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.

Simeio Appoints Dan Smith as Chief Financial Officer

Simeio Appoints Dan Smith as Chief Financial Officer

Smith to oversee financial strategies for Simeio’s cybersecurity leadership.

Alpharetta, GA – February 28, 2024Simeio, the leading provider of specialized identity and
access management (IAM) services in the cybersecurity industry, today announced the
appointment of Dan Smith as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In this role, Smith will be
responsible for overseeing all aspects of Simeio’s financial operations and strategic mergers
and acquisitions (M&A) activities, driving the financial blueprint to fuel the company’s identity
security innovation and empower client protection solutions.

Smith brings over 30 years of experience in financial leadership roles to Simeio, most recently
serving as CFO at two private equity-backed companies: Tyto Athene, which achieved
substantial growth under his tenure following several acquisitions, and MicroPact, which was
sold to Tyler Technologies in 2019. Throughout his career, Smith has established a proven track
record of success in managing complex financial operations and building high-performing
teams, all driven by his extensive experience in private equity-backed companies and M&A.

“We are delighted to announce that Dan is joining the Simeio team,” said Chris Schueler, CEO
of Simeio. “As the guardian of our financial wellbeing, Dan will spearhead strategies that
leverage our fiscal robustness to deliver innovative cybersecurity solutions to our clients. His
extensive experience is set to propel our continued growth and facilitate our entry into emerging
markets. Moreover, Dan’s proven leadership abilities and penchant for teamwork will greatly
enrich our executive team.”

“I am excited to join the exceptional Simeio team at such a pivotal time in the company’s
growth,” said Smith. “With the company’s innovative software and solutions, talented team, and
our shared commitment to achieving ambitious financial goals, I have no doubt that we’ll reach
even greater heights together.”

Smith holds an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business
and a B.S. in accounting from Indiana University.

About Simeio

Simeio is an award-winning global managed services provider offering Identity and Access
Management solutions delivered as a service and interoperable with leading IAM tools. With
700+ employees worldwide, Simeio secures over 160 million identities globally for large
enterprises and government entities. Services and solutions from Simeio include Customer
Identity & Access Management, Privileged Access Management, Identity Proofing, Access
Management & Federation, Identity Governance & Administration, Application Onboarding, and
Simeio Identity Orchestrator. The company has been recognized for its business and technical
leadership and highly rated by Gartner, Forrester, and KuppingerCole, and was ranked by Great
Places to Work®.

For more information visit

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Simeio Appoints Nick Rowe as Chief Operating Officer

Simeio Appoints Nick Rowe as Chief Operating Officer

Nick Rowe as Chief Operating Officer

Rowe to oversee global delivery operations and industry-leading product offerings Alpharetta, GA 

Simeio, the leading provider of specialized identity and access management (IAM) services in the cybersecurity industry, today announced the appointment of Nick Rowe as Chief Operating Officer (COO). In this role, Rowe will be responsible for overseeing the company’s global delivery operations and industry-leading product offerings. 

Rowe brings over 20 years of experience in the information technology and cybersecurity industry to Simeio. Throughout his career, he has built, managed, and streamlined a variety of departments, driving growth, profitability, and efficiency. For the NCC Group, Rowe’s efforts resulted in top revenue streams, bringing enormous value to the company’s clients on a global scale. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Nick to Simeio,” said Chris Schueler, CEO of Simeio. “With a proven track record of success in leading and managing high-performing teams, Nick has a deep understanding of Simeio’s customers and markets and recognizes the importance of delivering value consistently and putting the customer at the heart of the firm. We are confident he’ll spearhead groundbreaking initiatives to drive our company to even greater heights.” 

Most recently, Rowe presided over NCC Group’s North American operations as COO, responsible for its security consulting business delivering a full range of risk management and technical consulting services to clients all over the world. During his tenure, NCC Group grew revenues exponentially in the North America region through a combination of sales-led organic growth and targeted acquisitions. 

“I am delighted to join the world-class Simeio team,” said Rowe. “I am passionate about helping companies manage the complex business of information security whilst simultaneously growing and delivering on their business goals. It’s exciting to be working with such a talented and successful team, and I look forward to supporting Simeio achieve its ambitions.” 

About Simeio 

Simeio is an award-winning global managed services provider offering Identity and Access Management solutions delivered as a service and interoperable with leading IAM tools. With 700+ employees worldwide, Simeio secures over 160 million identities globally for large enterprises and government entities. Services and solutions from Simeio include Customer Identity & Access Management, Privileged Access Management, Identity Proofing, Access   Management & Federation, Identity Governance & Administration, Application Onboarding, and Simeio Identity Orchestrator. The company has been recognized for its business and technical leadership and highly rated by Gartner, Forrester, and KuppingerCole, and was ranked by Great Places to Work®.

MGM and Caesars Breaches: The Imperative of Managed Identity Security Services

MGM and Caesars Breaches: The Imperative of Managed Identity Security Services

The Imperative of Managed Identity Security Services

In a seismic wake-up call to the cybersecurity landscape, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment recently grappled with a massive security breach resulting in operational issues at all their resorts. Masterminded through a social engineering exploit, the attack targeted inherent design deficiencies in Okta’s platform. Thus these vulnerabilities allowed the hackers to access Okta tenants and, from there, launch a ransomware attack. The intricacies of the breach serve as a teachable moment for identity threat detection and response and the value of managed identity security services.

This article examines the pivotal role of continuous identity security management in cybersecurity. Moreover, it explores an often-overlooked realm of tertiary identity issues, highlights the emerging risks for CISOs, and underscores potential financial implications, making a compelling case for investing in managed identity security services.

Unearthing the MGM Breach Attack Path

The attackers spearheaded their attack through a meticulously crafted social engineering campaign to gain access to Okta. This widely-adopted cloud-based identity & authentication solution protects the digital front door to the client’s enterprise applications and data. Okta and MGM have been public about how the solution are adopted.

Okta recently suffered a similar breach where its third-party help desk service providers’ privileged access was compromised to gain unauthorized access to Okta customer tenants and data. Reports and statements suggest that, upon gaining admin access into Okta, Okta’s AD sync capability was compromised using capabilities inherently present in Okta. This allowed for password sniffing, where the attackers were able to identify and capture password events between Okta in the cloud and MGM AD on MGM data centers. Afterwards, the attackers captured more administrative privileges across the organization. Finally, this allowed them to move laterally to implement a ransomware attack.

In response, MGM appears to have shut down connectivity from its on-premise AD sync to Okta in the cloud. This resulted in a number of application authentication issues. In turn, this resulted in widespread operational problems from check ins, room access, and slot machine usage. At its core, the breach exploited a design flaw within Okta’s SSO system through a simple social engineered attack resulting in significant impact.

Managed Identity Security Services: Securing the Identity Perimeter

The MGM and Caesars breach lays bare the undeniable importance of managed identity security services. These digital guardians not only safeguard against Okta-related vulnerabilities but also a number of other crucial identity solutions areas and address an array of identity issues. Identity security operations centers (SOCs), are fortified with:

  1. Identity Controls Monitoring: Employing cutting-edge threat detection and monitoring systems, Identity SOCs remain poised to detect suspicious activities in real-time. Thus they ensure early breach detection, technology misconfiguration and mitigation.
  2. Incident Remediation: In the event of a breach or a misconfiguration that could result in a breach, Identity SOCs unleash meticulously orchestrated incident response plans across the IAM architecture spanning multiple tools, minimizing damage and expediting recovery through forensic analysis.
  3. Identity Security Posture Management & Intelligence: Identity SOCs wield threat intelligence as a beacon to illuminate the evolving threat landscape, empowering organizations to proactively manage vulnerabilities.
  4. Thwarting Privilege Escalation: By scrutinizing user behavior patterns, Identity SOCs are adept at spotting and thwarting privilege escalation attempts, substantially curtailing lateral movement within networks.

Navigating the Realm of Tertiary Identity Issues Through Managed Identity Security Services

Beyond immediate breach response, the MGM and Caesars incident unravels a profound and often overlooked realm—tertiary identity issues. These present CISOs with new risks to navigate:

  1. Vendor Vulnerabilities: As organizations lean on third-party vendors, they inadvertently introduce additional identity-related vulnerabilities. Insufficient vendor risk management can expose an organization to considerable risks.
  2. Shadow IT Security: The unauthorized or unmanaged use of identity-related tools and services within an organization creates an obscure landscape that threatens security. Gaining visibility into and control over shadow IT are critical.
  3. IoT’s Expanding Footprint: The proliferation of IoT devices adds layers of complexity to identity security. Organizations must establish robust access controls and secure IoT endpoints to mitigate risks.
  4. Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Complexity: In an age of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, managing identities across diverse platforms becomes an intricate task. Identity Security services offer a unified approach to tackle this burgeoning complexity.

The True Costs of Cyber Vulnerability: An Appeal to CFOs

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) would be remiss to overlook the financial implications of cyber vulnerability. Beyond the immediate costs of breach remediation and potential regulatory fines, they must recognize the following:

  1. Reputation Damage: A cyber breach tarnishes an organization’s reputation, leading to loss of customer trust and decreased revenue.
  2. Litigation and Legal Costs: The legal repercussions of a breach can be astronomical, including class-action lawsuits, settlements, and regulatory fines.
  3. Operational Disruption: Breaches disrupt operations, resulting in lost productivity, revenue, and increased costs for recovery.
  4. Long-Term Financial Impact: The fallout from a breach can have a lasting impact on an organization’s financial health. For instance, negatively affecting stock prices and credit ratings.

The Value of Managed Identity Security Services

Identity and access management form the cornerstone of business operations. Recognizing potential risks and taking proactive security measures is no longer optional. Identity SOCs epitomize the proactive stance required, offering continuous monitoring, rapid incident response, and tailored security solutions.

The MGM and Caesars breach serves as a vivid illustration of our interconnected world’s vulnerability. Yet, it also reminds us that we possess the knowledge and tools to fortify our defenses. CISOs and CFOs must embrace this knowledge. This means acknowledging the true costs of cyber vulnerability, and invest in safeguarding their organizations’ digital fortresses.

The journey to robust identity security is an ongoing quest. Understand identity SOCs, tertiary identity issues, and the far-reaching financial implications. Only then can we can collectively shape a safer, more secure digital future.

Contact an Identity Advisor now and learn how Simeio can craft your bespoke managed identity security service.

IAM Implementation Strategy for Retail: Remembering the 2013 Target Hack

IAM Implementation Strategy for Retail: Remembering the 2013 Target Hack

Remember that time Target was hacked through an air conditioner? Not “a Target storefront,” but the entire corporation and its customers’ information. The 2013 incident remains a touchpoint in the realm of cybersecurity for its sheer absurdity. A national retailer brought low because of a rattling metal box which was somehow connected to millions of customer credit or debit cards? Objectively funny…and a teachable moment on the merits of intelligent IAM implementation.

The biggest lesson drawn from the Target breach is not that cybersecurity experts were incompetent, but that hackers are smart. So long as a potential entry-point exists, no matter how small, it remains a risk. By unpacking how the breach was carried out and how it could have been prevented, this incident from nearly a decade ago can avoid repetition.

How an HVAC Defeated Target in 2013

So, how did the information of 70 million customers, along with 40 million of their credit cards and debit cards, get pilfered through an HVAC unit? The full roadmap to Target’s data breach is quite extensive and disappointingly didn’t involve a hacker jacking into an air conditioner. Rather, it started from the most common of attack vectors: human error. The hackers phished their way into the systems of refrigeration contractor Fazio Mechanical and installed a trojan. Soon enough, the necessary credentials were theirs.

At this point, the attack focused on Target itself. Target had provided Faizo with unsecured vendor access to their system. This allowed the hackers to infiltrate into Target’s point of sale system. From there, the hackers started monitoring and recording card data from card readers. They even employed a clever NetBIOS trick to steal card data from offline card readers.

The aftereffects from the hack were severe. Besides Target’s $18.5 MN settlement in 2017, the company publicly reported a loss of $202 MN, though some estimates place it as high as $252 MN. Because the attack took place during the holiday season, the attack hit the company especially hard. The attack caused Q4 profits to drop 46%. Target’s CEO stepped down. Affected customers filed over a hundred lawsuits. Even ten years later, the incident remains a black mark on the company, damaging customer confidence in Target’s ability to keep their data safe.

Proper IAM Implementation Could have Stopped the Breach

Only through a comprehensive IAM implementation could the incident have been avoided. By not setting up comprehensive protections for all attack surfaces, even those outside the company, Target was unknowingly counting down to a breach. Unsecured third-party partners leave a critical flank unguarded. A federated security solution, covering the full breadth of identities attached to the company, would leave no gap to find.

True, a mistake in that perimeter could leave open a gap all the same. However, that is why layered defenses are so important. Protected by automated monitoring driven by a robust PAM platform, Target could detect and lock down suspicious activity the moment it appeared. With well-defined policies enforced through adaptive MFA, the hackers could not hope to penetrate far. Additionally, such a system cuts down identity sprawl, which is very important for shrinking potential attack surfaces.

Furthermore, PAM and IGA would have played a further role in halting or at least limiting the damage done when the hackers tried to make changes to the system backend. A well-implemented PAM allows no changes without privileged permission. Even in cases where the security protocols are not so strict, PAM provides invaluable information. By recording the answers to the six critical security questions, the PAM solution enables much better tracking and control of a breach in progress.

IAM Implementation for Your Modern Threats

The landscape of cybersecurity has only grown more perilous in the decade since the Target breach. Though the countermeasures discussed above can prevent a repeat of the incident, experts must anticipate and prepare against future threats. The biggest challenge, especially for retailers, is addressing the compromise between security and efficiency, but recent developments can eliminate that compromise altogether. Identity orchestration enables efficiency through security. Orchestration unifies an identity fabric under a single viewport with comprehensive controls enabled by automation. Within such a platform, security systems work towards efficiency rather than against it.

In that same vein, enterprises must consider and work to implement remediation strategies. Security-minded IAM implementation provides for both auditing and for hemming in breach events. Constant flagging and data collection cuts back on the hassle of satisfying regulatory compliance. Additionally, by implementing a recovery strategy, enterprise security personnel react to emergencies much faster than if they were scrambling for a response. Be wary of complacency and aware of your enterprise’s limitations. An internal security solution can only get you so far. Bad actors can exploit the slightest vulnerability in your perimeter. As such, your best bet for avoiding potentially ruinous breaches is expert IAM implementation.

The best identity service is smart about enforcing your policy for third parties. It implements a robust IGA and PAM with active monitoring. Finally, it bundles all these critical solutions into a comprehensive identity orchestration platform which aids in better user experience as well as heightened security.  Pursuing the best possible IAM implementation keeps enterprises and their customers secure. If they don’t, they might well find themselves “Targeted.”

CIAM Solutions Drive Customer Conversions

CIAM Solutions Drive Customer Conversions

CIAM Solutions for Retail

The pandemic nearly killed brick and mortar storefronts. Though they have not perished completely, the shift towards digital customer experience has reached a fever pitch. As such, businesses need to be investing into their digital outlets. This includes security concerns. Because each separate application is another expansion of potential attack surface, you need to look for a unified solution. CIAM solutions should be that answer.

This unified system relates more strongly to retail than perhaps any other industry. A robust CIAM solution offers you the means of establishing a solid centralized catalogue and multichannel digital storefront. It provides your customers with the self-service options which are the hallmark of competent digital marketplaces. Lastly, it offers them next-gen cybersecurity, placing a personalized perimeter around their individual identity to protect their sensitive information.

CIAM Solutions in User Experience

The impact of CIAM solutions starts long before a product reaches your shelves. It continues long after the product has been sold. By leveraging CIAM within your supply chain, your enterprise gains better visibility and control over your inventory. Linking every product to an identifier and connecting that to the customer who purchases it provides unprecedented recordkeeping. You might know this time-stamped record by another name: the blockchain.

Once your products are properly sorted by location, price, quantity, and any other pertinent information, your enterprise can link your in-store shoppers with their online experience. Many customers take features like real-time in-stock updates for granted. Lagging behind competitors in terms of quality-of-life features can quickly cause unfavorable comparisons. CIAM is concerned with customer satisfaction, and providing a good experience is the first and last step in growing customer loyalty.

What’s more, consolidating your information onto a centralized platform makes managing that information much easier. Siloed data solutions are clunky and prone to tripping each other up. Federated CIAM solutions keep everything under a single manageable lens. This enables smoother data entry, updates, and wipes. Besides moving your UI closer to a frictionless experience, these features can remove many headaches associated with regulatory compliance.

Enabling Customers through CIAM

Speaking of processes concerning the backend of the online retail process, a solid CIAM solution delivers substantial ROIs directly to the company. Firstly, there are the costs associated with producing a good UI which can be mitigated through CIAM investments. Not only is a CIAM solution going to provide you with a ready-made user interface for your internal users, but it will be primed and ready for use by your customers with minimal tweaking.

As previously stated, CIAM solutions also make systems more compliant with major regulations. CIAM meets many needs of EU-GDPR and PCI DSS automatically through collection of pertinent information, keeping it strictly confidential, and quickly deleting it should the need arise. PCI DSS violations can cost $1MN annually. Noncompliance with GDPR results in fines of €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover. 

Of course, the most obvious and enriching aspect of a CIAM solution comes in the form of self-service and automatic services. From user-driven password recovery to basic product searches, CIAM acts as a massive source of frictionless experience. This does not only make huge strides in improving customer experience. It also greatly reduces the cost and strain on your customer service staff. By eliminating issues at their source, they do not bother your customers or support staff in the first place.

Security Through CIAM Solutions

While mitigating cyber risks requires investment across your entire identity fabric, CIAM is a crucial security component therein. A 2022 Ping survey found that 43% of consumers have suffered from fraud due to identity theft. A customer who has a good experience might recommend your business. But a customer who had their information stolen because of your website will almost certainly become a bitter detractor.

But just because you have rails along a cliffside doesn’t mean a safety net isn’t also warranted. A strong CIAM solution includes strategies and programs for remediation and recovery in case of a data breach. If you pair the monitoring capabilities with the automatic policy enforcement capabilities of IGA, you can cover for customer information breaches. A unified security solution of this kind greatly aids an enterprise’s ability to reliably answer the six critical identity and access security questions. Thus, your customers receive an assurance of safety as well as service.

Frictionless security is rapidly becoming the new standard in customer experience. Features like adaptive MFA and SSO are two high-profile enablers in this regard. Your customers become much safer with them, but both actually enhance their experience instead of hindering them. SSO means they can reliably use interconnected apps while MFA provides scalable authentication protocols to aid in password recovery and similar happenings.

Though the attributes of successful CIAM solutions are universal, their implementation is unique to each enterprise. The scale, optimal tools, and budget of an identity rollout can often be difficult if not impossible for a business to carry out themselves. A managed identity service can assess your current state, implement their expert solutions, and maintain your identity fabric at peak performance.

Contact an Identity Advisor now and see if Simeio is the best managed service provider for you.