Every IT admin, regardless of the company size or employee count, shares a common fear: data breaches. The horror of discovering their organization’s data exposed on the dark web, accessible to anyone, is definitely a nightmare. So, IT admins are on the constant lookout for leading solutions that protect access to organization data and manage employee identities effectively.

But where does the real challenge lie? In managing the employee identities, or their access to data? Or is there more to the story?

When identities become the source of incidents

Organizations must oversee their employee and computer identities along with the resources accessed by them. From the moment an employee joins an organization or moves to a new role and until they leave, their identity and access needs evolve based on their role within the company. However, if this lifecycle is not managed effectively, it can create vulnerabilities that threat actors may exploit to infiltrate the organization’s network.

A brief on the breach

Shedding light on one such incident as identified and reported by the CISA, a threat actor leveraged a former employee’s AD credentials and compromised an admin account to infiltrate the on-premises network of a state government organization, resulting in the theft of crucial information.

In this case, the threat actor had access to the virtual SharePoint server and the former employee’s workstation. The stolen user information from these systems was found posted for sale on the dark web. Stealing sensitive data might have been like child’s play after the threat actor compromised the accounts.

Such security and data breaches can result in huge losses to the organization’s reputation and expose potential identity security loopholes.

Five important practices that can help organizations fortify their AD and cloud security

  1. Proactively manage identities: During the employee’s joiner, mover, and leaver phases, organizations should assign varying levels of accesses tailored to their specific roles. It is crucial to ensure that these accounts are disabled and all the associated licenses are revoked when an employee leaves the organization.

  1. Thoroughly assess identities for risks: Analyze the identities managed in on-premises and cloud environments using detailed and comprehensive reports, and take quick actions based on the insights provided helps admins thwart cyberattacks.

  1. Review accesses regularly: Conduct automated employee access reviews and validate their permissions to help organizations fortify against privilege abuse.

  1. Implement the principle of least privilege: Verify that users hold only the minimum privileges necessary for their job functions to minimize the scope of phishing attacks and data breaches.

  1. Restrict delegation of admin roles to multiple users: Selectively set up non-admin users with granular roles to plug in any security loopholes that might arise after delegation.

Implementing these measures makes enterprises automatically adhere with several compliance mandates such as HIPAA, SOX, NIS2, the PCI DSS, and the GDPR, which build customer trust and loyalty. Don’t hesitate and dive deep to discover how an ManageEngine ADManager Plus, a comprehensive IGA solution, addresses the challenges of managing user and machine identities along with fulfilling compliance requirements.