Why Now’s a Good Time to Re-Evaluate Your IAM

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If your user identity and access procedures aren’t orchestrated and automated, you’re fighting a losing battle.

Today’s digital landscape is more connected than ever, with an unprecedented number of network endpoints in more places sharing data across public and private clouds. With all these devices all over the place, it’s no wonder IT feels like the network perimeter is disappearing. And the more extensive the network, the bigger the challenge. You’ve got to confidently identify all those people, places and things and give them only the access they need to get the job done—while keeping data secure and maintaining compliance. To accomplish this feat, you have to:

  • Track every connection in your network
  • Identify each device and location
  • Identify who’s on your network, what they’re connecting to and how

Only when you see everything on your network can you control it. Most companies have policies and procedures establishing user access privileges and requiring users to refresh their passwords periodically. But, if these procedures aren’t orchestrated and automated, they can never be adequately enforced.

 

Why Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a Must

An IAM solution allows IT administrators to securely and effectively manage users’ digital identities and access privileges. With IAM, administrators can set up and modify user roles, track and report on user activity, and enforce corporate and regulatory compliance policies to protect data security and privacy.

An IAM solution typically comprises several processes and tools, such as:

  • Network access control (NAC)—IT administrators use NAC solutions to control access to networks through capabilities such as policy lifecycle management, guest networking access and security posture checks.
  • Multi-factor authentication—With MFA, users are asked to provide two (or more) authentication factors to verify their identities, such as a username and password, along with a time-based one-time password sent to their smartphone.
  • Single sign-on—SSO is like an automated version of MFA, allowing an authorized user to securely login to multiple SaaS applications and websites using only one set of credentials. Besides delivering a better user experience, SSO makes it easier for IT admins to set permissions, regulate user access and provision/de-provision users.
  • Federation—This entails using a server that presents a token (i.e., identity data) to a system or application with an established trust relationship, allowing users to move freely between connected domains without reauthenticating.
  • Role-based access control—RBAC is a method for restricting access to networks, sensitive data and critical applications based on a person’s role and responsibilities within an organization. A role can be based on a user’s authority, location, responsibility or job competency. Sometimes roles are grouped—for example, marketing or sales—so users with similar responsibilities in an organization who frequently collaborate can access the same assets.

IAM solutions can be delivered as cloud services or deployed on-premises, or they can be hybrid solutions. Many businesses choose cloud-based applications for IAM because they’re easier to implement, update and manage.

 

Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), Zero Trust and You

Cisco ISE is an example of an IAM solution that enables a dynamic and automated approach to policy enforcement that simplifies highly secure network access control delivery. ISE empowers software-defined access and automates network segmentation within IT environments. One of its critical differentiators is integrating with Cisco and third-party intelligent solutions to make better-informed policy decisions and automating threat containment.

Once it’s set up, ISE immediately gives you complete network visibility from a customizable graphic interface that lets you view all devices connected and instantly know if they’re out of compliance or your policies have been compromised. With ISE, you can:

  • Quickly understand your dynamic network landscape
  • Generate and enforce security policies for segmentation
  • Monitor and efficiently manage policies all from one place

These capabilities are the keys to building and enforcing a zero-trust framework. As your connected network grows and evolves, maintaining secure access doesn’t have to be that hard. With the help of technology like Cisco ISE and a trusted partner like Presidio, you can be all-seeing and all-knowing—at least when it comes to your network.

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