Batten Down the Hatches – Securing User Identity Stores

Batten Down the Hatches – Securing User Identity Stores

Like a ship transporting valuable goods across a dangerous sea, enterprises have a duty to protect their own precious cargo: their user identity stores. These are the central repositories of sensitive information necessary for operation. However, if they become compromised, your enterprise becomes trapped in a terrible data breach situation. When the storm hits, either from hardware failures or bad actors, will your identity stores weather the storm?

This critical component of IAM systems can be protected through proper precautions. Names, passwords, email addresses, and other private information housed in user identity stores must not fall into the wrong hands. The consequences of such a data breach are substantial. Consequences range from federal fines to a permanent tarnishing of your brand, complete with customer lawsuits.

By understanding the greatest threats posed to identity store security and how to counteract them, your enterprise becomes more likely to successfully combat them.

Types of Identity Stores and Authentication Methods

User identity stores, and the methods used to access them, come in two main forms. The most common of these are basic databases and Lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP). Databases act as simple storage for identities. However, these databases must be augmented with separate programs to have their information accessed. As a result, most identity stores instead use LDAP, a protocol which pairs identity storage with the capability to quickly query and retrieve information stored.

An LDAP solution stores data in the directory and authenticates users to access the directory. This allows for greater interconnectedness between different parts of an enterprise’s systems. Because the protocol is both the data store and the query method, it is well-suited to features like multi-factor authentication and single sign-on. However, a need for better support of these features requires new architecture. SAML and OAuth 2.0 are the two main authentication schemas used for this purpose.

SAML relies upon a standardized identity protocol, allowing a single set of credentials to be “read” and accepted by multiple endpoints using the same language. A user is authenticated at a single point, and that authentication status is then accepted by other applications using the same SAML assertion. This allows users to use a wide variety of services through one set of credentials, making it ideal for SSO. OAuth 2.0 takes a different approach, allowing applications to interact via temporary access tokens instead of sensitive details. This allows for necessary application privileges to be authorized without disclosing credentials to multiple services, greatly reducing the potential attack surface.

The Dangers of Unsecured Identity Stores

The ubiquity of LDAP as an identity store has led to intense focus upon it as a vector for data breaches. The most common of these attacks is the dreaded LDAP Injection. Because LDAP runs search and access requests, an unsecured query entry system can be used to run commands. If an attacker knows the right information, they can compromise the most basic coding of a database. This can allow for unauthorized access to an account or even the escalation of privileges. One insidious aspect of LDAP injection is how long it can go unnoticed, as was the case with the 2017 Joomla vulnerability which had lasted for eight years before being patched.

While protocols like SAML are intended to increase the security of an identity store, a misconfigured setup leaves gaps which can serve as new vectors. The most common of these is an XML Signature Wrapping attack. A signature wrapping breach relies upon a method like an injection attack, where a hacker takes advantage of an unsecured command-entry line to spoof credentials and alter privileges. DarkReading estimates that 74% of Q1 malware in 2021 was undetectable via signature-based tools, highlighting the danger this vector poses to the security of user identity stores.

Despite its stated goal of creating a security-minded minimization of attack surfaces, OAuth2 has fallen prey to several vulnerabilities. These range from leaked access tokens to insufficient validation measures. Because the protocol is so flexible, many companies fail to take proper security precautions when implementing OAuth2. This results in vulnerabilities which allow hackers to generate access tokens and compromise user data stores. Even tech giant Microsoft fell prey to an OAuth2 vulnerabilities in early 2024 despite issuing a warning just a month prior to the incident.

Maturity in Identity Solutions

If these protocols intended to increase security are being used to undermine it, what can users do to protect their user identity stores? By intentionally moving towards a more mature implementation and upkeep of identity stores and their associated systems, enterprises can achieve the safety these systems were meant to provide. The first step is to answer these critical questions:

  1. How many employees and non-employees work at the company? Are there any third-party users with access to internal systems?
  2. How effective is the onboarding/offboarding process? Does your identity solution leverage automation to cut down on J-M-L processes?
  3. How many redundant copies of user identity data create risks and inefficiencies? Do you have policies for dealing with orphaned and overprovisioned accounts?

Answering these questions marks an important milestone in the pursuit of secure identity stores. Enterprises should look to implement a robust IGA and PAM solution in conjunction to their identity stores. The monitoring and governance capabilities of these identity pillars serve as both a preventative measure and as a remediation control. Your enterprise should focus on simplifying identity and access management. You should also consolidate siloed identity data into unified stores to gain holistic governance and visibility.

However, as seen in previous examples, shoddy implementation is the root cause of many vulnerabilities. As such, enterprises should strongly consider contracting to a managed identity service. An expert team can analyze the most likely vulnerabilities in your user store and authentication systems. Furthermore, the best teams provide these improvements at a fixed cost and timetable, enhancing your ability to plan ahead.

Contact a Simeio Identity Advisor now and learn what a mature identity store solution looks like.

4 Multi-Factor Authentication Concerns for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

4 Multi-Factor Authentication Concerns for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

4 Multi-Factor Authentication Concerns for the Travel and Hospitality Industry

Hacking is a contest of opportunities. Security is a contest of probabilities. The stakes for both are high. Bad actors keep an eye out for flaws in a system or a human weakness to burrow into. Each data request has the potential to be a mask, a deception wherein an identity has been compromised. Even tech giants like Microsoft have experienced data breaches resulting from conventional authentication methods. In this battle of odds, IAM security relies upon perimeters built around each individual identity. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) swings those odds heavily into the favor of the defenders.

For travel agencies and hospitality services, verifying the identities of customers is critical. Without sufficient checks, tight travel plans and expensive accommodations can be snatched away. If an issue arises, your customers become acutely aware of any delays or shortcomings in your response. A customer who might have looked to your services for years to come instead spreads word of their bad experience. Conversely, a customer who enjoys a frictionless and secure digital experience are more likely to develop brand loyalty and even advocacy.

The travel and hospitality industry is not the only sector which has observed considerable benefits from adopting MFA. Industries ranging from healthcare to finance have leveraged multi-factor authentication to great effect. Banking security, confidential patient information, and even self-service password recovery are protected by multiple layers of authentication. As the feature becomes a staple of secure identity and access management, transport and guest enterprises cannot afford to lag. However, recognizing the need and addressing it are worlds apart.

Are you contemplating where to start on your own multi-factor authentication rollout? Do you know what assets need to be provisioned or evaluated? Education is your first step towards successful multi-factor authentication rollout.  Memorize these 5 critical multi-factor authentications directives and execute them. Doing so saves you time, prevents costly reworks, and avoids frustrating your end-users.

1. Your Multi-factor Authentication Server

A dedicated central repository, providing a single source of truth, forms the foundation of your MFA. Without a reliable and well-ordered server, the different facets of identity quickly become muddled. The last thing you want is for devices to be associated with the wrong credit card. Or, worse still, for personal info to be unsecured. As such, implementing a solid multi-factor authentication server (preferably backed by a solid identity governance and access platform) is key.

The MFA server is the “brain” that drives all policy decisions and functionality.  Think of it as the airline you choose to ride on your journey to the multi-factor authentication finish line. You don’t want to choose an airline that will tear apart mid-flight. Instead, you want one that provides a comfortable experience and gets you where you’re going. The solution must be flexible enough to process meaningful identity data, such as location, time of use, and password veracity. 

This “brain” should have broad out-of-the-box integrations to various common endpoints. This maximizes use of its capabilities in all facets of your identity and access management landscape. The multi-factor authentication server should be accessible to your on-premises and cloud applications, services, and servers. For example, a cloud-only check-in app may need to interface with an on-sight TSA program. A central MFA server alleviates any potential difficulties of fitting these pieces together. However, your choice must be informed by an expert IAM opinion.

2. Your Multi-factor Authentication Clients

Multi-factor authentication clients are the various devices end users interact with using the MFA server for proper authentication vetting.  A capable server supports myriad client devices and identification techniques. These devices include desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, grid cards, smart cards, RFID cards, key fobs, hard tokens, soft tokens, and biometric readers. The ID techniques range from simple password checks to cutting edge biometrics.

Mobile phones are becoming a very popular option for multi-factor authentication. Smartphones are not only ubiquitous but also support many of the identification techniques that normally require deployment of additional hardware. This is especially true for one-time password (OTP) & biometric options.  Be sure to confirm support for all the client devices that are most common during your rollout. This minimizes your challenges with leveraging your MFA server before you make your selection. After all, it would be a shame for clients to try to check in your front desk only to find that your system does not support Android. Do not neglect your customer identity and access management solution.

Also, make sure to select the right identification techniques based on your user populations and factor in the deployment time and cost. Authentication methods such as password-complexity requirements are simple to implement but can cause friction. More complicated yet effective methods, such as biometrics and single sign-on (SSO), are more difficult to implement on your own. Your best option, but most challenging to institute, is an adaptive multi-factor authentication platform. Adaptive MFA scales authentication requirements in response to carefully tuned criteria. However, that kind of platform is both difficult to design and implement. In such cases, a managed identity service provider may be needed for an effective implementation.

3. VPN and SSO Integration

Remote access is typically the first use case out-of-the-gate for MFA integration. Most companies already have a VPN (virtual private network) gateway in place. Your choice of VPN is your “stake in the ground” decision for making your MFA server decision. Ideally you would pick your MFA server first to maximize your capabilities. You should also consider implementing a cloud infrastructure and entitlements managements (CIEM) platform. Due to the remote nature of your server, it is only responsible to set up a security perimeter for it.

You may be fortunate enough to be at an inflection point. This is where your current technology is due for an upgrade or replacement. As such, it makes sense to re-prioritize your VPN selection based on your MFA selection. Going with a capable MFA server yields the benefit of a wide range of out-of-the-box integrations with popular VPN platforms. VPN service providers such as Nord, Express, and Palo Alto are easy to set up. However, secure integration with your full identity fabric requires some tinkering to maximize your results. Additionally, you should couple your MFA to a proper SSO. So long as special care is taken to ensure that your SSO does not compromise the security of your MFA, it can work wonders for user experience.

Consider a hypothetical (yet common) situation wherein an airline traveler needs to quickly retrieve their ticket information. Having to sign in first on the airport’s website, then onto their airline’s profile, and yet again for individual passengers creates friction. It is frustrating and potentially slow enough to make them miss their flight. Single sign-on (SSO) remediates this issue. The combination of adaptive MFA and SSO is the baseline of modern cybersecurity. Each contributes to security while also easing friction for users and synergizes well with PIM. However, this marriage requires a crucial link: a privileged access management (PAM) solution. Without a suitable PAM overseeing your identity fabric, your platform lacks the comprehensive analytics necessary for reactive identity authentication.

4. Application Access Management Integration

Identities are not the only facet of your enterprise which play a part in your multi-factor authentication solution. Application access management integration is a crucial integration point for MFA.  Having an access management solution in place is a best practice for managing access to applications, especially web applications. Application-focused access management do not only serve to link disparate applications into a single platform. They also aid in the onboarding of new applications, ensuring that security standards are maintained, and processes do not conflict with each other.

Integrating your MFA solution with an access management solution provides an efficient mechanism for providing MFA capabilities at the individual application level. Since access management solutions form the authentication and authorization backbone for internal and external applications, this essentially extends your MFA capability to internal and external users in an efficient manner. Access management is of such profound importance that there is something to be said for prioritizing it even over a multi-factor authentication rollout.

Because access management forms the ground-level of IAM, it makes sense to establish it first and then add on MFA afterwards. Of course, this assumes that your enterprise does not already have an active access management system. However, if that is the case, it carries its own set of challenges. Your existing system must first be checked for security gaps and then for potential vulnerabilities that could arise from MFA integration. An IAM audit should be performed to assess the full scope and needs of your identity platform.

Acing Your Multi-Factor Authentication Rollout

Taking these 5 considerations into account when you are looking at your MFA solution will lead to a much less bumpy road for your end users. IT admins can rest easier, knowing that the identities under their stewardship are that much more secure. Meanwhile, customers enjoy fewer pain points and less friction in their experience with their travel and hospitality service providers.

The result will be a consistent MFA end user experience for your users across the enterprise and a sound technical approach to solving the most common MFA use cases.

Mature Identity and Access Management Programs: Top 3 Features

Mature Identity and Access Management Programs: Top 3 Features

When navigating a treacherous landscape, your priority is to get the lay of the land and chart out a safe path. In the realm of identity and access management, the best way to make this survey is to get an IAM maturity benchmark assessment from Simeio. Doing so drives your enterprise towards a mature identity and access management program. The enterprises handling your data must leverage IAM products to achieve important and significant gains in security, efficiency, and compliance enforcement.

Some companies have tried to establish mature identity and access management programs only to fail in their attempts to effect real change. Tactics which lead one company safely out of the forest send another off the cliff.  What are the characteristics of a truly mature IAM program which meaningfully improves their risk posture? Learn our three top aspects of a mature (and thus secure) IAM.

#1 – Mature Identity and Access Management Programs Rely on User Identity Integration

Pieces of a user’s identity can exist across many different systems in an enterprise. HR and IT systems like an active directory serve as repositories for these data fragments. Then there are physical access systems like badges and ancillary mediums like the phone system. Finally, there are the various business applications that become critical for a user to perform their role. With the average person using 9 applications on mobile and 4-5 work applications on personal computers, potential attack surfaces can easily swell.

Before long, keeping up with all these disparate systems and keeping user attributes current becomes unmanageable and insecure. The longer an enterprise waits to start combatting identity sprawl, the riskier and more costly it becomes. Most organizations recognize the problem and the need for a consolidated view of a user’s identity. However, enacting the necessary changes is dauting. It seems simple enough, but the digital transformation takes planning, time, and solid methodology.

Moving an organization down the road to consolidated user identity integration relies upon several factors. All provisioning and tracking processes must become centralized, providing a single source of truth for identity policy enforcement. Next, a full identity audit must be performed, removing redundant identity attributes from across the enterprise and purging orphaned accounts. Finally, these policies must be automated, thus synchronizing changes to identities across their various endpoints. This prevents unsafe gaps in the overall identity fabric and enables better audit readiness.

#2 – Automated Account Provisioning for Ease and Security

Once the enterprise institutes a reliable identity management platform, the business of efficiently and safely managing identities begins in earnest. Creating an account on an appropriate system with the correct permissions is a straightforward task. However, if a company continues to grow, it eventually exceeds a certain critical mass. At this stage the enterprise reaches a tipping point. At this stage, manual provisioning becomes untenable and an IAM management solution becomes necessary. Otherwise, the provisioning process becomes sluggish or out of control.

Without proper management, requests for new accounts, changes to existing accounts, and repeated requests to remove accounts for terminated employees begin to pile up. The resulting backlog delays new workers from starting. In turn, this hampers productivity and creates cybersecurity vulnerabilities where the accounts of terminated employees remain active for far too long.  Centralizing and standardizing the process helps immensely, but this is taken to the next level by the addition of automation.

Augmentation through automation speeds up the process while enforcing identity standards, access entitlements, and provisioning policies. Automatic account removal of terminated employees is also a significant cybersecurity gain, removing the risk posed by orphaned accounts. All accounts on key systems tie back to a central and validated user account. This eliminates unknown and orphaned user IDs from across the enterprise. This layer of automation helps strengthen security while improving user experience: the essence of a mature identity and access management system. Additionally, the automated aspect greatly eases auditing events. This is especially true when audit-related data is specified and collected continually.

#3 – Intelligent Authentication for a Mature Identity and Access Management Program

As organizations grow and add more people, systems, and applications secure password management becomes a challenge. Compromised credentials are the primary attack vector for cybercriminals, and mismanaged password systems make your enterprise more likely to fall victim to such an attack. While features like self-service password recovery are a step in the right direction, they are not credential management’s end. If your enterprise wishes for better security, it must look to passwordless methods.

The best passwordless defenses against compromise are multi-factor authentication and single sign-on. With the previously established systems of a centralized identity governance apparatus in place, producing workable multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO) becomes much simpler.

Leveraging the multiple endpoints already associated with your identity platform allows you to link mobile devices, email addresses, and biometrics to a user’s identity. Not only does this expedite password recovery options (if you choose to pair a password with MFA) but it greatly improves security by limiting the potential damage done by a compromised credential.

Striving for a Mature Identity and Access Management Program

You may already be aware of the shortcomings in your current identity fabric. However, without a clear and complete picture, your implementations will come up short. That is why an identity assessment must be the first step you take on your road to digital transformation. The best form this assessment can take is an IAM maturity benchmark.

Maturity-driven benchmarking ensures a mature identity and access management program. By measuring your enterprise against clinically proven levers, you’ll get a pristine view of your current needs. Furthermore, you receive crucial advisement on how to proceed with your improvements.

Contact a Simeio Identity Advisor and learn how to start moving towards a mature, secure, and audit-ready identity fabric now.

Unleashing Access Management and Federation

Unleashing Access Management and Federation

Access management and federation makes resources and services more accessible in the increasingly interconnected digital world of modern business. As the number of user identities and permissions grows, organizations must navigate a landscape where users have multiple digital identities. Additionally, authentication methods are more sophisticated than ever before.

One solution that has emerged to address these challenges is federated identity management. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the evolution of access management, the transformative role of federation, and its far-reaching benefits for businesses and users alike.

The Evolution of Access Management and Federation

AM has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Once, access management relied primarily on usernames and passwords for user authentication. However, over time the number of user identities and permissions grew. The need for more efficient and secure access management methods became apparent.

Single Sign-On (SSO) revolutionized access management by allowing users to authenticate once. This allowed them to access multiple services without needing to enter their credentials repeatedly. As a result, SSO solutions, such as Microsoft Azureminimize the security risks associated with password management while simplifying the user experience.

The rise of federation in access management is rooted in the need to address the growing complexities of managing access across multiple platforms, devices, and organizations. With federated identity management, Identity Providers (IdPs) and Service Providers (SPs) synergize. Thus they create a seamless, secure, and user-friendly authentication experience across various web applications.

By leveraging protocols like the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and OpenID Connect, access management and federation enables users to access different services using a single set of credentials, such as their organization’s Active Directory account. This simplifies the login process and reduces the number of passwords users must remember.

Access Management and Federation in Action

Various industries have harnessed the power of access management and federation to tackle their unique access management challenges. For instance, SaaS applications frequently leverage federation to provide users with seamless authentication experiences. Furthermore, these applications can efficiently manage user access, permissions, and workflows by integrating with existing enterprise identity management systems.

The healthcare industry presents another compelling use case for federation. Secure access to patient data is paramount in healthcare settings. Federation can ensure that medical professionals can quickly access the necessary information while adhering to stringent security and compliance standards. By implementing federated identity management systems, healthcare organizations can strike a balance between security and ease of access.

Futureproofing through Access Management and Federation

As the digital landscape evolves, adopting federated solutions becomes increasingly critical for organizations looking to stay ahead of the curve. With emerging trends like decentralized identity and zero trust architecture gaining momentum, businesses must embrace federation to maintain a competitive edge.

The decentralization of identities is of particular interest to access management and federation practitioners. As the concept of self-sovereign identity gains traction, users will have more control over their digital identities. Federation will be crucial in connecting decentralized identities with service providers, ensuring secure and seamless access to various services.

Similarly, the zero trust model emphasizes verifying and authorizing every access request, regardless of origin. As security threats from compromised credentials continue to rise, zero trust offers a highly effective alternative. Federation helps organizations implement zero trust by facilitating secure access management across different systems, applications, and services.

Partnering with Simeio: Navigating your Digital Transformation

As the importance of federated identity management grows, businesses need a trusted partner to help them navigate the transformation. Simeio offers comprehensive IAM services and expertise in access management and federation. Simeio’s identity experts empower organizations to harness the full potential of federated identity management.

Simeio’s team of experts can guide you through every step of implementation. From implementing SSO solutions, integrating SAML or OpenID Connect protocols, to designing and deploying custom federated identity management systems. By partnering with Simeio, you can ensure that your organization is well-equipped to face the challenges of modern access management and collaboration.

Federated identity management transforms how businesses manage access to resources and services, offering users a streamlined and secure authentication experience while simplifying IAM workflows for organizations. By understanding and embracing federation, organizations can stay ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape and protect their valuable resources from cybersecurity threats. Contact our expert team to learn how federation can benefit your organization and explore Simeio’s comprehensive IAM services.

SSO and Adaptive MFA: The Modern Security Baseline

SSO and Adaptive MFA: The Modern Security Baseline

SSO and Adaptive MFA

For the cybersecurity officer looking for solutions to their managed identity woes, SSO and adaptive MFA is a fresh spring in the desert. However, the ideal access management program must capitalize on both features in their proper context. Implemented properly, SSO (Single Sign-On) provides your users with a simple and convenient means of accessing their identities. Likewise, adaptive MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) can elevate risk posture to exceptionally high levels across even large attack surfaces.

However, like any up-and-coming system (or any system in general) you must properly understand and apply each with the proper guiding principles lest their implementation end in disaster. By understanding the potential benefits and risks of SSO and adaptive MFA, your enterprise becomes positioned to take full advantage of their capabilities.

Consolidation of Security

If you’re a CISO of any experience, you know the constant struggle of balancing useability with security. The struggle only gets more challenging as operations scale up. Attack surface grows with a company, an issue exacerbated if the identity management system doesn’t intelligently scale with it. Multiple accounts, scattered authentication methods, and inadequate integration usually result in gaping holes in an enterprise’s identity fabric.

SSO and adaptive MFA offer a solution to these issues. SSO minimizes sign-ins and MFA by provides easily proven (yet hard to spoof) safeguards and recovery options. In addition to the friction alleviated by SSO, the reduction of memorized credentials also greatly reduces password fatigue. Likewise, MFA streamlines the account recovery process. The otherwise tense and tedious verification becomes a matter of minutes instead of hours or even days. When paired with an identity service security, SSO and MFA transforms your identity fabric into a world class platform.

Pankaj Kumar, Senior Manager at Simeio, describes the advantage of SSO and MFA as a consolidation of authentication. “When an enterprise wants an authentication method,” he says, “it can be centralized, delivering an authentication service that integrates all applications into it.” It also establishes a trust with an AM solution. A user trusted by the solution also gets trusted by the applications.

Adaptive MFA as the New Normal

Implementation of adaptive MFA comes in two stages: authentication and proofing. Initial authentication is only one factor at the start, usually the user ID and password created when creating a new account. Some companies will leave the creation process there, but more savvy enterprises move on to proofing as quickly as possible, sometimes not allowing account access until proofing is complete. By instituting these systems, enterprises harden their defenses and make answering the 6 vital security questions much easier.

Proofing a user means building up the characteristics of their unique identity which can be referenced later to prove oneself. The “adaptive” aspect comes into play in terms of criticality of risk: i.e. different levels of verification based on circumstance. For example, if an account holder goes to a bank to withdraw some cash, they might only give their account number to access their checking. But if they tried to take out several thousand dollars or called the bank remotely, then the banker may ask for their Social Security number or even biometrics.

Adaptive MFA determines the criticality of the risk based on the criticality of the request. Whenever the system determines that something is risky or out of the ordinary, the authentication stages are increased. This ensures that whoever is trying to get access is who they say they are. This scalable process adds dynamism to improve the user experience and productivity. The solution itself determines the risk factor and increases or decreases the challenge accordingly.

Intelligent Implementation of SSO and Adaptive MFA

With SSO and adaptive MFA establishing themselves as hallmarks of modern systems, their intelligent implementation becomes paramount. Many people misinterpret SSO as a brand-new technology when it is simply a reconfiguration of existing policy rights. On the other hand, far too often companies try write their own code. Instead they should use standardized protocols, common development framework, or even off the shelf SSO products.

Adaptive MFA requires more infrastructure than SSO, usually in the form of a specific technology. Services like Ping offer scalable adaptive MFA programs while others like Simeio bundle it with offerings like the Simeio Identity Orchestrator. Such services make the implementation process much easier, with expert advisement and quick implementation. Simeio clients simply fill out an application and they’re automatically onboarded for SSO, adaptive MFA, or both.

By taking maximum advantage of the possibilities offered by SSO and adaptive MFA, including adjacent developments like passwordless authentication, CISOs can face modern cybersecurity risks head-on. By pairing automated verification policies with active threat detection and remediation, you give bad actors fewer gaps to work with.

If you’re ready to explore your options for strengthening your risk posture while enhancing your user experience, talk to a Simeio identity expert now.

10 Ways to Enable Safer Passwords – #8 is Get Rid of Them!

10 Ways to Enable Safer Passwords – #8 is Get Rid of Them!

Many users dislike passwords, finding them aggravating and tedious. In the face of developments like Zero Trust and Adaptive MFA, the days of passwords may be numbered. However, at present the standard of cybersecurity starts with passwords. Yet the issue of passwords as a vulnerability still remains. If you use logical policies, governance, technology and products, you can ensure the usage of safer passwords driven by security-minded principals.

Given the fact that passwords are a necessary evil, the following 10 tactics enable safer passwords and strengthen the risk posture of your Identity Management.

10 Tips for Safer Passwords

1. You must be aware if your password has been compromised, or “pwned.” You can find out if your passwords have been the victim of a breach at Also, don’t respond to anything that looks questionable or that might be a phishing attempt! Any email asking you to click on a link and enter account information is always suspicious.

2. Use a passphrase, not a password. “To be or not to be” is better than “Hamlet.” You can also use several random words of different lengths, like XrayYellowZebraHelicopter.

3. 2Bor!2b? is also good, and it aligns with an obsolete, but still follows the widely enforced standard for strong passwords: 8 characters- 1 upper case, 1 lower case and one non-alphanumeric character.

4. Stop changing your password every 90 days. A strong password that you easily remember should last a long time. Scheduled password changes are an invitation to iterative passwords, which are problematic. However, if the password is compromised, it should be changed immediately.

5. It is OK to write your passwords down. But not on a yellow post-it stuck to your monitor or under the keyboard. And never do so in a public place, including your office. Put them somewhere safe like a notebook or journal stored away from your computer.

6. Passwords should be unique to every site you visit. Reusing the same password for your financial information on a social media site isn’t safe.

7. A password manager helps keep track of multiple unique passwords. Password manager software stores and manages online credentials within an encrypted database. Additionally, the manager locks the sensitive data behind a master password.

8. Stop using passwords and use biometrics instead! Passwords are a weak link in a cybersecurity defense. Biometrics, on the other hand, provide unique credentials. Because your body serves as the key (fingerprint, facial, etc) these credentials cannot be duplicated.

9. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a password paired up with another verification code that can be sent to you via email, SMS, phone or even an app on your smartphone. It can even work without the password with just the verification code or one time password.

10. Let your browser pick one! Most of the major browsers will suggest a password that’s almost impossible for you to remember. As long as you access that site with the same browser on your computer or have it linked across all of your devices, it works great. Just remember that like a password manager, the password securing your computer has to be strong.

Achieve Password Security through Intelligent Identity Management

Passwords will provide bad actors with an ongoing source for their malicious activity for the foreseeable future. As you can see, there are many ways to manage passwords and methods to ensure protections. Hopefully the suggestions above will help increase awareness of the need to protect credentials and provide some helpful guidelines to help keep your information safe.