Essential Tips for Creating a Powerful Security and Identity Strategy

By Kerwin Bachoo | May 24, 2023

Security and Identity

Identities within your organization are the keycards that give your users access to everything they need to do their jobs.

Unfortunately, that also means identities are the main targets for bad actors.

Coming up with a strong framework that houses and manages identity, security, management, and compliance is essential in thwarting would-be attackers. This is especially important as businesses such as yours are considering fully or partially moving to the cloud (if you haven't already) and are adjusting to the new reality of hybrid work.

Let Stoneridge Software Help You Establish a Solid Security and Identity Strategy

Credential and identity theft through phishing email attacks is becoming more common. Creating and maintaining a strong identity across your organization will help you fend off these attacks and train your staff to spot and flag them.

Stoneridge Software has a dedicated Managed Services team that can help you set up and maintain a framework to keep your systems safe and give you and your users peace of mind. The main goal is to avoid breaches. This can be done with comprehensive cyber security plans that involve perimeter security and many other layers that span your entire ecosystem.

Let's take a look at some of the main methods you can use to get this done:

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Yes, it can be a bit tedious, but I assure you it's more important than it is tedious. As much as it would be nice to use a single factor like a username and password, it would make it too easy for hackers. Having additional factors such as authenticator apps, facial recognition, security questions, or codes sent through text helps to confirm the identities of your users, reducing risk to your organization and creating increasingly difficult roadblocks for criminals to overcome.

Implementing MFA is a good first step for companies looking to implement a more sustainable and consistently managed environment.

Conditional Access

This works with your logins to see whether a user can log in or not at a particular time, from a particular location, or on a particular device. It will check for any conflicts with your policy or any suspicious log-ins. I recommend what is known as a "Zero-Trust" environment. To be clear, it doesn't mean you don't explicitly trust your users in all aspects, it's just an extra precaution to confirm identities in a time where you never truly know who is on the other end of that login.

Device Verification

Users will have a particular amount of devices linked with your systems. Most will likely have a laptop/computer, a cell phone, and maybe a tablet. Device verification uses AI to detect registered devices and will flag any login attempts from devices it doesn't recognize. This is especially important as many companies allow employees to work remotely from various locations. It can also apply to companies that employ contractors who only need temporary access and might be doing it from their own devices.

Additionally, we recommend using an OS-agnostic system so all users can access the environment regardless of their device or browser, or internet provider.

Centralize Your Cyber Security Systems and Plans

There are a lot more moving parts than highlighted above. I'd love to tell you it's just three steps and you're done but that's not the case. The fact is there are countless components to each of them and it can become quite a tangled web if you don't manage it properly.

We suggest setting up an experienced security team that can implement, monitor, and optimize your strategy. This ensures all of your security measures are kept in a centralized location, have consistent messaging, and have a smart workflow to ensure the end-user experience is seamless. It will also reduce impacts on your technical team, freeing them up to focus on strengthening your systems, keeping applications up-to-date, and fixing any bugs that may come up.

It's also important to keep in constant contact with your users and to be transparent with them. Involve them in security discussions and seek their feedback.

Stay Up-to-Date and Don't Fall Behind

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about your identity and security strategies is (and we have used this phrase in a recent blog post as well) don't "set it and forget it." Just because it's there doesn't mean it doesn't need constant care and improvement.

If you don't have all of these things in place, it can lead to a framework with ad hoc policy creation or workflows that users and departments created that are disjointed or do not align with the overall objectives of your organization.

Here are some additional tips to help you on this journey:

  • Think about the cloud - If you haven't already, think about what moving to the cloud would look like for your security and what measures you have to take to improve it.
  • Consider an identity provider solution - This will help you group users by department or division. It will also help you manage access, permissions, security measures, and additional authentication methods for users based on their roles.
  • Enact access of least privilege - This helps with security and compliance and ensures users only have access to what is relevant to their jobs. For example, a person working in marketing doesn't need access to your company's finance environment.
  • Implement Identity Logging - Documenting details of your user's logins can help you detect anomalies. For example, if you have an employee who accesses the environment using Microsoft Edge with their username and password, that might seem normal. The way identity logging helps is it can analyze other factors such as location, device, and more. So if that employee uses Edge and has the proper credentials but logged in from a different state, the system will flag it as suspicious.

Want to Set Up a Powerful Identity and Security Strategy for Your Organization?

Please get in touch! Stoneridge has an agile and smart team of experts who can help you put a solid plan in place to protect your systems.

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