This content is part of the Essential Guide: How to deal with Identity and access management systems

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Mobile identity management and authentication FAQ

ID management and authentication help IT answer the burning questions of who is accessing the company network, when, where and on what device.

"Who are you?" Crime scene investigators -- not to mention the band The Who -- aren't the only ones asking this question. When users hop on an enterprise network, IT wants to verify who they are.

Identity theft is a serious security threat to the enterprise and end users alike. Organizations need to know who's accessing their data and ensure that users are who they claim to be.

Identity management and authentication technologies not only provide this information, they also determine what users can do on the company network and on which devices. The answers to these mobile identity management questions will help IT admins evaluate the effectiveness of these methods.

Why do businesses need mobile identity management and authentication now?

Chalk it up as a sign of the times. We live in a mobile world, with more and more employees needing to access corporate data on either their personal or company-owned devices. It can be nearly impossible to manage so many different devices in different locations, creating the need for user-based mobile security measures such as ID and access management.

Organizations need to know who's accessing their data.

Furthermore, too many companies focus solely on encryption -- scrambling sensitive data -- when authentication is equally important.

Two-factor authentication requires users to login with something they have -- typically a username and password -- plus something they know, such as a device security token.

What are some of the best identity protection methods?

IT needs to deploy mobile identity management technology across the entire network. To keep costs under control, however, admins should focus their efforts on a few best practices.

Cloud identity management quiz

New ways of accessing apps are making cloud identity management a priority for IT shops. 

How much do you know about cloud identity management? Put that knowledge to the test.

IT should seek to secure directories and databases, implement audit and alert mechanisms and keep end-user agreements up to date.

Organizations should also limit the number of employees who can access identity management consoles to a select few.

Will mobile biometrics eclipse usernames and passwords?  

More and more new devices have fingerprint scanners, facial recognition software and other forms of biometric authentication.

Android kicked things off years ago with Face Unlock, and Apple followed suit with Touch ID, a form of multifactor authentication that requires both a passcode and a fingerprint. Combining these components is a much better way to keep credentials under wraps than passwords alone.

Mobile identity management and authentication will only evolve from here, with biometrics leading the way. 

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