Identity Management Day Is More Relevant Than Ever

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Read more about author Keith Neilson.

Employees are leaving their jobs at unprecedented rates amid what many are calling the Great Resignation. While resulting labor shortages appear to be the most immediate issue to address, beneath the surface is another urgent challenge for business leaders: securely onboarding and offboarding employees. 

Many of today’s offboarding processes allow former employees continued access to sensitive cyber assets, leaving companies with more insider threats than ever. In fact, a recent report found that 83% of employees accessed accounts from their previous employer following their departure from the company, with a staggering 56% admitting that they had used this access to harm their former employer. (Among those who were fired from their job, that statistic jumped to 70%.)

Data breaches can happen to any company – whether it’s a purposeful attack by a malicious actor, or, more commonly, just a careless mistake made by an otherwise trustworthy employee. With both cyberattacks and internal cyber threats on the rise, Identity Management Day serves as a reminder for organizations to ensure that only the right personnel have access to company data and that this access is updated in real time depending on employee/partner status. 

From a big-picture perspective, this begins with cyber asset management, given the multi-layer implications between data, assets, applications, and users. When a security breach occurs, it is often due to incomplete visibility into company cyber assets and connections across business services. Companies cannot begin to enforce identity management policies without first discovering all of the cyber assets hosted within their IT environment.

To improve overall security posture, identify any governance gaps, and support identity management guardrails, companies should start by conducting a comprehensive inventory of all cyber assets within their IT landscape. Once all cyber assets are accounted for with clear, real-time visibility of the attack surface, companies can effectively manage access and enforce security guardrails for each employee.

The popularity of remote work coupled with rapidly increasing employee turnover rates will only continue to intensify cybersecurity risk. Now more than ever, business leaders need to prioritize identity management to ensure the door is fully closed upon employee departures. By establishing an agile cyber asset management strategy, companies can support effective identity management processes while also greatly improving their overall security posture.

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