October 23, 2017 By Aubre Andrus 3 min read

Goldie was uncomfortable. It was her first day on the new job and her desk chair was too hard. She’d ask for a softer chair later — for now she had other things on her mind. She’d been brought in to devise a new access management strategy, but the team was so strapped for time no one was available to train her. She was on her own.

Goldie’s manager asked her to give employees access to the systems and data they needed to do their jobs. This was no easy task. In fact, she’d rather eat a cold bowl of porridge than get started on this project right now. Porridge. Yum. Now her tummy was rumbling. And her back hurt. Goldie had to do something, and fast.

Too Much Access Means Exposed Data

To start, it wouldn’t hurt to loosen the users’ permissions. After all, she wanted to make sure employees had what they needed to do their jobs. That would make them incredibly productive, right? Her manager would love the results.

By noon, she gave every employee access to everything: customer credit card information, client buying patterns and HR’s database of personal information, to name a few. She gave herself a pat on the back then headed to the cafeteria for a celebratory lunch. But her break was cut short when a text message from her new manager popped up on her phone: “Come to my office NOW.”

“What were you thinking?” he howled as she closed the door behind her.

“Now everyone can do their jobs without roadblocks,” she said with a smile.

“Goldie, it’s too much! If cybercriminals get into one of our employee accounts, they’ll get access to literally everything.”

Goldie’s smiled dropped. “I didn’t think about that. I’ll fix it immediately — I have an idea.”

“It had better be a great one,” the manager said as Goldie ran out of his office.

Too Little Access Leads to User Frustration

Goldie raced to her desk and got to work. She almost didn’t notice the rock-hard chair. Her fingers were flying. “There,” she sighed. “All fixed.” She slumped back in her seat, then stood up and stretched. She really needed a coffee.

“Goldie!” Her manager yelled from down the hall. He was racing toward her desk. “I can’t get into any of my files,” he said.

“If everyone can just talk to their managers, then check in with the security and IT departments, and fill out the proper form, they can be granted access to exactly what they need when they need it,” she said proudly.

“Goldie, that’s too little! I can’t do my job without access to anything. I don’t have time to ask for permission every step of the way! Our employees are going to have a field day when they realize we don’t trust them with anything. They’re going to move on to another company with a better process!”

Goldie shook her head. “You’re right, you’re right. I have a better idea. I promise.”

“This had better be good,” he said.

An Identity and Access Management Solution That’s Just Right

Goldie did have an idea — sort of. She needed a way to define user roles and give people only what they needed when they needed it. Not too much, not too little: She needed something that was just right. She went home and slept on it.

The next morning, she woke up feeling groggy. The bed in her new apartment was too soft. But she didn’t care — she had the perfect solution to her company’s problem.

“I’ve got it!” she said proudly as she entered her manager’s office.

“Let’s hear it,” he said. He hadn’t even had his morning coffee yet.

“We’ll follow the principle of least privilege, which can help prevent employees and other insiders from accessing materials they don’t need for their jobs. And it can also prevent data leaks.”

“Well, Goldie, I have to say that sounds just right.”

Goldie got to work installing IBM Cloud Identity Service, a complete identity and access management-as-a-service (IDaaS) solution. It guards against potential insider threats by making sure every employee has the right level of access to perform his or her tasks. It’s access management that’s Goldilocks-approved: Not too much, not too little, but just right.

Learn More: Download the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Access Management

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