Identity and access management challenges facing organizations and their staff are many and evolving which are partly introduced by changes in our technology and way of life such as Internet of things (IoT), distributed systems and workforce, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), cloud computing and storage, phishing and hacking scams, and various external requirements. These changes and demands are further complicating the way organizations and their experts are managing user identities in systems and protecting systems from threats which often target users and their access rights to gain access to systems.
While there is an increasing number of identity and access management challenges worldwide, there is also an increasing number of identity and access management tools and services that organizations rely on for responding to evolving challenges. In addition, while organizations take advantage of IAM tools to secure their systems and comply with regulations, they also improve upon other areas of their business. For example, with the deployment of appropriate IAM solutions, user access administration becomes faster and less burdensome for the IT staff who must often provision access for users who are always on the rush. However, providing on-demand access to users also raises some security risks that management must accept in exchange for higher user satisfaction.
Considering that most attacks rely on stolen user credentials to access systems, identity and access management challenges also include reliance on the user community to protect their user ID and password. Often, users are targeted with phishing, pretexting, spoofing, and other similar scams to steal their access information. Sometimes the stolen information is used to access the user’s account which poses little risk to the organization and other times the stolen information is used to access business systems which lead to the breach of database files containing huge number of data. The most likely users who are targeted to access business systems and databases are employees who have administrative access to systems.
Admin accounts which are used to manage user access in systems offer the best information that hackers need to access systems. However, not only identity and access management challenges include monitoring admin account activities to prevent and detect unauthorized access such as denying administrator access during off-business or unusual hours, but also tracking unused or orphan admin accounts is a challenge that security professionals must overcome with continuous monitoring and removal of such accounts.
These are some of the identity & access management challenges which can be addressed with a thoughtful identity and access management strategy. For example, as IAM tools improve, lower costs are justified, and authentication mechanisms move from passwords to potentially less compromisable systems such as biometric authentication, system intrusions will overtime diminish.