3 Steps to Incorporate Identity Resilience in Disaster Recovery Planning

Today’s cybersecurity leaders recognize the vulnerability of their organizations to cyberattacks. While breach prevention and detection remain crucial objectives of a successful security program, they are no longer deemed sufficient as the sole cybersecurity strategy.

Today’s Cybersecurity leaders realize that their organizations are vulnerable to cyberattacks. In fact nearly 73% of organizations globally report being impacted by ransomware in 2023. Breach prevention and detection – while still the goal of a successful security program – is no longer considered to be a sufficient form of cybersecurity strategy.

So what about disaster recovery?

Given the likelihood of an eventual data breach, savvy cybersecurity leaders are turning their sights to disaster recovery planning as a way to support business continuity in the event of a breach.

One crucial aspect of such planning is identity resilience. By under standing and implementing robust identity management protocols, organizations can protect their sensitive information and mitigate the impact of a disaster.

Understanding Identity Resilience: An Overview

Identity resilience refers to an organization's capacity to maintain and restore the integrity of its identity access management (IAM) systems in the face of a disaster. These identities under management by an IAM system can include employees, customers, partners, and other entities, providing them access to the organization's network and resources.

A company’s IAM is critical to its operations. The IAM often controls the organization’s most important operational functions, including email access, HR systems, accounting and billing, and various aspects of the customer experience. Understandably, when the company’s IAM system is down or inaccessible for any reason, business grinds to a halt.

During a disaster, such as a cyber attack, natural catastrophe, or system failure, an organization's identity management systems may be compromised or rendered inaccessible. This can have severe consequences, as unauthorized access to sensitive data could result in financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Therefore, bolstering identity resilience is crucial to minimize the impact of such incidents and allow for the swift recovery of organizational operations.

3 Steps to Identity Resilience in Disaster Recovery Planning

Identity resilience forms a vital component of any comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan. In fact, given the critical nature of an IAM system, identity resilience may be the most important aspect of disaster recovery planning.

Organizations must proactively assess their identity management systems' vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate potential risks. Establishing a clear incident response plan specifically tailored to identity-related incidents is essential. This plan should outline the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach, unauthorized access, or data compromise. By having a well-defined response strategy in place, organizations can minimize the impact of identity-related incidents and swiftly address any vulnerabilities to prevent future occurrences.

Here are some ways to ensure identity resilience is incorporated into your disaster recovery plan.

1.     Ensure your IAM backup and restore capabilities are functional, flexible, and available

In disaster recovery planning, organizations should prioritize redundancy and backups for identity-related data and systems. Many organizations incorrectly assume that their Identity Provider – be it Okta,Auth0, or another IdP – carries a fully functional backup of their data. And unfortunately, when those organizations need it most, they learn that the backups provided by these IdPs are either incomplete, or fully unavailable.

Are you covered in an emergency? Here are 6 questions to ask your IdP.

Continuous IAM data backups coupled with the ability to perform granular restores of impacted data can ensure your organization is in the best possible position if data is corrupted.

2.     Regularly investigate (and revert)problematic issues in your IAM environment

Regular monitoring and auditing of identity management systems are essential components of maintaining identity resilience. By regularly reviewing access logs, monitoring user activities, and conducting security assessments, organizations can proactively identify and address potential vulnerabilities or suspicious behavior that could compromise the integrity of their identity management systems.

Bad actors often spend extended periods of time in your IAM environment before executing full-scale attacks. They may spend weeks or even months making seemingly insignificant changes, like adding new accounts, or changing access levels.

Ensure you have the ability to fully investigate and revert unwanted changes as soon as they are identified. Doing so can help mitigate an even bigger disaster down the line.

3.     Consider a Plan C, D, E, F…

And while basic backup and recoveries may suffice, if failure and business disruption is not an option, you should consider a more complete disaster recovery plan, including the maintenance of multiple IAM tenants.

Increasingly, organizations are maintaining multiple IAM tenants – within the same Identity Provider or among multiple – to ensure a truly failsafe disaster recovery plan. Maintaining a separate IAM environment acts as a full backup to your most critical systems. And ensuring you can quickly migrate between the two can help you get your business back up and running with minimal downtime.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Disaster Recovery Planning

While constructing a disaster recovery plan with a focus on identity resilience, organizations must be mindful of potential pitfalls that could hinder their efforts.

Organizations often overlook the importance of regular testing and updating of the disaster recovery plan. Without periodic testing, organizations risk discovering flaws or gaps in their plan only when disaster strikes. By conducting scheduled drills, organizations can identify areas for improvement and refine their identity resilience strategies.

Another critical pitfall to avoid in disaster recovery planning is the lack of consideration for evolving technological landscapes. As technology advances at a rapid pace, organizations must ensure that their disaster recovery plans are flexible and adaptable to incorporate new technologies and emerging threats. Failure to stay abreast of technological developments can render a disaster recovery plan obsolete and ineffective in mitigating modern risks.

Developing Resilient Identity Management Protocols

Ultimately, identity resilience is an essential element of disaster recovery planning. By understanding the significance of identity management in the face of a disaster, organizations can build resilient systems that safeguard critical information and ensure the continuity of operations. Through proactive efforts and continuous improvement, organizations can navigate the storm of disasters and emerge stronger in their wake.

For more about the unique identity resilience offerings of MightyID, contact us for a demo.