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What Are the Business Benefits of GRC Integration

Nowadays the concept of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) is of a great importance for many companies. With growing regulations and added organizational threats (both internal and external), GRC continues to become more valuable, as it allows organizations to achieve objectives, address uncertainties and operate with integrity. Integrated GRC demands that several roles work in harmony. Audit, risk management and compliance teams must come together to share information, data, assessments, metrics, risks and losses.

GRC as a discipline is aimed at collaboration and synchronization of information and activities. If implemented effectively, it enables stakeholders to predict risks with higher accuracy, and capitalize on the opportunities that truly matter. By adopting a federated GRC program, process owners at the business unit level can independently assess and manage their own risks and compliance requirements; at the same time, key risk and compliance metrics can be rolled up to the top of the organization for reporting and analysis.

  • Why should we integrate Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)?

Risk and compliance information in the right format, at the right time and in the right hands is crucial for the organisational success. It supports quick and informed decision-making, which can save an organisation from financial and reputational loss, data breaches, compliance violations and more. Stakeholders need to always be mindful of issues such as ineffective controls, unmitigated risks and policy conflicts. The path to achieving this objective lies in integrating GRC. Now that we know that integrated GRC solution is important, let us understand why it is essential.

  • Secures Assets

Assets in an organization can be anything, such as physical infrastructure, stored data, intellectual properties, data centers, human capital, e-assets, etc. Companies require their assets to be protected from all kinds of threats, such as natural calamity and cyber threats. There is a close competition between the data protectors and the data thieves. The point to be noted here is that as we develop more mechanisms to reduce cyber threats, cyber-crimes have evolved technologically as well. Government regulations and compliance standards help determine and implement controls to secure these assets. However, a centralized system and process that can monitor the smooth functioning of business in real time and raise a flag in case of any issue are essential to reduce the various risk exposures of the organization

  • Regulatory Changes and Control Implementation

Regulations are not simple and common anymore. Each country has different regulations in place and enforcement level of these regulations varies up to a large extent. For example, companies operating with North American health data needs to comply with HIPAA, whereas, companies dealing with European personal data needs to comply with GDPR. Since multinational corporations generally operate in different regions, implementing controls requires identifying commonality between different regulations and standards in order to ease the process of compliance. Hence, it becomes efficient to handle controls and control failures when the integration of GRC is done.

  • Cost Saving and Revenue Generation

Couple of years back, risk management and compliance were considered to be a part of the cost centre. Earlier, companies used to spend on GRC without understanding the financial benefits. Complying with standards was like a mere advantage and not a need. But the scenario has changed drastically today. GRC acts as a cost saver for the customers by ensuring automation of common processes and implementation of common controls to mitigate risks. From a service provider’s perspective, it acts as a revenue generator because GRC has become a necessity for all the customers and expert services are in huge demand.

  • Streamlined Management

Tracking down important information across multiple documents, computers, and/or storage methods is time-consuming and makes data and task management a bigger challenge than it has to be. Automating manual activities and developing repeatable processes and workflows, on the other hand, simplifies day-to-day GRC management tasks, reducing time and resource requirements and minimizing human error.

  • Greater Agility

Many organizations struggle with a lack of visibility into their business processes, vendor relationships, risk exposure, and other critical considerations for integrated risk management. Uniting analytics and reporting for these and other areas under one platform enables organizations to quickly analyze risks and opportunities and develop data-driven action plans. As a result, launching a new product or service, contracting with a new vendor, or responding to market changes becomes faster and more efficient.

Even though organizations may have different teams or managers handling ERM, vendor management, compliance, or business continuity, their management processes and data don’t have to be siloed. However, the benefits of GRC integration are only possible with a two-pronged approach of – strong policies and procedures for governance, risk, and compliance management, and  a flexible technology architecture that supports and enhances your GRC initiatives.

If your organization is looking for ways to tie those two pieces together, PATECCO is able to support you. We help businesses quickly implement a holistic, integrated GRC program using built-in best practices.

The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) – what it is, why it matters, and how to implement it in the Cloud

Cyber security is an all-encompassing subject that gets thrown around with many generalizations within the IT marketing landscape. There is no specific blueprint to follow to when securing a company’s IT infrastructure, but there is a philosophy that should be acknowledged as a foundation. The philosophy is called “principles of least privilege,” and it is known as a paramount to keeping your environment secure. This article will explain what this means and how this security model can up your security stature.

What is the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP)?

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) is an information security concept in which a user’s access rights are limited to only those required to perform their jobs. This principle, sometimes called the access control principle, grants users permissions and access to only those resources that are strictly necessary to perform their job functions. By doing so the damage that can result from an accident or error is limited. For example, an employee who works in sales should not have access to financial records. An account created for someone in marking should not have administrator privileges.

Any system or asset can be protected in two basic ways- first, by patching any weakness or vulnerability, and second, by limiting access and functionality. The first method aims at preventing security breaches while the second method goes one step further and additionally aims at limiting the damage in the case of breaches. This second method is referred to as the principle of least privilege. PoLP is a cybersecurity best practice and is instrumental in the security of critical data and assets. This principle is not restricted to human access alone and can be applied to any application, system, or device that requires access or permissions to perform tasks. The access rights for applications, systems, and processes can also be restricted to only those who are authorized.

Why is the Principle of Least Privilege so important?

  • Least privilege prevents data misuse

Users can only steal data they have access to. But one major risk that is often overlooked comes in the form of special rights, for instance remote access for users working from home. As an employer, you are usually not going to assume the worst and expect that your employees will abuse their privileges. However, if you permit them to work from home using a VPN connection, you’ll still want to make sure that you have that DLP function (data loss prevention) in the VPN software activated.  Another lurking danger that can be countered using the least privilege principle is your ex-employee with still upright privileges. If POLP is implemented correctly and consistently, the user’s privileges will be revoked completely once he or she leaves.

  • Stay compliant, optimize audits

Every company must ensure that both internal and external compliance policies are met. Such policies include the GDPR and HIPAA, for instance. These regulations stipulate that measures be taken that are all, in some way or another, based around the principle of least privilege.

  • POLP saves time, POLP saves money

In organizations that have not yet implemented an access management software, admins sometimes grant admin privileges to non-admin users. The idea behind this is to give certain people, e.g. department heads, admin rights so they can assign privileges to their subordinates without having to go through the IT department every time. It is a total time-saver because it frees up time for IT admins, allowing them to tend to more important matters.

Tips for implementing Least Privilege in the cloud

The principle of least privilege is conceptually simple but implementing it can be very complex depending on your IT infrastructure. As we mentioned earlier, the principle applies not only to individual users but also to networks, devices, programs, and services. When implementing PoLP, the most important thing to remember is that the principle must apply to all entities because the compromise of any one endpoint, system, or process can potentially put the entire organization at risk.

  • Discover & classify your sensitive data

 As a beginning, the first step should be to ensure that we know exactly what sensitive data we have, and where it is located. Most popular cloud platforms provide data classification capabilities out-of-the-box, including AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Some solutions can also classify sensitive data at the point of creation. Our practical advice is to make sure that any redundant data is removed before attempting to implement PoLP. Establishing a profound understanding of what data you have makes the process of assigning access rights considerably easier.

  • Implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

A helpful technique that is used to simplify the process of setting up PoLP is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). As opposed to trying to assign access rights to specific individuals, you can define a comprehensive set of roles, each with their respective privileges, and assign users to these roles on an ad-hoc basis. While RBAC is arguably less granular than assigning access rights on a per-user basis, it is generally more secure as it is less prone to error. Most popular cloud platforms provide role-based access control, including Azure and Google Cloud.

  • Identify and remove inactive user accounts

It is necessary to ensure that any inactive user accounts are identified and removed before implementing PoLP. Since inactive user accounts are rarely monitored, hackers often target them as it enables them to gain persistent access to the network with less risk of getting caught.

  • Monitor privileged accounts in real-time

You should also ensure that you have as much visibility as possible into who is already accessing what data, and when. Most real-time auditing solutions use machine learning techniques to monitor user behavior and establish usage patterns which can be tested against in order to identify anomalies. Once you have an understanding of each user’s behavioral patterns, you can use this information as a guide to determine what data each user should have access to.

  • Review all IAM permissions

Constantly review all IAM permissions and privileges in the cloud environments and strategically remove unnecessary elevated permissions to cloud workloads.

  • Enforce the Principle of Least Privilege to your third-parties too

Even if you implement the principle of least privilege, your third-party associates maybe do not do it. This only poses a threat to your organization. Make sure that you apply the principle of least privilege to contractors, vendors, and remote sessions and establish if they really are a threat or not.

The principle of least privilege is the concept of restricting access rights of users to only those resources that are required for performing their legitimate functions. Least privilege applies not just to users but also to applications, systems, processes, and devices such as IoT. PoLP is a security best practice and a foundational element of a zero-trust security framework. Implementing least privilege is instrumental in reducing security and business risks that may result from external attacks as well as internal threats and errors.

Identity and Access Management – Concept, Functions and Challenges

Identity and Access Management is an important part of today’s evolving world. It is the process of managing who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Identity and the Access are two very important concept of the IAM which are needed to be managed by the company. Companies are now relying more on the automated tool which can manage all these things. But then it creates the risk. Because tools are not intelligent enough to take the decisions, so we can add the intelligence by using the various data mining algorithm. This can keep the data over time and then build the models. This article covers the key challenges associated with  Identity and Access Management

1. IAM as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits

Currently, companies are more and more concerned in complex value chains also they necessary to both integrate and offer a range of information systems. As a result of this, the lines among service providers and users and among competitors are blurring. Companies therefore need to implement efficient and flexible business processes focused on the electronic exchange of data and information. Such processes require reliable identity and access management solutions. IAM is the process which manages who has access to what information over time. Activity of IAM involves creation of identities for user and system. Identity and Access Management IAM has recently emerged as a critical foundation for realizing the business benefits in terms of cost savings, management control, operational efficiency, and, most importantly, business growth for ecommerce. Enterprises need to manage access to information and applications scattered across internal and external application systems. Moreover, they must provide this access for a growing number of identities, both inside and outside the organization, without compromising security or exposing sensitive information.

IAM comprises of people, processes and products to manage identities and access to resources of an enterprise. An identity access management (IAM) system is a framework for business processes that facilitates the management of electronic identities. Poorly controlled IAM processes may lead to regulatory non-compliance, because if the organization is audited, management will not be able to prove that company data is not at risk for being misused.

Additionally, the enterprise shall have to ensure the correctness of data in order for the IAM Framework to function properly. IAM components can be classified into four major categories: authentication, authorization, user management and central user repository (Enterprise Directory). The ultimate goal of IAM Framework is to provide the right people with the right access at the right time.

2. Key Concept of IAM

Secure user access plays a key role in the exchange of data and information. In addition, electronic data is becoming ever more valuable for most companies. Access protection must therefore meet increasingly strict requirements – an issue that is often solved by introducing strong authentication. Modern IAM solutions allow administering users and their access rights flexibly and effectively, enabling multiple ways of cooperation. Also, IAM is a prerequisite for the use of cloud services, as such services may involve outsourcing of data, which in turn means that data handling and access has to be clearly defined and monitored.

  • Identity The element or combination of element that uniquely describes a person or machines is called Identity. It can be what you know such as password or other personal information what you have or any combination of these.
  • Access The information representing the rights that identity was granted. This information the access rights can be granted to allow users to perform transactional functions at various levels. Some examples of transactional functions are copy, transfer, add, change, delete, review, approve and cancel.
  • Entitlements The collection of access rights to perform transactional functions is called entitlements. The term entitlements are used occasionally with access rights. Identity and access management is the, who, what, where, when, and why of information technology. It encompasses many technologies and security practices, including secure single sign-on (SSO), user provisioning/de provisioning, authentication, and authorization.

Over the past several years, the Fortune 2000 and governments worldwide have come to rely on a sound IAM platform as the foundation for their GRC strategies. As more organizations decentralize with branch and home offices, remote employees, and the consumerization of IT, the need for strong security and GRC practices is greater than ever

3. Function of Identity Management

The identity management system stores information on all aspects of the identity management infrastructure. Using this information, it provides authorization, authentication, user registration and enrolment, password management, auditing, user self-service, central administration, and delegated administration.

Stores information The identity management system stores information about the following resources: applications (e.g. business applications, Web applications, desktop applications), databases (e.g. Oracle, DB2, MS SQL Server), devices (e.g. mobile phones, pagers, card keys), facilities (e.g. warehouses, office buildings, conference rooms), groups (e.g. departments, workgroups), operating systems (e.g. Windows, Unix, MVS), people (e.g. employees, contractors, customers), policy (e.g. security policy, access control policy), and roles (e.g. titles, responsibilities, job functions).

• Authentication and authorization

The identity management system authenticates and authorizes both internal and external users. When a user initiates a request for access to a resource, the identity management first authenticates the user by asking for credentials, which may be in the form of a username and password, digital certificate, smart card, or biometric data. After the user successfully authenticates, the identity management system authorizes the appropriate amount of access based on the user’s identity and attributes. The access control component will manage subsequent authentication and authorization requests for the user, which will reduce the number of passwords the user will have to remember and reduce the number of times a user will have to perform a logon function. This is referred to as “single sign-on”.

• External user registration and enrolment The identity management system allows external users to register accounts with the identity management system and also to enrol for access privileges to a particular resource. If the user cannot authenticate with the identity management system the user will be provided the opportunity to register an account. Once an account is created and the user successfully authenticates, the user must enrol for access privileges to requested resources. The enrolment process may be automated based on set policies or the owner of the resource may manually approve the enrolment. Only after the user has successfully registered with the identity management system and enrolled for access will access to that resource be granted.

• Internal user enrolment The identity management system allows internal users to enroll for access privileges. Unlike external users, internal users will not be given the option to register because internal users already have an identity within the identity management system. The enrolment process for internal users is identical to that of external users.

 • Auditing The identity management system facilitates auditing of user and privilege information. The identity management system can be queried to verify the level of user privilege. The identity management system provides data from authoritative sources, providing auditors with accurate information about users and their privileges.

 • Central administration The identity management system allows administrators to centrally manage multiple identities. Administrators can centrally manage both the content within the identity management system and the structural architecture of the identity management system.

4. Challenges in IAM

Today’s enterprise IT departments face the increasingly complex challenge of providing granular access to information resources, using contextual information about users and requests, while successfully restricting unauthorized access to sensitive corporate data.

Distributed applications

With the growth of cloud-based and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, users now have the power to log in to critical business apps like Salesforce, Office365, Concur, and more anytime, from any place, using any device. However, with the increase of distributed applications comes an increase in the complexity of managing user identities for those applications. Without a seamless way to access these applications, users struggle with password management while IT is faced with rising support costs from frustrated users. Solution is a holistic IAM solution can help administrators consolidate, control, and simplify access privileges, whether the critical applications are hosted in traditional data centers, private clouds, public clouds, or a hybrid combination of all these spaces.

  • Productive provisioning

Without a centralized IAM system, IT staff must provision access manually. The longer it takes for a user to gain access to crucial business applications, the less productive that user will be. On the flip side, failing to revoke the access rights of employees who have left the organization or transferred to different departments can have serious security consequences. To close this window of exposure and risk, IT staff must de-provision access to corporate data as quickly as possible. Manual provisioning and de provisioning of access is often supposed to cause human error or oversights. Especially for large organizations, it is not an efficient or sustainable way to manage user identities and access. Solution is a robust IAM solution that can fully automate the provisioning and de-provisioning process, giving IT full power over the access rights of employees, partners, contractors, vendors, and guests. Automated provisioning and de provisioning speed the enforcement of strong security policies while helping to eliminate human error.

  • Bring your own device (BYOD)

The challenge with BYOD is not whether outside devices are brought into the enterprise network, but whether IT can react quickly enough to protect the organization’s business assets—without disrupting employee productivity and while offering freedom of choice. Nearly every company has some sort of BYOD policy that allows users to access secure resources from their own devices. However, accessing internal and SaaS applications on a mobile device can be more cumbersome than doing so from a networked laptop or desktop workstation. In addition, IT staff may struggle to manage who has access privileges to corporate data and which devices they’re using to access it. Solution is enterprises must develop a strategy that makes it quick, easy, and secure to grant—and revoke—access to corporate applications on employee- and corporate-owned mobile devices based on corporate guidelines or regulatory compliance.

  • Regulatory compliance

Compliance and corporate governance concerns continue to be major drivers of IAM spending. Ensuring support for processes such as determining access privileges for specific employees, tracking management approvals for expanded access, and documenting who has accessed what data and when they did it can go a long way to easing the burden of regulatory compliance and ensuring a smooth audit process. Solution is a strong IAM solution can support compliance with regulatory standards such as HIPAA. In particular, a solution that automates audit reporting can simplify the processes for regulatory conformance and can also help generate the comprehensive reports needed to prove that compliance.

Efficiency, Security and Compliance are important keys of Identity and Access Management. Benefits of deploy a vigorous IAM solution are clear, the complexity and cost of implementation can disrupt even the most well-intentioned organization. A robust IAM solution can ease organization pains, streamline provisioning and de-provisioning, and improve user productivity, while lowering costs, dropping demands on IT, and providing the enterprise with comprehensive data to assist in complying with regulatory standards.

For more information about PATECCO Identity and Access Management Solutions inThe Era of Digital Transformation Whitepaper, click on the image below:

Best Practices for Successful SIEM Implementation

Cyber-attacks and IT breaches are no longer something unusual in today’s information society. Day by day they increase more and more and have their influence on the enterprises’ reputation and profit. Attackers have turned into professionals who constantly look to exploit any gap in IT systems, applications, and hardware. One of the key security approaches to prevent and combat attacks is to identify and respond to security events in real-time to minimize the damage. That is possible by using Security Information and Event Management Software (SIEM). It is a security management approach that aims to have a holistic view of the security of a company’s information technology.

  • What does SIEM actually do?

SIEM is a system that is used to detect, prevent and resolve all cyberattacks while centralizing all the security events from every device within a network. The first function of a SIEM is gathering all the raw security data from companies’ firewalls, wireless access points, servers, and personal devices. The SIEM doesn’t just log events, but is customized to detect suspicious activity and recognize actual threats.

Furthermore, SIEM can create daily graphs and reports that show the user exactly what is going on. It filters through events and categorizes them by the severity of the threat. If the threat is not too serious but may carry some concern, a report is made; and if the event is critical, a notification is immediately sent to the IT team in order to diagnose the situation. Security architects would understand how much value it brings, given that individual software tools generate reports on their designated tasks. Collecting logs from multiple devices across different networks gives the IT staff an opportunity to analyze them and identify potential issues more easily, increasing operational efficiency.

  • Best Practices to Implement SIEM

Implementing SIEM will ensure you respect the rules and regulations of IT compliance, which requires monitoring and reporting on threats. There are several federal, state and local regulations dictating how the data is handled and stored, and these vary by industry. Some regulations that require compliance reports are the SOX, FISMA, PCI DSS, HIPAA, FERPA, etc.

This article provides you with several best practices for the successful implementation of what is an important defense mechanism and compliance control tool for information security teams.

1. Planning implementation

The first step in implementing SIEM should be to understanding the goals and the timeline of the integration. SIEMs are known with their complex nature and neglecting proper planning can expose weaknesses within the organization.

Based on requirements, you should use policy-based rules to define which logs and activities your SIEM should monitor and compare this policy against external compliance requirements to determine your needs. It’s a good idea to begin with a clear view of the use cases for SIEM for your particular business. Review the security processes and policies that can support your proposed SIEM implementation, including existing controls in place to meet compliance requirements. Proper planning ensures that the SIEM solution isn’t simply a generic security, but instead is tailored to the exact needs and expectations of the organization.

2. Start with a Pilot Run

It is not a good approach to implement a SIEM system throughout the entire organization’s IT infrastructure at the same time. A pilot run is a smart way to make a test by running the technology on a smaller subset of your technology infrastructure. Not only does this phase provide proof of concept, but it also demonstrates the potential return on investment for a SIEM system.

During this test run, collect as much data as possible to allow for a clear picture of how the system would run. The data you obtain from a pilot run is crucial in identifying weaknesses in security policies or compliance controls that should be plugged. Of course, it is not always possible to collect data from every single source across the organization. In this case, you should prioritize sections dealing with the critical systems and sensitive data.

3. Create rules

SIEM relies on information to be efficient. By applying correlation rules, it can detect events and threats that would be more difficult to identify in isolation. It is critical to ensure that correlation engines are functioning with basic policies. Besides, determining more customized rules to be implemented in the long term should be taken up in this stage. These rules help optimize documentation and alerting without damaging network performance. They should also be customized to meet any necessary compliance requirements.

4. Identify compliance requirements

SIEM software can help organizations meet compliance requirements and regulations. However, these requirements can often overlap. To avoid this scenario, you can draft documents that specify the compliance requirements you need to meet and check that list against potential SIEM solutions to ensure they cover your needs.

5. Define process

Before deployment, put a handoff plan in place to transfer control from the implementation team to security operations or IT management team. Adjust in accordance with your company’s staffing capabilities to ensure teams can effectively manage the SIEM going forward.

Any other long-term management processes should be outlined as well. Companies must train staff on general SIEM management as well as their team’s logging processes and data management plans. You may need to adjust to avoid understaffing, unmanageable logging rates, and storage capacity issues.

6. Continuously Update Your SIEM System

Extensive planning and step-by-step implementation are some best practices, but continuous refinement and improvement are of a great importance, as well. Cybercriminals come up with increasingly sophisticated forms of attack, so you should be a step ahead by continuously improving the security tools, policies, and procedures. Running a production SIEM deployment itself gives you a useful feedback for you to tweak and fine-tune everything to better protect against security threats.

Investing in Security Incident and Event Management solutions is of a great value and implementing it properly could help you to get significant business benefits. SIEM detects and responds to security incidents in real time, which reduces the risk of noncompliance. It also helps realize greater value across all underlying security technology and systems. Reporting with SIEM is more comprehensive and less time-intensive, helping to reduce capital and operational costs through consolidation. These are all important for any business that aims to stay on top of the market game.

How Does Identity Governance Achieve Security and Compliance?

Nowadays, in the era of Digital Transformation, more and more organizations and people are using the new technologies of smart devices, cloud computing and social media to shop, to buy or deliver services and for other commercial purposes. In this hyperconnected world, Electronic Identities (IDs) provide the opportunity for organizations to know their customers and at the same time to secure information systems and sensitive data. Both objectives are successfully achieved by Identity Governance process.

Simply explained, Identity governance is a policy-based centralized orchestration of user identity management and access control. Identity governance helps support enterprise IT security and regulatory compliance. Organisations are facing rising demands and compliance regulations while managing the access and support of many devices and systems that carry critical data.

What Does Identity Governance Perform?

Identity Governance and Intelligence solutions help companies to create and manage user accounts and access rights for individual users within the enterprise. In this way the companies conveniently manage user provisioning, password management, access governance and identity repositories. IGI Solutions also enable companies to make sure that they take appropriate actions to meet compliance challenges. They help conduct a more accessible and useful review process with a reporting ability to meet significant government and industry rules. Besides, IGI solutions perform a great visual approach, allowing the users to witness privileges and certifications in a user friendly and graphical display.

  • Role Management

Key capability of identity governance and intelligence solution is role management, which is deeply tied into the Principle of Least Privileges. This Principle states employees and users only have the minimum permissions necessary to fulfil their job functions. Furthermore, role management allows your IT security team to monitor permissions and privileges on each user’s account. With the availability of the visibility, the security team can remove any unnecessary permissions they detect.

  • Centralized Access Requests

Without centralizing the access requests, the IT security team must handle each request manually, which is hard and time-consuming process. To avoid such situation, identity governance solution should include a centralization portal for all access requests. This portal helps you to connect all of the applications in your IT environment. Besides, the administrators can monitor the usage of the special permissions and can submit and process access requests, approvals, and denials in more efficient manner.

  • Identity Lifecycle Management

In identity and access management, Identity Lifecycle Management refers to the processes utilized in creating, managing, and removing a user identity from your network. Without the right permissions, your employees cannot perform their jobs properly and providing the wrong permissions could create cybersecurity issues. That is why Identity Governance solutions can help your IT security team onboard and offboard permissions efficiently and with securely.

  • Managed Services

It is crucial for the security of the enterprise to protect and monitor the permissions of your third party-users and applications, vendors, customers, and partners. Each of these identities requires identity governance to operate securely. In case your enterprise’s IT security team is not able to handle governing all of these users, your IGI solution provider can help you manage these tasks remotely. By the help of managed services, it is possible to provide 24/7 identity monitoring and to process the role management, compliance reporting, and access request features.

What Challenges Does Identity Governance Address?

  • Compliance

With regulations like the GDPR, SOX, and HIPAA industries pay attention to access issues more than ever. The security measure to limit and to monitor the access to those that need it, is not enough. Now it is becoming critical to stay in compliance with these regulations, as well.

IGI solutions not only ensure that access to sensitive information (such as financial data) is strictly controlled, but they also enable organizations to prove they are taking these actions. Enterprises can receive audit requests at any time. A good IGI solution makes the required periodic review and attestation of access business friendly, effective, and comes with built-in reporting capabilities to meet the government and industry regulations. Taking a visual approach to the data makes the whole process more accurate and easier to deploy to the business.

  • Risk Management

IGI solutions reduce the exposure of sensitive data by limiting and guarding access to information. They enable a robust approach to managing and governing access by focusing on three aspects of access:

First, they practice the principle of least privilege, eliminating excess privileges and granting access to only those who need it in order to do their jobs. Secondly, they terminate “orphaned” accounts as quickly as possible. These accounts that are no longer being used (because of an employee dismissal or some other reason) are perfect targets for cyber criminals aiming to breach the environment. Finally, IGI solutions monitor for segregation of duty (SoD) violations. This critical risk management concept dictates that no single individual should be able to complete a task, creating a built-in system of checks and balances.

  • Business Changes

Companies develop and change constantly and IGI solution makes these changes more efficient and less risky. IGI solutions provision access based on roles, and not on individual accounts, that’s why the strategy of Role Based Access Control (RBAC) works equally well for small changes (like individual promotions or transfers) and large changes (like mergers, acquisitions, and corporate reorganizations). IGA solutions efficiently shorten the timeline for executing bulk additions or transitions of user accounts by automating and streamlining provisioning and approvals.

Considered as a part of Identity and Access Management (IAM), Identity Governance offers organizations increased visibility of identities and access privileges of users. That gives them the opportunity to effectively manage who has access to what systems and when. Identity governance empowers the business to do more with less, meet increasing audit demands, and make the companies more secure, while enabling them to develop at the same time.

6 Benefits of Implementing Privileged Access Management

A great number of companies are facing challenges in maintaining data security, which is an essential part of their business. All they meet difficulties in handling those challenges. That is why it is important for them to know that attackers will always find a new way of doing their actions and getting everything they need. As a result, attackers who gain control of privileged accounts have the key to break the whole IT system.

To avoid the data breaches and to handle such situation, Privileged Access Management (PAM) comes to help the enterprises.

Privileged Access Management could be explained as the creation and enforcement of controls over users, systems and accounts that have elevated or “privileged” entitlements. According to Microsoft, Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a solution that helps organizations restrict privileged access within an existing Active Directory environment. Privileged Access Management accomplishes two goals:

The first goal is to re-establish control over a compromised Active Directory environment by maintaining a separate bastion environment that is known to be unaffected by malicious attacks. The second goals is to Isolate the use of privileged accounts to reduce the risk of those credentials being stolen.
The problems that PAM help could solve are related to vulnerabilities, unauthorized privilege escalations, spear phishing, Kerberos compromises and other attacks.

Nowadays it is easy for the attackers to obtain Domain Admins account credentials, but it is too difficult to discover these attacks after the fact. The goal of PAM is to limit the opportunities for malicious users to get access and at the same time to increase your control, visibility, and awareness of the environment.

What PAM does, is to make it hard for attackers to enter the network and obtain privileged account access. PAM adds protection to privileged groups that control access across a range of domain-joined computers and applications on those computers. In addition, it provides more monitoring, more visibility, and more fine-grained controls. This enables organizations to see who their privileged administrators are and what are they doing. PAM gives organizations more insight into how administrative accounts are used in the environment and that is a good prerequisite to prevent the data breaches.

Key PAM Benefits

Managing Access for Non-Employees

Misuse of privileged access, whether it’s through an external attacker or accidental misconfiguration, can cause a lot of troubles. For many enterprises, there are times when subcontracted personnel needs continued access to the system. In this case PAM offers a solution by including role-based access only. The benefit is that you will not need to provide domain credentials to outsiders and access will be limited based on administrator map user roles.

Automation

One of the top benefits of PAM system deployment is Automation. It also decreases the likelihood of human error, which is an inevitable part of the increasing workload placed on IT personnel. Switching from a manual privileged access management system to an automated solution, boosts the overall productivity, optimizes security protocols and at the same time reduces costs.

Threat Detection

PAM has the capability to track the behavior of users. On one hand, it allows you to look at the resources and information that are being accessed in order to detect suspicious behavior. On the other hand, the system itself makes reports and analysis on user activity. This makes it easier to stay in compliance with regulations and is used to review the actions of users if you suspect that there may be a leak.

Session Management

If a user has access to the system, PAM assists in workflow management through automation of each approval step throughout the session duration. You could also receive notification for specific access requests that require manual approval by an administrator. Session management gives you actually the ability to control, monitor and record access.

Protect Sensitive Data

There could be a situation, when people with high-privilege authority work in IT have access to your system. With this level of access, it is always possible to leave the system open to a threat. Besides, they could use their privilege to hide malicious behaviour.

To prevent that, PAM adds a level of accountability and oversight. It creates an audit trail that monitors the activity of all users. This makes it easier to find behaviours or actions that caused an attack.

Auditing

Auditability of authentication and access is core to the IAM lifecycle many organizations. Privileged activity auditing is already required in regulations for SOX, HIPAA, FISMA, and others. Auditing privileged access is essential due to the GDPR, which mandates management of access to personal data, putting all privileged access in scope.

As Kuppingercole’s analyst – Matthias Reinwarth says – Privileged Access Management has been and will be an essential set of controls for protecting the proverbial “keys to your kingdom”. Proper planning and continuous enhancement, strong enterprise strong enterprise policies, adequate processes, well-chosen technologies, extensive integration are key success factors. The same holds true for a well-executed requirements analysis, well-planned implementation, well-defined roll-out processes and an overall well-executed PAM project. The more attacks and data breaches are found and caused by misuse of privileged access, the more organizations have realized that protecting their credential data need to be a top priority.

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