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Time to think about Machine Identity Management?


Gartner defines Identity and Access Management (IAM) as s the discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. As the automation picks up the pace, the manual task performed by the individuals will be performed by the machines. Thus, governing the access is not just about the individuals; now, it is about the machines as well.


Machines could be applications, servers, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, APIs (Application Programming Interface), laptops, mobiles and the list goes on. While individuals establish their identity via various authentication mechanisms such as basic username and password, the machines need to rely on mechanisms such as digital certificates.


Why do organizations need to govern machine identities?

There are several reasons why organizations need to think seriously about governing the machine identities. For example, compromised machine identity can open access to multiple systems. Unprotected cryptographic keys can be used to hack into critical IT systems. Moreover, expired keys can pose operational challenges such as system integration failures.


What makes machine identity management complex?

Unlike individual human identities, it is hard to manage the machine identity lifecycle. Although it is not impossible, the variety of use cases, as well as different types of machines, makes it hard. The sheer number of machines to manage is another practical challenge.


Conclusion


Apart from bringing security benefits, the central governance around the machine identity management provides visibility across the estate. It helps enforce standardization and best practices. At some stage, automation of the machine identity life cycle management becomes inevitable operationally. With digitization at its peak, it is time for machine Identity Management!

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