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What is identity security?

Identity security is a comprehensive set of tools, processes and principles geared towards safeguarding digital identities of an organization from unauthorized access. It ensures protection for all types of identities, including privileged users, non-admin users, third parties, and service accounts – whether they are present in on-premises or cloud environments.

The main components of identity security include:

  • Strong authentication
  • Authorization
  • Privilege management
  • Audit, logging, reporting and monitoring
  • Education and awareness training.

In today's cyber-vulnerable world, identity security is a crucial part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Recent research shows that 80% of breaches start with compromised identities. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, and attackers are increasingly targeting identities. By implementing robust identity security controls, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and identity theft.

Strong authentication and modern identity management can reduce operational complexity and boost productivity.

Granular authorization and privilege management can help organizations adhere to the principle of least privilege. Regular monitoring, along with education and awareness, can empower organizations to stay ahead of emerging threats.


Identity and Access Management (IAM) in cybersecurity

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is an integral part of identity security, and cybersecurity in general. IAM solutions ensure that only authorized users get time-bound access to sensitive data and resources.

IAM streamlines user provisioning and de-provisioning processes, decreasing administrative overhead and increasing efficiency. It also offers centralized authentication and authorization, allowing organizations to enforce strong authentication controls across their entire infrastructure. A good IAM solution is a strategic asset in achieving identity security, it enables business processes that match the desired cybersecurity posture, and allows positive feedback loops on iterating that posture with repeating corrective measures.

IAM paves the way to increased security and compliance. For example, by centralizing the storage of identity data for entities spread across multiple cloud environments, it decreases the attack surface of an organization. Through identity lifecycle management, it ensures that privileges are only granted for the necessary duration, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.

Zero trust vs. Identity security

Zero trust is a security model that dictates that no entity accessing the network should be trusted by default. This means that all access to systems and data is strictly controlled. Identity security ensures that users have the correct permissions to access the resources they need, while preventing unauthorized access. It also raises the cost of successful attacks against credentials and identity theft, by layering the defense with advanced authentication and sophisticated controls.

While zero trust and identity security share a common goal of improving security, they approach it from different angles. Zero trust focuses on enforcing the “trust no one; verify everyone, repeatedly” principle, while identity security focuses on managing user identities and access permissions.

By combining these two paradigms, organizations can create a comprehensive strategy that improves their overall security posture.

The unified identity security platform approach

A unified identity security platform is an all-in-one solution that combines multiple identity security products into a single, integrated platform. This allows organizations to manage all aspects of identity security from a single pane of glass, fortifying security and reducing complexity.

A unified identity security platform enhances efficiency by reducing identity sprawl (the scattering of user identities and access privileges across multiple systems and applications). This not only creates management complexities, but also increases the attack surface, as it becomes difficult to maintain consistent access controls, avoid misconfigurations and track user activities.

A unified platform addresses these problems by consolidating all of the IAM functions into a cohesive, standalone system. Whether you want to set up granular rights for users of a legacy application, configure an access policy for third-party users of your cloud platform, or implement a cross-platform authentication mechanism, you can use the same platform to do so.

Most common techniques to compromise identites

Identity as an attack surface is a serious concern in today's digital age. Cybercriminals use various techniques to gain unauthorized access to credentials and exploit it for fraudulent purposes. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent techniques:

  • Social engineering: This technique involves manipulating individuals through psychological tactics to extract confidential information or gain unauthorized access. Malicious actors may impersonate trustworthy individuals, such as a bank representative, a business partner or an IT support agent, to deceive victims into sharing sensitive data.
  • Phishing: Attackers send fake emails that look like they're from a legitimate source. The emails contain links that take victims to fake websites that look like the real ones. Once victims enter their personal information on the fake websites, the attackers steal it.
  • Scams: This is a broad term that encompasses wide-ranging fraudulent schemes designed to trick people into giving up their personal data.
  • Spearphishing: This is a highly targeted version of a phishing attack, where the attacker tries to add familiar context to build trust. Extremely dangerous as a well executed spear phishing attack is almost indistinguishable from normal business processes.
  • Credential stuffing: By reusing passwords across sites, employees can expose the enterprise network to credential stuffing attacks, where attackers try to log in with passwords stolen in unrelated breaches.
  • Dumpster diving: Cybercriminals search through trash cans and dumpsters for discarded documents that contain personal information. This information can then be used to commit identity theft.

Protection against credential compromise

Organizations can take several steps to protect against identity theft:

  • Implement robust authentication mechanisms, like adaptive authentication and passkeys to minimize the risks of unauthorized access.
  • Use strong security measures to protect their infrastructure, e.g. use dedicated credential vaults to store sensitive information, implement encryption at rest and in transit, and regularly scan systems and applications for known vulnerabilities.
  • Educate employees about identity theft. This includes teaching them how to create strong passwords, how to spot phishing emails and how to maintain good security hygiene.
  • Use intrusion detection systems to detect unusual or suspicious activities within the network.
  • Assign user access rights based on the principle of least privilege, ensuring that nobody has more privileges than they need to do their jobs.
  • Stay updated on the latest trends and techniques in identity theft, cyber threats and regulatory requirements to adapt security measures accordingly.

At a personal level, there are many things that you can do to protect yourself from identity theft. For example:

  • Only share your personal information with websites and companies that you trust.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly. Do not use the same password for multiple websites.
  • Be careful about clicking on links in emails and text messages.
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware software on your computer and keep it up to date.
  • Be careful about the information you put on social media. Criminals can use this information to commit identity theft.


Identity security is essential to protect digital identities from unauthorized access. In today's increasingly cyberattack-prone landscape, both organizations and individuals must take proactive steps to mitigate the ever-present threat of identity theft.

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