Telecom companies essentially work with a large user base that spans across national boundaries. The users believe that the telecom system can be relied upon for various transactions that could be financial or sensitive in nature. Within the telecom industry the digital identities created and access governance algorithm is very complex.
Let’s look at a scenario.
A single user with a single handset could be in possession of multiple identities – considering the number of applications synced. The security angle comes in when a user makes a financial transaction via mobile phone. At a business level, the telecom operator needs to manage access for employees, vendors, users and super users.
From an Identity and Access Management standpoint, there are quite a lot of open loops that need to be closed by the service provider. It, therefore, becomes a duty of telecom providers to ensure that such information is safeguarded against possible threats.
The IAM mantra for telecom companies - establish checks, harness capabilities and comply with regulations.
Here is some statistics of breached within the telecom industry:
- In October 2015 cyber-attack on Telecom company TalkTalk’s customer information allowed hackers to breach information all the way down to credit card and bank information, sparking calls for new regulatory measures in identity management. During the same time hackers were able to breach 15 Million T-Mobile customers’ data from data collectors, Experian.
- According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, it was found that 50.7% of the web app attacks were executed through the use of stolen credentials.
- The Breach Level Index of 2014 suggested that an average of 2,803,036 records were breached per day that year alone. Here, Korea Telecom Corporation at 12,000,000 record thefts in a single year rated among the top breaches in 2014.
With a range of internal users (employees), vendors and customers stitched into the system by design, it can be challenging for IT departments in telecom organizations to define what goes into the Identity and Access Management dynamics. Any loophole in the system may pave way for a dent on company’s reputation and eventually show up in terms of blurring brand equity and business loss.
Providing easy and safe access for users and making sure that all the systems and data are secure through effective business modelling and technical strategy is critical for telecom companies. Telecom companies are required to set agile IT systems in place in order to define the right level of access to employees, vendors, customers and other stake holders. On the other hand, vendors need to connect with the right level of access within a system to ensure seamless service delivery.
In addition to establishing access protocols, IAM also helps telecom companies to improve operations.
In a bid to control operational costs, telecom operator make use of IAM technology. IAM improve their operational efficiency to reinforce their top and bottom-line revenue growth.
By investing in IAM, telecom companies are able to meet both business as well as operational challenges. It has been estimated by a Security Software Market forecast that the industry’s investment in IAM will go up to USD 565 million by the year 2018. The 2014 investment figures were at USD 368 million.
Correct integration of IAM Solutions facilitates efficiency
By working with industry focused IAM providers, telecom companies are able to significantly improve operations. Automation plays a critical role in streamlining processes across a varied of channels. IAM also helps create and control user access into the network along with the services the company provides to its customers. Especially for those companies that provide multi-play services, IAM supports a variety of interactions between different user stores that have customer information.
A fragmented approach to operations in this sector compel partners and employees to access an increasingly complex system. With the help of an integrated solution, businesses are able to bring together access to all these systems in a seamless manner.
Growth in Use of Mobile Devices Opens Doors to Opportunities and Challenges
Customers are increasingly relying on mobile devices to access content on the web through access control on the basis of the identity of the user. Usernames and passwords are the most common modes of identity verification. This mode of verification is not always secure. For hackers it is not difficult to crack usernames and passwords by guesswork or using valid credentials from stolen sources. This compromises data security, thereby jeopardizing safety and customer experience on the whole. Telecom companies can come to the rescue by providing their customers with credentials that are easy to use and easily accessible.
Mobile devices can be used to store and create their credentials in a secure manner, every time any authentication is needed. This can be achieved by either embedding these credentials into the SIM cards, or through mobile apps that help create one-time passwords, use biometrics or software-based credentials each time a user needs access. Telecom companies are now able to offer Identity and Access Management Services that help manage and authenticate user identities across physical, cloud-computing and mobile environments within organizations. Not only would this simply the authentication process, but also make it more secure, finding the right balance between convenience and high-end security.
With the help of robust IAM systems, telecom businesses deliver services that are in sync with modern day needs. And finally, telecom companies also see the need for effective identity attribute brokering capabilities that allow them to share specific customer data in a discrete manner following consent from end customers.