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The Role of Identity Governance in Security and Compliance

In the complex network of managing user rights, permissions and accounts, tracking who has access to certain resources becomes almost impossible. Every organisation is facing demands, mandates and compliance regulations while managing the access and support of many devices and systems that contain critical data. Identity Governance and Intelligence solutions help business with the ability to create and manage user accounts and access rights for individual users within the company. In this way they can more conveniently manage user provisioning, password management, access governance and identity repositories.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Security?

Identity governance is the core of most organizations’ security and IT operations strategies. It allows businesses to provide automated access to an increasing number of technology assets and at the same to manage potential security and compliance risks. Identity governance enables and secures digital identities for all users, applications and data.

In case the identity governance is compromised, the organization is left vulnerable to security and compliance violations. Companies can solve this problem by investing in identity governance and intelligence (IGI) solutions that address the business requirements of compliance mangers, auditors and risk managers. According to our partner IBM, “IGI provides a business activity-based modelling approach that simplifies the user access and roles design, review and certification processes. With this approach, you can establish trust between IT and business managers around business activities and permissions, making workflows understandable for nontechnical users. IGI solutions enable security teams to leverage powerful analytics to make informed decisions about identity, give users the applications and the flexible data access they need, and help to ensure compliance with ever-evolving regulations.”

When we talk about managing access within the organization, a number of researches show that more than 50 percent of users have more access privileges than required for their job. In most cases the reason is bulk approvals for access requests, frequent changes in roles or departments, and not regular reviewing user access. The trouble is that too much access privilege and overprovisioning can open an organization up to insider threats and increase the risk throughout the business.

It’s necessary to make sure that users have the appropriate access and to prevent facing with insider threats. The risk could be decreased by using role-based access controls (RBAC) – this means having solid, well-defined roles in place and knowing specifically which access privileges each role needs. As organizations grow and evolve, the right IGI solution can allow for more efficient changes and decrease risk by focusing on role definitions and role assignments rather than on individual accounts. The strategy of RBAC works well to decrease the timeline in executing bulk additions where a lot of change is happening at once, like during mergers, acquisitions and corporate reorganizations.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Compliance?

Companies today have to manage customer, vendor, and board member demands, but at the same time they also must make sure they are compliant with any number of regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and SOX. The increasing number of federal regulations and industry mandates that organizations face today, leads to more auditing, compliance reviews, and reporting.

Identity Governance is a critical discipline involved in this regulation. To be GDPR compliant, organizations must ensure that the personal data they process, collect, and store is properly protected. IBM Security Identity Governance & Intelligence (IGI) can help with that process. IGI allows only the right people to access and manage GDPR-relevant data. IGI presents these people to a business manager holistically in a single pane of glass. (source: IBM) IGI solutions not only strictly control the access to sensitive information like patient records or financial data, but also enable companies to prove they are taking actions to meet compliance requirements.

Furthermore, IGI solutions make the review process easier and more effective with built-in reporting capabilities to meet relevant government and industry regulations. A good compliance program allows for frequent and multiple access reviews to take place at any given time to meet ever-increasing auditor demands without engaging numerous resources from the organization.

One of the main reasons for implementing an IGI solution, is to ensure that users only have access to the resources they need. It also makes sure that you provide appropriate access, risk mitigation and improved security posture of your organization. Unfortunately, a lot of companies today may not view this as a strategic priority and that is a prerequisite to suffer a security incident at some moment. What such companies should do, is to trust IGI solutions and their strong capabilities. See here how PATECCO IGI Solutions are the foundation for a solid Identity and Access Management program in your organization.

How IAM Ensures Secure Access to Information Across Your Enterprise

To meet the challenges of today’s world, competitive companies need to increase their business agility in a secure environment and need to enforce the performance of their IT infrastructure. With the development of the business, enterprises now require new methods to manage secure access to information and applications across multiple systems, delivering on-line services to employee, customer and suppliers without compromising security. Companies must be able to trust the identities of users requiring access and easily administer user identities in a cost-effective way. That’s why it is important how they manage all the identities that access information across the enterprise (from employees and customers to trading partners), how they keep all interactions compliant and secure regardless of access channel, including personal devices.

More and more enterprises are undertaking significant digital transformation initiatives to integrate more applications and automate processes in a bid to increase productivity and the pace of innovation. These initiatives frequently involve the integration of information technology with operational technology, even bridging security domains, through direct integration with value chain partners. Digital transformation initiatives deliver significant value, but potentially put more resources at risk and increase the enterprise security threat surface.

Managing external identities, determining who should have access to what resources, and validating and auditing access requests to key resources across channels creates significant administrative overhead for the enterprise. The inherent risk in granting access to mission-critical resources to people and organizations outside the enterprise’s control is compounded by: lack of visibility into an external organization’s hierarchy to validate user requests for access to resources, inability to identify orphan accounts, audit whether users are still active at an organization and still need access to resources, and compromised accounts

The solution for all these business challenges and risks is Identity and Access Management (IAM). It is developed, based on the users and access rights management through an integrated, efficient and centralized infrastructure. This concept combines business processes, policies and technologies that enable companies to provide secure access to any resource, efficiently control this access, respond faster to changing relationships, and protect confidential information from unauthorized users.

Beyond the most basic function of directory services that maintain the metadata associated with an identity, IAM covers two main functions: Authentication and Authorisation.

How does PATECCO IAM solution enable you to manage your most critical identity and access management challenges?

PATECCO offers a robust set of IAM capabilities. The solution enables enterprises to centrally manage the entire identity lifecycle of their internal and external users, as well as their access to critical resources across the enterprise. The IAM platform provides a comprehensive set of capabilities to connect and manage the people, systems, processes, and things that span the extended enterprise. PATECCO IAM solution addresses identity and access management challenges in three key areas:

1. Onboarding and provisioning

 Onboarding and provisioning is a business problem, which deals with the policies, rules, technology, and user experience pertaining to creating and managing user accounts. Enterprises need robust approval-based access requests, the ability to audit access grants, and the ability to provide answers to the questions of who has what, why, and for how long?

 2. Authentication and access

With network security perimeters disappearing and data flowing freely within and between companies, identity has become the crucial point to help manage, control, and govern access to data, applications, and cloud resources. This requires the enterprise to master non-core capabilities such as single sign-on, password management, advanced authentication, role-based access control, and directory services integration.

 3. Privacy and security

The rise in awareness about compliance management—as well as the growing list of regulations on the matter such as GDPR in Europe—is driving the adoption of IAM solutions for security purposes. Enterprises must prevent sensitive information from being disclosed to unauthorized recipients. They must reduce or eliminate the risk of financial loss, public embarrassment, or legal liability from unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or critical information. PATECCO solution for IAM mitigates many of the risks inherent in a diverse, globally distributed supply chain. Starting with comprehensive identity and access management capabilities, we can ensure only the right people have access to the most trusted resources when they need them. Adding comprehensive tools for audit and attestation means that the enterprise can easily determine who has access to what resources at any time, as well as how they got access and when they actually accessed the resource.

After describing the IAM capabilities, we can conclude that the more IAM continues to evolve, the more organizations will look to broader, enterprise-based solutions that are adaptable to new usage trends such as mobile and cloud computing. Effective identity and access management processes are able to bring business value to your enterprise — reduced risk, sustaining compliance, improved efficiency and end user experience responding to the changing IT landscape.

Best Practices for IAM Implementation

Identity and Access Management has always been an ongoing process and an essential element of the enterprises’ infrastructure that demands continuous management. No matter you have completely implemented directory, it’s useful to take advantage of best practices to help continuously manage this crucial part of your IT environment.

When it comes to IAM implementations, PATECCO experts know what exactly works effectively and what not. For this article we have tapped the collective knowledge of these experts to come up with these eight IAM implementation tactics: They will help you improve your identity management system to ensure better security, efficiency and compliance.

#1. Create a clear pan
IAM projects require excellent planning and project management expertise, with a project team representing various stakeholders within the company. Most importantly, you need to have a business perspective and tie the phases of your IAM project to quantifiable business results and benefits. IAM solutions need regular care and feeding long after the initial go-live date, which means planning for followup optimizations is crucial.

#2. Implement IAM in phases
Implementing IAM in phases will definitely shorten the “time to value” of your project — the time before the business sees a distinct benefit — in the process giving you executive backing that will ensure the full funding of future phases.
#3. Define identities
Start implementing a single, integrated system that ensures end-to-end
management of employee identities and that retires orphaned identities at the appropriate time. This is where IT responsibility begins in the identity management lifecycle. You should also identify a primary directory service (often Active Directory) and a messaging system (such as Exchange Server).

#4. Implement workflow
Implementing workflow on the base of “request and approval” provides a secure way to manage and document change. A self-service web-based interface enables users to request permission to resources they need. It’s necessary to define who can control that list of services and who is responsible for managing workflow designs.

#5. Make provisioning automated

Manging new users, users who leave the organisation, and users who are promoted or demoted within the organisation require provisioning, de-provisioning and re-provisioning. Automating them will reduce errors and will improve consistency. Start first with automating the basic add/change/delete tasks for user accounts, and then integrate additional tasks such as unlocking accounts.

#6. Manage roles

You will need a certain amount of inventorying and mining to precisely identify the major roles within your organisation, based on the resource permissions currently in force. When the user places a request, the owner of the affected data has the ability to review, approve or deny the request. It is also important to define who will manage these roles and to ensure that roles are created, modified and deactivated by authorised individuals following the proper workflow.

#7. Become compliant

Many companies are now affected by the GDPR regulations, and your identity management system plays a beneficial role in remaining compliant. You should focus on clearly defining and documenting the job roles that have control over your data, as well as the job roles that should have access to auditing information. Determine compliance rules, and assign each step to a responsible job role.

#8. Provide knowledge and control to business owners

After the IAM system implementation, you should let business data owners manage access to their data and to provide central reporting and control over those permissions. For that purpose education is needed of both end users and the IT staff that will be charged with ongoing administration and operation.

For more info about PATECCO Best practices in IAM, check out here: