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Must-Know Insights from a Recent Report on Identity Security

The stakes in ensuring identity security have never been higher. A startling insight from the recent IDSA report reveals that 57% of identity-related incidents in 2023 were attributed to employees mistakenly clicking on phishing emails.

Identities have become the primary gateway, drawing in cyber attackers who see them as their golden ticket to confidential corporate information. This escalating threat hasn't gone unnoticed. The Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) recently shed light on the gravity of the situation in their 2023 report, "Trends in Securing Digital Identities." 

We’ll walk you through the key takeaways from the report and provide insights about each to help you gain a new perspective and hopefully spark an idea on how you can secure your company’s identity and data sprawl across different digital tools. Let’s dive in!

1. Passwords Remain The Weakest Link Hackers Seek

Password-related vulnerabilities continue to be a significant concern. While innovative security solutions are consistently emerging, passwords remain the primary gateway to most digital assets. This often-overlooked aspect of security is still the favored point of entry for malicious actors, and the numbers from the IDSA report underscore this alarming trend.

identity security stat
  • Phishing's Persistent Prevalence: The report found that a striking 57% of surveyed entities experienced phishing as the foremost identity security-related attack. The success rate of phishing campaigns underscores the vulnerability associated with password-based authentication. Attackers are acutely aware that users can be deceived into revealing their passwords, making this method their favored attack vector.
  • The Dangers of Password Reuse: Further compounding the security challenges, 37% of respondents confessed to the widespread practice of password reuse across both professional and personal accounts. Such practices offer attackers a potential goldmine, where access to one account can inadvertently provide access to many more, given the repetitive usage of identical passwords.
  • Sharing is Not Always Caring: Adding another layer of vulnerability, 31% of organizations admitted to the common practice of employees sharing login credentials with colleagues for work-related cloud and SaaS platforms. This habit amplifies the risks manifold, as it poses challenges in tracking unauthorized access and potential breaches.

2. Identity sprawl makes managing digital identities and data harder than ever

Identity sprawl refers to the rapid increase of digital identities within an organization. As companies embrace more digital platforms and tools, the number of individual accounts and profiles multiplies.

The IDSA report
The IDSA report on identity security

Every additional account is another set of credentials to manage, track, and secure. These can range from cloud storage, communication tools, to specialized software. Each new digital identity potentially becomes a weak point in security.

Furthermore, dynamic shifts like:

  • Employee role changes
  • New hires
  • Departures

These can create outdated access permissions. Constantly updating and reviewing these is essential to prevent unauthorized data access. The challenge compounds when considering the risk of employees using unsanctioned tools or shadow IT.

3. Rising SaaS Adoption Amplifies Identity Vulnerabilities

The world of work is changing, with businesses increasingly relying on Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to drive productivity and efficiency. However, this shift isn't without its consequences for security. Each SaaS application an employee engages with typically requires the creation of a new account, and consequently, a new digital identity.

The numbers are telling: a significant 52% of respondents in the study acknowledged that the rising adoption of cloud applications is directly leading to an increase in the number of digital identities.

If an organization's team uses an average of 50 SaaS applications, and each member signs up individually without using a centralized identity like "Signup with Google" or "Signup with Microsoft", that could result in thousands of unique digital identities, just for one organization.

Suggested reading: Is Google Sign-in to SaaS Apps Secure?

However, the concern isn't just about the sheer volume. The integration of third-party vendors into the company's digital infrastructure, each with their set of identities, magnifies the complexity and the potential attack surface.

How about SSO?

Single Sign-On (SSO) is hailed as a top-tier solution for SaaS security, yet its adoption is less widespread than one might expect.

Only 30% of the apps evaluated support SAML SSO integrations, leaving a vast 70% without this security feature.

Moreover, when SAML SSO is available, it's often tucked behind higher pricing tiers, a strategy dubbed the "SSO tax". This makes it a less feasible option for many businesses.

However, there's a glimmer of hope: a rising number of apps are offering social logins, like “Login with Google”. Though not as comprehensive as SAML, they're a safer bet than traditional username-password setups. It's wise for businesses to lean towards such options when available.

4. Knowing about the identity sprawl threat ≠ securing it

Despite recognizing the importance of bolstering identity security, organizations face a formidable challenge in managing the ever-growing sprawl. The IDSA report offers insight into how businesses perceive identity security enhancement, especially after having suffered an attack.

MFA stat

Only 42% of survey participants prioritized implementing basic multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all employees. On paper, this might seem straightforward. However, the reality is intricate. IT departments not only have to manage cloud apps but also contend with numerous work apps that employees independently sign up for. Each of these individual apps, often referred to as "shadow identities", amplifies the complexity of the task at hand.

This is where solutions like Resmo come into play. By leveraging ChatOps, Resmo directly engages with employees, guiding them to fortify their digital identities. This includes the activation of MFA and the promotion of creating strong, unique passwords for each platform they interact with.

5. Identifying who and what can access sensitive corporate data is a top concern

Timely reviews of who and what can access sensitive corporate data have ascended the ranks of identity security concerns. Every SaaS application, cloud-based tool, and OAuth integration interacts with a business's crucial data in unique ways. This interaction can occur during initial signup permissions or when administrators onboard cloud platforms for the entire organization.

However, ensuring MFA adoption across all applications and vigilantly tracking accounts, tools, and integrations can be a daunting task. The essence lies in:

  • Efficiently identifying work apps that employees utilize, especially those interacting with corporate data.
  • Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the data each application or integration can access.

6. The Unpredictable Human Element Remains a Vulnerable Aspect

Employee actions remain a significant weak point in identity security. Often, the simplest behaviors, like clicking on a seemingly harmless phishing email, lead to considerable security breaches.

Furthermore, it's not uncommon for employees to use the same passwords across work and personal accounts, a practice that amplifies risk. Other concerning habits include falling for social engineering tactics, accessing work data from unauthorized devices, or even sharing login credentials with colleagues.

Such behaviors don't just risk data breaches—they can have tangible business consequences. Beyond the immediate financial costs of managing a breach, there's the distraction from essential business activities and the potential long-term damage to a company's reputation.

Minimize these challenges with Resmo

As you might have understood by the takeaways from the report, it’s harder than ever to secure digital identities for modern workplaces. Resmo can detangle the identity and data sprawl for you, making it easy for your IT and security teams to:

  • Detect and monitor SaaS signups and logins
  • Find and remediate SaaS security issues
  • Identify identities, access right, and permissions in your environments
  • Revoke access directly from a single dashboard
  • Find unauthorized SaaS usage and identities

Discover which SaaS apps have access to your data

In today's vast digital ecosystem, it's crucial to maintain visibility over which applications have access to your company's data. With Resmo, you can effortlessly monitor and manage the permissions granted to each SaaS application. Whether it's a mainstream tool or a niche solution, Resmo ensures you have a comprehensive view of where your data resides and who has access to it.

Also read How to Discover and Manage Shadow IT

Track employee sign ups and signings to SaaS tools

Every time an employee engages with a new SaaS tool, there's potential risk involved. Resmo offers real-time tracking of employee signups and signings, ensuring you always know who's using what and when. This not only boosts security but also promotes accountability and transparency across the organization.

Suggested reading: How to Track SaaS Adoption Without Employee Privacy Invasion

Make SaaS security remediation automated with ChatOps

Responding to security concerns manually can be slow and inconsistent. Resmo integrates seamlessly with ChatOps, automating the remediation process. Whenever a security anomaly is detected, Resmo, through ChatOps, can directly engage with the concerned employee, guiding them through the necessary steps to resolve the issue. This proactive approach ensures faster resolution times and empowers employees to be a part of the security solution.

With Resmo in your toolkit, securing your digital workspace becomes not just feasible, but straightforward and efficient. Create your account for free and take a look at all the SaaS applications used in your organization. 

Need a personal demonstration? Book a demo with us and we’ll be happy to show you how Resmo can improve your security operations.

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