Why Identity-first security?
The sheer pace at which digital identities are being created to manage an increasing amount of computing resources both on-premises and in the cloud environments- make identity-first security of paramount importance. Several catastrophic IT incidents happen when the security fabric for distributed digital identities lack identity-centric controls.
While organizations deploy IAM and IGA controls to secure identity, the conventional (IAM, IGA) methods are inadequate as they provide only static control. On the other hand, the essence of identity-first security is continuous monitoring and context-wise controls- the first step towards successfully implementing the zero-trust strategy.
The context that necessitates implementation of identity-first security
- Remote workforce: Since the onset of “Work-From-Anywhere” (WFA) norm in the post-pandemic era, the number of remote users is increasing. The remote users’ access to numerous services means that identities have control over both business assets and critical information and in many cases, access to infrastructure assets. So, in this scenario, perimeter-based security is of little importance as identities are dispersed across distributed environments. Every digital identity has become a perimeter which must be secured, controlled, and monitored, which conventional IAM and IGA control do not provide.
- Proliferation of SaaS applications: SaaS-delivered applications are gaining popularity worldwide due to their scalability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, simplicity of deployments and convenience of usage. Applications across different functional areas are increasingly deployed by organizations of all shapes and sizes. Therin lies a problem from identity security perspective. On most occasions, it is the business team, HR teams, sales team, marketing team among many other functions that keep on adding SaaS applications, circumventing IAM teams. As a result, there are no role-based and policy-based controls. Many privileged level activities are carried out without the least privileged principle and other necessary identity-centric safeguards.
- Human and non-human identity sprawls across multi-cloud environments: A rapid adoption of multi-cloud platforms among global enterprises has resulted in emerging IAM use cases that require relook at how cloud privileges and cloud infrastructure entitlements are managed. Today, more than 70% of organizations adopt multi-cloud platforms to meet the IT operational requirements and infrastructure use cases through various cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure and GCP (Google Cloud Platform) among many others. It is not just the human identities that need to be protected but also machine identities/non-human identities for cloud workloads such as scripts, containers, VMs, CI/CD tools, RPA tools require continuous monitoring and governance.
- Limitations in conventional IAM approaches: The modern-day IAM use cases are dynamic and require variable controls to navigate through high-velocity workloads. Conventional IAM tools, although providing role-based access control (RBAC) and attributes-based access control (ABAC), were never designed to address decentralized and dynamic use cases. In other words, conventional IAM tools offer only static access control and governance that increases identity-based threats. Likewise, conventional IAM methods provide preventive security measures such as MFA, fine-grained access control, and session monitoring. On the other hand, to enhance the identity-first security framework security pros require non-static- continuous monitoring and context-based authentication of digital identities as well as centralized engine to manage identities.
How to design an identity-first security posture?
The basic requirements for construction of identity-first security posture are to adopt access control mechanisms that offers the following:
- Implementing continuous identity threat analytics and orchestration
- Ensuring regular certification and recertification of digital identities
- Establishing centralized control to control, manage and monitor all sorts of identities- converged identity approach
- Verifying the trust of an identity using context-based authentication
- Enforcing just-in-time access to systems
How does ARCON enable organizations to build an identity-first security posture?
- Adaptive authentication: In addition to supporting MFA, ARCON product suites such as Converged Identity platform and Privileged Access Management leverage adaptive authentication for building an identity-first security posture. Deny access until one can establish trust is what makes adaptive authentication a very secure way to access business critical applications. ARCON has a high level of maturity when it comes to assessing the trust as one can configure various tests to be performed before the trust can be established using adaptive authentication components such as IP address, Mac address, geo-location, secret key authentication and time factor.
- User behaviour analytics: Predicting risk stemming from digital identity is as important as administering it. User behaviour analytics enables security professionals to identify identities that deviate from baseline activities as mandated by management. ARCON provides powerful identity threat analytics engine- the Knight Analytics that leverages the neural and deep learning technologies to identify any sort of deviation and sends alert to highlight anomalies in near real-time basis. .
- Unified engine (Converged Identity approach) to manage various digital identities: Modern-day organizations find it increasingly difficult to manage various kinds of identities in today’s vast and distributed IT infrastructure. A unified engine to manage and govern all sorts of identities– human, non-human, shared, privileged identities-is an absolute must for mitigating administrative hassles and chaos resulting from fragmented and siloed IAM approach that erodes the importance of identity-first security approach.
- Just-in-time access: Identity-based threats intensify if there is no mechanism to ensure the right identity has the right to access the right systems at the right time. Just-in-time access approaches eliminate always-on/standing privileges and enforces the principle of least privilege. ARCON provides all industry-standard JIT approaches such as creation of on-demand privileged accounts, time-based privileged elevation, temporary elevation, ephemeral credentials (access tokens for cloud resources).
- Identity governance: Robust identity governance (IG) is getting increasingly important in complex IT environments and one of the critical components to build an identity-first security posture. A widely distributed IT environment includes users, assets, and services that have increased significantly, and these IT components are distributed in multiple cloud platforms and hybrid data center setups. ARCON Identity Governance module enables organizations to manage a complex range of access rights for users, user groups, services, assets, and asset groups – both on-prem and on-cloud. In both environments, ARCON Identity Governance works as a key towards managing the workflow, provisioning/deprovisioning identities, revoking rights and certificate management including recertification.
The foundation of a robust cybersecurity framework is built by implementing an Identity-first security approach. To manage identity-centric controls in on-prem or on-cloud environments, organizations count on an Identity-first security approach, that ensures context-wise controls and continuous monitoring of the identities, especially for distributed digital identities.