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How to Solve Compliance Challenges with IAM

As experts in identity and access management, we noticed that many of our clients face different issues with access control. In particular, we find that most business owners and managers do not have the proper identity access management measures. Based on our long-term experience in Identity and Access Management, we guide and support clients on meeting the access control measures governing their industries.

In this article, we will discuss the key challenges that most of our clients face. We will also guide you on ways to prevent them and ensure compliance using different IAM tools.

  • Common Access Control Issues Facing Industries


As technology progresses, companies are now handling their tasks using digital systems. While this helps, controlling who can access certain information gets more complicated. Besides, a great number of employees are currently working remotely, which makes it challenging to oversee all their activities.

One issue most companies are facing is Sarbanes Oxley compliance. This law mainly applies to the financial industry. It focuses on protecting investors from fraudulent activities by such institutions. When checking if companies are abiding by this law, PATECCO experts find that most do not have enough measures to control access to data. This is because they focus on meeting financial regulations and neglect access control.

More common compliance issues faced by institutions in different sectors are:

• Meeting PCI requirements

• SOC compliance

• FFIEC compliance

The healthcare industry is another one facing different compliance challenges. One common issue in this field is meeting HIPAA requirements. As most facilities focus on improving their technology, they fail to develop measures to limit access to sensitive information.

Most data control issues in the healthcare industry revolve around creating various security measures to protect medical documents. Such include multi-factor authentication and single sign-on protocols. ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 are other security standards that most brands do not know how to meet. Without the proper measures, managing information security is tricky. This issue then makes it hard to pass audits and safeguard data from people without authorized access.

  • Ensuring Access Control Through Provisioning and Reviews

After learning about the issues faced when meeting different regulations, you may be concerned how to avoid them. Implementing access control policies helps reduce the risk of data breaches. It also makes it hard for unlicensed people to access sensitive information.

One way you can solve such issues with Identity and Access Management is through provisioning. This process involves assigning specific employees to systems with sensitive information. It also includes issuing them with IDs that allow them to access protected files.

When provisioning with IAM, you should have complete control over access rights. If an employee leaves your company, you should delete their account or deactivate it to withdraw their rights. This way, you will prevent breaches and feel confident that your data is safe. After putting in place measures to limit access, it is also advisable to review them regularly. We also recommend to check if all your employees have the proper access based on their job roles. Besides, confirm that they are not abusing this power or using the information for personal activities.

You should also take into account that in most cases reviewing access may be tricky without the right tools. For example, recording the results of each assessment is time-consuming, but IAM tools are able to simplify this process by automating compliance assessment. These programs then produce a report to help you identify ways to improve access control.

  • Ensuring Compliance with Privileged Access

Controlling access goes beyond having security measures and reviewing them. It also involves tracking the employees that have permission to view or use specific files. Still, most companies find it hard to manage employees with such privileges.

For example, after shifting from one system to another, you can forget to change your admins. This means that they will still be able to access files in the other program. If a data breach happens, it will not be easy to pinpoint its source. By using IAM tools, you can quickly identify the employees using specific systems. It is also possible to simplify tracking privileged access. These programs also allow you to set security measures to limit access.

Getting IAM solutions to limit access of your current and past employees is the best way to abide by different regulations. These come with various tools to help you secure privileged accounts. With such features, it is simpler to revoke access and avoid security threats.

Types of IAM Solutions Available Today

The most suitable IAM solution for your company may vary depending on your needs. For instance:

  • Privileged Access Management is one of the most common IAM solutions. This one focuses on protecting privileged accounts. If around 20 of your employees have access to different systems with IAM protocols, you can use PAM to protect the most sensitive ones. This solution is mainly helpful in meeting NERC compliance needs.
  • User provisioning IAM tools are another subset you can use to ensure all accounts have the correct permission. With these solutions, it is possible to control the access rights of all your employees. The compliance needs you can meet with the tool are GLBA, NERC, GDPR, and HIPAA. An important aspect to look into when adopting access control tools is the role of each employee. Besides, determine the entitlement they have to sensitive data. You should also consider the cost and compare it against the benefits of getting the software.
  • Data governance IAM solutions protect sensitive information using measures like SSO. Its main drivers are FERPA, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and FERPA.

More IAM solutions you can find in the market today, and their driver compliances are:

• Access controls- HIPAA, SOX, NERC, and GDPR

• Identity governance- SOX and GLBA

• Multi-factor authentication tools- GDPR, PCI-DSS, and GLBA

Since each of these IAM solutions has unique features, you should understand the needs of your firm. Taking this measure makes it easier to pick a tool that addresses them and helps you stay compliant.

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: