Access management builds resilience to insider threats
By increasing visibility, automating detection and response and increasing security with multifactor authentication, access management software can help agencies successfully deploy an insider threat mitigation program.
Insider threats are a growing risk to agencies, and early detection is critical. Technology that helps IT departments secure and monitor all logon activity offers a simple solution. But with many government IT departments understaffed, underskilled and on a tight budget, how can agencies efficiently, effectively stop insider threats before they become breaches?
Two keys to any successful insider threat mitigation program are detecting and identifying potential insider threats. Access management software can help do just that by increasing visibility, automating detection and response and increasing security with multifactor authentication (MFA).
First, access management software makes all user activity instantly visible. With the right tool, IT departments have a real-time overview of all user session activity and can monitor potential risk indicators. They can even filter to review specific sessions and track who is connected, from where and since when.
Access management software also enables quick, even automatic, detection and response, saving IT teams precious time. With one click, they can easily review and block any suspicious user accounts or activity. IT can also opt to receive automatic alerts about suspicious activity, and manually or automatically respond, log users off or immediately lock user access.
Most access management software also offers MFA. Since President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Cybersecurity, it’s now a must for federal agencies. And combining MFA with the granular controls of an access management solution can help IT administrators simplify adoption.
4 ways access management software prevents insider attacks
Protecting and monitoring user logon activity is key to preventing insider threats before an attack takes place. Easy to use and onboard, access management software helps overburdened government IT departments get the visibility they need to easily spot early insider threat indicators. Let’s look at four ways that access management can prevent insider threats.
1. Prevents access via compromised logins. Effective access security makes genuine, but compromised, logins useless to attackers. MFA also adds an additional security layer that protects against compromised credentials. By applying MFA across all accounts – not just privileged accounts – IT leaders can prevent 99% of attacks.
2. Restricts careless user behavior. The risk of an insider threat rises if IT administrators cannot control password sharing, shared workstations left unlocked or multiple simultaneous sessions. A logon security solution restricts these types of behaviors.
3. Discourages malicious actors. An access management solution makes any access to data or resources identifiable and attributable to one individual user. This accountability not only discourages an insider from acting maliciously, but it also ensures that IT leaders can respond quickly to suspicious activity, address violations that do occur and motivate users to be more careful.
4. Alerts users of suspicious activity. Certain user behaviors can be early signs of suspicious activity. For example, an IT administrator may see that a user has several failed logon attempts, lots of activity during non-working hours or attempts to log on to default accounts. These are all signs to look more closely.
The value of a solution that balances security and productivity
Yes, identifying insider threat personas is a difficult task, but the consequences of failing to do so are great. Data loss or security breaches cost money, and any service outages cost money as well. Afterwards, government agencies must also contend with consequences that can take on national or even international importance. In a public sector environment where insider threats are obviously on the rise, smart use of access management software can prevent attacks – without negatively impacting employee productivity and morale.
François Amigorena is the founder and CEO of IS Decisions, a global software company specializing in access management and MFA for Microsoft Windows and Active Directory environments.