The Hidden Risks of Access Management

Today more than ever, enterprise access control has been stretched thin as more third-party apps, suppliers and new technologies enter the corporate network.

What Aggravates Access Risk?

Complexity comes as a result of new functionalities and networks entering the corporate environment. Beyond managing growing active directories, corporate access management has become more complex due to systems that have their own access management controls — think new mobile, social and cloud applications. Crawford asked, “How many access control systems does your organization have — really?” Answering this question is essential to surveying your environment and identifying relevant risks.

In effect, access management complexity becomes more than just managing users in the system. It’s also about finding ways to stay in control of the enterprise and its new third-party apps and functionalities.

That said, with complexity being an increasingly relevant risk factor, so is the complacency with which organizations manage access. In most environments, Crawford explained, complacency boils down to two main factors: too much and too long. There’s too much unrestricted high-privilege access with out-of-date policies. Risks that are far too real remain for too long, and cybercriminals learn to exploit them.

Hidden Risks: Complexity and Complacency?

The first step in tackling hidden risks is centralizing access management.

“We see many people having deployed many access management solutions for [mobile and cloud] technologies,” Brandon Whichard of IBM Product Marketing explained during the second half of the webinar. “If you have five different access management solutions, you don’t have any access management because it is so complicated to manage.”

Once access is centralized in one appliance, the enterprise can start truly taking control of its access management and governance. As such, Whichard introduced IBM’s three-question framework for taking control of identity and access management. Organizations should ask themselves:

  1. Is this really a valid user?
  2. What does the user want to do?
  3. What access does that user need to do his or her job?

In response, the enterprise can take the following corresponding actions:

  1. Look at parameters that enable risk-based access control.
  2. Flag and record business behavior with a trust-but-verify approach.
  3. Ensure IT understands what business users need to do their jobs to make auditing a smoother and more accurate process.

Moving Forward With Access Management

Centralizing access management is the first step to truly getting a grip on access management and taking back control of enterprise access and risk. When selecting the appliance best for your organization, I encourage you to revisit Whichard’s framework to ensure your solution can help you answer all three essential questions.

Download this white paper to learn how to Take back control of access management

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Patricia Diaz

Portfolio Marketing Manager, IBM

Patricia Diaz is a worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager for IBM Security. Since joining IBM in 2014, Patricia has held...