Operating with outdated identity and access management (IAM) systems limits business operations and puts networks at a higher risk for data breaches. In light of changing access needs and the complexity of modern threats, IT teams must examine existing systems for signs of obsolescence and take steps to implement solutions with features designed to support modern access needs.
These six signs are clear indicators and reasons to upgrade IAM systems:
A Legacy System is No Longer Supported
When a system reaches end of life, support dries up and updates cease. This can cause serious problems for businesses as vulnerabilities multiply and leave networks open to attack. IT teams can quickly become tied up troubleshooting problems without help from the system’s manufacturer, and performance will eventually fall short of IAM requirements. It may be impossible to successfully integrate new applications or devices, which has a negative impact on productivity and growth. New technologies introduced in the IT environment are left without protection or must be managed using a separate IAM solution. The resulting silos limit visibility and put IT teams in the awkward position of having to monitor two access environments simultaneously.
Third-Party Access Requirements are Increasing
Allowing increasing number of users to access a business network inherently creates a greater breach risk, which is exactly what IAM is meant to address. However, third-party access by customers, vendors, suppliers and other outside entities introduces additional concerns in self-contained legacy systems. Without tools to extend IAM controls beyond the confines of the main network, a business inherits every vulnerability of its partners.
To properly monitor the third parties accessing business systems and deploy appropriate controls in response to changing risk levels, companies must upgrade to modern IAM solutions. Granular control with automated provisioning and deprovisioning is essential for mitigating breach risk while maintaining appropriate access levels.
Automation is Limited
No IT team has the time or the resources to monitor every action taken on a business network. Human and device identities make a massive number of access requests every day in a typical enterprise, and hackers can easily slip under the radar if automated monitoring tools aren’t in place. A lack of agility and adaptability in permissions increases the burden on IT departments, requiring staff members to handle application authorizations, integration requests, provisioning and deprovisioning. Finding and addressing dead or orphaned accounts also falls to the IT team, and the process can take a significant amount of effort if a company has recently undergone a change in staffing.
Handling these responsibilities leaves little time to evaluate risk levels, address security alerts and launch protective measures against potential breach activity. Today’s IT professionals need the help of automated IAM systems with intelligent monitoring and controls to ensure the highest level of protection.
Scale is Becoming a Problem
The growth every business owner works for can become a nightmare if it outpaces the capabilities of a legacy IAM system. Limitations restrict functionality, and a complete upgrade may be the only choice for expansion. Failing to implement a new solution can lead to sluggish logins and slow system responses, which can spark frustration among users and drive down productivity.
Legacy systems may also put a cap on the number of applications a business can deploy. As competitors adopt newer and more powerful solutions, companies relying on outdated IAM platforms run the risk of falling behind. Restricted accessibility may also minimize options for mobile and remote workers and put limits on employees who desire flexibility.
Compliance is Threatened
Modern privacy regulations demand detailed network audit information and strong security protocols to keep data safe. Companies in industries with strict laws dictating the protection of highly sensitive information, such as health records or financial data, need IAM solutions with detailed monitoring and reporting tools. Adding a custom solution to an existing system in the interest of remaining compliant takes undue time and resources and puts more stress on overworked IT teams.
Newer Technology is Available
Holding onto legacy systems makes little sense when numerous cloud IAM solutions are available for businesses of all sizes. Artificial intelligence and machine learning make these tools faster, smarter and more adaptable than legacy IAM, which allows businesses to fine-tune access control policies for better management of all identities. Options like self-service password resets offload some of the burden from the IT department by putting minor administrative tasks in users’ hands, and improved authentication increases security across platforms and applications.
Updating IAM systems isn’t a task to be put on the back burner. IT teams should be consistently evaluating current IAM tools and solutions for shortcomings, flaws and vulnerabilities and making recommendations to strengthen network security. Creating a more agile system protects data in a changing threat landscape and allows businesses to adapt with ease as new threats appear.