Picture this: you’re hosting a party and have invited people over. You’re having a good time but then realise someone you don’t really know is in your bathroom, rummaging through your belongings, and just walks out with them.
“They’re not allowed in there”, you think to yourself. But nothing is actually stopping them from entering and taking what’s not theirs.
This is what happens when a business does not manage their identity security.
What is identity security and why is least privilege access important?
It’s essentially controlling who has access to what data within an organisation. One way to do this is by implementing least privilege access; this concept is based on access rights for accounts, computing processes, and users based on what’s required for their role.
It’s more than just access management which is only one piece of the puzzle. Single Sign On (SSO) or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) may help verify the identity of the user, but it doesn’t ensure that the accessible resources are permitted or adheres to access policies.
The risks of ineffective or insufficient identity security
A digital ecosystem can be difficult to navigate and systems can be complex. Especially as companies move more data to the cloud, it can be hard to keep up with the pace. Moreover, many organisations like to manually track privileged account data with spreadsheets which is an inefficient and unreliable practice that will only increase your risk.
For any modern business, it’s important to be aware that cybercriminals and malicious insiders actively look to exploit credentials to compromise systems and data such as:
- Hijacking non-privileged user credentials (phishing) and increasing privileges.
- Stealing privileged user or application credentials and confidential data directly.
- Malicious insiders leveraging existing credentials.
Lack of centralised visibility for privileged and non-privileged users, auditing across the full identity life cycle, and comprehensive reporting may also hinder an organisation’s ability to meet changing compliance regulations.
High privilege access accounts have a huge target on their backs as cybercriminals use these as a ‘fast-track’ into the target’s IT environment. Furthermore, organisations can accumulate dormant or orphaned users, which means the account is no longer assigned to a specific person but remains to exist – a goldmine for hackers.
Why AI is a key component in risk management and protecting
As businesses demand more connectivity – whether your company is growing, employing contractors, user changing roles, or people leaving the company – it can be hard for administrators to know who has access to what.
Having an automated one-stop system that maintains the confidentiality and availability of protection information flowing through a system is crucial. Not only does it increase productivity by freeing up time and streamlining processes, but it simultaneously minimises the risk of human error and the potential infiltration of a cybercriminal. Additionally, no one has to worry about recertification or validation to ensure that access rights are up to speed for specific users base on their risk level.
The latest report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) states that 38 per cent of its reported data breaches were a result of human error – an increase of 18 per cent from its previous report. Our survey also found more than a quarter of companies fail to perform regular reviews of user access privileges. By enabling AI and ML to automate identity management decisions, it can significantly reduce the risk of security incidents and potential data breaches.
By monitoring your least privilege access and implementing a robust security strategy, it will help form a solid foundation for your organisation’s security hygiene. Paired with cyberawareness training, the ability to track in real-time who has access to what within a system is critical in supporting and securing your business while ensuring best practice and maintaining the trust of your employees with their data.