What to Look for When It Comes to Identity and Access Governance

April 15, 2016
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2 min read

It isn’t easy to get a clear overview of what happens in your organization when it comes to identity and access governance (IAG).

To cover the basics first and build up from there, it is important to understand that identity management is the discipline of enabling the right users to have access to the right resources for the right reasons at the right time. This sounds quite simple, but what happens when your organization has hundreds or thousands of employees? What happens when the industry you work in is regulated and demands detailed reports on identity and access management? For this reason exactly was identity and access governance introduced.

Why Identity and Access Governance?

It is estimated that about 20 percent of data is considered to be sensitive; however, this does not mean that you can look away from the other 80 percent. The fact that some users have multiple usernames and passwords could lead to a situation where sensitive information is scattered among nonsensitive information. Even if it’s a “needle in the haystack” situation, this is exactly what attackers are looking for.

DOWNLOAD the GARTNER 2016 MAGIC QUADRANT REPORT FOR IGA

Information governance is important when it comes to handling the threats of unauthorized access and identity spoofing. Above all, it is a framework to help each organization implement it according to its own principles, structure and practices.

IAG has plenty of benefits. First of all, the centralization of identity management makes this task significantly easier. It automates the compliance controls with a well-defined life cycle, and the visibility of previously unknown underlying processes, and the option to reflect the current situation in an easy-to-understand report, is a significant advantage.

What to Look for When Considering IAG

When considering implementing IAG, it is vital to look for user provisioning, compliance enforcement, auditing and intelligence. When undergoing user provisioning, the process of requesting users and granting or revoking permissions should be automated, easy to configure and stand up to a predefined template of connecting the right users with the right permissions. Instead of individually granting users with permissions — thus exposing the system to manual misconfiguration — having roles and duties will make this simpler and easily reflect the structure of the organization. This could also include some sort of self-serving requests and assistance.

Obviously, compliance enforcement is one of the main purposes of the framework. The key components should include a friendly graphical user interface for reviewing access for different resources since some of these reports could be due solely to regulation and some might be due to an organization’s policy. Also, policies such as scanning and detecting violations on different levels should be automatically enforced.

When it comes to auditing and intelligence, having a strong identity and governance tool is useless unless it can easily reflect the situation to users and regulators. Along with predefined reports, it is also important to be able to customize any reports to get a clear snapshot of what is going on. Cross data could be significant when investigating current loopholes in the access process for some resources

Read the complete GARTNER 2016 MAGIC QUADRANT REPORT FOR IGA

Organizations must be ready to evaluate their own capabilities and gaps against common practices for access and identity management in areas such as access certification, entitlement management, access requisitions, tracking and reporting. Organizations must also be prepared to prioritize closing those gaps accordingly. Identity and access governance is just the right solution to help bridge those gaps and help organizations apply and maintain compliance.

Daniel Liber
R&D Security Leader, CyberArk

9 years of infosec experience, small companies through enterprises. Interested mainly in web and mobile domains, training and lecturing. Have been working in...
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