In the days of the traditional “network perimeter,” security resources such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems were dedicated to defending that perimeter. If you could keep outside threats from somehow penetrating or circumventing the exterior wall, the network would remain safe.
The problem is that the traditional network perimeter no longer exists. Users can access IT resources from any location on any device, whether they’re working from home, at a coffee shop, or in a hotel room in another part of the country. Of course, IT resources often reside in cloud environments that also exist outside the traditional perimeter.
Thanks to mobile and the cloud, user identities are the new perimeter, one that is constantly changing and difficult to secure. Today’s dynamic network perimeter is “defined” when users attempt to access any on-premises or cloud-based environment. The only way to keep cyber criminals out is to effectively authenticate users and ensure that they only access resources their authorized to access. This is the job of an identity management solution.
Identity management is the process of identifying, authenticating, and authorizing users so they can access networks, systems, applications or other resources. The decision to grant access is based on an established user identity, which is matched with credentials provided by a user when an access attempt is made. Identity management then enforces user permissions that dictate which resources the user is permitted to access.
In addition to keeping unauthorized users off your network, an identify management solutions should allow you to provide access to customers, vendors, business partners and other third parties without compromising network security. Best-in-class solutions make it easy to onboard new users, manage existing users, and offboard users who are no longer authorized to access the network. Identity management also improves the user experience by enabling the use of single sign-on to access various systems with a single identity.
The business and security benefits of identity management are significant, but nearly all organizations are struggling with it to some degree, according to research from Vanson Bourne. In fact, 92 percent of respondents said they’re experiencing at least one challenge with identity management. Organizations are finding it difficult to integrate identity management with other security tools, and poor password practices are still a problem. Single sign-on helps with password issues, but it can also create security gaps because not all applications can be integrated with single sign-on solutions. Most respondents agree that multifactor authentication is critical to strengthening access controls, but it can also be difficult to implement.
Converge offers a comprehensive suite of identity management services to help organizations overcome these challenges. We can assist with Active Directory Federation Services deployment and upgrades, and the deployment and configuration of solutions for single sign-on, self-service password resets, multifactor authentication, and user provisioning and deprovisioning. For organizations that have multiple identity stores and directories, we provide consolidation and migration services to prevent security gaps that increase risk.
Identity management is critical to securing today’s increasingly dynamic network perimeter. Let us show you how our identity management services can help you control access to your systems and sensitive data while delivering the best possible user experience.