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By Tim Jester

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Thinking about investing in identity administration services? Read on for 7 reasons why identity administration is your best protection online.

Companies today have more IT concerns than ever before.

Nearly every employee at most firms needs some kind of user account and data access.

The real problem becomes how you manage to create these accounts and deciding how much data access each one should have.

Read on to discover the seven reasons effective identity administration is necessary for your business.

1.Data Theft is on the Rise

Data breaches and their resultant data theft are becoming more common and more expensive. Protecting your company from the negative effects of a data breach is more important than ever before.

Well thought out and thoroughly tested security measures are now essential. Without them, your most valuable trade secrets and customer information may be vulnerable.

Identity administration is one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard data. Without firm user account management and an effective way to track data access, it’s impossible to effectively protect valuable data.

2.Users are Always the Weakest Link

There’s a saying in infosec circles, the user is the weakest link. No matter how advanced and in-depth your cybersecurity is, a single careless user can create a vulnerability.

The banking manager who keeps their password on a sticky note by their computer. The customer service rep who improperly allows access to an account. The poorly trained IT associate who picks up a flash drive in the parking lot and plugs it into his overly privileged computer.

All of these are vulnerabilities that software alone cannot protect against. Using effective identity administration principles gives you a better chance at heading these types of breaches off.

By creating a system that requires strong passwords, two-step authentication and strong access limits you better protect yourself and your customers.

3.Identity Administration

The first step to securing your user accounts from misuse is to identify and organize them. This can be more difficult than you would think at first glance.

A B2B or B2C company might have thousands or even hundreds of thousands of users. Without effective identity administration protocols in place, it is nearly impossible to keep track of what level of access each of those users has.

Many companies don’t even know the types of access their accounts may have or how they are being generated. Finding out exactly what you need for account management should be your first priority.

It’s a balancing act, maintaining security without unduly impacting the actions of authorized users.

4.Cost Effectiveness

Creating your own in-house identity management is almost always more expensive than purchasing a fully developed software package. Identity administration as a service (IAaaS) is a fast-growing field of information security.

The cost of hiring skilled IT personnel, designing what you need and training more personnel to manage it quickly adds up. By using IAaaS you can get top-ranked software along with the trained personnel to manage it to your satisfaction.

This serves to automate your identity administration and allows you to drastically reduce the time needed to implement your new system. Many companies have management packages that require only minimal tweaks and customizations to give you exactly what you need.

5.Least Privilege Enforcement

Effective identity administration always follows the principle of least privilege enforcement. Basically, this means that every user has the fewest privileges they need to do their job.

Before the advent of IAaaS this required a fully staffed IT unit. Their only role was maintaining a database of user accounts and access levels.

Each time a new account needed to be generated they would have to manually create an account. The access level given to that account could be far above what the employee needed for day to day activities simply because of a miscommunication between supervisors.

With IAaaS user accounts can be generated, empowered and audited automatically and immediately.

6.Improved User Experience

Identity administration isn’t all about security. Having a well-designed system for creating and modifying accounts is good for customer interactions.

Any business that attempts to scale a user-facing application knows the difficult task account management can be. You need a secure account generation tool that is elegant, easy to use and as fast as possible. All of this of course without endangering company data or allowing users to get access they aren’t authorized for.

Even if you only need to create internal accounts the process for requesting a new account with the correct authorizations can be tedious and time-consuming. This can result in a new asset, contractor or employee spending hours or days of unproductive waiting.

Having a fully realized system implemented beforehand can make requesting an account with the correct user authorizations simple.

7.Access Termination

Managing user accounts is complicated enough without the constant changes in users. Adding new accounts with the correct levels of access is only the first step in proper account lifecycle management.

Employees transferring departments, taking extended leaves or going to other companies present a problem. They all need to have their accounts modified, frozen or terminated.

Doing this manually leaves you open to mistakes. A user who moved from the IT department to accounts might mistakenly be left with superuser access to certain parts of the system. A demoted or fired employee could be left with access to company data long enough to steal some for their own uses.

With an effective account management suite, this process is automated. By simply maintaining a master list of all employees with their positions and current status the system itself can determine their needed level of access.

Once they leave the company their supervisor need only mark them as terminated or quit and their accounts will immediately be deleted. This has the effect of reducing overall risk to the company and making it extremely difficult for a disgruntled employee to abuse their former position of trust.

Don’t Hesitate

One of the worst positions you can take in information security is to wait and see. Taking proactive steps to protect yourself is the best way to ensure your company doesn’t end up with a costly data breach.

If you would like to take the next step in securing your user accounts, check out this guide. It helps you understand what to look for in an IAaaS company.

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