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Security Practice Foundations Series: "Identity and Access Management"

Posted by Divya Prabakaran on Oct 17, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)? With security threats becoming more advanced, IT and network security need to be a top priority. Education and awareness is essential; acquired through best practices, security trends, and a fundamental knowledge of the latest security technologies.

 In support of NCAM, we are sharing a new blog series, Security Practice Foundations, intended to help build a strong foundation in security awareness. The modules will include:

  1. Identity and Access Management
  2. Security Intelligence
  3. Network and Perimeter Security
  4. Data and Application Security
  5. Endpoint Security
  6. Compliance

Let’s get started!


What Is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the security discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.1 It brings together the concepts of identification, authentication and authorization to make sure people have the access they need to do their jobs and keeps unauthorized users away from sensitive resources. Giving everyone access to only those materials that they need can mean anything from defining permissions for each person to revoking access for people that are no longer there.


This is where Identity and Access Management exists in the security domains.

Why Is IAM Important?

We can’t depend on firewalls and intrusion prevention systems alone to protect sensitive information. With the increase in cloud computing and use of mobile devices for work, they also bring about more risks. The data is spread out in a wider range and it’s harder to regulate who has access to resources. Creating preventive and detective controls can help catch threats before they occur.

Insider threats are equally as dangerous as external threats. They are often the result of someone accessing sensitive information they weren’t supposed to. The most damaging breach is one from within. As reported in CERT’s 2017 U.S. State of Cybercrime Report, nearly 30 percent of insider attacks were costlier or more damaging than outsider attacks.2

Proving user identity isn’t enough to gain access. Once a user gets in, the system should monitor their actions to make sure they’re only doing or accessing what they’re allowed.

Trends to Watch

  • GDPR will force U.S. companies to pay more attention to data governance
    • Just because it’s based in the EU, doesn’t mean U.S. companies are off the hook. If a company outside of the EU offers goods or services to or monitors the behavior of EU data subjects, the regulation applies to them as well.3
  • Identity verification by Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) is going away4
    • Today it’s very easy to find the answers to generic “security” questions. For instance, just by going through someone’s social media, an attacker could easily find out their employment history or even their mother’s birthday.
  • Behavioral Biometrics
    • These build a user profile based on their usual pattern of behavior. It takes into account things like, what time they usually log in, what device they usually log in on and even where they’re logging in from. Someone could login with the correct credentials, but is it really who it’s supposed to be?
  • More Single Sign-On (SSO), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and password-less authentication
    • Not only do these non-KBA methods of authentication help to increase security, in the case of SSO, it also means users get to spend less time entering their credentials and interacting with security systems. That means less frustration and more productivity.

Interested in accelerating your security practice? Contact Tech Data’s Security Solutions specialists at securityservices@techdata.com.








About the Author

Divya Prabakaran is an intern with Tech Data’s Security Solutions team. She currently is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity at the University of South Florida. When she’s not writing security blogs or doing schoolwork, she can be found in her kitchen baking and taste testing new recipes.

Tags: Cybersecurity, IAM, Security Services, Identity and Access Management