Digital Identity: The Perimeter of Business Cyber Resilience

Digital identity is an increasingly popular attack vector for cybercriminals. The vulnerability of online identity breeds cybercrime. Unsecured and unmanaged digital identities are exposing organizations to greater cybersecurity risks. With so much of our personal information now available online, protecting it is crucial.
Digital Identity

Cybercriminals weaponize digital identity for fraud schemes. Identity theft is now rampant on the Web, and digital identity authentication and validation measures are becoming increasingly critical to ensuring cyber network security in the public and private sectors. 

What is Digital Identity?

A digital identity is comprised of characteristics, or data attributes, such as:

  • Username and password;
  • Online search history and pattern;
  • Social security number;
  • Medical history; 
  • Transaction history; and more

It is an online or networked identity adopted in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device. A digital identity is linked to one or more digital identifiers, like an email address, URL or domain. Very often, users also project more than one digital identity in multiple online communities.

The Current Attack Surface

CyberArk research found that 70% of organizations have experienced ransomware attacks, with an average of two per company in the past year, while 71% suffered a software attack that resulted in data loss or a compromise of assets.

Shockingly, 62% of organizations have done nothing to secure their software after being attacked, with 64% admitting that they wouldn’t be able to stop an attack on their own.

If you want to gauge your ransomware risk, you can take this simple 10-minute self assessment

Implications to Business

The capacity to create value depends on how seamlessly individuals, businesses, machines and data interact. How do you know if all the interactions in your organization are fully authorized, none of your networks are compromised, and none of your data has been siphoned off to a third party? 

Businesses have pivoted quickly to the cloud, enabling remote working and accelerating the adoption of new digital services for customers. This rush of initiatives we have seen has led to an explosion in digital identities, and these figures will only continue to grow. Without a solid foundation in digital identity, both for people and connected things, you can’t answer these questions and you risk undermining the confidence of your stakeholders.

The existence of more digital identities is not, in itself, a cause for concern. However, in their rush to roll out these projects, organizations haven’t always properly considered how they should secur these identities. Poorly protected credentials are the number one perceived area of risk for organizations, as they are the primary means for attackers to gain entry to business systems. From there, cybercriminals can steal data or hold it to ransom, disrupt business operations or gain more powerful privileged credentials that give access to even more valuable business assets. We have seen ransomware and email fraud attacks on organizations that hold crucial personal data, including healthcare and government departments. 

Digital Identity Is Central to Business Cybersecurity

When it comes to digital identity management, key areas of concern are security and privacy. Companies adopting strong digital identity measures ensure cyber resilience, meet compliance requirements and are able to offer a more user-friendly experience for users and shareholders. In other words, it’s key to a successful digital transformation.

What Can Be Done to Thwart Cybersecurity Risks?

  • Implement strategies to manage personal information

Many businesses put sensitive personal information like full names or social insurance numbers in their system to track customer identities. Seeing the proliferation of data breaches, this is risky. Safer methods should be used instead, such as unique customer PIN.

You may consider adopting a customer identity and access management (CIAM) software, giving you access to an individual’s extensive data from multiple sources. CIAM is a foundational technology that meets complex customer requirements and empowers companies to deliver secure, seamless digital experiences.

Conducting privacy gap assessment so you can utilize data with confidence. A privacy gap assessment is a 360-degree review of your business’ privacy program, to identify areas of improvement. Assessment areas span from policies, data processing procedures, to breach containment training

  • Prioritize identity security controls

To successfully scale your organization, you need to understand how to maintain the strength of your security posture, from understanding where data is located, how data is accessed, to who has access to it. To achieve this, the ability to identify and secure sensitive workloads through visibility layers and controls is important. Having security programs and monitoring in place will help you detect cyber security risks, allowing you to address them in a timely manner and lower impact on your operations. 

  • Watch out for phishing scams

The massive volume of information cyber criminals can find about you on the Internet makes digital identity theft pervasive. One of their tactics is to pretend to be a trusted organization and send fake emails, tricking victims into clicking on the links and disclosing personal information. Improving your odds against email threats is the key.

It is difficult to anticipate future attacks. New vulnerabilities are discovered all the time. You need a mechanism for detecting the latest vulnerabilities in your environment to stay secure. Conducting a vulnerability assessment will allow you to find your weaknesses before the bad actors do. Vulnerability assessment is a test to uncover and evaluate vulnerabilities within your IT and cloud infrastructures. It can be performed on a one-time or regular basis.

More Digital Identity Questions Answered

In the digital age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid having your personal information online. This makes it critical to protect your digital identity.

Want to learn more? The good news is that can equip you with the knowledge needed to stay secure. In our webinar, “Warfare and Digital Identity – The Impact on the Digital Economy”, we also covered:

*Solutions to protect yourself and your organizations

*How does the current threat landscape look like?

*Who are the common targets?

In case you missed it, you can rewatch it and learn how to establish true digital trust with your digital customers, provide frictionless security, improve customer loyalty, and increase digital growth.

A Passwordless Future

The call to re-think password-based authentication is loud. Providers are moving toward multi-factor authentication or even going passwordless. Join us in the webinar on July 28, 2022, and explore the evolution of passwords and listen to best practices of deploying passwordless to meet security requirements. 

This article is also featured on GRC Outlook.

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