Identity Fabric: Why it's Important for Identity Security

Mar 20, 2023

Mar 20, 2023

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Understand what an identity fabric is and its significance for modern Identity Security. Learn why it's crucial for protecting digital identities.

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Josh Mayfield
VP Product Marketing
Identity Fabric: Why it's Important for Identity Security
This webinar will cover:

What Is an Identity Fabric and Why It's Important for Identity Security

Identity control and management can be a challenge. With remote work becoming the norm, employees can work from anywhere – making it more difficult to track users and endpoint devices. And the growing prevalence of business-led IT means that employees may use unsanctioned software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools. Users may even share credentials or abandon SaaS tools, resulting in identity sprawl and an unsecured SaaS perimeter.

The identity fabric is consistent with cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA), which is quickly becoming the gold standard for enterprise security. A composable, scalable architecture centered on securing identities can mitigate risk and decrease the likelihood of a cyberattack. Learn more about the benefits of using an identity fabric in your enterprise security framework.

What Is an Identity Fabric?

Today, many businesses are using a range of cloud computing services. While these tools help organizations stay nimble, control costs, and quickly scale up, they also present a security risk. And unfortunately, many security solutions are still siloed, making it difficult to get a holistic view of identity security. This can lead to functionality gaps, operational inefficiencies, and security risks.

An identity fabric offers a more comprehensive approach to identity and access management (IAM). The identity fabric framework seeks to integrate IAM tools across an enterprise to authenticate end users and control access. An identity fabric may include:

  • Identity governance solutions
  • Risk governance platforms
  • Directory services
  • Access control solutions
  • Security tools and settings within SaaS applications

Identity fabrics can be used in combination with other authentication technologies, like Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Benefits of Using an Identity Fabric for Identity Security

Using an identity fabric approach offers several advantages for your organization:

  • Efficiency: This framework centralizes identity management to save your IT team time and eliminates the need for multiple identity security programs, offering potential cost savings.
  • Stronger security posture: By enforcing consistent policies across the SaaS layer, you can identify security gaps and reduce risk while staying in compliance with privacy regulations.
  • Better user experience: An identity fabric helps employees work safely without having to keep track of different security measures or authentication steps. Plus, identity fabric controls can be applied to other users like clients, partners, and contractors.
  • Flexibility: An identity fabric unifies security silos and helps disparate products and applications work together. Plus, it’s a scalable solution, so you can maintain your security practices as your business grows.
  • Faster remediation: Security teams can quickly identify an identity risk or incident and take action from a centralized dashboard rather than having to remediate the problem using multiple products. 

Security breaches can significantly impact your operations, especially if private customer or employee data is leaked. By continuously authenticating identities and controlling application access, you’ll minimize the risk of attacks that can hurt both your company’s reputation and your bottom line. 

How to Implement an Identity Fabric

If you’re shifting your organization’s approach to identity security, you’ll want to carefully vet any third-party services that offer user authentication. You’ll want a security framework that offers comprehensive discovery, monitoring, and enforcement. Keep these factors in mind when putting an identity fabric solution in place:

Identity discovery

Rather than depending on just one method, such as network traffic, a strong identity discovery solution can detect users on managed and unmanaged devices, whether they are on or off the corporate network. You can make your discovery framework stronger by integrating data from other sources, like threat intelligence platforms or network security systems.

Policy control and enforcement

A policy control and enforcement solution sits on top of the discovery layer. By applying a centralized policy across different tools, you can collect user information, minimize security gaps, and prioritize potential risks.

Risk monitoring

The monitoring layer of CSMA can calculate a real-time risk assessment for identities and applications. Unlike many security products, ongoing identity monitoring takes a dynamic approach to security. Risk isn’t static – for example, an application could become more of a risk as more and more employees begin to use it. A risk monitoring tool like a SaaS Security Control Plane (SSCP) can assess these kinds of changes in risk over time.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Implementing an Identity Fabric

When it comes to identity security, weaknesses can often be traced back to human error. These include:

  • Limited identity security: If your company is relying on a single method of managing identity risk, such as a cloud access security broker (CASB) or secure access service edge (SASE), you’ll have limited visibility.
  • Focusing on known SaaS: Sanctioned SaaS tools are often already secure – your IT team knows about them and they have existing controls. Shadow or business-led IT is often where the risk lies, because employees may be downloading and using SaaS applications without oversight.
  • Poor password practices: Without centralized control over user credentials, employees may use weak or duplicate passwords.
  • Using manual playbooks: While a playbook can offer direction on general identity security practices, they are rarely scalable and may fail.

The Future of Identity Fabric and its Role in Identity Security

Rather than using security products in silos, more and more companies are realizing that they need to shift toward a composable security architecture. However, enterprises still need a way to access SaaS applications and digital tools seamlessly and securely. Recommended by Gartner, a CSMA approach is becoming the industry standard for minimizing attack surfaces and eliminating standalone solutions.

Conclusion: SaaS Risk Management for SaaS Security

For comprehensive identity control and security protection, partner with Grip. Our SSCP sets up in just minutes and provides a centralized dashboard where you can:

  • Discover all SaaS applications, including shadow IT
  • Prioritize and remediate risk
  • Automatically secure SaaS accounts
  • Universalize security controls

Our SSCP serves as the ideal solution for many concerns, whether you’re looking for an alternative to CASB, want to promote more secure SaaS offboarding, or simply want to enhance SaaS risk management. If you’d like to learn more about how Grip’s solutions fit into a mesh security framework, request a demo or a complimentary SaaS security risk assessment today.

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