Distributed IT environments, siloed IAM approaches, and IT challenges
In the backdrop of fast-paced digital transformations, driven by adoption of cloud-based technologies, global organizations are witnessing massive digital identity sprawls spread across hybrid environments. This has increased the identity attack vector. Whether human or machine identity, IT operations and infrastructure teams have a huge task at hand to make those identities secure from any incident as (identities) have become increasingly vulnerable to misuse from bad actors.
Furthermore, the constant increase in the number of identities, databases, and applications across distributed IT environments poses serious risks of unauthorized access. A single unauthorized access to any of the IT resources from any so-called “trusted identity” is enough to shake the foundation of the entire IT infrastructure. A malicious intent behind the mask of a “trusted user” leads to catastrophic scenarios.
Fair to say, the challenges today not just include effectively administering identities but also managing those in a widely dispersed/distributed environments. In other words, the IT perimeter is no longer confined to on-premises infrastructure. Remote end users, decentralized IT setups, ad-hoc adoption of SaaS-based applications by various functions based on IT needs- has all necessitated building a security framework that can ensure:
- Identities are protected with multiple authentication steps
- Identities are managed with Role-Based-Access-Controls (RBAC) and complemented with Attributes-based Access Control (ABAC) and Policy-based Access Control (PBAC)
- Identities are governed by well-defined policies and procedures
- Identities are monitored to determine anomalous activity
- Identities are controlled/restricted to access systems for ensuring the least privilege principle
What that means is that the administration of identities needs to be tightly controlled by applying the Zero Trust approach– which works on the principle – “Never assume trust and continuously assess it.”
Heterogenous and distributed IT environment: Building Zero Trust Security model with ARCON Converged Identity platform
But how one would ensure the zero-trust implementation if an organization has a distributed IT infrastructure? Administering various and fragmented identities in siloed IT setups is not an easy task.
Moreover, the sheer pace at which users and corresponding services are created to administer a wide range of identity-based use cases make it exceedingly difficult from an administrative point of view under siloed IAM approach. It is important to note that conventional IAM solutions offer static controls that were not developed to support modern dynamic IT setups.
However, modern Access Management requirements are ever evolving and dynamic. ARCON converged identity (CI) approach, in this regard, provides a single pane of glass to get the complete observability of a digital identity environment, i.e., all human and non-human identities together. Whether privileged identities, machine identities, or standard user identities, a CI approach enables entwining all distinct identities under one centralized engine for administering connected or unique use cases at an enterprise level across distributed, hybrid, and heterogeneous IT environments.
ARCON CI approach provides five key enablers to construct the Zero Trust security model
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): ARCON’s Converged Identity enforces MFA, a foundation to build the zero-trust security architecture. MFA adds an additional layer of security by requiring users to prove themselves that they are the ones who have been granted access to systems. The ARCON CI platform integrates with disparate biometric tools such as 3M, Cogent, Morpho, Precision, Gemalto, among others. In addition, CI administrators can use token-based authentication (Radius, RSA tokens) including authentication applications such as Microsoft, Google, and ARCON authenticators for robust authentication mechanisms.
- Adaptive Authentication: ARCON’s Converged Identity enables adaptive authentication, where user activity is monitored throughout a session. This AI-based technology analyzes the user’s geographic location and login behavior which includes IP address, device used, typing speed, time to log in, etc. through an authentic and reliable environment. Any kind of deviation from this baseline standard is notified to the administrator, who helps take immediate action on it by terminating the session. This helps to detect and prevent attacks that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
- Identity Governance (IG): Identity Governance plays a pivotal role in building the foundation of Converged Identity approach. It aims to streamline the IT processes, improve security, and enhance user experiences across the organization. IG helps to establish role-wise and time-wise access to the critical systems/ applications and creates workflow matrix for administrative ease. Identity Governance offered by ARCON’s Converged Identity suite helps IT administrators to provision, de-provision, certify or re-certify identities seamlessly and builds the foundation of Zero Trust security and strong governance. It refers to the practices, processes, and technologies that ensure the right individuals have the right access to the right resources, while minimizing the chances of compromised identity at the same time.
- Just-In-Time (JIT) Approach: Just-In-Time approach helps organizations to follow the principle of ‘Least Privilege’ and mitigates threats arising from ‘always-on’ privileges. It gives ample scope to the administrators to grant privilege rights to accomplish tasks in a secure manner without worrying about revoking the rights. ARCON | CI provides JIT approaches through creation of ephemeral credentials, on-demand privileged accounts, time-based privileged elevation, temporary elevation, and thereby helps to follow Zero Trust security policy.
- End-user Behaviour Analytics: Continuous analysis of end-user behaviour builds the threat-predictive landscape. Analysis of end-user behaviour and predicting risks stemming from digital identity is equally critical as administering it. End-user behaviour analytics enables the IT risk management team to identify those anomalous identities that deviate from the baseline policies as mandated already. ARCON’s Converged Identity provides a powerful identity threat analytics engine, known as Knight Analytics, that leverages AI/ML algorithms to identify any sort of deviation that poses risks and sends instant alerts to flag the anomalies in real-time.
- Role-based Access Control supported by ABAC and PBAC. It is highly crucial for an organization with multiple roles in multiple departments to have role-based access control mechanisms with fine-grained control. However, this is not enough to scale in dynamic and highly distributed IT environments. Therefore, ARCON CI offers Attributes-based access control (ABAC) to complement RBAC and Policy-based access control (PBAC) to enforce robust access control policies.
ARCON Converged Identity suite holistically enhances Zero Trust security by ensuring that access decisions are based only on comprehensive and up-to-date information about users and devices. This approach aligns with the principle of “never trust, always verify” framework, making the organization’s security posture more robust in today’s dynamic and evolving threat landscape.