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What Are The Top 5 Questions Organizations Should Ask Their Potential Access Management Solution Provider To Get The Best Out Of The Deal?
March 26, 2020
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According to an estimation, the cybersecurity market size in the Middle East is expected to grow at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 14.2% (i.e., from USD 11.38 Billion in 2017 to USD 22.14 Billion by 2022).  As per another report released by Forrester, a market research firm, 80% of security attacks are caused due to data theft or unauthorized access to privileged data. The situation is not different in the Middle East as Arab countries are among those facing the highest number of cyberattacks as per a finding by another American research firm Cybersecurity Ventures.

Cyber adversaries mainly gain access to your confidential or sensitive organizational data to steal it and sell it in the black market for some big money or modify your data to create a backdoor entry to your server and provide that information to others.  As the number of ways in which digital information is used, shared, and accessed increases with the advancements in digital information technology, it also opens up many new doors to the cybercriminals to access your enterprise’s confidential data. This is the area where Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution providers play a vital role in defining strict guidelines and standards for enterprises to monitor and access important data sets.

But choosing the best Identity and Access Management solution provider can be a daunting task. Hence, you need to know what information you need to look for in the access management system to ensure it is top-notch and suits your requirements. Below is a list of essential questions that you may need to ask your potential access management solution provider before choosing their service.

1. What Are The Different Authentication Methods Supported By Your Access Management Solution?
Enterprises nowadays allow their employees to access data through various authentication methods. People can either use a simple password or even use a 2-factor authentication method or, to some extent, a multi-factor authentication. 

Hence, the access management solution provider must support all forms of authentication methods, such as:

• Tokens Authentication (Hardware or Software token devices)
• Multi-factor authentication (e.g., What you inherent-Biometrics, What you know-Passwords or Passphrases, What you possess-Tokens)
• Out-of-Band Authentication or OOB (e.g., using smartphone devices to authenticate a transaction that is originated on a laptop device)

They can easily provide your security team to set user-based authentication requirements, including:

• Employee, customer, contractor or user role in accessing the data
• Access information, including the data location, time of access, access method, and device used for access, etc.
• The applications, system and the network that is accessed
• Level of sensitivity or confidentiality of the data that is accessed

2. How Does The Solution Implement Paswordless Authentication, Viz? Single Sign-On (SSO)?
Single sign-on authentication is regarded as one of the best methods of authentication as it comes with a lot of advantages. Once you enable single sign-on authentication, you instantly eliminate password fatigue from the equation. Today, employees no longer remain inside the company as marketing people travel to all places and access data from various remote locations. Hence, the requirement for single sign-on authentication has grown quite strongly.

With the single sign-on feature, professionals no longer need to type in the same password again and again for accessing the same set of or related data on different systems. It also helps in largely reducing the IT support calls and support tickets for resetting the passwords. During your interview with access management solution providers, you need to inquire about their plans to improve web-based single sign-on options or how they plan to improve the existing ones.

3. What Is Your Strategy To Manage Mobile Devices, BYOD And Other Remote Access Policies?
Enterprises can no longer deny data access from employees and vendors from remote locations. Any denial in this regard will directly affect the productivity of the organization. In the Middles East alone, more than 40% of enterprises encourage their employees to access corporate data using smartphones or from remote locations. The BYOD market in the Middle East was estimated to be $35.55 bn, and hence it becomes crucial for organizations to bring in an Identity management solution.

Hence, organizations are bound to provide secure access to critical data to everyone, including partners, contractors, employees.

Not only remote access is a problem, but the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy also has become a culture nowadays, as many organizations are coming forward to support this policy. Hence, you need to get confirmation from your access management solution provider about their plan to manage mobile devices and the operating systems they support. You cannot blindly restrict it to Android and iOS as there are still people around using Blackberry and Windows OS.

4. What Are The Solution Capabilities To Handle Federated Identities?
Lately, it is not just the employees that seek access to applications and data, but other contractors and partners working with the enterprise in one way or another also seek permission for access to your data.

This is a critical and risky segment as you have to spread open much of your confidential data to outsiders, and your security strength is not higher than the most vulnerable link in their information system. Ask your access management solution providers whether their proposed solution has any provisions to fit in federated identity management.

5. How Does Your Pricing Plans Justify Various Access Management Services You Offer?
Last but not least, you need to know about the pricing being put forth by the IAM solution provider. You cannot expect the pricing to be of the same range as every provider.

Generally, IAM solution providers come with quite elaborate pricing plans since the solution involves various sophistications. To get the best pricing plan that suits your organization, ask the provider the following questions:

• Whether they are willing to agree to a cost per user/month package.
• What are the specific IAM domains(Identity Administration, Access Management and Certification, Privileged User Management, Password Management, etc.) that they cover or specialize in?
• How do the IAM service provider’s services align with your organizational security objectives?
• What is the unique proposition of the products or the services you offer?

If they are willing to agree to it, then you are very well in the driving seat, but remember, pricing is not the only factor in deciding an access management solution.

Final Words
To conclude things, choosing an Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution is crucial for an organization as it’s the critical control around your organization’s security periphery. It becomes even more significant as more and more organizations are moving ‘into’ and ‘onto’ the Cloud. It is essential to implement an effective IAM solution to safeguard and protect your critical information assets. But it will all be made possible only if you choose the best access management solution provider who not only meets your budget but also supports your security needs. The above questions you ask the access management service provider are comprehensive. They will give you an adequate knowledge coverage of all crucial factors you need to know in determining how efficiently the system can handle your identity and access management requirements and making a decision as to which service you need to choose.

Blog Written by: Gunpreet Singh - Service Delivery Manager - IAM

Know more about Paramount’s IAM Solutions: https://www.paramountassure.com/solutions/identity-security