Authorisation & Authentication In IAM


Authorisation and authentication are two major steps under the access control equation that work hand in hand. Authentication is the process of making sure that the identity of a registered user trying to obtain access to a service or application is valid. On the other hand, authorisation refers to the decision to grant an individual the privilege to access a specific resource or to perform a certain action. When handling data assets and information that are sensitive and confidential, it is crucial to have both authorisation and authentication. Without both of them working in tandem, organisations open themselves up to being at risk and exposing sensitive data to security breaches and unauthorised access. This spells out doom for organisations as it will create a domino effect of negative publicity, losing the trust of potential customers, and financial damages in terms of regulatory fines and reputational losses.

As of late, there are many different authentication mechanisms that can be utilised in the verification of a registered user’s identity.

–      Single Sign On (SSO) allows a user to only need a single set of login credentials to access different services, systems and applications. Some SSO systems use a technique known as federation which means that the applications users are logging in are spread across various domains. With SSO capabilities, the amount of password related cases and help desk calls can be cut down, relieving security departments of much burden and workload. This also ensures that employees will be empowered and productive, due to the end user experiences being more secured and seamless. This helps to combat the likelihood of employees bringing in their own smart devices and giving rise to shadow IT devices that cannot be accounted for and monitored. Organisations can therefore eliminate any vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their IT security infrastructure as long as they have a trusted enterprise SSO solution in practice.

–      Multifactor Authentication (MFA) consists of multiple layers of security and verification. It is a simple practice of adding another factor, such as a one time PIN or a security token, to make it more difficult for unauthorised persons (such as hackers) to access a user account. MFA makes sure of the legitimacy of the registered user who is trying to gain access into their account, preventing identity theft and cases of phishing and fraud. Moreover, with MFA features in place, repeated attacks and attempts to gain unauthorised access by hackers and cyber terrorists will be prohibited as such attacks will work to no avail. With such a robust mechanism, it should not come as a surprise that MFA is one of the most common security practices that has been widely implemented by companies.

–      Consumer Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions offer features such as self-service account management, customer registration, consent and preference management. In addition to those, they also provide multiple authentication capabilities, and those include SSO and MFA.

It is not enough to just have authorisation. Authorisation and authentication are both employed as a foundation for any competent IAM solution.


The Boon Of IAM To Financial Services

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In recent years, financial services organisations find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, as competition increases alongside tightening regulations. The pressure is on the organisations to constantly deliver top-notch services and applications to their customers as well as employees. Coupled with the fact that the list of regulations is always growing, financial services organisations must deal with the risks of data breaches and other security challenges.

In order for financial services organisations to stand out from the rest of the pack, they need to focus on innovating. As a result, many organisations are relying on digital transformations to enhance the way the company operates and the way they interact with potential customers. Making their services digital is a path to ensuring efficiency and productivity, which will confer a competitive advantage upon the organisation.

However, digital transformation and innovation comes with the opportunity cost of having more risks to manage. Having more digital applications and services for the customers’ convenient access will also mean creating more targets for criminals and hackers to exploit. This can, in turn, increase the potential for frauds, digital scams, identity theft, or account compromise.

As a result, some financial services organisations choose to privilege security over innovation so as to mitigate these digital security risks. The number of access points to financial tools and accounts may be reduced, to allow for easier management and access control. Some companies may choose to wait for newer technologies to be introduced into the industry. However, these alternatives will cause the quality of user experience and convenience to suffer. The financial services industry is thus burdened with the dilemma of innovation versus security. With a rising population of tech-savvy digital consumers, being able to access one’s financial systems via mobile has become an important factor. At the same time, employees in the financial services organisations are also empowered to do their jobs more efficiently and streamline work processes to boost productivity levels.

With the introduction of identity and access management (IAM) systems, financial service providers no longer have to stress out over the balance between security and innovation. With IAM, companies can ensure that only the correct people have the correct level of access to specific resources. Moreover, with single sign-on (SSO) and two factor authentication (2FA) among other security features, organisations no longer have to worry over financial data breaches. This gives both the company and the customer a peace of mind. Customers can enjoy a more seamless and cohesive user experience, without security being sacrificed.

The adoption of modern IAM also spells out a future of possibilities for financial service organisations, as their IT teams can thus concentrate on digital transformation initiatives that will be executed on a larger scale. By starting from identity-defined security, a balance can be struck between innovation and security, and they will not seem like opposing ends of a spectrum. IAM solutions thus enable financial services providers to get the best of both worlds from security and innovation.

IAM: Solution To The Financial Industry

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Identity and access management (IAM) is an important element of any IT security system and is one of the security areas that users interact with the most. With a reputation for being able to manage access for corporate resources, IAM empower banks and financial institutions across the globe with the capabilities to deliver easy and convenient experiences for customers. Activities such as paying the bills, checking account details and the application for credit card and loans have been digitalised and brought on the go through mobile applications and devices, all through the aid of IAM that fuels such app-driven mobile activities.

In the industry of financial services and banking institutions, it is mandatory to adhere to regulatory requirements across complex IT security systems. The financial services industry has to keep up with new national and global industry regulations such as the EU’s GDPR, BaFin, SOX, Basel II, and Solvency II. There has been an increasing number of financial supervisory authorities all over the world who make it compulsory for banks and financial services organisations to own and adopt systems that make sure that access rights are both appropriately assigned and recertified. Maintaining regulatory compliance is one of the crucial factors in building a strong company image and reputation, developing and garnering trust from potential customers, without sacrificing the ease and convenience of access to applications and services. By securing mobile applications, financial services companies can reduce the risk of unauthorised access to highly sensitive information such as credit card details, financial transaction, and other confidential personal information. As financial services firms are major targets for hackers and cyber terrorists, such valuable and sensitive data falling into the wrong malicious hands could spell out trouble, with financial fraud, the distribution of malware and identity theft being three of the most serious concerns for both companies and consumers. With a robust IAM program, banks can defend and prevent attacks, while being able to meet the demands of the industry.

IAM has become the leading solution for financial institutions as a result of what they can provide to the complex IT environment of the banking sector. An IAM solution that is flexible and designed to meet financial needs provides user authentication that will not impact customers’ experiences, while ensuring that multiple users are integrated in a secure way. Beyond the provision of data exchange, IAM also offers support for cloud-based services of a dynamic nature. Moreover, the implementation of single sign-on (SSO) allows security risks to be mitigated and enhances user experiences without compromising the integrity of user data.

Another significant advantage that IAM solutions can offer financial institutions is the ability to provide a comprehensive range of reporting and analytics features, empowering banks to proactively document and monitor usage. These features assist in collecting information about application utilization, inactive users and login activity. Aside from identifying users with weak login credentials and gaining insight from customer profiles, financial services firms are able to have auditable paper trails to meet the needs of regulatory compliance.

Cloud Banking Security With IAM

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Bearing in mind the advent of cloud computing, cloud security is starting to become a prime concern for any industry across the globe. As for the financial services industry, highly important and sensitive data is stored all over in spaces located within the cloud that are possessed by the organisation. As cloud computing soon becomes the main thing in which most businesses and establishments are depending to improve business profitability and raise the efficiency of their work processes, cloud security makes sure that work environments can stay productive and versatile, under secured conditions. With more and more hackers and cybercriminals find new and innovative ways to prey on major financial institutions, it is therefore imperative for any firm within the financial sector to mitigate risks and patch any glaring chinks in their IT security armour. Data privacy and cloud security has been gradually growing in terms of regulations getting tighter and more demanding on the financial services organisations. Such businesses and firms have absolutely no margin for error, as one slight mistake can give opportunity for a breach in security network. This will result in data breaches, incurring massive losses and damages in not just the company’s earnings, but also their reputation and the trust that potential customers may have.

That is not all to the issues surrounding the banking and financial services sector. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in our lives, the quality of living is on a rapid pace of improvement. This therefore gives customers higher demands and expectations when it comes to the delivery of user experiences by the financial services firms. Customers want to be able to conduct business transactions on the go, and able to settle any financial needs they might have with seamlessness and convenience. Moreover, by giving consistent, convenient and secured user experiences to customers, financial services firms are able to secure and gain the trust of customers, therefore contributing to the growth of their reputation and brand image. All these obstacles and hurdles can be easily navigated by financial services companies through the adoption of a modern financial grade identity and access and management (IAM) that can strike a balance between security and business agility. 

With most IAM solutions, they are ideally robust and sufficient to ensure that companies remain compliant towards the industrial regulations and requirements. Access to identity data can be easily monitored and tracked by the companies, and thus shared in safe and secured manners, while capturing the consent of customers. The potential scope of data breaches can be easily minimised by tracking down when, how and by whom the identity data is being accessed, as well as, managing the access to the application to cardholders’ data. With multifactor authentication (MFA) provided by IAM, companies can further reduce risks by regulating access on a case-by-case basis, thus strengthening IT security.

Single sign-on (SSO) is another key feature offered by IAM that ensures that services and applications are easily accessible. Customer experience will thus be enhanced. As businesses move towards a cloud-based future with hybrid IT, IAM is the solution that is here to stay. 

Importance Of Multifactor Authentication In IoT

There is no magical solution to stop cyberattacks from happening once and for all. Hackers will constantly change and adapt their strategies and technologies to target companies and services that reveal their IT security weaknesses. Companies must therefore continuously and consistently update their security infrastructures to maintain robustness and be able to cover all bases.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), the presence of more external devices means an increase in a number of security risks. Before that, one might ask what is IoT all about. To simply put it, IoT is used to refer to the physical devices that are connected to the Internet from all over the world. These includes devices that would normally not be expected to have a connection with the Internet, such as home appliances as well as the new wave of smart home and lifestyle accessories including wearable fitness trackers and smart watches.

In order to mitigate IoT security issues, two factor authentication (2FA) is important. Passwords are seen as the bane to digital security, with password-related cases taking up a good bulk of IT security issues. Passwords are often too weak such that hackers can easily overcome them with textbook methods, or they are too complicated to be remembered by the user. In rare cases, they can be both weak and complicated, creating unnecessary risk to IT security. Hence, there is an importance for 2FA, which is best known for using SMS services to verify actions such as logins or online transactions. For companies, using 2FA as part of the company’s implemented identity and access management (IAM) system is a much more systemic enforcement of security protocols and policies. Beyond SMS, companies can adopt 2FA in a variety of ways from hard tokens that generate One-Time PINs, to biometric authenticators. These are necessary when IoT devices are included in the big picture. Unlike laptops or company-issued devices, IoT devices are not as easily managed and tracked by the IT team, thus they present a high level of security risk to the company and may be more susceptible to exploitations. IoT devices are connected to the same network used by the company and they are a prime targets for hackers wishing to overwhelm a company’s security network through massive botnets and large scale attacks. Moreover, as IoT devices tend to be very minimalistic, they cannot be logged on directly through their interface. Their entire security relies on administrator actions, making the thorough authentication of any updates very crucial.

With recent surveys showing that many organisations have not even heard of multifactor authentication systems for IoT security, it is even more important for organisations to begin strengthening their IoT security infrastructure. Companies who have already adopted multifactor authentication to secure all of their IoT connected devices have brought up how convenient and safe it is, just to have push notifications and security keys.

As the IoT industry continues to work on and bolster the security factors built into their products, companies have an essential need to make sure that IoT devices do not compromise existing security networks and databases.