5 Essential IAM Security Best Practices for Every Business

Business & Finance

The IAM Security Tools That Shape a Modern Identity-Based Perimeter

IAM security best practices protect your business against data breaches, cyberattacks, and IT security risks. They also improve operational efficiency by automating tasks and reducing manual errors.

The key to IAM security is using the least privilege, where access rights are limited to those required for a user’s role. This prevents bulk approvals and frequent changes to user roles and departments.

Implementing IAM security best practices in your business can help protect your organization from data breaches, cybercriminals, and other threats. This is especially important when managing and protecting sensitive corporate data.

A crucial part of IAM is ensuring that only authorized users are granted access to sensitive information and technology resources. This is done through role-based access controls (RBAC), which allows you to control who can access what systems and the type of access they can have.

Another IAM security best practices is utilizing multi-factor authentication. This ensures that no single factor is compromised, so a cybercriminal must break multiple security barriers to gain access.

This is a critical best practice for adopting digital certificates or machine identity management in your IAM strategy. In these cases, you want to be able to scan your network periodically to identify and map digital credentials to their owners, whether that owner is a human or a machine.

Additionally, if an employee leaves your organization, it’s vital to regularly audit their accounts and remove access privileges promptly so no one else can use them. This helps to prevent orphaned accounts from posing a threat to your network.

Finally, ensuring that your IAM logs are centralized will provide a bird’s-eye view of who is accessing and using your network. This will make it easier for your IT teams to detect issues with IAM and help them respond quickly.

Establish a Firm Password Policy

A firm password policy is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your business from cybersecurity threats. It can help prevent hackers from infecting your system with ransomware, stealing customer data, or deleting sensitive company files.

Password policies also ensure that your users create and manage strong passwords. These can include requirements for password length, complexity, storage, and reset.

The password policy you create should be clear and easy for your staff to understand. It should enforce strong password creation and educate your employees on why it’s so important to use strong passwords in the first place.

A firm password policy should also include a minimum and maximum password age, which limits users from changing passwords too often or using expired ones. Having a password policy that enforces regular changing can be challenging for users to comply with. Still, it is essential to secure your company’s data and your client’s private information.

Encryption is Key

Encryption is a crucial data privacy protection strategy that enables organizations to keep sensitive data out of the hands of unauthorized users. It protects data in transit and at rest (when stored), making it more difficult to access or manipulate.

Encryption uses a complex key to scramble data so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the right key. This helps prevent data breaches and theft.

It also protects users’ privacy by ensuring no one can intercept communications or read sensitive information except the intended recipient. This prevents attackers, ad networks, Internet service providers, and in some cases, governments from blocking, reading, or sharing sensitive data without authorization.

A firm encryption policy is an essential element of IAM best practices and can help you meet compliance standards. In addition, encryption can be a critical security tool for protecting your most sensitive and valuable assets.

Implement Multi-factor Authentication

One of the essential IAM security best practices for every business is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA prevents terrible actors from gaining access to your corporate network by requiring more than a username and password.

MFA uses multiple verification methods to authenticate the user, such as fingerprints, face recognition, or physical hardware keys. It’s the one security measure that has proven to curb data breaches due to compromised credentials.

Aside from preventing cybercriminals from stealing data, MFA will also increase your company’s reputation and customer trust. A cyber breach is costly, and your customers will move away from you if they feel their data has been stolen.

Secure Your Passwords

Keeping strong passwords is an essential IAM best practice that reduces the risk of security breaches. It can help prevent cyberattacks, phishing attacks, and other threats.

Passwords should be unique, hard to guess, and changed regularly. They should also be complicated enough to deter brute force and credential stuffing.

Single Sign-On (SSO) is another critical best practice that reduces the risk of password breaches. It allows employees to access systems and services with a single login credential, eliminating the need to remember different passwords.

To further increase security, implement regular user management audits. This will identify orphaned accounts that hackers can use to compromise systems.

It is a good idea to secure your passwords with a robust encryption system, such as 256-bit encryption. This will significantly reduce the risks of security breaches and data leaks.

Don’t store Passwords in Plain Text

The main danger of storing passwords in plain text is that it is straightforward for hackers to steal them. In addition, it can make your data vulnerable to insider threats.

A good IAM solution will support risk-based authentication, which considers a user’s IP address, location, device footprint, and other factors to authenticate their identity. This will prevent users from gaining access to systems and applications they don’t need and minimize the likelihood of security breaches.

IAM solutions also typically include capabilities to automate everyday IAM tasks, including user provisioning, account clean-up, auditing, and reporting. This reduces the burden on IT staff, improves security, and helps ensure compliance with regulatory standards.