The pandemic has served as an abrupt awakening for IT leaders everywhere as they were quickly forced to rapidly accelerate their digital transformation process – by nearly seven years. It also served as a period that showcased technology’s intrinsic strengths and weaknesses, as well as how much work the industry will need to do in order to manage all the incredible advanced innovations that are redefining the enterprise.
A connected machine, for example, was once defined just as a computer. Now the term has expanded to anything and everything that’s connected to a network: servers, mobile devices and applications to cloud environments, containers, smart algorithms, APIs, you name it.
This paradigm shift has placed a whole new strain on IT leaders globally – especially as they look to understand how many devices are connected to their organization’s network. And with the number of machines rising to vastly surpass the number of people using them, machine identity management has recently garnered attention from IT leaders all over the world, especially among organizations undergoing a digital transformation.
Enterprise IT leaders must make it clear to the entire executive team just how essential a modern machine identity management strategy is for an organization in the coming year.
The need for a dynamic machine identity management strategy
In today’s remote environments, machine identity serves as the backbone and foundation for trust. Having an effective machine identity management platform helps address cybersecurity breaches, loss of employee productivity, system outages due to lack of complete visibility, and financial losses from outages before they occur. Gartner has even given machine identity management a nod of approval, as well as highlighted how essential it is for today’s enterprises to embrace in its recent data security and ID and access management reports.
As organizations are relying more and more on certificates to protect their digital data and other critical resources, managing them is also becoming more of a mystery. In fact, according to The Next-Gen Machine Identity Report, 61% of enterprises lacked full awareness of all the certificates and keys across their digital assets. Unfortunately, nearly all these organizations that lacked full awareness of the certificates and keys (96%), have also experienced negative consequences.
Expired certificates were the reason behind some of today’s high-profile cybersecurity breaches – Equifax, LinkedIn, Ericsson and Google – where enterprises lost not only valuable time and effort, but the trust of customers. This information is further backed in Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report which revealed that 61% of data breaches involved certificate credentials, while 70% of all misuse cases were privilege misuse.
The reality is that a large majority aren’t as familiar with the intricate and complex programming required, and some don’t know how to approach managing all the machines in an organization.
With 67% of IT professionals believing that certificate management is too complex, the vast majority of organizations face challenges in discovering ways to strengthen their security and improve their machine identity management. Simply because there are far too many digital certificates to keep track of in an enterprise. This is an automated and strategic machine identity management program that encourages team members to adhere to the best practices of each digital identity.
A decade ago, every organization had its own data center, and when the cloud came into existence it removed the physical boundaries of that data center. A similar change is being seen today, where the pandemic removed the boundaries that were in place for a retail office work setting, and through the introduction of a new hybrid work model, it’s impossible to go back to how things were.
For cybersecurity today, the new boundary set is around identity with the machine and the individual behind it serving as the new perimeter. With constant shifts and evolutions in the space, properly managing that identity will separate successful organizations from the rest in the coming years.