Identity Access Management

Systems, Enterprise, Acquisition Architecture and Security Standards

Systems Architecture

Systems Architecture is a broad term that describes the overall design and structure of a system, including its components, their relationships to each other, and to the environment. It encompasses various architectures:

  • Information Architecture:
  • Data Architecture:
  • Enterprise Architecture:

When deciding on specific systems to deploy, considerations include the requirements of business applications, data needs, interoperability, security concerns, protocols, and the hardware and software that will support these systems. The Systems Architecture should align with the organization's strategic objectives and operational needs.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterperise Architecture is the design of computer systems, including the hardware and software components and how they interact. This includes processors, memory, input/output devices, and software that optimizes the performance of these components. The Enterprise Architecture forms the technological base for the other architectures (Information, Data, and Systems).

The Enterprise Architecture defines what hardware and software are available to meet the organization's needs and budget allocations. Decisions made at this level can have a significant impact on the efficiency, performance, and cost-effectiveness of the organization's IT infrastructure.

Acquisition Architecture

Acquisition Architecture

Acquisition Architecture is about planning and managing the IT aspects of business acquisitions. Companies often grow through acquisitions, and integrating the IT systems of different organizations can be complex.

A successful acquisition strategy requires "systems thinking on scale". This means understanding how all elements of the strategy fit together, and how changes in one area might impact others. It's about recognizing and managing interdependencies.

Acquisition Architecture is dynamic and should be able to adapt to changes that occur during the execution of an acquisition strategy. It may require cost, schedule, and system performance trade-offs, and program managers need the insight to make informed decisions based on understanding the risks involved.

A service-oriented architecture can play a vital role in both planning and executing this strategy. It allows for a modular approach where services can be added, removed, or modified as required. This provides flexibility during the integration process.

Acquisition management often requires balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders. This means implementing a governance process that strikes a balance between consensus and the ability to change quickly when needed. This requires clear communication, transparency, and the ability to make informed decisions quickly.

Security Standards

Organizations have a responsibility to comply with various guidelines, regulations, policies, and laws that govern their operations, particularly in areas such as data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity. These compliance requirements often come from various sources such as government regulations, industry standards, or internal company policies, and they ensure that the organization operates within legal and ethical boundaries.

However, while adhering to these requirements, it is crucial that organizations do not lose sight of the best cybersecurity principles. These principles serve as the foundation for a robust cybersecurity posture and include concepts such as defense in depth (layered security), least privilege (providing only the necessary access to users), regular patching and updates, comprehensive risk assessment and management, and continuous monitoring and incident response, among others.

Compliance with regulations and adherence to cybersecurity principles should be a core principle. Compliance ensures that an organization meets the minimum required standards and avoids penalties, while adherence to cybersecurity principles ensures that the organization goes beyond the minimum and strives for optimal security based on the latest advancements and best practices in the field.

It's important to remember that compliance does not necessarily equate to security. While regulations provide a useful framework, they may not cover every potential risk or the most recent threats. Therefore, organizations should aim to not only be compliant but also to follow the best cybersecurity principles to protect their systems, data, and overall digital environment to the highest possible standard.

A culture of security should be promoted within the organization, with ongoing training and awareness programs for employees. After all, the human element is often the weakest link in cybersecurity, and a well-informed workforce can greatly contribute to a more secure organization.

What are some of the common security best practices?

Leveraging AI & ML for Better Identification & Security:

Artifical Intelligence AI

Security solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are being used to enhance security and identity recognition. These systems learn from millions of user actions, behaviors, and authentication transactions to spot or predict anomalies or security breaches. They can observe computer sessions, identify whether a genuine person is accessing the system, predict internal and external threats, and understand the data breach pattern beforehand

Incorporating Advanced MFA for More Security:

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) helps secure accounts and systems from potential breaches. IAM solutions should pay more attention to mandating MFA through OTPs, and add a third layer of authentication check by implicitly checking the behavior, IP address, geographic location, the device used, etc. There's a focus on enabling and improving the risk-based authentication control (RBAC) feature through AI​.

More Focus on User Consent & Data Privacy Through Compliance:

With increasing concerns around user data leakage and privacy violation, there is an added focus on data privacy and data consent. IAM solutions should stay up-to-date with all the latest compliances and policies associated with user or employee data. Companies are required to take user consent before storing or using users’ personal information. IAM providers are focusing on alignment with compliance like GDPR, COPAA, HIPPA, SOX, ISO/IEC 27017, etc.

Machine Identity Through Zero Trust & Least Privilege:

IAM solutions are promoting the Zero Trust security framework to tackle cyber threats and safeguard systems, hybrid cloud environments, and employees from unknown threats. In the Zero Trust model, individuals are checked for authentication and verification during the login as well as in-between the session. Organizations are also promoting the least privilege in tandem with the Zero Trust model so that employees get limited resource access only to systems they need. This approach helps automate the machine identification concept​.

Decentralized Identity Ecosystem:

In response to the rise in identity theft and privacy leakage, organizations are planning to incorporate decentralized identity ecosystems and move away from centralized systems for identity management. IAM vendors and product developers are leveraging blockchain to enhance identity management in a decentralized form. This approach protects user identity because the system follows a user-centric model where users are responsible for managing their identity data. It also promotes identity governance & administration (IGA) and other regulatory compliance to align with the organization’s data privacy and security architecture.