Until recently, I may have taken my digital identity for granted. In our digital world of ordering dinner with the touch of a button, streaming entertainment, and interacting with doctors and teachers online I’ve been overly comfortable logging in as “me.” Naturally, I’ve seen credit card hacks and annoying phishing schemes from time to time, but more often than not, my digital self buzzes through dozens of sites every day accessing information, shopping and engaging with others.
Ever since I joined RSA, I have been thinking about my digital self differently. I’m inspired by the promise of new and exciting opportunities made possible by the digital world—but I’m also increasingly aware of the prospect of unprecedented threats to the security of that world.
In business and government today, the digital possibilities are endless. From the worldwide workforce being enabled to collaborate from anywhere, to recruiters’ new ability to find global talent and create a more inclusive team, today’s enterprise is an employee playground of “work the way I want to work” empowerment. It’s a revolution—and one that has made my own life more balanced, productive and downright happy.
What I now realize, however, is that the freedom to enjoy seamless digital experiences creates risk—for me, my family and everyone logging on—and necessitates intensive security upgrades by my organization.
The Importance of IAM
This is where identity and access management (IAM) comes in. IAM answers the digital questions Who am I? Do I have the right to access certain data? What rights do I have around this information? And for how long? IAM is a constant presence ensuring that I am who I say I am really, and that I have a right to be where I am and do what I’m doing.
Just as businesses are evolving digitally, so too are threat actors. Cybercrime is growing more and more sophisticated and driving the need for organizations to plan IAM strategies for where they are today and where they are going. It’s not easy. The more flexibility and empowerment they grant employees, the larger the landscape for cyber threats.
The Role of the Business Leader
Every moment of digital access is powered by identity, and identity is the key to whether those moments benefit or threaten us. If you’re a business leader, are you making sure it’s easy for those who should have access to get it and use it? Can your team access the apps they need to do their work? Can your customers and partners authenticate whenever and however they want? You only have seconds to get it right: 60 percent of customers lost interest in creating an account if the password requirements are too strict. Plus, let’s face it, passwords are getting old. Does anyone have the brain power or the patience to remember any more passwords or where they’ve written one down? (And we shouldn’t be writing them down, anyway.) Passwordless is well on the way to becoming the predominant approach to authentication, and now is the time to start taking advantage of it.
This coexistence of tremendous opportunity and unprecedented threat—the constant need to balance what we can achieve against what we stand to lose—is why I joined SecurID. It’s essential to help organizations both seize digital opportunities and repel cyber threats, and the mechanisms for doing so must not slow down business itself. In SecurID, I see a company that’s obsessed with bridging ease-of-use intuition and mission-critical security. And I see a company that has a legacy of trust built on decades of leadership in the authentication space, coupled with the investment in innovation that will redefine the cybersecurity market for years to come.
It’s a new world and, as with everything these days, we need to consider cybersecurity differently. I’m encouraged by IAM innovations that are secure, simple and smart that will propel individuals and businesses into positive and prosperous futures.
Laura Marx is Chief Marketing Officer of RSA.