Securing Machine identities is cyber-hygiene 101 in the digital transformation era

As predicted by IDC, there will be 55.7 billion connected devices worldwide by 2025, out of which 75% will be connected to an IoT platform. To communicate securely, each machine needs a unique identity to authenticate and secure communications. Machines are identified by digital certificates that are assigned by dedicated Certification Authorities (CA), which encrypts the data for machines that communicate. Lack of a dedicated inventory to manage these certificates results in several security-related outages and there is a dire need to check the authenticity of certificates, and implement security measures around machine identities.

Forrester predicts that over 50% of organizations find it difficult to protect their machine identities. Enterprises lose track of the number of bots they’ve created. Bad actors use these organizational bots as undercover to take advantage of unprotected machine identities to gain reign over network and devices. Most vulnerable endpoints on a network are isolated and exposed machines of an organization that haven’t adopted tools that enforce access control and policies, endpoint management and credential authentication.

Securing machine identities should be a priority for organizations in 2021. Governing the access of those who have access to these machines is a start. Enforcement of policies must be made stringent for machines as well. Such provisioning work often requires manual effort, and it can be extremely time-consuming. Monitoring systems are often unsuccessful in identifying machine endpoint configurations and spotting anomalies. AIOps-enabled infrastructure monitoring can prove beneficial in detecting anomalous activities and event correlation in real-time.  The future lies in leveraging cognitive technologies to read through data, detect anomalies, and even recognize the possibilities of a data breach before they occur.

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