Organizations, more than ever, are adopting IAM to provide …
… better control and access to users and employees.
But, simply integrating an IAM solution won’t be enough to secure your organization from cyber attacks.
You also need to enforce IAM best practices for providing verified access to confidential and sensitive corporate data.
Let’s discuss these best practices in detail…
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List of IAM Best Practices:
Not surprisingly, external threat actors keep looking for prospects to streamline large-scale cyber attacks.
The Covid situation has increased the likelihood of cyber attacks, as people are working remotely and accessing the organization’s data from across the globe.
By witnessing such an increase in cyber threats, security experts and business leaders had to re-evaluate their IAM best practices for 2023 and beyond.
Here is a list of such security best practices that organizations can leverage.
Click here to see the infographic.
#1. Develop a Zero-Trust Approach to Security:
In the modern & complex IT infrastructure, it is always better to assume that no one is trustworthy, unless verified otherwise.
In the zero-trust framework, all users in or outside the organization should have to continuously validate them to maintain their access to the organization’s data or assets.
It helps the IAM system evaluate the risk level during each session to make sure that IAM policies and procedures are followed as and when required.
Enabling a zero-trust framework in the IAM solution helps an organization to identify abnormal behaviors, breaches, or violations of any law.
#2. Centralize the Security System:
A centralized IAM system helps you to house every functionality and configuration into a unified system.
This will render better visibility and lets you adopt the best security practices to manage different user credentials and their access from a single location.
Thus, the users can experience ease of access to both cloud & on-premise resources with a common digital identity.
It also helps you minimize the time on administrative tasks and enhances the productivity of IT resources.
#3. Eliminate High-Risk Systems:
You can let IAM system to remain in the most refined form by eliminating third-party integrations and high-risk software.
Many software integrations don’t support updates or patches from the concerned vendors.
Such end-of-life applications lack security, which would create security gaps in the IAM solution.
Also, the applications such as remote desktop sharing might bring security threats since the protocols they utilize can find access to the systems involved.
Hence, it is advisable to secure your organization with access management, application control, and endpoint security measures that reduce the risk of cyber attacks.
#4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication:
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a must-have factor to build a security layer for every user account.
MFA offers an additional layer of protection to guard your sign-in process.
Instead of asking for just a username or a password, multi-factor authentication emphasizes additional factors that minimize the likelihood of a cyber attack.
It ensures that the user involved in the authentication process is legitimate and not a hacker/attacker.
MFAs like a thumbprint, OTPs, or any other authentication metrics will improve the security of the user account.
Even when an attacker finds the login credentials successfully, the MFA measures will restrict the attackers from gaining access to the user account.
#5. Ensure Privileged Accounts Get Properly Managed:
One of the IAM best practices is to lock down the root user for day-to-day usage.
Organizations should follow the principle of least privilege, and if the privilege is given to the person, it should get properly managed.
Organizations should also assign a minimum permission level for achieving any particular duty or role and maintain complete monitoring and logging of such roles.
#6. Routine Review & Removal of Orphan Accounts:
With periodic reviews of the user accounts and their access privileges, the IAM solutions keep the systems highly reliable and secure.
Employees keep coming and going from every organization regularly.
Once the organization off-boards an employee, the respective account becomes an orphan account.
Using such orphan accounts, the bad actors can easily gain access to the organizational resources, which can be dangerous.
Hence, it is essential to do a periodic check of these accounts and delete them or withdraw their roles and privileges.
It thus helps to increase security and eradicate the chances of cyber attacks or breaches.
#7. Enforce a Strong Password Policy:
Keeping weak passwords that are susceptible to brute force or credential stuffing is not an IAM best practice.
Having a strong password always acts as a firm pillar to construct an impactful IAM solution.
Passwords should be easy to remember and difficult to guess or crack.
For password creation, organizations should follow the guidelines that are recommended by NIST, like…
- Password’s length should be 8 to 64 characters long
- Special characters are a must
- Better to avoid sequential or repetitive characters between the password (e.g., 98765 or gggg)
- A good practice is to set up a password expiration policy
#8. Establish Single Sign-on (SSO) Authentication:
Using Single Sign-On authentication, users have to log-in only once to gain access to any system, service, or application.
Employees or users can use one set of login credentials to gain access to all the required accounts.
With SSO in place, you need not remember different passwords, and organizations need not adopt precautionary measures to securely store those passwords.
#9. Set Password Expiry Policy:
IAM systems provide excellent password management features to help security experts implement the practices like frequent password updates and high-end authentication methods.
The ideal password expiry policy for any organization (recommended) would be 45 days or 60 days.
For instance, if the password expiry policy is set to 60 days, the users can’t gain access to the system on 61st day, unless they change the password to sign in.
Password renewal once in two months can let employee accounts remain protected against identity theft, credential stuffing, or any other attacks.
Here is an infographic that briefly explains about IAM implementation best practices –
We hope this blog has given you a clear understanding of the various IAM Best Practices that organizations should implement to leverage IAM solutions to their full potential.
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