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Enterprise security through the right lens

Have you ever stopped to look at something and thought, “Hm, that doesn’t look right”? 

Maybe it’s the painting hanging on the wall in your living room and you notice it’s slightly off-center one day as you’re packing up to leave for work. 

Or maybe it’s the project at work you’ve been working on for months, and you’ve hit a standstill. You step back and revisit all the work you’ve put in and realize, well, you were about to go down the wrong path.  

This is similar to what we are seeing today in the world of identity security. Let me explain. 

CIOs and CISOs are in a mad dash to secure their enterprise while juggling an overwhelming number of competing priorities, shrinking budgets, driving efficiencies, all while evolving the digital ecosystem to match pace with the speed of innovation and change happening across the business.  

Enterprise Security Through the Wrong Lens 

So, it’s not all that surprising that there are some CIOs and CISOs who are looking at enterprise security through an incomplete lens. Enterprise security is much more than protecting the perimeter. We know that securing the perimeter or the “moat” around the business is no longer good enough to secure the enterprise. Today, identities are core to securing your enterprise. Identities are the most straightforward way to compromise an organization and the bad guys know that – target just one identity and one point of access and you’re in. It’s that simple.  

Taking it a step further – once you build a cyber security strategy that starts with identity security at the core, make sure you’re looking at it through the right lens. While identity security has been around for many years, many organizations still look at Identity as an efficiency play alone and, to that end, acquire solutions woefully inadequate to secure their enterprise. More often than not, that “minimum viable” or “good enough” option tends to be centered on gaining access for your employees “I have to get my people access to the technology they need to work efficiently.” We saw this in quantum leaps during the pandemic, as companies immediately went to a “virtual workforce” that needed “access.” What companies quickly found out was that providing access does not necessarily mean secure access.  While it’s great to ensure your workforce has access to key technologies, data, and cloud resources, all of that access must be protected. With the right level of security controls in place to ensure that the access being granted is correct based on job need and role, and if/when that access is no longer required, it’s shut down. It’s the latter piece that’s hard to get right as you get to the very large enterprise – access needs can change quickly and often, so keeping up with that rate of change is critical.   

Enterprise Security Through the Right Lens 

Neither of the lenses I’ve mentioned so far is the right lens through which to view enterprise security. It’s no longer about the so-called perimeter. It’s not just about access. Nor is it just about efficiency. It IS about security and, ultimately, cyber risk mitigation. It IS about identities. 

And when you’re talking about the large, complex enterprise, companies with thousands and thousands of identities, employees joining the company, moving within the company, and leaving the company daily, an inadequate identity security program adds up to a lot of potential risk for your company. It just takes one. One compromised identity. One compromised access point. And your entire business could come crashing down. That’s the lens companies need to be looking through – one of risk mitigation

The magnitude of this effort is not insignificant. Employees, applications, and entitlements – all magnified by the rate and complexity of change become untenable and very quickly surpasses the scope of human capacity. To keep up with the rate of change and scale of identity and access decisions at the enterprise level, you’ve got to take the human being out of the equation and rely on AI/ML to automate identity decisions. Very few identity security solutions today are built to address the sophisticated needs of the modern enterprise. If you want true, enterprise-grade identity security that aligns with the speed and sophistication of your business, you need a platform that is AI-enabled, that infuses identity intelligence into every security decision, and that connects to all of your other technology investments so you have a holistic picture of every identity, every access point. This is the secure path forward to grant access quickly and autonomously while dynamically addressing and managing identity decisions – at scale.   

Ruthless Prioritization 

When you start to look at enterprise security through this “identity security lens,” suddenly, everything gets a lot clearer. Now you’re looking at your business the right way, focusing on securely enabling your modern enterprise. The people and things that keep your business churning are also the people and things that introduce the greatest points of risk. It’s about efficiency, security, AND cyber risk mitigation. You can’t pick and choose – your identity strategy must deliver all three.  

As we face a macroeconomic environment where CIOs and CISOs are questioning every single dollar spent, ruthless prioritization will be critical for success. On top of that, no CISO or CIO wants to be on the hook for a significant breach that causes their company potentially millions of dollars and significant damage to their brand.   

Being a CIO or CISO today is not for the faint of heart. The ones that will come out ahead are the ones who will look at their enterprise security program through the right lens and ruthlessly prioritize that investment, getting buy-in across the business to ensure all access and all identities are secure. This is not a place for good enough.