Identity access management solutions are critical to keeping cybercriminals out of your cybersecurity architecture and safeguarding sensitive data. Implementing tools and processes to authenticate access to digital assets will help mitigate data breaches. Read on to learn more about the top identity access management solutions.
What are the Top 3 Identity Access Management Solutions?
By implementing reliable identity access management solutions, you can control access to sensitive digital environments and bolster cybersecurity across your IT infrastructure.
The top identity access management solutions can be grouped into three types:
- Compliance-based identity access management solutions
- On-premise identity management solutions
- Cloud-based identity access management solutions
With the help of an identity access management solutions provider, you will optimize your current identity management solutions and strengthen your security posture.
What is Identity and Access Management?
Identity and access management refers to the processes, procedures, or tools that control access to an organization’s IT systems and components.
The most important features of identity access management solutions include:
- Authentication – Identity and access management solutions must correctly determine if an attempt to gain access to an information system is valid based on pre-determined criteria established by a user admin.
- Authorization – Identity and access management solutions must provide access to an information system once the access attempt has been authenticated.
In addition to controlling access to sensitive IT environments, identity and access management solutions also help mitigate common gaps and vulnerabilities in cybersecurity infrastructure.
Examples of security gaps and vulnerabilities that an identity and access management solution can help mitigate include:
- Dormancy of accounts – In many cases, certain accounts may be inactive long after a user has left an organization or moved to a different department. A dormant account makes it easy for cybercriminals to exploit a user’s credentials to gain access to privileged information.
- Weak authentication processes – If cybercriminals only have to bypass a limited number of protocols when attempting to breach a system, it is much faster to gain unauthorized access to the system.
- Misuse of admin privileges – When admin privileges are not secured with IAM authentication, cybercriminals can easily leverage open use of these privileges to gain easy access to an IT infrastructure.
Robust implementation of identity access management solutions will help safeguard your IT infrastructure from commonly exploited cybersecurity gaps and mitigate data breach risks.
Identity and access management solutions can also be tailored to the specific needs of your organization’s size and industry to maintain an optimized long-term security posture.
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Compliance-Based Identity Access Management Solutions
The most common forms of identity access management solutions are those required for compliance with regulatory frameworks. Controlling access to sensitive data environments regulated by industry or other factors is fundamental to optimizing compliance with most security frameworks and is a foundational step in securing these environments, irrespective of industry.
Two of the widely-applicable security frameworks that require organizations to implement identity access management solutions are HIPAA and the PCI DSS.
Healthcare Compliance and Identity Access Management
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was established to safeguard the privacy and sensitivity of protected health information (PHI) during its storage, processing, and transmission across entities. HIPAA comprises four primary Rules, namely:
- Privacy Rule – By establishing PHI as a sensitive type of data, the Privacy Rule stipulates guidelines for the use and disclosure of PHI, including special instances under which organizations can implement permitted uses and disclosures.
- Security Rule – The handling of electronic PHI (ePHI) is governed by the Security Rule, which outlines various safeguards to minimize risks to the use, storage, and transmission of ePHI. The Security Rule comprises three types of safeguards:
- Administrative safeguards
- Technical safeguards
- Physical safeguards
- Breach Notification Rule – If a data breach occurs, organizations must report it promptly and to the relevant parties. The Breach Notification Rule establishes processes for reporting breaches, depending on the number of individuals impacted by the breach.
- Enforcement Rule – The enforcement of HIPAA is overseen by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Enforcement Rule governs the processes for enforcement of HIPAA compliance and stipulates fines and penalties for non-compliance violations.
Based on the requirements stipulated by HIPAA, you can develop and optimize identity access management solutions for safeguarding PHI.
HIPAA Identity Access Management Solutions
When it comes to complying with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, identity access management solutions include:
- Establishing processes to prevent unauthorized access to physical locations containing PHI, such as filing cabinets containing sensitive documents
- Minimizing the use of patient identifiers which can be exploited to gain access to sensitive records
- Tracking the use of badges to gain access to physical locations of PHI
- Confirming user identity before divulging sensitive PHI to business associates (e.g., billing service providers) over the phone
Additionally, compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule involves implementing the following identity access management solutions:
- Administrative safeguards that provide identity management solutions:
- Removing user access privileges for accounts belonging to previous employees
- Setting access privileges to expire for any temporary or contract employees
- Minimizing access to sensitive business environments to business needs only for third-party providers
- Physical safeguards that provide identity management solutions:
- Implementing the use of key cards or badges to access sensitive data environments
- Limiting privileged access to only users with specific types of badges
- Tracking badge access to locations containing PHI
- Installing automatic log-off processes for common-use workstations
- Use of passwords to gain access to workstations and shared devices containing ePHI
- Technical safeguards that provide identity management solutions:
- Instituting policies that require the use of strong passwords to access sensitive PHI environments
- Establishing role-based privileges for any access to ePHI
- Developing protocols for gaining access to ePHI during unique instances (e.g., emergencies)
- Tracking access to ePHI environments to flag any unusual activity
- Implementing automated incident response protocols following suspected unauthorized access events
Most importantly, any identity access management solutions implemented under HIPAA must be governed by a security policy that is routinely updated to reflect the changes to your organization’s data environments.
Cardholder Data and Identity Access Management
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) help organizations safeguard cardholder data (CHD) during collection, processing, storage, or transmission. Like PHI, CHD must be secured at all times to minimize the risks of data breaches.
The PCI DSS v4.0 comprises 12 Requirements to help safeguard the sensitivity of CHD:
- Requirement 1 – Secure network controls
- Requirement 2 – Safeguard system configurations
- Requirement 3 – Secure stored account data
- Requirement 4 – Implement strong cryptography for the transmission of CHD
- Requirement 5 – Secure systems and networks from malware
- Requirement 6 – Secure systems and software from vulnerabilities
- Requirement 7 – Minimize unrestricted access to systems and CHD
- Requirement 8 – Implement user access and authentication
- Requirement 9 – Control physical access to CHD
- Requirement 10 – Track access to systems and CHD
- Requirement 11 – Test network and system security
- Requirement 12 – Implement information security policies to safeguard CHD
The access control measures stipulated in Requirements 7, 8, and 9 provide guidelines for implementing and optimizing identity access management solutions to safeguard CHD.
Identity Access Management Solutions for the PCI DSS
Requirement 7 of the PCI DSS mandates the use of processes and mechanisms to restrict access to sensitive CHD environments, such as identity and access management solutions:
- Designating roles and responsibilities for managing access to CHD environments
- Implementing access control models to provide user access based on:
- Business and access need
- A user’s job classification
- The least privileges necessary to perform a job
- Reviewing user accounts at least once every six months to ensure that user access controls are working correctly
- Limiting queried access to stored CHD to:
- Applications that grant access based on least privilege principles
- Designated admin users
- Enforcing access control permissions to run on a need-to-know basis
PCI DSS Requirement 8 stipulates mechanisms for user identification and authentication:
- Implementation of user access policies that are:
- Well-understood by all users
- Routinely updated and documented
- Disseminated to all relevant parties
- Access to CHD should be granted via unique IDs
- Use of shared account access is only used when necessary and is justified by:
- Business need
- Management approval
- Confirmation of user identity for each access attempt
- Access to sensitive CHD environments by third-party service providers should be:
- Controlled to ensure that one service provider’s credentials cannot be used by another
- Monitored for unusual activity
- Modification of user IDs and other authentication tools should follow:
- Management authorization
- The privileges specified in the document approval
- Removal of access privileges for any terminated employees
- Deletion of inactive user accounts
- Implementation of automatic log-off procedures for idle user sessions
- Authentication of user access to CHD environments via strong cryptographic tools, such as:
- Token devices
- Biometric elements
- Invalid user authentication attempts should be limited by locking out users after several login attempts
- The use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure access to CHD environments
- Implementation of strong password use policies for all access to CHD
And Requirement 9 outlines measures for safeguarding physical access to CHD, including:
- The use of physical access controls (e.g., badge readers, keyed access)
- Monitoring of access to secured CHD environments
- Implementing physical access controls to safeguard wireless access points to CHD
- Limiting user access to physical locations containing CHD to authorized personnel
- Visitor access to CHD environments is managed, ensuring:
- Authorization of visitor access via proper identification
- Authentication of attempts to gain badge access
- Media and devices containing CHD should be secured to prevent unauthorized access
Compliance with the user access management requirements outlined in the PCI DSS will help strengthen identity access management solutions and mitigate the risks of data breaches.
On-Premise and Cloud Identity Access Management Solutions
Besides compliance-based identity access management solutions, on-premise and cloud identity access management solutions are critical to securing IT infrastructure. Although they can be implemented as part of regulatory compliance efforts, on-premise and cloud identity access management solutions typically function independently of those requirements.
Impactful on-premise identity access management solutions help safeguard access to the digital assets housed on-premise in and through physical and virtual infrastructure, such as:
- Server rooms containing sensitive data storage
- Workstations providing common access to information systems
- Access points to firewalls for local and global networks
Examples of on-premise identity access management solutions include:
- Controlled access to sensitive digital environments via badges and key cards
- Monitoring and tracking of on-premise user activity and logon events
- Implementing provisioning and de-provisioning tools to streamline user authentication processes
- Regularly reviewing account privileges to remove or modify access privileges
- Use of biometrics to access highly sensitive digital environments
- Restricting user access to role-based privileges
It is critical to ensure that all on-premise identity access management solutions are governed by an updated and documented security policy to minimize security gaps.
Best Practices for Cloud Identity Access Management Solutions
Identity access management solutions on the cloud are often similar to those implemented on-premise. However, organizations usually do not have as much control over cloud identity and access management solutions as they do with those deployed on-premise.
In most cases, cloud identity and access management solutions are outsourced to a third-party service provider as an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) suite. Cloud identity and access management solutions are also much cheaper than their on-premise counterparts.
In general, you should ensure that the cloud identity access management solutions you implement are:
- Compliant with industry- or region-specific security frameworks
- Regularly updated with security patches
- Up-to-date with the latest industry access control protocols, including:
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Strong password use policies
- Role-based access control
- Routinely audited to validate security implementations
Whether you prefer on-premise or cloud identity access management solutions, working with an identity and access management service provider will help optimize access controls across your organization.
Develop Robust Identity Access Management
In today’s fast-paced IT environment, information security is critical to mitigating data breaches and minimizing disruptions to business continuity. Partnering with an identity and access management expert will help you implement robust identity access management solutions to safeguard your entire IT infrastructure.
Contact RSI Security today to learn more and get started!