Orphan Accounts And IAM

What are Orphan Accounts?

An orphan account is an account that does not belong to a valid identity and it is not clear who the account belongs to. Orphan accounts pose a risk to a company’s IT security. First of all, the account may have belonged to an employee who has left the organisation. This can lead to a higher susceptibility of being compromised or misused, as the account is still active and can be used without the owner’s awareness. Secondly, orphan accounts may result from a failure to properly de-provision accounts when an employee is no longer part of the company. By somehow escaping the paper trail of user account deprovisioning, these accounts expose chinks in the company’s IT security armour, without the IT team being in the know about these flaws. Furthermore, orphan accounts can be hacked into and exploited, enabling people with malicious intents to obtain unauthorised access to the company’s resources and data.

To make matters worse, employees may have installed external applications and services without informing the company’s IT department, which creates a presence for shadow IT. When an employee exits the company, their colleagues may still utilise these external applications for work matters, using the same set of login credentials to access the applications. The orphan account is thus a shared account which act as a backdoor. As the shared account is not under the monitoring and control of the company, such backdoors go unnoticed by the IT team, allowing hackers to use the orphan accounts as backdoors. They can thus easily bypass the IT team’s security systems and proceed to disrupt organisational operations and wreck havoc from the inside. Many IT departments have a fear of killing off these orphan accounts due to the possibility of hindering crucial business processes and operations, which may lead to the IT departments not actively seeking out orphan accounts and sealing any security holes.

The creation of orphan accounts can be traced and linked to provisioning systems themselves. To execute the provisioning and de-provisioning process of user accounts, a lot of manual work is required. In some scenarios, the amount of work needed to deprovision an account is extensive due to the complicated nature of the provisioning systems, with technologies that are a mess to deal with. The provisioning and deprovisioning systems therefore create a lot of inconsistencies in the provisioning and de-provisioning processes, culminating in the presence of orphan accounts that have been left undocumented and have not been reliably deactivated.

How To Deal With Orphan Accounts?

With identity and access management (IAM) services in place, the processes of account provisioning and deprovisioning can be streamlined and automated. This reduces the manual workload on IT teams, while ensuring that IT security will not be compromised. Accounts will be appropriately deactivated whenever employees leave the organisation. Through the cleaning up of orphan accounts, holes in IT security can be plugged, stopping any hackers. With modern IAM, organisations can mitigate security risks arising from the presence of orphan accounts.

Four IAM Benefits To Financial Services

Data security is the number one priority in the world of financial services organisations. With massive amounts of corporate and customer data, there is not a single margin for error given that every hacker and cybercriminal in the world are eyeing each moment of weakness. Companies must therefore be on their A game when it comes to protecting their financial data and maintaining IT infrastructures to keep up with the rest of the industry.

As the Internet continues to evolve, so does technology, and this observes an era of customers who are tech-savvy and constantly on the go. As a result, customers are more inclined to conduct business transactions online, emphasising the need for many financial service providers to go digital. In order to cater to the increasing expectations and needs of potential customers, many organisations are falling back on modern financial-grade identity and access management (IAM) to meet potential challenges head on. Curious as to how IAM can assist financial services organisations? Read on to find out more.

1. Ensures Compliance with Regulations

By integrating the appropriate IAM solution, companies can manage access towards identity data, securely share it and capture the consent of customers. Companies are also empowered with the ability to encrypt cardholder identity data at rest, in motion, and during replication. Additionally, the presence of an auditable paper trail allows financial service providers to track who, when and how the identity data was accessed. The presence of IAM will ensure that the organisation is in strict accordance with regulations.

2. Improves Customer Experience

An IAM solution should come equipped with single sign-on (SSO) capabilities for financial services applications and software. With SSO, customers will be able to access a variety of the company’s services at their convenience, through a single login point. Through the support of a unified customer profile, customers will retain their credentials no matter what channel they are using for their financial services. By allowing each of the company’s digital properties to access a singular comprehensive overview of the customer’s profile, companies are empowered to grant customers seamless experiences.

3. Enhances Innovation and Agility

With modern IAM systems, financial services organisations can integrate new applications and rapidly deploy them to the cloud. The versatile hybrid deployment model is currently the leading IAM solution, allowing organisations to connect software as a service applications, as well as, legacy on-premises applications. It also provides directory capabilities that enables automated onboarding of external vendors, while managing the external identities. As a result, end user experiences is secured and seamless, not just for customers, but also for employees and external vendors.

4. Mitigates Security Risks

Modern IAM offers identity-defined security, starting with multi-factor authentication (MFA) which ensures that the account is being appropriately accessed by the right person. After authentication, organisations can rely on for access control, ensuring that the right people can access the right data. In doing so, financial services providers can lower the likelihood of security risks as well as focus on greater digital security initiatives.

IAM And Open Banking

With the conceptualisation of open banking, the number of financial services and applications built by third party developers have begun to increase. This in turn spells out a rise in authorisation mechanisms and security processes that bank customers will have to go through. Financial services providers must therefore start seeking ways to create a seamless user experience, if they desire to stand out from other competitors. A login experience that is both convenient and consistent across all platforms and channels is key for financial services organisation to remain competitive and enhance their ability to launch.

With the GPRDR being implemented, financial institutions must also make sure that all their security protocols and policies are compliant with the strict requirements of the GPDR. Needles to say, our article will enlighten companies on how identity and access management (IAM) can easily address such challenges.

What is IAM?

IAM is extremely suited to providing solutions to the problems both third party developers and financial services providers will face in the deployment of their applications and services. IAM ensures that the right people is able to have access to the correct applications, services and APIs seamlessly and securely. At the same time, IAM comes with an array of features that ensure that end user experiences are not compromised in terms of quality and convenience.

How does IAM go about achieving that?

1. Single Sign-On (SSO)

Through a standardised process using just a single set of login credentials, SSO allows for users to be authenticated while protecting their data. Modern SSO also empowers customers to be able to access all their third party applications through one single login point, contributing to an overall positive user experience.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA strengthens existing authentication and authorisation mechanisms. By using mobile devices and security features such as fingerprint sensors for biometric authentication, MFA enables for users to be authenticated while they are on the go, minimising the threat of security breaches.

3. Access Security

Having the ability to regulate the access to all applications and application program interfaces (APIs) is very important in various use cases and industries. In the context of the financial services industry, it is top priority. Modern access security offers a single set of policies that support access security for both APIs and applications, and is developed on modern standards such as OAuth 2.0.

4. Directories

Typically, directories like Active Directory that were built for employees, do not meet the requirements necessary for financial user data. A highly scalable and highly secure data store is imperative for the storage of identity data of business partners and bank customers.

As the global concept of open banking gains momentum with its far-reaching implications, and the engagement with financial services and applications between businesses and customers start to rise in frequency, user experience will be sure to take centre stage. The financial organisations and banks that move ahead towards highly secure, yet frictionless digital user experiences, instead of stopping at compliance, will be at the top of the pack and the competition.