How to Improve Your Security Protocols With IDaaS Systems

Identity as a Service (IDaaS) platforms are a robust solution for managing who can access your assets. The Blueprint outlines the main benefits for implementing IDaaS in your organization.

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We’ve entered a new world in 2020. We’re hitting record numbers of remote workers, which means more reliance on the internet to maintain business as usual.

While this has opened the door for a more free and open work environment, it has also opened the door to innumerable cybersecurity risks. Between July and August alone, cyberattacks increased by 30%, which SDC Executive attributes to our continuous work-from-home policies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The reason for the increase in the number of attacks in July and August is considered to be due to the increase in the spread of the new coronavirus again, resulting in a prolonged corporate telework system, and because offices tend to be short-handed in July and August, with employees taking summer vacations.

While we can’t fix the pandemic situation overnight, organizations can adapt to the work-from-home situation by improving their security standards. Managing and verifying the identities of everyone accessing your data is an essential first step.

Overview: What is IDaaS?

IDaaS (identity as a service) is cloud-based identity management software for controlling access and verification to many business tools and resources. IDaaS filters access to these resources to the correct personnel through authentication methods. It’s also used for logging security events, collecting information on users, and building reports.

3 benefits of using IDaaS

So you know what IDaaS is and what it does, but what does all this mean for you and your organization? Let’s examine the three main benefits of implementing an IDaaS system.

1. Easy to scale

Like most other cloud-based platforms, IDaaS is an easy to scale security solution that expands as your business grows. As you acquire more employees and software tools to complete your daily functions, an IDaaS solution allows you to segment everything into its rightful place without worrying about maintaining bulky onsite technology.

2. Increased oversight

Your typical network administration no longer is strong enough to prevent security breaches. While standard practices such as data packet captures and setting firewall restrictions are still important, the environment for digital workspaces has shifted dramatically in the last decade.

Increased use of cloud-based applications makes it difficult for IT and SOC teams to monitor the information that’s passed between applications. IDaaS, along with complementary tools like SWGs (secure web gateways) and CASBs (cloud access security brokers), can monitor and approve access to specific cloud applications.

3. Improved security

The third benefit of IDaaS concepts is increased security for your organization. IDaaS includes many protection capabilities from two-factor authentication to zero-trust security. These features let you operate with greater confidence, ensuring your employees can complete their work without exposing your data or network infrastructure.

The 5 services IDaaS provides

While not always the case, IDaaS features can be coupled with other cloud security programs. Often, you’ll find these and other features included with full package cloud security suites. But if we’re talking strictly about IDaaS, expect these five core services from your provider.

1. Compliance enforcement

Humans are undoubtedly the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity. According to Infosecurity Magazine, human error accounts for 60% of security breaches. These numbers are astounding, even though 64% of business leaders told Infosecurity Magazine they regularly reminded their employees about the risks posed to company assets.

The problem is education is only half the equation when it comes to cybersecurity, and it isn’t realistic to think you can depend on your employees to always maintain security standards. IDaaS systems give employers compliance enforcement methods that will ensure your employees are behaving within the confines of company policy.

This includes regular password updates, password standards (character minimums, symbol usage, number values, etc.), HIPAA compliance standards, PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standards) compliance, etc.

Your company may educate your staff on security risks and best practices, but these compliance controls will give you the breathing room to operate without constantly worrying about data handling and secure passwords.

2. Password management

Speaking of secure passwords, you can take additional steps using IDaaS to ensure they’re used. Password management features, such as those offered by IDaaS providers like LastPass and Okta, create randomized and unique passwords for every application and system your employees access.

This eliminates the risks posed by employees creating weak, predictable, and reused passwords. This feature is also known as single sign-on, or SSO.

This improved convenience and efficiency is perfect for ensuring compliance with your security standards. If these conveniences are ignored, and your employees work outside these confines, you’ll know who is a risk to your company and your assets. What you do with that information is up to you.

3. Application cataloging

This is the perfect follow-up to password management because it works hand-in-hand with application cataloging. IDaaS tools let you evaluate, approve, and catalog applications for employee use. The catalog works with your password management features so your employees can simply log into your IDaaS system and access each application.

Screenshot of application control list from PingOne.

An example of a control list for the applications allowed for employees to access using an IDaaS. Source: PingOne software.

This is great for companies to maintain granular control on which applications will be used to conduct work activities. The convenience of a centralized database also means that employees don’t have to question whether or not certain applications are allowed for work functions. If it’s in the catalog, it’s been vetted and approved.

4. Access control and privilege management

Access controls are important for guarding your information and network systems. The possibility of infiltration and privilege escalation is one major hacking threat. It starts as an attacker hijacking a lower employee’s credentials, and without proper controls, this intruder can exfiltrate gigabytes of data that this employee shouldn’t have access to.

IDaaS systems allow you to manage privilege levels for certain types of information and lock out employees who exhibit suspicious behavior, such as:

  • Deleting and replacing sensitive files
  • Saving random files that aren’t relevant to an employee’s responsibilities
  • Viewing data out of the ordinary for an employee
  • And many others

Once you’ve witnessed irregularities like these, access controls allow you to lock out that employee until you can verify they were truly the one accessing that information and if they had a legitimate reason for doing so. Of course, this job is made much easier with the help of the next feature.

5. Zero trust architecture

“Zero trust” is the hot new buzzword when it comes to cybersecurity. And considering the sizable increases in security breaches, it makes total sense why. Zero trust centers on the concept that your system will never trust, but will always verify, any action or user. For example, want to access a database? Prove you are who you say you are. That’s the basic idea around zero trust.

Most identity services are built on this concept of zero trust. All my work assets for my primary job are protected using a zero trust architecture. Any time I want to access my email, a company database, or any other key asset, I am prompted to verify my identity with a password and a multi-factor authentication method.

Any time I close and reopen an asset, I am once again prompted to re-enter my information. This is the core idea behind zero trust. The system never assumes I am who I say I am — I have to prove that I am an employee every time.

The Blueprint can help you secure your organization

There’s more to information security than just managing the identities who have access to your data and the applications they may use. We’ve only just begun our dive into cybersecurity here at The Blueprint and we want to keep you informed as we expand our library of content.

We’re constantly releasing new content, and to stay up to date on all of the best security practices, security software reviews, and beginner guides, sign up for our newsletter by entering your email address in the field above our suggested content.

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