more safe and productive network of users. Each user receives a unique ID, which your IT managers can use to control a user’s access to critical data.
When part of an effective cybersecurity strategy, IMS can reduce the risk of breaches due to mobile access, and ensure that your organization can manage exactly who should be (and is) given access to sensitive information.
Different Types of Identity Management Systems
Not all IMS are the same. Depending on the information available on your computers, and the people who need to access that information, an IMS provider will likely offer different services or strategies for your business. Here are a few of the most common services:
Storage: IMS can keep information up-to-date and organized in one directory. The information is stored on secure platforms and distributed as necessary throughout your network. Information about your users and their time in the network can also be audited and stored automatically. Users who pose a threat can be easily assessed, and consequently, access can be restricted before a potential attack.
Password Management Systems: Users have to remember passwords for their emails, apps, software within the company, and so much more. Remembering all of these passwords can be frustrating and time-consuming. Without proper management of each user’s credentials, it can also be dangerous. Password management systems require one master password. When specified users know that password, they can access the rest of their passwords and information safely.
Two-Factor Authentication: When the number of users in a network reaches a certain number, many organizations feel more comfortable with another layer of security. In addition to a password, two-factor authentication systems require each user to provide a personal item that uniquely identifies them. This item may be a physical badge, or a “soft” token that can be created and used on the user’s smartphone. If an employee needs to be barred from the system, you can deactivate these badges or tokens with one click.
As your network expands, so can the threat of cyberattacks and lost information. A smart cyber security plan is a proactive one. Consider implementing Identity Management Systems to ensure users can only manage what they need to.