Cakewalk partnering with SoSafe: Merging Access Management with Awareness Training.

Excessive provisioning to cloud applications poses a major security threat in today’s digital workspace.

Alarmingly, studies suggest that up to 95% of users are granted more permissions than necessary for their roles. This is particularly concerning considering that about 80% of data breaches are linked to compromised privileged credentials.

So, how can modern IT and Security teams strike the right balance? They must ensure employees have the necessary access to maintain productivity, yet also manage these permissions to limit them to only what's essential.

The answer lies in effective Access Management - a security must-have for modern organizations.

Alongside robust Access Management, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among employees is equally crucial. This is where our partner, SoSafe steps in as a pivotal ally. SoSafe specializes in cybersecurity awareness and training, offering an e-learning platform, engaging content, and realistic phishing simulations. Through SoSafe’s meticulously crafted training lessons, employees can be empowered with the knowledge and skills required to recognize and avoid potential security threats. When coupled with seamless Access Management, such as that provided by Cakewalk, organizations can significantly enhance their overall security posture.

What is Access Management?

Access Management is the overall approach to manage user access within an organization - think of it as a gatekeeper.  

This authorization process ensures that permissions are duly assigned and maintained, adhering to principles like Zero Trust and Least Privilege. By managing access rights, Access Management links together the key principles of compliance, security, and usability.

Access Management enables organizations to protect sensitive data and systems from unauthorized access and ensure employees have the necessary access to perform their roles effectively.

Through this balancing act, Access Management helps organizations maintain robust security, comply with regulations, and reduce the risk of data breaches, all while facilitating efficient and seamless operations.

Key Access Management Practices

  • Access Request and Approval Workflows: Implementing and managing authorization workflows for requesting, reviewing, and granting or revoking access to applications and data.
  • Provisioning and Deprovisioing: Establishing, managing, and discontinuing user access to system resources.
  • Access Reviews: Periodically verifying and validating user access to ensure it aligns with established policies and roles.
  • Policy Enforcement: Consistently applying and adhering to policies related to user access and data protection.
  • 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.

Risks Associated with User Overprovisioning

User overprovisioning, where employees have more access privileges than needed, presents significant risks for organizations.

Key risks include:

  • Security Vulnerabilities: Overprovisioning and shadow IT create a broader attack surface, making it easier for potential attackers to find and exploit weak points. This increased access can inadvertently open doors to various cyber threats.
  • Data Breaches and Information Theft: The most direct consequence of these security vulnerabilities is the heightened risk of data breaches. Overprovisioned access rights significantly increase the chances of sensitive information being accessed and stolen by unauthorized (internal or external) parties, either through malicious actions or accidental misuse.
  • Non-compliance with Regulatory Standards: Excessive user privileges can lead to violations of compliance standards, exposing organizations to legal and financial penalties.
  • Operational Inefficiencies: Unnecessary access rights can complicate systems, leading to inefficiencies and errors in operations and IT management.
  • Reputation Damage: Security incidents arising from overprovisioning can harm an organization's reputation, impacting customer trust and business relationships.

Addressing these risks is an integral part of an Access Management strategy. By implementing strong access management, controls and regular audits, organizations can significantly reduce these vulnerabilities, ensuring a more secure and efficient operational environment.

Employee Offboarding is a Particularly Sensitive Part of Access Management

Employee offboarding is a critical aspect of Access Management, demanding stringent controls. This stage is particularly sensitive due to the high risk associated with access rights of departing employees. In fact, 20% of companies have experienced a data breach linked to former employees, underscoring the importance of effective offboarding procedures.

Key actions for safe offboarding include:

  • Timely Access Revocation: Ensure that access rights for all systems, applications, and data are revoked immediately upon an employee’s departure to prevent unauthorized access post-employment.
  • Audit of Access Privileges: Conduct a thorough audit of the departing employee’s access privileges before offboarding to ensure all accesses are identified and appropriately removed.
  • Automated Offboarding Processes: Utilize automation tools to streamline the revocation process, reducing the risk of oversight or delays that can occur with manual processes.
  • Offboarding Checklist Compliance: Maintain a comprehensive offboarding checklist that includes all IT security protocols to ensure consistency and completeness in the offboarding process.
  • Training for Managers and HR: Educate managers and HR personnel on the importance of timely communication with IT departments regarding employee departures to initiate the offboarding process immediately.
  • Post-employment Access Monitoring: Implement monitoring strategies to detect any unauthorized attempts to access company resources by former employees, enhancing overall security vigilance.
  • Regular Policy Reviews and Updates: Continuously review and update offboarding policies to adapt to evolving security landscapes and organizational changes, ensuring that procedures remain effective and relevant.

Effective management of the offboarding process is essential to mitigate the risks associated with former employees and protect the organization from potential data breaches and security incidents. It is a critical component of a comprehensive Access Management strategy, directly impacting an organization's overall security posture.

How to Introduce Access Management: Step-by-Step Guide for Implementation

Step 1: Define Your Access Management Strategy

  • Establish Clear Objectives: Outline the primary goals of implementing Access Management. This could range from enhancing security, ensuring regulatory compliance, to optimizing operational IT efficiency.
  • Develop a Strategic Roadmap: Create a detailed plan that includes key milestones, timelines, and the resources needed for successful implementation.

Step 2: Assess Your Current State

  • Audit Existing Access Controls: Perform a comprehensive review of existing access permissions and security protocols to identify potential vulnerabilities or areas of non-compliance.
  • Identify Critical Assets: Determine which systems, data, and resources are vital to protect and therefore need stringent governance.

Step 3: Policy Development and Enforcement

  • Formulate Access Policies: Develop robust policies for how access is granted, managed, and revoked, ensuring they are in line with your strategic objectives.
  • Implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Define clear roles within your organization and assign access rights accordingly to minimize the risk of over-privileged accounts.

Step 4: Implement Technology Solutions

  • Select Appropriate Tools: Choose an Access Management software that aligns with your company's size, complexity, and specific requirements, focusing on features like automation and scalability.
  • System Integration: Ensure seamless integration of the Access Management solution with your existing IT infrastructure for efficiency and effectiveness.

Step 5: Training and Organizational Buy-In

  • Employee Training: Educate employees on the new systems and policies to ensure understanding and compliance.
  • Effective Communication: Keep stakeholders informed about the changes, emphasizing the benefits and the role everyone plays in maintaining security.

Step 6: Monitor, Review, and Adapt

  • Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment: Regularly monitor the system's effectiveness and make necessary adjustments to stay aligned with organizational goals.
  • Regular Audits and Reviews: Conduct periodic audits to evaluate compliance with the established policies and identify areas for improvement.

Step 7: Stay Responsive

  • Adapt to Emerging Trends: Keep up-to-date with the latest in Access Management and adapt your approach as needed.
  • Update Policies and Systems Regularly: As your business evolves, continuously refine your Access Management strategies and tools to stay effective and relevant.

How Automation Can Help You Run Your Access Management

Implementing automation in Access Management streamlines processes, enhances security, and increases IT efficiency.

Key ways in which automation aids in effective Access Management include:

  • Streamlined Workflow Management: Use automation to manage and streamline access request workflows, as mentioned in Step 1 in the implementation guide above. This improves operational efficiency and reduces the administrative burden on IT teams.
  • Discovery: Automatically discover all applications used by your employees. You can’t protect what you don't know.
  • Provisioning and Deprovisioning: Automatically assign or revoke access rights based on predefined roles and rules. This aligns with Step 4 in the implementation guide above, reducing manual errors and ensuring timely access updates.
  • Policy Enforcement Automation: Automatically enforce access policies across the organization. This ensures that all access is granted and managed in accordance with established policies.
  • Automated Access Reviews and Audits: Schedule regular, automated reviews and audits of user access rights. This supports the continuous monitoring and adjustment outlined above, ensuring compliance and up-to-date access privileges.
  • Integration with Other Security Systems: Automate the integration of Access Management tools with existing IT infrastructure for a cohesive security posture.
  • Automated Compliance Reporting: Generate compliance reports automatically, aiding in the compliance management process highlighted above.

Why SoSafe and Cakewalk partner to enable seamless Access Management

The journey towards achieving a robust security posture is a cakewalk when you have the right partners by your side. Through a synergic partnership, SoSafe and Cakewalk are dedicated to equipping organizations with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate the complex landscape of modern-day cybersecurity challenges.

As seen in SoSafe Human Risk Review report, 1 in 2 organizations experienced a successful cyberattack in the past 3 years, so this is the time to use every angle to protect your business from cyber risks.

When combined, Cakewalk’s automated Access Management platform and SoSafe’s cybersecurity awareness and training solution create a formidable shield against cyber threats. This alliance enables organizations to not only manage and monitor access rights effectively but also to foster a security-conscious culture that acts as a natural deterrent to cyber threats.

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