Identity management is a critical tool in an organisation’s toolbelt when aiming to protect itself from Cyber Threats.
Identity management is the process and the tools used to authorise users within a digital system, through creating them a digital identity. Identity management encompasses authentication, access control and password management.
This is important for businesses because the data that is stored is usually business critical and a breach of this data would likely cause huge reputational and financial damage.

What is a digital identity?

A digital identity is a combination of factors used to digitally verify an individual’s identification. This often includes factors such as usernames, passwords, biometric data (such as fingerprints) or verification codes (via an app, SMS or email). This Digital ID can then be used to grant access to systems, applications and data, which makes them a critical part of security.

The Role of Identity in Computer Systems.

Identity plays the critical role of ensuring that only authorised individuals have access to a system or resource stored on that system. Some of the key roles of Identity in computer systems include:

  • Access Control. This is the process of providing granular control over who can access to what. In a business environment, this ensures that an employee only has access to the data they need to complete their role and nothing else.
  • This is the process of verifying someone’s identity. This is typically done through a username and password.
  • Once the identity has been verified, authorisation determines the actions allowed to be performed.

What benefits can identity management bring to my business?

Identity management brings many benefits including:

  • Audit trails. Identity management solutions typically include robust logging and auditing capabilities. This makes logging and tracking user activity easier for businesses and makes it easier to identify suspicious behaviour.
  • Compliance and regulations. In many industries, there are strict regulatory requirements regarding data protection and user access. Identity management is the simplest way for an organisation to comply with these regulations.
  • Secure External access. In the modern business world, it is common to work with a third party who will require access to your IT system and files for a specific function. Using identity management systems ensures that the third party only has access to the areas of the system and the specific files they need to perform their task.
  • Risk mitigation. It is simpler to remove access for terminated employees or third parties who no longer need access, meaning that they cannot access any data when they are terminated. There is also less risk of insider threats because fewer people will have access to critical and sensitive data.
  • Increased security. Many Identity management solutions will enforce the use of complex passwords and multifactor authentication, both critical in business security. Multifactor authentication is the process of requiring more than one form of verification from a user, for example, a password and a verification code provided by SMS. This allows further verification that a user is the desired person and requires a cyber attacker to gain multiple credentials or systems to be able to successfully breach an individual’s account.

Challenges of Identity Management

As highlighted, the benefits of effective identity management are huge for a business, however, this does not come without challenges. The key challenges include:

  • Managing the identity seamlessly in organisations with multiple systems and applications can become time-consuming and complex. Ensuring a seamless and consistent experience for users across all resources can be a significantly time consuming to undertake.
  • User Experience. Balancing security with usability can be difficult for businesses. Implementing strong security systems without causing productivity issues or frustration for users is often a challenge.
  • It can be very time consuming and challenging to implement identity management with existing systems and applications to ensure that there isn’t a loss in productivity for a user or group of users.

How can CTRL-S help?

At CTRL-S we understand that implementing systems and application changes looks different for every business, as every business is different. We understand that there shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to IT systems, which is especially apparent in identity management. We will:

  • Understand your applications and systems. We will spend time understanding the systems and applications that are critical to your business to ensure that any changes we recommend are practical.
  • Understand your business. We will spend time learning how your business works and recommend solutions in line with this. We recognise that every business is different, and its requirements will reflect that.
  • Test all changes before implementation. Any change to a system or application can be disastrous if not done correctly. This is especially apparent with identity management as it could result in an entire business not being able to work as they can’t access files and systems if this is done incorrectly. We will never implement a change we are not 100% confident with.
  • Provide helpful software to reduce the strain on your team. We understand that implementing security systems can require a lot more effort from your team. We have a toolbelt of helpful software that we can provide to reduce the strain on your team. This includes software such as password management software, to allow simple and secure storage of complex and unique passwords for all the critical information held by your business.

Get in touch today to discuss how we can help you with identity management within your organisation.

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