As information technology proliferates throughout the business world, identity management is evolving into an absolute necessity in an age where identity theft is becoming more and more common. Soon, both blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will make consumers’ identities even more secure through distributed ledgers, according to Jennifer Bresnick’s Health IT Analytics’ editorial, “How AI, Blockchain Combine to Fuel Healthcare Big Data Analytics.”
In Bresnick’s article, Microsoft’s Principle Healthcare Program Manager David Houlding reports that blockchain (the technology behind cryptocurrency) is working its way into the lexicon of cybersecurity terminology thanks to its potential applications in protecting personally identifiable information.
Methods being implemented and tested involve entering a “pointer” into the blockchain, which indexes where full customer or patient data is stored securely without including the sensitive information itself on the blockchain. Houlding explains that this practice should help to reduce the already small risk of a security breach.
Blockchain identity management solutions are still in their infancy, but several effective software tools are already well entrenched in the business world. Students in an online cybersecurity master’s program should familiarize themselves with this identity management software because the protection of sensitive data may eventually be one of their career responsibilities.
List of Enterprise Identity Management Solutions
Several established companies offer identity management solutions for customers ranging from individual consumers to publicly traded corporations. Services include online user profile and password management, secure company database access, and business application login credential security. The highest rated and most well-known of these identity management solutions include:
- Okta: Okta offers enterprise packages to businesses in the U.S., Europe and Australia designed to manage and secure both business and customer experiences.
“With more than 5,500 pre-built integrations to applications and infrastructure providers, Okta claims that its customers can easily and securely adopt the technologies they need to fulfill their missions,” Chris Preimesberger explains in his eWeek article, “Okta Identity Management: Product Overview and Analysis.”
Among Okta’s products and services are Universal Directory (customization and management of all users, groups and devices), Lifecycle Management (automation of user onboarding and offboarding), Single Sign-On (access of enterprise apps through a single set of credentials), and API Access Management (embedding of Okta as the identity layer of apps and easy access to configure APIs for IT administrators).
- LastPass Enterprise: One of the biggest organizational risks associated with modern business is weak password creation. Tools available to hackers can build a list of potential passwords using inputted birthdays, children’s names, anniversary dates, pets’ names and other easily obtainable personal information. LastPass generates randomized passwords that are nearly impossible to hack and saves them all under one set of login credentials.
According to PC Magazine’s “Identity Management” section of its Business Software Index, LastPass allows administrators to “manage access and individual login to shared websites, services, and apps through a unified management console.”
The ever-expanding number of apps, online services and websites used daily in business requires this added element of security over sensitive credentials. For example, if an employee were to use his daughter’s name and birthday as a password for every site, a hacker could wreak havoc on every site that the employee frequented until someone noted the unauthorized access.
- IBM Identity and Access Management: As enterprises expand, the tools and applications needed to facilitate their growth require protection from unauthorized access. IBM’s identity and access management (IAM) design and deploy services help companies to prevent security risks and link authenticated identities to approved actions within a business organization.
According to IBM’s website, IAM enables “more cost-efficient and effective access management, authentication, identity management and governance across [the] enterprise.”
IAM assesses processes and uses proprietary tools to increase overall efficiency. All stakeholders, from customers and partners to business owners and IT organizations, are considered during the assessment. Finally, IAM looks beyond the individual assessment toward future business requirements.
- Centrify: Employees, customers and business partners all tend to need reliable access to a company’s database. Centrify uses single sign-on solutions, user provisioning and multi-factor authentication to maximize security, even on mobile devices.
Reviews for Business reports that Centrify “offers the Enterprise Password Management, which combines the ability to securely manage and audit access to infrastructure with a simplified shared account password management for internal users, outsourced IT and third-party vendors. This can be set up in either a cloud or on-premises deployment. Automated account management is also available, so users can easily create accounts, automate app requests with workflows and revoke access from all devices when necessary from a central control point.”
Respected business publications rate these four identity management solutions highly and all have high user-satisfaction ratings. Rising stars in the field of cyber security, especially students in or recent graduates of an online cyber security master’s program, may use at least one of these identity management solutions during their career and should familiarize themselves with the strengths and weaknesses of each service.
University of North Dakota’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Program
Each of us probably logs onto at least a dozen online or business network services every day. And every instance of credential verification and authentication is a potential weak link in the cyber security chain. Identity management is quickly becoming a top priority for cyber security professionals tasked with preventing security incidents.
UND’s online cyber security master’s degree program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Top 25 Most Innovative Schools (2018) alongside such prestigious institutions as Stanford, Harvard and MIT.
UND prepares students for careers in cyber security, a field where salaries can range from $80,000 to more than $110,000. The program includes concentrations in Autonomous Systems Cyber Security, Cyber Security and Behavior, Data Security, and General Cyber Security.
For more information on UND’s MSCS online program, visit the program’s website today.
AI & Blockchain Help Protect Healthcare Data – HealthITanalytics.com
Okta Identity Management – eWeek.com
Identity Management – PCmag.com
IAM Design and Deploy Services – IBM.com
Centrify Review – Reviews.FinancesOnline.com