In an increasingly tech-depended business world, it can sometime feel that risk management frameworks may be slowing you down. However, ensuring that you have fundamental gateways in place such as secure access for authorized users could be the protection that prevents fraud or expensive breaches of customer data.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the types of security and identity management systems that businesses should be considering, and how to make sure that your business is robust enough to build confidence with your customers and your suppliers.
Whatever information management systems or workflows that you are using within your business, you need to know who has been authorized to have access and who is authorized to use them. This is a fundamental principle of access management. However, from a user point of view, you don’t want to have a complicated sign-on process, you want quick and easy access so that you can get on with your job.
It is a fine balance, but ultimately your secure access protocols are designed to protect your business and to protect the data that you are storing on behalf of your customers.
Levels of access
One of the complexities when designing and managing a secure access protocol, is that you will have users who require varying levels of access. For example, you will have front-line users who just need to be able to input the necessary information to complete a transaction, you will have management-level access for those who need an overview of a team’s activity or performance, and then you will have an enterprise-level access for those who need to be able to analyze data and performance across all users of the system.
Depending on the size and complexity of your business, it is likely that you will have users working off-site or remotely. Traditional internet firewalls aren’t adequate to prevent your business from malicious attacks, as remote user access is frequently targeted by cybercriminals as a key point of weakness that can provide access to your organization’s customer data or commercially-sensitive information.
Identity and access management
It is because of these security concerns that you will increasingly hear businesses talking about identity and access management. There are three core concepts in the discipline of identity and access management – identification, authentication, and authorization.
Identification and Authentication
User identification used to be limited to entering a user name and a password, but increasingly we are seeing a move to more sophisticated forms of user identification such as biometric or token-based identification and authentication.
Once your user has passed the requirements of identification and authentication, the system must also ensure that they are only accessing or acting within the limits of their authorization. For example, if they are a front-line user, then they are most likely only authorized to input essential data. If they are trying to extract financial reports or unrelated customer data, then your security system needs to be intelligent enough to flag this as a breach of user authorization.
The world of security and access is increasingly complex and complicated, but the importance of being able to ensure the safety of your customer data means that this is now a business fundamental that you have to get absolutely right.