What is identity management and why does it matter?

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Identity management is a process that ensures that individuals have appropriate access to technology resources. Simply put, it allows a person to have access to any system, network, or application through an authentication and authorization program.

Most companies nowadays have a system of identity management integrated for any computer-based tasks. The goal is simple: ensure that only authorized users can access authorized programs.

In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses scrambled to digitize their platforms and add identification systems to better streamline tasks. This includes but is not limited to companies that deal with agriculture, architecture, transport, and product distribution. In a nutshell, most of the economy relies on proper identity management.

The inconvenient reality of this quick transformation is that haste rarely meets safety, which is where improper identity management can lead to cybersecurity issues. While many companies realized the importance of having proper security measures in place and basic anti-virus protection, such as VPN software, they often were slower to grasp the significance of identity management.

Identity Management Equals Security and Productivity

Most people have a love-hate relationship with their passwords. Convenience often trumps protection, which is why a staggering 53% of all information workers store their data in a manner that is not secure. This kind of statistic works its way into the bigger picture of identity and data protection.

Password implementation is one traditional cybersecurity measure, but identity management goes further than that. It has two main jobs: keeping security tight and amping up productivity levels. All of this is done through a continual process of eliminating weak passwords, requiring frequent changes, and not allowing default passwords.

Moreover, it works to limit the amount of damage caused by any malware. Since it’s catered to one person, there’s little to no chance of cross-contaminating multiple users at once when using any program. On top of that, most modern identity protection management programs implement state-of-the-art AI and risk-based authentication to identify and block any irregular activities. 

Finally, most identity management services possess multi-factor security with two or three-factor authentication capabilities, like fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, or iris scanning.

Managing Identity Means a Swiftly Managed Business

Aside from the obvious benefits of having improved security and a low risk of cyberattacks, identity management helps in supply chain operations and logistics.

It removes the need to constantly manage access for a single person or switch users for different tasks. Nobody likes to sign into a device every other hour, and having an automated, individualized program is going to cut down on a lot of validating and double-checking.

Productivity also goes up. Having a centralized system of identity management means creating a workflow that can be easily transferred to and accessed by multiple devices at once. It also means less time explaining to newcomers how the system works, since the system can do that independently.

It also reduces a lot of IT costs. If you’re using any on-premise infrastructure, opting for cloud-based identity management services can save you a lot of pennies. It also makes administering any applications easier since they’re all part of an automated system that can transfer information between individual devices. 

Furthermore, all identity management services use data masking and encryption. This obfuscates sensitive and personal data so it’s unreadable to anyone trying to access it, even if the device was breached. 

More importantly, it keeps you in line with governmental regulations and industry standards. This is especially important for businesses that work in multiple countries where data storage and privacy regulations are more strict. Identity management services protect individual data by protecting company data, which in turn solidifies your security and lowers any risks of misuse.

On-Premise vs. Cloud Identity Management Services

Traditionally, most identity management tools rely on local directory services. These are typically carried out through an OpenLDAP and stored on an on-premises directory.

This can make things difficult when trying to change stored information and is less convenient to access if you’re not physically present. It can also be a significant security risk if an on-site attack or accident occurs.

Cloud services have a cloud-based directory under the name Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS), which tends to be more reliable and better equipped. This offers several advantages. For one, they can be accessed from anywhere, which is helpful for any modern-day business with remote workers who rely on cloud calling and ease of use. It’s also OS-compliant, meaning they are usable from any Mac, Windows, or Linux device.

Furthermore, having a central DaaS core directory means not re-creating any additional services for cloud-based systems or applications. It provides complete control over any security assets and can also add multi-factor access settings and require strong passwords and secure-shell keys (SSH).

Protect, Back-up, Carry On

There’s no silver bullet for data breaches in today’s technological reality. Businesses will have to accept knowing that data encryption and protection are sensitive to attacks regardless of the protective layers. Still, this doesn’t mean you should give up on data sharing and securing information.

Identity management is a vital part of every business. Implementing a system that can ensure a constant flow of work under the protection of heavy encryptions to secure data is not just recommended but necessary. Whether on-premise or cloud-based, allow security measures to work for you rather than against you for a better, more innovative business and future.

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