The 4 As of identity-based security
In the popular words of David Byrne, there can be no room for “dancing, or lovey dovey” with regards to security. In a planet where tech is consistently undergoing evolution, it is critical to always remain on the up and up with regards to safeguarding confidential and sensitive data. The traditional go-to for security within enterprises is the account-based strategy; however, this exposes the problem with specialized IT resources having high involvement in identity and account administration.
The fashion in which accounts are secured demonstrate variance across domains and enterprises; a few believe securing the perimeter is vital, while others are reliant on encryption and data protection or zero trust access with controls. Eventually, identity is the base of security – making sure that the correct people have the appropriate access to the relevant resources in the right ways at the right time. For this purpose, enterprises ought to be shifting away from account-based management of network resources to a strategy that leverages identities to fortify cybersecurity and facilitate adherence to Zero Trust principles.
Authentication – This is all about making sure that the identity of the individual or non-human (for example, a bot) logging onto a system. Each application or system, regardless of if its on-prem or cloud-based, consists of a variant of authentication, the most typical being a UN and a passkey. A majority of enterprises will leverage Microsoft Active Directory (AD) and Azure Active Directory (AAD) for authentication, or they could augment a majority of the workload with strategies to unify the logins. While authentication is a critical step towards identity-driven security – it is not adequate by itself.
Authorization – Authorization concentrates on the parameters with regards to user permissions after they have been authenticated. This can be impacted by various variables which includes file and application permission and sharing and finely defined access rules on the basis of role, location, and circumstance. Unluckily, this is usually where security loopholes are developed. Users can possibly be awarded the incorrect rights, while others can fail to remember to terminate the rights they no longer require, which provides threat actors an opportunity to manipulate a weakness. To prevent this, a Zero Trust security model ought to be deployed in which no user obtains unneeded or out-of-date permissions.
Administration – This makes sure that authentication and authorization are finished correctly. In order to accomplish this there are several managerial actions that must be executed on the account, which ranges from access requests to fulfilling a particular request and then terminating this access when it is no longer required (this is also referred to as provisioning). This process consists of role administration to allocate the correct people to the right authorization for the right purposes. From a Zero-trust perspective, this phase is crucial to issue the required permissions at the correct time and terminate them when they are no longer required.
Audit – The last but not the least, debatably the most critical step is also often referred to as governance. This furnishes proof that all prior steps are finished to an appropriate standard of security, and it can be proven. Occasionally it also makes sure that the right privacy regulations are compiled with and that any best practice frameworks have been adhered to.
The fact is that the very purpose of IT pros is to ensure that the systems are up and running and the users are productive, although, unluckily, they usually become involved in the day-to-day leveraging of particular applications by a particular user owing to leveraging an account-driven technique to security. This is due to the fact that IT staff members have the utmost know-how with regards to making the right authorization decisions, thus the administrative responsibilities often fall on them in opposition to the line-of-business where it ought to be. They turn into a kind of ‘help desk’, while their typical activities, which include crucial IT initiatives, are usually left incomplete. When leveraging an account-based strategy, the decisions with regards to access and permissions fall on IT’s shoulders, particularly as they default to the resource in control of a particular account on a particular application. To prevent this, enterprises should make an effort to move from a disjointed account-driven technique to a unified identity-centric strategy by leveraging a unified identity security platform. This minimizes intricacy, streamlines operations, empowers security units and facilitates governance, while the IT teams are left out of the mundane activities.
Identity-driven security can be accomplished by adopting an approach similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, there are specific steps that ought to be finished prior to moving along. Access is the base for everything – if users are unable to access the system, the remainder of the procedure cannot start. This is followed by ensuring that everything is performed securely and including specific controls, like policies, standards, guidelines, and processes, which impact and enhance the security of the framework. Then comes administration, which is the capacity to audit and report on all of the lower levels of the hierarchy. And lastly, governance. This stage can only be realized if all other steps have been finished correctly.
Therefore, it’s simple to observe why leveraging an account-driven strategy to security is prone to failure, as it concentrates too much on maintenance of the foundational levels and thus, cannot accomplish governance. The problem of an account-driven strategy lies in the fact that organizations often have individual staff members who are capable of finishing the several activities that move them up the pyramid, without knowing why. Every level of the pyramid would require to be achieved independently for every account. This develops a disjointed procedure and makes it easier for malicious actors to go about exploiting security loopholes.
This, instead of wasting time on granting access through accounts and securing individual systems, identity-driven security provides enterprises the capacity accomplish their business objectives much quicker. This is due to the fact that agility is reliant on governance, which can be realized with the identity-driven approach to security. Organizations will have the capacity to better enforce those activities which are being executed in the right manner, with the right authorization, while at length, accomplishing governance throughout the complete array of systems, user populations and real-world requirements.