What is an Identity Control Fabric? Evolving Identity Security for Modern Work

Feb 14, 2023

Feb 14, 2023

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5 min

The identity control fabric is an emerging approach to managing identity in the enterprise. An identity control fabric provides a unified and secure way to manage identity across multiple systems, SaaS services, and platforms.

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Josh Mayfield
VP Product Marketing
What is an Identity Control Fabric? Evolving Identity Security for Modern Work
This webinar will cover:

What is an Identity Control Fabric? Evolving Identity Security for Modern Work

The identity control fabric is an emerging approach to managing identity in the enterprise. An identity control fabric provides a unified and secure way to manage identity across multiple systems, SaaS services, and platforms. Identity fabrics are becoming increasingly popular in enterprise environments due to the need for improved identity security and the rising complexity of identity management.

As part of the broader architectural shift toward cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA), the identity control fabric depends on the assembly of observations directly from identity-SaaS interactions and activity. CSMA allows for an identity-based approach to security and protection, infusing security into the identity control fabric to combat the increase in security complexity by adapting security systems to be more integrated, focusing on centralized administration and decentralized policy enforcement — delivered through identities.

CSMA Support Layers

To ensure the long-term success of a cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA), organizations can deploy supportive layers and implement a best-of-breed approach from the start. This involves embracing the composability, scalability, and interoperability of security controls to provide protection that is congruent with the dynamic nature of the digital enterprise.

Cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) provides four foundational layers to enable distinct security controls to work together in a collaborative manner and facilitate their configuration and management.

Security Analytics and Intelligence

Organizations can leverage security analytics to combine data, information, lessons learned, and insights from other tools to analyze risks and threats and trigger appropriate responses based on the intended security outcome. While security event and information management (SIEM) and orchestration platforms have traditionally been used for this purpose, newer tools like security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) are also becoming more popular. By combining data and insights in this way, organizations can better identify and respond to security incidents, and improve their overall security posture.

With the addition of threat intelligence, often native toSIEM and endpoint tools, security teams can leverage this support layer and the knowledge it contains for tailoring defenses for composable assets.

Consolidated Dashboards

Rather than examining security posture from environmental-specific dashboards and portals (CSPM for cloud, EPP for endpoint), security teams can have a consolidated view of posture, rooted in identity. Consolidated dashboards offers a composite view of the composable security ecosystem, enabling a “cockpit” for security teams to more quickly respond to risks and threats.

Existing approaches to identity and security architectures are not sufficient to meet today’s rapidly changing demands. CSMA helps provide a common, integrated security structure and posture to secure all assets, whether they’re on-premises, in data centers or in the cloud. CSMA enables stand-alone solutions to work together in complementary ways to improve overall security posture by standardizing the way the tools interconnect.

Consolidated Policy and Posture Management

Translate a central policy into the native configurations for security tools (one or many) or, as a more advanced alternative, provide dynamic runtime authorization services across cloud and infrastructure environments, including platforms-as-a-service (PaaS).

Securing workloads starts with security policies tuned for cybersecurity mesh architecture, thereby demonstrating the target state of the composable environments. By taking a global view of all environments, consolidated into a single posture framework, security teams can more quickly mitigate risks most relevant to them regardless of the composition of their unique environments.

Identity Control Fabric

In the current digital landscape, distributed identities play a crucial role in how enterprises interact with SaaS services and applications. As the composable digital enterprise continues to evolve, security leaders must prioritize identity as the key point for implementing security measures. This is particularly important given the challenges of identity sprawl and SaaS security and the overall context of modern work —which only exaggerates the dilemma of identity risk and the decreased control of security teams to prevent harm when identities go viral, spread, and duplicate out-of-sight.

To effectively secure the composable enterprise, it is essential to focus on identities as the only corporate asset in continuous relationship with SaaS services. Since identities consume composable technologies such as SaaS directly, the identity control fabric will distribute protection through the identity and applied to the context.  By doing so, organizations can strengthen their security posture and effectively mitigate risks associated with SaaS and other composable technologies.

“Within a distributed environment that supports assets everywhere and access from anywhere, identity and context have become the ultimate control surface.” Gartner, 2022

Identity Control Fabric and the Future of Enterprise Security

One of the primary outcomes of an identity control fabric is the ability to improve identity security by reducing the risk of identity-related security incidents. Identity-related security incidents, such as data breaches and identity theft, are among the most significant security threats to organizations today. In fact, identities and credentials remain the top attacker target, and the targets are growing in number and scope.

Beyond the inherent risk of identities exposed to compromise is the outsized impact of SaaS risk, given how the digital enterprise has surrendered its whole operation to SaaS apps, services, and tools — whether known or not.

Identity Risk Intelligence, Detection, and Response

An identity control fabric provides a centralized view of identity intelligence, access controls, authentication and permission, as well as authorization and justification for entangling corporate identities with various web apps, services, and SaaS providers. This gives security teams the scale to detect and respond to identity-related security incidents, worldwide.With visibility to the entire identity control fabric, security organization scan develop the practice of identity threat detection and response (ITDR) more easily. This, in turn, can help reduce the financial and reputational damage that organizations may face in the event of a security incident.

Compliance, Risk, and Identity Governance

In addition to improving security, an identity control fabric can also help organizations to comply with regulatory requirements. Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, are subject to strict regulatory requirements related to identity management and data privacy. An identity fabric can help organizations to ensure that they are meeting these requirements, by providing a centralized view of identity information and by enabling more granular access control.

Better, Safer User Experience

Another important security implication of an identity control fabric is the ability to improve user experience while maintaining security. In traditional identity management approaches, users are often required to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different systems and applications. This can lead to poor user experience, as well as an increased risk of security incidents such as phishing attacks. An identity fabric can help to address these issues by providing a single sign-on (SSO) solution, which allows users to access multiple systems and applications with a single set of credentials. This can improve user experience, while also reducing the risk of security incidents.

How Grip Can Help

To secure the identity control fabric, visibility and awareness are critical. Grip gives security teams on-demand insights into SaaS use, misuse, and abuse by continuously discovering SaaS as users in the wild consume it, regardless of network status, device, or location —all without proxies or agents. 

When SaaS providers experience a breach, Grip empowers customers to instantly see if and where they are affected, and secure identities exposed to a compromised SaaS service. Grip’s continuous discovery delivers relevant, actionable insights to pinpoint risks and identity threats anywhere in the enterprise SaaS layer. Eliminate threats that matter based on accessibility and impact of each SaaS app’s inherent risk and validate access and secure authentication for each user of the impacted SaaS service.

Grip’s open integrations enable security programs to tame their SaaS and identity challenges with unified controls leveraging SaaS identity risk insights and one-click automation to realize security out comes for all SaaS — past, present, and future.

That’s why leading organizations choose Grip. Get started today to uncover identity sprawl and SaaS risk — begin your journey with Grip’s free Identity Risk Discovery.

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