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Don’t Let Sleeping Hackers Lie—Identity Security Is One Trick to Combat Cyber Threats

If anyone asks me about why I joined SailPoint almost a year ago, they’re going to get an earful about how all security starts with identity. 

I’ve seen it for years: a breach that never would have occurred if the identity was properly secured. An intrusion that never would have become a headline if the identity had not been massively over-privileged. We often think that breach prevention is all about malware prevention or stopping the latest phishing emails. Those are important, to be sure… but it’s time we thought more about the link between identities and the breaches we read about every day. Years of first-hand experience have made it obvious to me, but I always looked for data to help paint the picture. 

That’s why I’m so excited about the work we’ve just wrapped up with Ed Amoroso and the fantastic team at TAG Cyber. They helped us survey nearly 300 IT professionals about breaches and their connection to identity security. While the results didn’t exactly shock me, even I was a bit surprised by how starkly they illuminated the way that poor identity security can open the door wide for attackers. 

  • 100% answered yes when asked if their organization had experienced a security compromise in the last year. 
  • 83% said the compromise(s) included unauthorized access to a worker’s information, including employees, partners, contractors, and customers. 
  • 75% said that the compromise(s) happened because of over-entitled/over-permissioned access. 
  • 66% said workers that should have been inactive were compromised during a security incident. 

Even though these insider threats continue to plague organizations across every industry and company size, there are ways to mitigate risk. By deploying the right tools and processes, like identity security, businesses can provide continuous assessment of who or what is accessing every endpoint/system/record/application. Here at SailPoint, we’re working to automate that continuous assessment and to let our customers make policy-driven decisions in real-time.

For example, suppose access isn’t being used or is not in line with other identities in a similar role. In that case, we can remove that access or ask a manager to validate it immediately.  

I love it when we can use data to prove a point, and this survey clarifies how critical identity security is for every organization. You can download the Tag Cyber / SailPoint survey here.

By the way…whenever I see “sponsored research,” I kind of assume that the conclusion was developed in advance and that the “research organization” is basically a marketing firm tasked to lend some legitimacy to a report. If you know anything about TAG Cyber (and SailPoint), you’ll know this isn’t the case. We wanted to research the intersection of identity security and compromises, and we weren’t sure where it would end up. It turned out to be interesting, though–I think you’ll enjoy reading the report. 

TAG Cyber / SailPoint surveyed 262 technology professionals across every industry and every company size about identity-based cybersecurity incidents.