Your digital identity is one of the most valuable assets you own. Like any valuable possession, you should take every measure to keep it secure. Identity security is especially important when you’re an IT admin, as you’re responsible for protecting the identities of every employee in your organization. But what’s the best way to do this? Our beginner’s guide can point you in the right direction.
What is “Identity?”
To understand identity security, you first need to understand identity. It can have a great number of meanings, from the information on your birth certificate to your dental record. However, in the context we’re exploring here, an identity is a user’s core digital information — the credentials members of an organization use to access IT resources. The management of credentials, or a user’s identity, is known as IAM (Identity Access Management).
What is IAM?
IAM is the framework for organizational identity security. Essentially, IAM ensures the right people have access to the right resources, and that nefarious outsiders don’t have immediate means to infiltrate. Your marketing department is given access to marketing materials, but not the resources your DevOps team uses, for example. IAM tools give IT the ability to manage these permissions at scale.
Why Identities are Valuable
Most people are familiar with the concept of identity theft. Someone uses information linked to your identity to carry out acts you’d never dream of. Thieves can do anything from making fraudulent insurance claims to spending thousands of your dollars at a department store.
The same can be done with your digital security. When a bad actor takes someone’s identity –– most often in the form of their credentials –– they can use that information to install ransomware, steal data, commit fraud, or sell it on the dark web. That’s why it’s so important to keep identities under lock and key.
How to Secure Identities
There are many steps you can take to keep identities secure. Among them are:
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA requires a second factor from users to prove their identity. Usually, this takes the form of a temporary code that is randomly generated and sent to a user’s phone or email. However, this is only available on applications or hardware that are MFA-enabled. Use it wherever possible, but don’t rely on it as your sole form of identity protection.
- Password complexity and uniqueness: Using unique, long, and complicated passwords will make them more difficult to guess, preventing brute-force attacks. However, this only works if users don’t reuse passwords. Enforcing password policies that require users to have long, complex passwords for their core identity can help.
- Organization-wide training: Educate users and your team on cybersecurity best practices. The more people are aware of threats and how to prevent them, the better. Phishing attacks or other scams are less likely to be successful when users are trained to recognize them.
Finding all the right tools to accomplish these steps — and fitting them in your budget — can cause a lot of headaches. Fortunately, there is a single platform that provides the identity features listed above, while also providing an overarching IAM framework that can securely connect users to virtually all IT resources.
All-in-One Identity Security
JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® keeps user identities secure by providing MFA, password complexity policies, and IAM all in one platform. With JumpCloud, you don’t need to worry about paying for and managing multiple services. Not only does this keep costs low, but it also reduces the chance for human error when creating accounts and detailing privileges.