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From authentication to intelligence: Elevate cybersecurity with a security-first identity strategy | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Rohan Vaidya, Area Vice President, India and SAARC at CyberArk shed lights on security-first identity strategy

In the current digital landscape, cybersecurity is a business imperative. Trust, once lost, seldom comes back. There are countless examples of organisations that have lost their leadership position upon suffering a breach.

At the core of maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture lies identity security — the assurance that the right individuals access the right resources at the right times. Implementing intelligent privilege controls, hence, becomes a crucial step for an identity-centric strategy.

The number of cyberattacks Indian organisations face has been escalating every year. A survey highlighted that all Indian organisations anticipate identity-related compromises. A significant 84% foresee these compromises as part of digital transformation endeavours like cloud migration or legacy app transitions. This wave has also sparked heightened concerns about insider threats, fuelled by factors such as exploitable leftover credentials or disgruntled ex-staffers.

The consequences of neglecting identity security can be severe—data breaches, shattered customer trust, and financial penalties, to name a few. For instance, a seemingly innocuous scenario like an employee with excessive access rights can pave the way for data theft or sabotage.

Identity security encompasses more than authentication and authorisation; it extends to visibility, governance, and compliance. This underscores the need for robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) practices to mitigate cyber risks and reflects the industry’s commitment to prioritising identity security as the bedrock of cyber resilience.

Why Identity is the Keystone of Security

Identity forms the nucleus of cybersecurity, delineating between legitimate and malicious actions. It’s how organisations discern and regulate access to resources, ensuring that privileges align with roles and responsibilities. Identity enables organisations to monitor and audit users, devices, applications, activities, and behaviours, effectively detecting and responding to anomalies or incidents.

Identity security unveils crucial insights such as who’s accessing data, why, and what they do with it. In its absence, enforcing security policies and compliance becomes challenging, leaving organisations unable to hold users accountable. Identity security gains paramount importance amidst digital transformation, cloud migration, remote work, and mobile devices, which amplify identity-related complexities, attack surfaces, and compromise risks.

Cultivating Identity as a Key Security Enabler

Establishing identity as a security enabler demands adopting a comprehensive identity security framework, including:

  1. Identity Lifecycle Management:
    • Creation, provisioning, updating, and de-provisioning of identities and access privileges based on roles and responsibilities.
    • Ensuring accuracy, currency, and compliance with organisational policies and regulations.
  2. Identity and Access Management (IAM):
    • Verifying and validating identities and access privileges based on context, behaviour, and risk level.
    • Enforcing granular and dynamic access policies like least privilege, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and conditional access.
  3. Identity Protection and Intelligence:
    • Detecting and preventing threats targeting identities and access privileges.
    • Analysing data insights and applying advanced analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and respond to risks.

Benefits of Prioritising Identity Security

Embracing an identity security framework delivers significant benefits. Some of these include:

  • Enhanced Security Posture: Reducing attack surfaces and potential compromises while improving visibility and control over data and systems.
  • Improved Compliance and Governance: Ensuring adherence to security and privacy regulations, accountability, transparency, and evidence of compliance.
  • Increased Productivity and Efficiency: Streamlining identity security processes, automating workflows, and optimising resource allocation.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Providing seamless, secure access and empowering users with self-service capabilities.
Rohan Vaidya, Area Vice President, India & SAARC, CyberArk

Identity security is the foundation for a robust cybersecurity strategy and crucial for managing controls and policies effectively. Research indicates that organisations with robust identity security strategies surpass their peers in cybersecurity effectiveness.

As organisations expand their cloud footprint and face diverse endpoints, prioritising identity security is imperative. Allocating resources to secure access for all identities — human and machine — enhances security posture, minimises disruptions, and drives critical initiatives. This is also important as research indicates that machine identities outweigh human identities by a factor of 45 to 1. As more bots are deployed in the enterprise, they must be governed by a robust identity security strategy to avoid misuse. Partnering with experts in identity security streamlines processes, accelerates growth, fortifies defences, and positions organisations for success in the competitive cybersecurity landscape.

 

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