With remote work becoming the new norm for many companies, organizations need to secure their employees’ work-from-home (WFH) networks. Identity access management (IAM) both secures these WFH networks and enables employees to easily access the data and applications they need for their role. A good IAM solution prevents users from turning to shadow IT practices, which have grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Find out how your team can use IAM to secure your employees’ WFH networks and keep shadow IT to a minimum.
Using IAM for remote employees
- Create or strengthen corporate data policies
- Review everything users can access
- Make employees request access to critical systems
- Choose IAM solutions with least privilege access capabilities
- Use IAM to secure networks and enable employees
Create or strengthen corporate data policies
With remote work, your employees likely don’t have the same network protections that they would when working in an office. Because of this, you may want to prohibit remote employees from storing or sharing certain pieces of sensitive data on their remote devices. You’ll need to create or strengthen your corporate data policies to let employees know what is and isn’t okay to download on their company devices.
However, you may have remote employees that need access to critical data to do their jobs effectively. If that data isn’t stored in the cloud where they can easily access it without downloading, you will need to provide them with additional security tools like a virtual private network (VPN), allowing them to access the company network remotely.
Also read: Why SMBs Should Consider VPNs for Secure Network Access
Review everything users can access
When assigning permissions to your employees in your IAM solution, don’t just automatically give everyone access to everything. Not only is this confusing for your employees to sort through, but it also leaves your company vulnerable to breaches. Review everything users have access to and justify why they need it. If you can’t, you should remove access to that application or dataset.
For example, your marketing team doesn’t need access to your payroll software, just like your accounting team doesn’t need sales data. By allowing all of your employees access to everything on your corporate network, you’re giving attackers many potential access points that they can use to breach your systems. Instead, consider the least privilege access model of network security to keep access to sensitive data to a minimum.
Make employees request access to critical systems
If an employee needs access to a critical application or dataset, you should make them request that access. This gives you time to review the request and ensure that they actually need what they’re asking for. You may find that you can just give them access to a small portion of what they want, or they may need something completely different.
For these requests, set up an application similar to your IT helpdesk ticketing system or as a part of that system, so you have a log of all the requests that you’ve gotten. This will help you perform periodic reviews and revoke access when employees no longer need it.
Choose IAM solutions with least privilege access capabilities
To best secure your data with employees working from home, your IAM solution should include least privilege access capabilities. This allows you to customize each employee’s level of access, so they only have what they need and nothing more. This provides companies with a greater level of control over who is accessing their sensitive data each day. Here are a few great options for IAM solutions that include least privilege access.
Ping Identity’s access security features ensure that users requesting access to sensitive data and applications have the right permissions to access them. It also lets companies create custom policies and automatically checks requests against those policies. The system automatically verifies users at set intervals, and if something changes, it will revoke that user’s access until it can be reverified.
Okta’s Access Gate centralizes the access controls, allowing your IT team to easily grant or revoke access as needed. It works for both cloud and on-premises applications and reduces the amount of infrastructure you need for on-premises access management. The Advanced Server Access serves a similar purpose but for a multi-cloud approach, only giving employees access to necessary cloud environments.
ForgeRock includes role-based access controls that allow you to grant access to data and applications based on the employee’s job title. Not only does it separate employees by department, but it also provides different access based on whether employees are full-time, part-time, or contractors. It also automates the identity access process to optimize onboarding and offboarding procedures.
Also read: Best Identity Access Management Software 2021
Use IAM to secure networks and enable employees
Allowing your employees to work from home doesn’t mean you have to open yourself up to cyberattacks. Think critically about what employees need access to and limit access to sensitive information as much as possible. Make employees request the access they want and review the requests to ensure they actually need the data or application before granting it. Your identity access management software can help you with all of these processes and automate some of them to keep your data secure, even while your employees work remotely.
Read next: Eight Best Practices for Securing Long-Term Remote Work