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Reinforcing the IAM Fabric for Digital Innovation

From a wide range of merchant payment providers to peer-to-peer lending platforms, payment gateways have come a long way to remodel the financial services space. Thanks to technological advances, there is a complete transformation of the ways we manage our finances. 

Financial innovation has ushered financial inclusion. Indeed, different digital payment modes have not just opened a sea of options in front of us but also eased our lives beyond ATM machines and cash transactions. We have mobile apps to check, update or transfer money through mobile banking. We have e-wallets to ease our payment processes in e-commerce platforms and several shopping apps. 

In the process, payment gateways are transforming our lives; however, from a security perspective, what level of IT security preparedness are they adopting to ensure that sensitive information is in safe hands? 

Payment Gateways: A Treasure Trove of Confidential Information 

In a recent shocker, a hacker syphoned off more than INR 50,00,000 by compromising a database server of a payment gateway. On hair-split analysis by experts, it was found that the culprit used a fake ID to access the payment gateway platform in the disguise of a merchant. Prior to this, the hacker evaluated vulnerabilities in the IT environment to compromise the super-admin rights and credentials. Later, these credentials were used for unauthorized database server access. Cyber criminals target payment gateways as they are a treasure trove of sensitive personal data, transaction records, banking account details, etc.

The Role of Identity and Access Management

As payment gateways accumulate and process a huge amount of data on a daily basis, data security and data privacy will require a closer look. To ensure it is important that the entire IT infrastructure is robust. The foundation of identity and access management, if weak, as the recent incident shows, can have a catastrophic impact. That’s why it is important to have Identity Governance, Identity Analytics among many other best practices in Identity and Access Management (IAM), especially the Privileged Access Management (PAM) to mitigate the risks associated with payment gateways. 

A strong identity and access management fabric ensure that all identities have role and rule-based access to systems, are flagged if any anomalies are found, monitored, managed and governed (life-cycle management of identities) and audited. In addition, a strong IAM fabric offers credentials management through vaulting of passwords along with multi-factor authentication (MFA). These practices not only ensure the security of identities, systems, and devices but also compliance with IT security standards such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA and regulations such as GDPR, RBI mandates among many other regional IT mandates.

The Bottom-line

Advances in digital technology and industry innovations have led to digital disruptions, growth and financial inclusion. Nevertheless, lack of preparedness in ensuring data security and access control can badly impact the industry. Therefore, reinforcing the Identity and Access Management fabric is of paramount importance for ensuring the digital security and integrity of data. 

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