Why Your Next Acquisition Needs Zero Trust

Kevin Klitzke

July 8, 2021

Acquisitions are complicated. Along with the excitement and new opportunities, mergers and acquisitions come with a long list of to-dos: combining teams, technology, services, solutions, etc. With all of these action items to consider, cybersecurity often gets overlooked in the interest of moving quickly. However, in the age of ever-increasing malware and ransom attacks, organizations literally can’t afford to neglect this essential protection during an acquisition.

A focus on protecting identities of people and things with strong identity and access management (IAM) is a pillar of everyday security, but it takes on particular importance during mergers and acquisitions. Each organization has its own separate systems and identities that not only need to be combined, but joined securely. 

Fortified by a zero trust architecture , which relies on not trusting anyone by default (both inside and outside the system), this cybersecurity dream team — IAM + zero trust architecture — puts process behind best practices to keep M&As smooth and secure.

Keep Identities Secure With Strong Processes

IAM is one of the most important (and challenging) pieces of an acquisition. Getting new team members up and running quickly is integral to business continuity, but multiple systems with sometimes competing priorities can make this a slow and arduous process. In the interest of moving quickly, corners are often cut and band-aid solutions put in place.

Needless to say, a lot can go wrong: incorrect credentials, weak passwords, inappropriate access, and duplications. With so many factors to consider — personal data, passwords, privileged access management (PAM), etc. — maintaining consistent processes and access is essential. A strong IAM solution and processes will set you up for success by securing all identity data and automating processes that are typically prone to human error. Finally a  zero trust architecture ensures no one is granted excessive access as new users are migrated into the system.

Strong, predictive cybersecurity solutions like Hitachi ID Bravura Discover can even help  organizations get ahead of these potential problems by proactively identifying vulnerabilities they may have missed. Automated fixes then close those security gaps to keep your systems secure when it matters most.

Protect Against Password Problems

Adding new identities en masse to your system is not only an arduous process — it opens up countless opportunities for new vulnerabilities. During an acquisition passwords (and the human error attached to them) are a critical area that needs to be secured. 

The fastest way to shore up this process is by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all incoming employees. For those working toward zero trust, introducing MFA is an important piece of the Reduced Trust authentication imperatives, in a layered journey toward zero trust. However, bear in mind that it’s only one step, a strong cybersecurity solution and effective password management requires multiple layers and failsafes to be fully effective.

Share What Needs to Be Shared (Without Oversharing)

In addition to identities, services and solutions will need to be securely shared as new team members are brought into the system. Granting quick access will allow for a swift transition, but oversharing can create large problems down the road. A zero trust approach will help organizations prevent oversharing by defaulting to strict access restrictions. 

Prioritize Security

Acquisitions have a lot of moving parts, and with so many things to account for, important elements can be left behind. In the past, security has been one of those forgotten tasks. Businesses simply can’t afford to neglect cybersecurity during mergers and acquisitions. 

Download our free webinar Top Cybersecurity Outcomes a Zero Trust Model Delivers to learn more about how zero trust can protect organizations during mergers and acquisitions.

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