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Executive Summary: The State of Secure Identity Report 2023 by Okta


Brendon Rod

Chief Evangelist

Introduction: The Okta-Published State of Secure Identity 2023 Report

In today’s digital era, securing customer identity is a top-tier priority for organizations across all sectors.

The “State of Secure Identity 2023” report, published by Okta and its third of its kind, offers critical insights into the state of customer identity security. It underscores the emerging threats, evolving techniques, and necessary strategies to ensure robust security and compliance.

Shiven Ramji, President of Customer Identity Cloud at Okta, invites readers to join this insightful journey into understanding and combating identity threats.


The Central Role of CIAM in Identity Security

At the heart of identity security lies Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM).


CIAM plays a pivotal role in balancing security, privacy, and user convenience. Modern CIAM solutions are designed to adapt to the continually evolving user experience demands, regulatory requirements, and threat landscapes. Key components of CIAM include authentication, authorization, and comprehensive identity management.

Each of these plays a crucial role in ensuring that users are who they claim to be, have appropriate access levels, and can manage their identity data within regulatory frameworks.

The Challenge of Balancing Security with User Experience

One of the report’s significant themes is the need to balance security with a seamless user experience.

Minimizing interaction friction — like reducing clicks and designing intuitive user interfaces — is essential for digital customer engagement. However, organizations must also implement robust security measures to withstand a broad range of identity-related attacks.

This balance is delicate and varies across industries and organizations, often involving trade-offs and constant adjustments in response to evolving threat tactics and customer preferences.

Evolving Threats and the Importance of Secure Authentication

Securing the “login box” is crucial in the fight against identity threats.

The report highlights that illegitimate actors are increasingly leveraging sophisticated methods, including AI, to breach security defenses. Traditional authentication methods, often based on knowledge factors like passwords, are increasingly insufficient. This inadequacy has led to a shift towards more secure authentication factors, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), to protect against various attacks, including credential stuffing and fraudulent account registrations.

Continued Vigilance: At the Login Box

Following the discussion on the importance of secure authentication, it’s crucial to address the challenges and strategies at the login box. Here, identity battles rage every day, with issues like sign-up incentives attracting bad actors and credential reuse aiding in account takeovers. This part of the report emphasizes the need for vigilant defense mechanisms right at the point of user login, highlighting the importance of detecting and preventing fraudulent activities and credential stuffing.

Beyond the Initial Barrier: After the Login Box

The security challenges don’t end once a user is authenticated.

After the login box, securing access continues to be a priority. This part of the report sheds light on the value attackers place on session tokens, especially in a passwordless world, and the necessity of enhancing customer security with CIAM solutions. Effective CIAM strategies must provide continuous protection throughout the user session, focusing on secure session management and maintaining a balance between security needs and user experience.

These sections ensure a comprehensive overview of the challenges and strategies before, at, and after the login box, as detailed in the “State of Secure Identity 2023” report, providing a complete narrative of the evolving landscape of customer identity security.

Afterword: Authorization, the Next Frontier in Identity Security

As we conclude our journey through the report, the “Afterword” section brings to light the critical aspect of authorization in the realm of Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM). Digital identities, which are fundamental to nearly every digital interaction, are not just about authentication but also about authorization – the process of determining what resources a user can access. This aspect of CIAM, though less discussed, is equally important.

The report anticipates that with the growing adoption of passkeys, cybercriminals will increasingly focus their efforts on post-authentication tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This shift underscores the rising importance of secure session management, step-up authentication, and continuous authentication. As digital identities continue to gate more rights, information services, and privileges, authorization will become a more prominent enabler of personalized offerings and a crucial defense against intrusions and data breaches.

Ultimately, securing customer identity is about establishing and maintaining the trust that enables real people and real organizations to engage in the myriad of interactions that constitute much of modern life. The stakes in securing these identities – and the commitment required to do so – are higher than ever before.

This addition emphasizes the evolving landscape of identity security, highlighting the need for an ongoing commitment to adapt and innovate in the face of sophisticated and evolving threats.

Alarming Statistics: The Reality of Identity Threats

The statistics presented in the report paint a stark picture of the current state of identity security:

  • From January to June 2023, 24.3% of all login attempts were identified as credential stuffing. 
    • Notably, Retail/eCommerce (51.3%), Media (42.3%), Software/SaaS/Tech (32.1%), and Financial Services (30.3%) experienced particularly high rates of these attacks. 
    • On the busiest day for such attacks, over 27 million events were recorded, and on January 1, credential stuffing accounted for more than 46% of all login attempts.
  • 12.7% of MFA attempts were deemed malicious, with industries like Media (12.8%), Financial Services (10.9%), Manufacturing (7.8%), and Software/SaaS/Tech (6.4%) witnessing the highest proportions of MFA bypass attempts. 
    • On the most active day for MFA bypass, over 750,000 incidents were detected, and on June 11, these attempts comprised over 30% of all MFA attempts.

These alarming data underscore the urgency for enhanced security measures in the face of rising identity threats.


Key Takeaways and Future Outlook

The “State of Secure Identity 2023” report serves as a wake-up call for organizations to reevaluate and strengthen their identity security strategies.

The key takeaways include:

  • Elevated Role of CIAM: Invest in modern CIAM solutions that offer a balanced approach to security, privacy, and user experience.
  • Shift to Secure Authentication: Move away from traditional password-based authentication to more secure methods like MFA.
  • Continuous Adjustment: Adapt security strategies in response to evolving threats and changing user preferences.
  • Awareness of Industry-Specific Threats: Recognize the varying threat landscapes across different industries and tailor security measures accordingly.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Utilize real-world data to inform and guide identity security strategies.


Integrating Acsense’s IAM Resilience for Enhanced Security, Resilience and Efficiency

In light of Okta’s “State of Secure Identity 2023” report’s findings, it becomes clear that effectively securing customer identities in today’s landscape of sophisticated identity attacks requires a multifaceted approach.

Combining multiple security tools operating at different layers into a cohesive defensive posture is essential. This process, however, demands rare skills, considerable operational attention, and resources that could be better utilized for advancing a company’s core competencies.


This is where Acsense’s IAM Resilience Platform becomes pivotal.

As the definitive Enterprise IAM Resilience Platform, Acsense redefines IAM resilience by providing a solution for data security, continuity,  and compliance. It hardens identity management infrastructure with continuous backups, one-click granular recovery, incident investigation, and posture and change management. 

Integrating Acsense’s platform can help organizations effectively navigate the complexities of identity security and resilience.

It offers a best-of-breed IAM Resilience platform with an agile, secure-by-design defense-in-depth architecture.

This approach is significantly more effective in achieving identity security and resilience compared to building and maintaining it in-house. By leveraging Acsense’s expertise, organizations can focus on their core competencies, ensuring not only heightened security but also operational efficiency, enhancing business continuity.


In conclusion

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so must the strategies for protecting customer identities.

Organizations need to be agile, data-driven, and equipped with the right tools and partnerships. Acsense’s IAM Resilience Platform emerges as a crucial ally in this journey, transforming IAM from a potential point of failure to a bastion of strength, ensuring secure, seamless, and resilient digital experiences.

To learn more about how Acsense can support your IAM cybersecurity strategy, Book a demo today!




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