Most Consequential IAM Blunders and How to Bypass Them

A recent study tells us that 80% of security breaches today involve privileged credentials (Source: SecureLink). That number is staggering but not entirely surprising. Modern enterprise networks have expanded beyond traditional perimeters and outside the safety net of endpoint security and enterprise firewalls. Today’s technology and business landscape are instead ripe with BYOD devices, mission-critical apps− accessed both on-premises and in the cloud− and a remote workforce that requires always-available mobile connectivity. In this environment, pre-cloud and pre-virtualization security is no longer adequate to keep security breaches at bay and hackers from uncovering corporate identities. 

Identity and access management (IAM) solutions have emerged to help close the door to these security exploits and reinforce compliance by protecting users’ access in multi-perimeter environments. The trick is to select and implement an IAM solution that protects and manages digital identities while also providing identity governance, security policy enforcement, and user-based access control. Before moving forward with an IAM framework, watch out for these commons missteps to avoid scope creep and cost overruns. 

  1. Incomplete enterprise risk assessment- during the IAM planning phase, it’s imperative to identify key business objectives and perform a complete enterprise risk assessment. This includes identifying all infrastructure components as well as performing data classification. This will help determine proper access management policies. The process identifies what data should be protected (i.e., determining if it is a high risk, such as customer or financial data or lower risk). It’s also imperative to decide who owns that data and what business units are authorized to access which data sets. Failing to account for the dynamic demands of users accessing IT assets, and identifying user access that’s not in sync with business unit leaders, will put the IAM initiative at risk.
  1. Failing to future-proof IAM- One of the most critical mistakes an organization can make is underestimating the impact of managing mobile devices in the enterprise. This includes evaluating how mobile access and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) strategies and solutions will eventually fit the overall enterprise security plan and IAM solution set. Going forward, in addition to authorizing and authenticating user identities, identity and access management will expand to include access to applications and devices. In other words, internal corporate resources will need to be accessed by managed and unmanaged hardware devices. This is an important distinction to make when evaluating IAM solutions. Today, many IAM frameworks use the user’s identity without accounting for the mobile device’s identity. Look ahead to see how IAM solutions will converge with evolving EMM tools. This is particularly important for extending identity management to applications and devices for authorized machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
  1. Lack of interoperability with existing systems- A mixed platform environment with diverse applications, infrastructure, and apps, is the new norm for the modern enterprise. An IAM solution touches many of these environments, so they must work well together. Essential IAM capabilities like single-sign-on (SSO), user provisioning and password management and audit process improvement, touch heterogeneous systems in the enterprise. Look for systems that off automated provisioning of accounts, the fulfillment of access requests, and computerized policies & workflows regardless of the existing IT systems in place. It may make sense to keep IAM systems and the directory of authentication credentials on a remote server or cloud instance. 
  1. Ignoring other users- It’s important to remember that IAM solutions go beyond authenticating and authorizing employee access to applications, data, and devices. Other legitimate users across an organization may also require access to get work done and build connections. Look for IAM solutions that can scale to address the needs of internal employees and guests, partners, and customers. 

Today’s successful enterprises leverage IAM solutions to provide seamless and secure access to enterprise applications and data from various devices, platforms, and networks. Getting there requires ensuring the IAM solution is scalable and comprehensive, and most importantly, aligned with the organization’s most strategic goals. By integrating IAM into an overall enterprise security strategy, organizations can efficiently meet project milestones. In doing so, strengthen the privacy and security of enterprise assets.

"We absolutely LOVE working with CSG and feel we can trust her explicitly in all matters telecommunications. She is always there for us when we need any sort of guidance or support – whether it be vendor choices, carrier/circuit issues, communications and network infrastructure. That means a lot to Catalina Express – honesty, integrity, and respect are essential in any relationship, working or otherwise."
- Jill Montgomery, Catalina Express
"What I appreciate about Carrier Solutions is the holistic approach of understanding our entire phone needs, then matching the best carrier for those needs, and then helping us execute and integrate the system into our offices! Liane was extremely patient, over communicated every step of the way, and helped us with several issues that we could not have anticipated. All of this was done in the most professional manner. It is hard to find business partners that a small businesses can rely upon, and Carrier Solutions exceeded our expectations."
- Kelly Marks, Zeppos Rautiola
Over the years, Carrier Solutions has been our trusted resource for all our data/telecom needs. Their depth of expertise and excellent customer service has made us a client for life.
- Ken Hodges, Western National Group
"Very pleased with the relationship CO-OP has with Carrier Solutions and Linda Gattis. Linda and the Carrier Solutions team have gone above and beyond with every project we have had, in making sure our needs are addressed. Would recognize them as a top channel partner and a leader in the industry."
- Ron Norys, Director of Networking CO-OP Financial Services
"CSG helped us search, analyze and negotiate favorable telecom agreements and successfully implement a new Enterprise WAN infrastructure utilizing the SD-WAN technology. They are very competent and knowledgeable, always willing to work with the provider we’ve selected on our behalf to benefit us."
- Romy Coronel, SCE
"Carrier Solutions Group helped our organization to negotiate favorable telecom agreements and to implement a new WAN infrastructure utilizing MPLS technology. Their ongoing support of our voice and data service has helped us to streamline our communications and reduce our overall expense."