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How to Successfully Conduct Recertification of Access Rights

From our practice, we know that every company has employees that have been there from the beginning and worked in different departments. They know everything about the company’s processes, and it makes them valuable employees. But at the same time, they can also access sensitive data, and that makes them dangerous and a periodic user access review can mitigate this danger.

The user access review, otherwise known as access recertification, is an essential part of access management and is an important practice for each organisation. As a critical component of your Identity and Access Management strategy, this control mechanism ensures that your Information System users have legitimate and consistent access rights to your systems and applications.

In this article, we discuss the definition and importance of user access recertification and review the best practices to make the process fast and effective.

What is Access Recertification?

As said above, recertification, is a key component of your IAM strategy, closely linked to identity lifecycle management and to account and rights provisioning. The goal is to ensure that information system users have the access rights they should have, and to certify them, or – if necessary – carry out remediation operations in the event of non-compliance with the company’s authorisation policy.

This IAM element helps provide good governance and authorisations control, in order to ensure the expected compliance guarantees. It allows companies not only to achieve compliance with their security policy and to limit operational risks, but also to meet a wide range of regulatory challenges, including those relating to regular audits by the parent company or by official auditors.

If not reviewed periodically, privileged access can fall into the hands of bad actors, whether on purpose or on accident. The risks involved with the wrong person having access can be great and potentially disastrous for an organization and its reputation.

Why is it important to review access rights?

The ultimate aim of a user access review is to reduce the risk of a security breach by limiting access to critical data and resources. To prevent situations such as security breach or data theft, is one of the reasons to conduct a recertification. It also eliminates threats such as the following:

  • Excessive privileges. In a perfectly secure world, access privileges can be granted only to users that need them only to do their jobs. In reality, permanent access is often granted when an employee needs access just once or may (or may not) need it in the future. A timely review helps to revoke unneeded user access rights.
  • Access misuse and employee mistakes. According Data Breach Investigations Reports, 15% of data breaches happen because of access and data misuse. A user access review helps to limit access and, therefore, reduce the possibility of a costly mistake.
  • Insider threats. The key danger of insiders comes from the fact that they have access to sensitive data and know about security measures implemented in the organization. Insider threats can be partially mitigated by revising and restricting access according to the principle of least privilege. However, the best practice is to couple reviews with the creation of an insider threat policy and deployment of user monitoring, access, and identity management software.

Figure 1: Functions of recertification

Which best practices should be followed for effective recertification?

To mitigate the potential risks and keep your access management routine efficient and secure, it’s in your organization’s best interest to conduct periodic user access reviews. And if you don’t have regular access recertification done already, here are some user access review best practices to help you set up an efficient process.

  • Develop a user access review policy

Developing a user access review policy is crucial for any organization’s security. A thorough policy can help save an organization time and money while mitigating cybersecurity risks and protecting sensitive information. It’s best to consider policy development as the information-gathering stage of the process, with a lot of asking questions and finding answers. For example: Who has access to what? What is the most important information that needs protecting? Who and what is most vulnerable to risk? What software exists to mitigate those risks?

The development of a user access review policy should always be geared toward achieving a Zero Trust policy, meaning, a policy that allows users access to only the bare minimum needed for job duties.

  • Implement role-based access control (RBAC)

This access control model allows for creating user roles for positions instead of configuring each user’s account individually. Each role is assigned a list of access rights. RBAC speeds up a user access review because, with this model in place, you can review roles instead of separate profiles.

In PATECCO, role-based access is easy to set up and manage: you can add users with similar privileges to groups and manage their privileges in a few clicks.

  • Implement the principle of least privilege

The principle of least privilege dictates that users should have access to data only if they absolutely need it. The fewer privileges a user has, the less time you need to spend reviewing them.This principle is easily implemented with PATECCO: new users have a minimum number of access rights or privileges by default. An administrator can assign a user to a privileged user role by adding them to a specific group or can provide constant or temporary access to resources.

  • Provide temporary access instead of permanent

During an access review, revoking such access rights takes a lot of time. Whenever possible, one of the best practices is to use features like one-time passwords instead of assigning a user a new role or granting permanent access rights. Another option for providing temporary access is to implement privileged access management (PAM). This approach is based on granting access only when users need it to complete their jobs and revoking it when the task is finished.

Conducting a user access review is an important part of the access management process. It reduces the risk of a data breach and reduces a wide range of security issues. With the support of PATECCO, you can take your access management to a higher level, as this solution provides:

The Advantages of Role-Based Access Control in Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an advanced emerging technology and it is regarded as a computing paradigm in which resources in the computing infrastructure are provided as a service over the Internet. Cloud computing provides a platform to cut costs and help the users to focus on their core business instead of being impeded by information technology obstacles. However, this new paradigm of data storage service introduces some security challenges for the business. A great part of data owners are concerned that their data could be misused or accessed by the unauthorized users in the cloud storage system.

Cloud stores a large amount of sensitive information that can be shared by other users of the cloud. Hence, to protect this sensitive information from the malicious users, access control mechanisms are used. Here, each user and each resource is assigned an identity, based on which they may either be granted or denied access to the data. These methods are called identity-based access control methods. One of the examples of such method is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

Role-Based Access Control Method

To protect sensitive data from improper use, change or deletion, companies need a system to restrict employee access. Role-Based Access Control refers to a method for restricting data access based on a user’s role in the company. With RBAC, employees can access only the resources and files they need to fulfil their responsibilities. Their credentials allow or restrict access based on the tasks they are assigned, so the chance for data misuse is minimised.

RBAC systems can be especially useful in larger enterprises and in companies that use third-party contractors. As the number of employees increases and the authorized contractors change, it can be difficult to provide unique credential settings for each employee. Using a role-based access control system means that admins can sort employees or contractors into pre-existing groups, or roles, which grant access to a defined set of resources. This access is temporary, as the employees can also be removed from the group when the task is complete. Admins can also reset the permission levels for the groups, which means they can better manage employees at scale, increase efficiency, and even improve compliance.

RBAC enables administrators to divide users into groups based on the different roles they take on, and a single user can belong to multiple groups. Typically, employee access takes into consideration the person’s active status and roles, any security requirements, and existing policies. The best practice is to provide minimal authorization for any given user – only enough so that they can do their job. This is known as the principle of least privilege, and it helps ensure data security.

Benefits of RBAC

For many organizations, divided into multiple departments, with hundreds of employees often equipped with their own computers, the role-based access control system is the best solution to apply for optimal security. If implemented efficiently, RBAC has many benefits for both your team and the entire organization.

  • Reducing administrative work and IT support

When a new employee is hired or if a current worker changes his job position or department, role-based access control eliminates the need for time-wasting paperwork and password changes to grant and remove network access.  Instead, you can use RBAC to add and switch roles quickly and implement them globally across operating systems, platforms and applications. It also reduces the potential for error when assigning user permissions. This reduction in time spent on administrative tasks is just one of several economic benefits of RBAC. It also helps to more easily integrate third-party users into your network by giving them pre-defined roles.

  • Maximizing operational performance

RBAC systems also can be designed to maximize operational performance and strategic business value. They can streamline and automate many transactions and business processes and provide users with the resources to perform their jobs better, faster and with greater personal responsibility. With RBAC system implemented, organizations are better positioned to meet their own statutory and regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality, which is crucial for health care organizations and financial institutions. Directors, managers and IT staffers are better able to monitor how data is being used and accessed, for the purpose of preparing more accurate planning and budget models based on real needs.

  • Providing solid security and high business value

Low maintenance costs and increased efficiency are among the key benefits of RBAC as a security strategy for midsize and large organizations. Here’s how it works: Once all of the employee roles are populated into the database, role-based rules are formulated and workflow engine modules are implemented. Through these elements, role-based privileges can be entered and updated quickly across multiple systems, platforms, applications and geographic locations – right from the HR or IT manager’s desktop. By controlling users’ access according to their roles and the attributes attached to those roles, the RBAC model provides a companywide control process for managing IT assets while maintaining the desired level of security.

  • Role-Based Access Control Helps Protect Against Data Breaches

Roles can also help minimize damage caused by a data breach. Besides data encryption and other security measures built into the storage repository, user access limitations help seal off potential hackers and limit any adverse impacts arising from a breach. Businesses can alert users trying to view data that they don’t have proper access and prompt them to contact an administrator for additional access.

Many businesses utilize single sign-on (SSO) connected to Active Directory (AD) to authenticate users. Employees can then connect locally or log in with a VPN. Once the data lake verifies their information, it produces a signature of their identity and role. If an employee is accessing data in your cloud-hosted data lake remotely, it’s critical to secure their connection.

  • Better security compliance

All organizations are subject to federal, state and local regulations. With an RBAC system in place, companies can more easily meet regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality. Furthermore, IT departments and executives have the ability to manage how data is being accessed and used. This is especially significant for health care and financial institutions, which manage lots of sensitive data.

A core business function of any organization is protecting data in the cloud. RBAC system can ensure the company’s information meets privacy and confidentiality regulations. So, if your business does not have an established data governance plan, it is time to develop one. Moreover, learning to recognize the potential dangers and establish proper responses to a data breach will help you to react faster and minimize damage.

Best Practices of Role-Based Access Control (Part 2)

Access control is an essential component of IT and data security for all kind of businesses. This term describes a variety of ways to control who has access to your organization’s information resources. Access control provides not only a greater control over your network, data, website, or other sensitive systems or assets, but it also help you stay compliant with various industry standards and regulations.

When restricting the access to sensitive systems or data, you are limiting the potential risks concerning data exposure. For example, if only a few certain people have access to your customer database, it is less likely that the database will be exposed through credential compromise or insider threats.

And talking about giving access to company’s resources, it is crucial to mention that this access is related to roles and groups. So, what is actually Role-Based Access Control? What benefits it brings to the large enterprises and which are best practices for its implementation?

You can probably guess from the name, that role-based access control gives access permissions based on user roles. Under “role” you should understand the functions that an employee performs. Users may have one or more roles and may be assigned one or more permissions. In RBAC system, user access provisioning is based on the needs of a group (for example marketing department) based on common responsibilities and needs. This means that each role has a given a set of permissions, and individuals can be assigned to one or more roles.  A well-designed RBAC system also simplifies and streamlines the administration of access by grouping sets of access in a logical way (i.e. via department, job title, region, or manager level). Grouping common access permissions into roles ensures a secure and efficient way to manage access, while simplifying the process for both administrators and users.

Roles versus Groups

A frequently asked question is “What is the difference between roles and groups?” Indeed, there is a superficial similarity between RBAC roles and traditional groups. Let’s explain: Groups of users are commonly provided in many access control systems. A major difference between most implementations of groups and the concept of roles is that groups are typically treated as a collection of users and not as a collection of permissions. A role is both a collection of users on one side and a collection of permissions on the other.

A group is a collection of users with a given set of permissions assigned to the group. You can assign a role to group or you can assign user to group. By adding a user to a role group, the user has access to all the roles in that group. When they are removed, access becomes restricted. Users may also be assigned to multiple groups in the event they need temporary access to certain data or programs and then removed once the project is complete.

What are best practices for implementing RBAC?

In addition to the above mentioned RBAC features, we could also say that role-based access control provides a number of benefits such as improving your security posture, complying with relevant regulations, and reducing operational overhead. However, implementing role-based access control across an entire organization can be complex, so it is recommended to follow some best practices.

  • Build RBAC Strategy

When creating a plan you should start with an evaluation of where you are (data, method, policy, systems), to determine your ideal future state (automated RBAC-enabled access provisioning for a collection of apps and systems), and to identify the critical gaps that need to be addressed (data quality, process problems, various system-to-system authentication/authorization models). Pointing the challenges upfront makes it easier to fix them head-on before the implementation starts.

  • Establish a Framework for Governance

Organizations preparing to implement RBAC should make decisions on project goals, set expectations, manage and support implementation, set performance metrics, and manage risk. To identify data and process problems and prioritize remediation efforts, the governance board should link up with the HR function.

  • Prepare a team

The next step is to hire experienced business analysts and role engineers who have a broad experience of interviewing business owners and IT staff to gather detailed RBAC requirements from each area of business involved in the RBAC program.

  • Define roles

Once you’ve performed your analysis and decided on the scope, you can proceed to design roles around what permissions different roles need. Define roles strictly based on persona’s duties and responsibilities. Make sure the roles you defined are applicable to groups of individual users, otherwise, your RBAC model will minimize efficiency and simplification. We also recommend consolidating automatically migrated End-User roles.

  • Test and verify your roles

Roles require testing and verification. If at the outset you define roles sub-optimally and place them into production, you can end up with a lot of users who have too little or too much access. A major cleanup effort may be required if you roll out a role structure that has not been properly set up or tested.

  • Roll out in stages

Do not miss to consider rolling out RBAC in stages to reduce workload and disruption to the business. You can start with a core set of users and coarse-grain controls before increasing granularity. Then it is necessary to collect feedback from internal users and to monitor your business metrics before implementing additional roles.

  • Get Started With a Pilot

Try to reduce the implementation risk by produce a quick win and by demonstrating the efficiency of the RBAC model. That is why we suggest choosing a small department or business feature as a beta project. Do not expect to achieve immediate full coverage of all access via RBAC. A comprehensive RBAC solution could take months or even years to complete. It is realistic to implement RBAC in several phases.

Understanding the best practices and adapting to them early in an RBAC project is an efficient way to reduce IT service and administration costs, and to greatly improve an organization’s overall security posture. A successful RBAC implementation can reduce or even eliminate insider threats. This is a critical measure for any organization looking to strengthen its cybersecurity infrastructure.

Best Practices for Role Based Access Control (Part 1)

In organizations that have major divisions, creating a role-based access control system is essential in mitigating data loss. Role-based access control (RBAC) is already a proven concept in IT systems, which is realized by many operating systems to control access to system resources. For the last 25 years, it has become one of the main methods for advanced access control.

Basically, what RBAC does is to restrict network access based on a person’s role within an organization. The roles in RBAC are related to the levels of access that employees have to the network. That means that they are only allowed to access the information needed to effectively execute their job tasks. Access can be based on several factors, such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. As a result, lower-level employees usually do not have access to sensitive data if they do not need it to fulfil their responsibilities. This is especially helpful if you have many employees and use third-parties and contractors that make it difficult to closely monitor network access. Using RBAC will help in securing your company’s sensitive data and important applications.

Why RBAC matters?

For many organizations which are divided into multiple departments and have their own set of dedicated employees with their own computers, the role-based access control system is the best solution for enhanced security. With role-based security, administrators can achieve both optimal data protection and user productivity by granting varying levels of permissions to users based on their role. As a result, only the authorized users can easily access information pertaining to their department and specific function and the access to all other company data remains restricted.

Best practices for implementing RBAC

Managing and auditing network access is crucial to information security. With hundreds or thousands of employees in the enterprise, security is more easily maintained by limiting unnecessary access to sensitive information based on a user’s established role within the company. That is why implementing role-based access control across an entire organization is important, but at the same time could be complex. To successfully implement RBAC, you should follow these best practices:

  • Develop an RBAC Strategy

To create a strategy you should start with an assessment of where you are (data, process, policy, systems). The second step is to define your desired future state (automated provisioning of access through RBAC for a set of apps and systems), and at the end to identify your gaps that must be addressed (data quality, process issues, different authentication/authorization models across systems).

  • Scope your implementation

In case you do not necessarily have to implement RBAC across your entire organization right away, it is better to consider narrowing the scope to systems or applications that store sensitive data first.

  • Role classification

The primary step to provide role-based security is to assign roles. This can be done by distinguishing between the various users within the business and their diverse functions. Usually, these roles are based on the job titles that fall under major divisions such as finance, marketing, human resources, etc. Administrators should also provide a name and a description for each role-based access control policy that they create. For easy categorization and tracking of these policies, you can name them by the job title they apply to, and in the description, you can specify the department as well as other important details about this role.

  • Build policies related to a role

After a policy is named and its description is filled in accordance with a role, the settings can be configured. First, the devices that belong to the more prominent users who have administrative or executive roles can be added into the whitelist. These devices can be granted increased mobility when it comes to accessing various information across their department. Then, for the majority of the other employees, their devices can be given read-only permissions or delegated specific rights to access only the information critical to their job requirements while access to all other data remains restricted.

  • Modify policies and user privileges to stay updated

Since there is always a constant influx of employees, no matter they are new or come from other departments of the organization, their devices should be categorized as trusted or blocked, and their computers should be inserted into a custom group. This best practice also applies if existing users obtain new equipment. This proactive approach ensures that device and file control policies are enforced right from a user’s introduction and through the rest of their career in the company. In this way their activities always remain monitored, and the opportunity for data loss is eliminated.

  • Roll out in stages

A useful practice is to consider rolling out RBAC in stages to reduce workload and disruption to the business. You can begin with a core set of users and coarse-grain controls before increasing granularity. Then proceed collecting feedback from internal users and monitor your business metrics before implementing additional roles.

How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

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.

Ensuring Security and High Business Value With RBAC

In the era of digital transformation the tight privacy laws have imposed new levels of confidentiality on health care, insurance companies and financial institutions. As the number of their electronic systems increases along with the number of interfaces, identity management has become a critical component in ensuring information security and access control. Access control plays an essential role in safeguarding both physical security and electronic information security. Role-based access control could be simply explained as the security process of assigning specific rules or policies to individual users, or groups of users, that are connecting to your network. It simplifies the process in assigning user’s access based on their job function.

It has become a critical component in ensuring information security and access control. Access control plays an essential role in safeguarding both physical security and electronic information security. Role-based access control could be simply explained as the security process of assigning specific rules or policies to individual users, or groups of users, that are connecting to your network. It simplifies the process in assigning user’s access based on their job function.

Developing and using a role-based access control system in conjunction with an identity management solution makes it possible for organizations to ensure that accounts for new employees are always created with proper access rights. That means that there is a control defining which users have access to resources based on the role of the user. Access rights are grouped by role name, and access to resources is restricted to users who have been authorized to assume the associated role. For example, if a RBAC system is used in a hospital, each person that is allowed access to the hospital’s network has a predefined role (doctor, nurse, lab technician, administrator, etc.). If someone is defined as possessing the role of doctor, than that user can access only resources on the network that the role of doctor has been allowed access to. 

Four steps for providing data security

There are four steps which are of a great importance for providing proper data security. The first phase is to ensure that new employee access and accounts are created properly when the employee is on boarded. Second phase refers to giving those access rights remaining accurate and up-to-date during each of the company’s employee’s tenures. The third, and most essential step in this process, is revocation of access rights when individual employees leave the organization.

The fourth step is performing Information audits. The sooner you get used to them, the better. They are required to successfully manage the information and the access of rights. Our advice is to periodically review your roles, the employees assigned to them, and the access permitted for each. Once an audit of access rights is performed, it can be compared against the baseline template for each employee role initially established. If needed, the managers and systems owners could make for verification or revocation of the rights.

What are the benefits of RBAC?

Ideally, the RBAC system is clearly defined and agile, making the addition of new applications, roles and employees as efficient as possible. One of the greatest advantages of RBAC is the ability of giving you granular visibility, which is necessary to securely support your mobility in today’s digital environment. Another benefit of RBAC refers to maximized operational performance. Thus, companies could streamline and automate many transactions and business processes and provide users with the resources to perform their jobs better, faster and with greater personal responsibility. With RBAC system in place, organizations are better positioned to meet their own statutory and regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality, which is crucial for health care organizations and financial institutions.

Organizations should implement necessary security measures to provide that access to data, groups and applications are right for an employee during their tenure. They also should bear in mind that quite critical is the revocation of all account access when they depart. Failure to respond these criteria can lead to data theft and costly access to external applications.

If you are interested to read PATECCO White paper for Privileged Access Management, click the image below:

White paper for Privileged Access Management, click the image below:

How to Detect and Protect the Sensitive Data in the Cloud

As already mentioned in the previous article, Cloud computing has transformed the way organizations approach IT, enabling them to adopt new business models, to provide more services and productivity, and reduce IT costs. Cloud computing technologies can be implemented in different kinds of architectures, under different service and deployment models. At the same time they can also coexist with other technologies and software design approaches. Looking at the broad cloud computing landscape continuing to grow rapidly, it becomes obvious that access to sensitive data in the cloud should be properly monitored and controlled.

Cloud services facilitates data management and applications across a network linked through mobile devices, computers or tablets. But these networks can pose significant challenges for front-end security in the cloud computing environment. For overcoming any threats, there is a need of multiple levels of user-enforced security safeguards which are able to restrict access, authenticate user identity, preserve data integrity and protect the privacy of individual data. When implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, private data can be securely stored and accessed in third-party cloud servers by a network of users.

Best practices for monitoring access to sensitive data in the cloud

If compared to on premise data centres, cloud-based infrastructures are actually not that easy to monitor and manage. For providing high-quality data protection in the cloud, there is a number of measures which must be undertaken

1. Provide end-to-end visibility

The lack of visibility across the infrastructure is one of the little disadvantages of the cloud-based solutions. Consequently, there is a need of ensuring end-to-end visibility into the infrastructure, data, and applications. The implementation of an efficient identity and access management system can help limiting the access to critical data. It also makes it clear to understand who exactly accesses and works with your business’s critical data. A high-level granularity of access management allows granting elevated privileges only to users that actually need it.

2. Implement Privileged Access Management to Secure access to valuable information

Privileged Account Management (PAM) systems are designed to control access to highly critical systems. PAM security and governance tools support companies in complying with legal and regulatory compliance. Their capabilities allow privileged users to have efficient and secure access to the systems they manage. Besides it offers secure and streamlined way to authorize and monitor all privileged users for all relevant systems.


3. Monitor implementation and audit access to sensitive data

It is necessary to conduct periodic audits to identify security vulnerabilities and monitor compliance. Continuous monitoring and auditing of the cloud infrastructure allows detecting possible attacks and data breaches at an early stage. PAM capabilities will also help you to successfully monitor sensitive data and manage access to it.

4. Use RBAC to Control what users have access to.

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method of restricting network access based on the roles of individual users within an enterprise. RBAC lets employees have access rights only to the information they need to do their jobs and prevents them from accessing information that doesn’t pertain to them. An employee’s role in an organization determines the permissions that individual is granted and ensures that lower-level employees can’t access sensitive information or perform high-level tasks.

5. Use SIEM Technology

SIEM technology supports threat detection and security incident response through the real-time event collection and historical analysis of security events, from a wide variety of event and contextual data sources. SIEM also helps enterprises manage the increasing volumes of logs coming from disparate online sources. Storing the logs from different sources in a central secured database make the process of consolidation and analysis easy.

SIEM supports compliance reporting and incident investigation through analysis of historical data from these sources, as well.

6. Build an efficient incident-response strategy.

It is recommended to make a plan which would help you react immediately to a possible security incident in an adequate manner. It should include several important steps such as determining authority to call an incident, establishing clearly defined team roles and responsibilities, establishing communications procedures and responsibilities, increasing end user awareness and deploying the Right Tools.

All the above mentioned points, concerning implementing appropriate safeguards, policies and procedures, are a good prerequisite for keeping private data securely stored and a protected.