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PIAM solutions flag potential threats and alert security staff, increasing the likelihood of averting or containing incidents before they result in a loss
Automation is another hallmark of PIAM solutions, which can perform a wide variety of processes that are prone to error if performed manually

Security departments in organisations face a number of threats from both internal and external sources, thus forcing security personnel to remain vigilant and aware of the growing number and scope of new and emerging risks. The most powerful weapon in this seemingly endless battle is data. Every organisation has it – probably more than it can realistically handle – but many lack the tools or knowledge to wield it effectively.

Common sense would suggest that every security and operational decision should be based on insights gleaned from historical data correlated with real-time information. However, the traditional approach to security has not functioned that way. Today’s alarm-based processes are primarily reactive in nature, enabling response to issues or events when they are happening or after they have occurred. Unfortunately, by that time any impact on an organisation’s business, people, assets and/or reputation has already been felt.

Integrating critical security operations systems

In recent years, the security industry has made significant progress integrating a wide variety of systems to establish more robust security platforms. However, there has been little progress integrating critical operations systems such as HR, visitor management and others. As a result, many security breaches have occurred in environments where there was actually enough relevant data to warn of a potential risk beforehand. But with that data stored in non-integrated systems with no way to extrapolate actionable intelligence, risks can go undetected until it is too late.

Predictive analysis requires analysing data over a longer timeframe – months or even years – to accurately uncover subtle, often unexpected relationships and factors an organisation may not have been able to discover

Simply collecting and organising the vast amounts of security- and incident-related data is a major challenge. For many businesses, there is simply too much data to utilise it effectively; without a comprehensive approach and analysis, security processes begin to break down, leading to potential opportunities to thwart or mitigate a negative being missed.

Science of predictive analysis

The solution to this dilemma can be found in the emerging science of predictive analysis, which focuses on analysing the large quantities of metadata generated by disparate systems and devices across a network to identify statistical patterns and trends that provide correlation between elements. Using risk profiles based on predetermined policies and parameters, this analysis identifies predictors, also known as indicators of compromise (IOCs), which might include changes in access or behavioural patterns such as an individual entering a facility at unusual hours or locations or attempting to access unauthorised areas. This requires analysing data over a longer timeframe – months or even years – to accurately uncover subtle, often unexpected relationships and factors an organisation may not have been able to discover without a predictive system.

PIAM – an effective security tool

This capability is a hallmark of the newest automated physical identity and access management (PIAM) solutions, which can extract the most relevant information from large amounts of data and use it to deliver actionable intelligence. As more security and non-security devices are connected to networks, PIAM systems make it easier to integrate these disparate sources to deliver a cost-effective alternative for managing various aspects of security and organisational operations that would otherwise be divided across different people, departments and systems. With advances in software and processing power, PIAM solutions make it possible to minimise or even prevent a potentially negative event, making PIAM a powerful and effective tool for improving overall security.

Using IOCs, PIAM solutions flag potential threats and alert security staff, increasing the likelihood of averting or containing incidents before they result in a loss. For example, insider threat has become an increasing concern, and in some instances can be devastating. But insider threat can also be as simple as a frustrated sales rep downloading his or her contacts before leaving a company. The psychology behind these threats makes it difficult to understand and predict potential problems. This is where the combination of big data and science comes in, providing security with actionable intelligence that enables organisations to identify potential threats in real time to apply better measures and transform security from a reactive process into a more proactive and effective process.

However, the intelligence PIAM solutions generate is only as good as the available data. So the more data that can be analysed the better. For this science to deliver the most accurate and actionable intelligence, organisations must ensure their PIAM solution offers a broad range of integrations with disparate systems to provide the data required to identify predictors of potential threats, inefficiencies and other concerns.

PIAM solutions deliver the
actionable intelligence
organisations need to transform security from a reactive to a
proactive process

Benefits of PIAM

While PIAM solutions excel at identifying and alerting security staff of the likelihood of possible threats, the same predictive analysis has operational applications as well. The potentially significant business benefits these solutions are capable of delivering include increased efficiency and agility, better business alignment and improved reliability in the form of better resource management, improved productivity, optimal staffing levels and higher service levels. Each of these factors raises the business value and ROI delivered by PIAM software beyond its basic – but critically important – mission of risk mitigation and prevention of incidents.

Automation is another hallmark of PIAM solutions, which can perform a wide variety of processes that would be time-consuming and prone to error if performed manually, including on- and off-boarding identities, supporting regulatory compliance, conducting audits and generating reports. This further contributes to improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs.

Transforming security from a reactive to a proactive process

Identifying potential threats in real time allows organisations to take proactive measures to guard against incidents or breaches that may be likely to occur, and the science of predictive analysis makes this a reality. By collecting and analysing the mountains of data generated by the growing number of networked systems and devices, PIAM solutions deliver the actionable intelligence organisations need to transform security from a reactive to a proactive process. From a business standpoint, predictive analysis can also utilise the same data to simultaneously generate intelligence management can utilise to simplify, streamline and improve formerly inefficient and error-prone business processes. Given the complex underlying science and technologies that can improve security, reduce risk, streamline and enhance operations, and enable informed business decisions, PIAM solutions clearly demonstrate the important role of science in the security world.

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The physical side of data protection
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