Access Management and Identity Governance in Modern Security
Access Management and Identity Governance are becoming increasingly relevant for fast-moving companies.
Forrester estimates that 80% of data breaches have a connection to compromised privileged credentials, such as passwords, tokens, keys, and certificates (The Forrester Wave: Privileged Identity Management, Q4 2018).
Part of avoiding such breaches is to tightly manage your employees’ access to applications.
What Access Management means
At its core, Access Management involves regulating who (your employees) can access what (your resources) within your organization. This authorization process serves as your gatekeeper, ensuring permissions are duly assigned and maintained according to principles like Zero Trust and Least Privilege.
What Identity Governance means
In essence, Identity Governance is a framework that manages digital identities and ensures that users have the correct access to technology resources within an organization. This practice goes beyond simple access, linking together the principles of compliance, security, and usability. It aims to find a balance, making sure users can access the resources they need to do their jobs effectively, without sacrificing security protocols.
By strategically managing user identities and access, Identity Governance helps reduce the risk of breaches, ensure compliance with various regulations, and enhance overall IT security across companies.
The difference between Access Management and Identity Governance
Access Management and Identity Governance touch on similar areas and are fundamentally about controlling and managing access to resources within an organization. Identity Governance is a broader concept that encompasses a set of policies, processes, and technologies aimed at managing user identities and their associated access rights throughout their lifecycle within an organization.
Access Management in essence contains:
- Authorization: Regulating what authenticated users are allowed to do or access.
- Provisioning: Establishing, managing, and discontinuing user access to system resources.
This ensures that, post-authentication, users can access only the resources and data necessary for their role and tasks, providing a secure and efficient user experience.
Identity Governance, while encompassing similar areas, takes a broader view, involving:
- Access Request and Approval Workflows: Implementing and managing workflows for requesting, reviewing, and granting or revoking access to applications and data.
- Policy Enforcement: Consistently applying and adhering to policies related to user access and data protection.
- Access Review: Periodically verifying and validating user access to ensure it aligns with established policies and roles.
- Role Management: Defining and handling user roles and the access privileges tied to them.
- Compliance Management: Ensuring all access processes comply with relevant regulatory requirements and standards.
- Audit and Reporting: Regularly auditing and reporting on who has access to what, ensuring transparency and compliance.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
RBAC facilitates granting and controlling access rights based on defined roles and groups. Such user groups prove especially helpful for IT and HR during employee onboarding. Consider a new employee joining the marketing team. An RBAC solution enables the predefinition of all applications this user should access.
Just-in-time access provides user access to specific resources only at the exact moment it's needed. Instead of long-standing permissions, access rights are dynamically granted for a limited time period, reducing the window of opportunity for unauthorized access or insider threats.
Zero Trust and Least Privilege
The Zero Trust model suggests not trusting any entity seeking access to your resources by default. Instead, verify every user and device continuously. Similarly, the principle of Least Privilege dictates that users should only be granted minimum access required for their tasks — both concepts aimed at minimizing potential security risks.
Privileged Access Management (PAM)
Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a fundamental aspect of Access Management and Identity Governance, focusing on the oversight and administration of privileged user accounts.
Employee Access Management and Identity Governance are critical for fast-moving companies as they enable IT and Security teams to control and monitor employee access to applications and sensitive data.
These practices reduce the risk of internal and external security breaches, support regulatory compliance, and enhance operational efficiency by ensuring that employees have the appropriate access rights for their roles.
This is particularly crucial for fast-moving companies, which may lack the extensive cybersecurity resources of enterprise organizations but still face significant cybersecurity threats.