Non-human identity management

Non-human identities, such as API keys, tokens, and encryption keys, are important for automating processes, securing connections, and accessing resources within organizations. 

Non-human identities may not have human characteristics, but they have their own unique identifiers, credentials, and access permissions needed to interact with the system. As a result, managing these non-human identities presents unique challenges and security risks that traditional identity management solutions are ill-equipped to address.

If you’re not sure what non-human identities are or why you need non-human identity management, read on. 

What is non-human identity?

Non-human identities encompass the foundational elements of your organization, including service accounts, containers, cloud services, secrets, tokens, and keys. They represent digital identities associated with machines, applications, services, and other non-human entities within a networked environment. 

These identities are crucial for granting and controlling access to resources and functionalities within a system. However, despite their significance, components of non-human identity management often outnumber both you and your clients, leaving behind a substantial breach zone.

What is non-human identity management?

Non-human identity management is about using the right policies, processes, and technologies to manage and secure the digital identities of non-human entities within your organization’s IT infrastructure. 

Machine identity management tools make it easier to create, verify, and manage non-human identities. They make sure that companies can ensure access management and identity management. 

These solutions facilitate the provisioning, authentication, authorization, and lifecycle management of machine identities, ensuring secure access and compliance with organizational policies.

Why is it needed?

The lifecycle of these non-human identities differs significantly, as they are more dynamic, and their lifespan never truly ends. Existing cyber security tools primarily focused on human users often fall short of addressing the unique requirements of non-human entities.

Machine identity management is necessary to:

  1. Enhance security: These machine identities are privileged access points and securing them is crucial for preventing unauthorized access, data breaches, and cyberattacks. You need everything from strong authentication, access management, encryption, and monitoring, to safeguard sensitive assets and mitigate security risks.
  2. Ensure compliance: Regulatory frameworks, such as GDPR and PCI DSS, mandate strict control over access to sensitive data and resources. Non-human identity management solutions assist organizations in maintaining compliance by managing and auditing non-human identities’ access rights.
  3. Risk management: Non-human identities can be subject to various risks, including insider threats, external attacks, and accidental misuse. Without proper management and oversight, these risks can undermine the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of critical systems and data.

What are the challenges?

Despite its importance, implementing non-human identity management poses several challenges in secrets management for organizations:

1. Scale and complexity

Keeping track of many different types of machines in different places is difficult. The rapidly changing nature of cloud-native architectures makes it increasingly challenging to ensure consistent identity management.

2. Security risks

Non-human identities are vulnerable to various security risks, including secrets security misconfigurations, insider threats, and external attacks. Securing machine identities requires proper authentication mechanisms, encryption protocols, and continuous monitoring to detect and mitigate security threats in real-time.

3. Compliance requirements

Compliance with regulatory mandates and industry standards is essential for organizations across various sectors. Non-human systems for managing identities must follow strict rules about how they manage identities and access. 

4. Integration and interoperability

Integrating non-human identity management solutions with existing IT infrastructure and security systems poses integration challenges. It is essential to maintain consistency and effectiveness in identity management practices to ensure seamless interoperability across multiple platforms, tools, and environments.

Securing the digital ecosystem

Securing the digital ecosystem requires a comprehensive approach to managing the machine identities and access rights of non-human entities. Companies need solutions like Entro to address the unique challenges associated with secrets security.

Entro offers a complete secret detection solution tailored for security teams, designed to protect critical assets such as API keys, encryption keys, access keys, and tokens. With Entro, organizations can achieve in-depth secret visibility across all realms, including vaults, code, CI/CD pipelines, and more. Real-time monitoring and protection capabilities enable continuous secrets scanning, allowing organizations to detect anomalies and receive remediation recommendations promptly.

With comprehensive secret detection capabilities, organizations can proactively identify, prioritize, remediate, and prevent secret risks that could compromise business operations. Entro also provides advanced visualization and tracking features, enabling organizations to monitor the activity of all secrets and correlate lineage for enhanced visibility.

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