Fresh Takes

Identity crisis? It’s time to take the holistic approach.

April 8, 2021
Identity credential management

by jerome becquart

This month we’re taking part in the first annual Identity Management Day on April 13th.  This day was founded by the Identity Defined Security Alliance to educate and engage business leaders and IT decision-makers on the intersection of identity management and security.

Recognizing a day such as this is essential this year. In planning for a secure future hybrid working reality, many IT leaders have reconsidered how they manage the identities on their network. Their workforce now uses new systems and devices, interacts with the helpdesk entirely remotely, and needs to access their resources from dispersed locations. Businesses are investing in new technology to protect their remote workers, but are still faced with rising security threats – 90% of IT leaders reported an increase in cyberattacks since the pandemic.

Here at Axiad, we speak with customers every day about how to adapt their business processes to this new reality, without sacrificing security – whether they’re wondering how to prevent escalating phishing threats, automate their credential management process, or encourage employees to follow best security practices. Many of them feel overwhelmed by the number of new technologies they need to address all of these concerns.

Cybersecurity can be hard enough without an identity crisis. That’s why we’re sharing our tips on how to take the holistic approach to consider all the identities on your network and fully secure them all.

Tip 1: Think about every identity within your organization

The first mistake a lot of organizations make when planning their identity management strategy is not considering every identity on their network. Sure, a lot think about their users and what types of credentials they’ll need for their various systems. But what about the numerous machines on a company’s network, like mobile devices, servers, applications, and IoT devices? Machines are dramatically increasing, and require a solution that will identify these identities, authenticate them, and then secure their interactions across the network.

IT leaders need to consider PKI-based solutions for managing their machine identities, so their IT teams can issue certificates to their machines, track what is on their network, and encrypt the communication between the devices. This will prevent falsified entities from entering the network and putting data at risk. With the scalable Axiad PKI solution, businesses can continually issue and manage digital certificates for every type of machine as they join the network.

Tip 2: Consider how to verify emails and documents crossing your network

In the face of phishing threats, many companies focus their investments in anti-malware software or new technology to prevent the threats from getting through. Unfortunately, some of these emails will inevitably slip through the cracks. That’s why we recommend IT leaders take an identity-centric approach to help their employees secure their emails and protect themselves against scams.

Enterprises should implement email and document signing with certificates to accomplish this. By digitally signing emails, email recipients can quickly confirm the identity of the sender and ensure that the email is legitimate. The same goes for documents – if you can digitally sign a contract or purchase request with a certificate, your business can operate with a higher level of trust. This also reduces the wet-ink hassle of printing and scanning documents while working remotely.

Tip 3: Enable simplified identity credential management for IT and end users

Amid the transition to the hybrid workforce, both your IT team and your employees are likely stretched thin. As you deploy new credentials to protect access to your enterprise resources, your IT team is likely focusing on managing the systems instead of doing strategic work. And with each new credential, your end users are spending more time issuing and managing each tool. Often, they end up reaching out to the help desk for assistance, stretching IT resources even thinner.

Credential management should be automated for your IT team, and simple for your employees to manage. Your business can do this by offering them a unified experience for all your various credentials. Our Axiad Cloud solution offers one place where both IT teams and employees can issue, manage, and troubleshoot their various credentials whether they’re hardware tokens, smartcards, TPM, mobile authenticators, etc. End users no longer need to juggle different software and don’t need to ask IT for help, allowing everyone to focus on moving your business forward.

Tip 4: Know, trust, and verify every user before issuing credentials

When considering every identity you need to manage and secure, many enterprises struggle to first verify the identity of their employees, end customers, or partners before issuing them their credential. With the increase of digital interactions, your business needs to find a streamlined solution to reduce identity fraud, follow regulations, and ultimately ensure complete trust for every entity. Many traditional identity verifications processes are slow and filled with red tape, meaning that identity verification can’t keep pace with the rest of a digitally transformed business.

That’s why identity proofing technology is essential for businesses that need to ensure customers or users are who they say they are. Adopting an identity proofing solution accelerates verification with ID document and biometric capture. This reduces the delays of regular verification, which means customer acquisition and employee or partner onboarding can be completed easily and efficiently.

Tip 5: Maintain a high standard for identity assurance

Your business can invest in multiple identity credentials to defend every use case and identity on your network, but it all goes to waste if users don’t follow best practices or find workarounds in your system. If you’re faced with a dispersed workforce, it can be even harder to ensure all your employees are adhering to your security policies and are using their required authentication tools.

Airlock, a key feature of Axiad Cloud, allows your IT team to assign employees specific directives before they can gain full access to the company system. This means that if they need to activate a new authentication device, update a certificate, or unlock their device, Airlock will require them to take that action before they can work on any other projects. Businesses can have peace of mind that no matter where your employees are, they are consistently meeting the standards your business needs to operate securely.

Final thoughts

This Identity Management Day, it’s time to take a holistic approach. It isn’t enough to authenticate just your users, businesses need to authenticate all their identities – whether its their systems, machines, etc. – and ensure trusted and secure interactions among them. You also need to consider the long-term impact of the IAM solutions you’re selecting. Solutions that are automated and user-centric will simplify identity management for both your IT team and your employees, so you can ensure end-to-end security.

About the Author

Jerome Becquart is Axiad’s COO. Jerome has over 20 years of experience in identity and access management solutions, including 15 years at ActivIdentity. Jerome’s management experience includes roles in operational management, sales management, professional services, product and solution marketing, engineering, and technical support. After the acquisition of ActivIdentity by HID Global in 2010, Jerome served as general manager of the HID Identity Assurance business unit. He chaired the Global Platform Government Task Force for three years, and served on the board of directors of this Industry organization.

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