As digital work environments grow in complexity, ensuring proper governance and protection of sensitive information is more important than ever. This is why implementing identity governance (IG) has become increasingly essential for organizations of all sizes.
IG includes processes that ensure high control and visibility over user access privileges in your system. This enables you to reduce risks and achieve compliance.
1. Identifying the Need
Organizations need identity governance processes that reduce risk, improve efficiency, and support compliance to make digital technologies work for their business. But implementing identity governance and administration (IGA) technology can be challenging for many reasons, including a lack of skills required to execute the solution, challenges in identifying appropriate stakeholders, and a disconnect between identity management functions and governance processes.
Identity governance processes provide centralized visibility to user access privileges in all applications and systems. They enable policy-based centralized orchestration and automated workflows to help meet the needs of a growing organization, mitigate security risks, comply with regulations like GDPR, and increase efficiency.
2. Defining the Goals
Organizations need complete transparency into who is accessing systems, infrastructure, and data to reduce risk and meet compliance. They need to know when they are doing so, why they need it, and what they are doing with it. These key goals of identity governance and administration (IG) processes help businesses manage their digital identities.
IGA enables policy-based centralized user identity management and access control orchestration to enforce security controls. It also automates workflows, streamlines business operations, improves visibility into access approvals and reviews, and reduces the number of manual processes.
It includes processes for provisioning new users, managing existing user changes, and removing no longer-needed privileges. It can help enforce least privilege principles by ensuring only the minimum permissions are assigned and enforcing segregation of duties policies. It can also provide a single sign-on to applications so that users only need to remember one password. This improves convenience and security by reducing the number of passwords hackers could target.
3. Creating a Plan
Identity governance is a framework for managing and controlling user access to systems and data, which aligns with business needs, regulatory requirements, internal controls, and IT best practices. It includes user provisioning and de-provisioning processes, policy management, access certifications and reviews, compliance reporting, and centralized visibility into users across the enterprise.
Establishing an identity governance framework requires a collaborative effort between multiple departments in your organization. This includes coordinating with HR to ensure that employee accounts and permissions are correctly set up, working with IT to integrate identity governance into existing infrastructure, and collaborating with legal and compliance teams to ensure that applicable regulations protect all data.
Comprehensive IGA solutions can also help reduce operations and improve efficiency by automating user provisioning and de-provisioning, enabling self-service access requests, and providing workflows for access approvals. These solutions can also include tools for monitoring privileged user activity and identifying potential threats, such as unauthorized changes or login anomalies. Moreover, they can detect patterns of activity that may indicate malicious intent or simple errors.
4. Implementing the Plan
In today’s highly connected world, businesses need full transparency into who has access to what data and infrastructure and why. This enables them to meet business requirements and regulatory compliance. This is a critical component of Identity Governance and Administration (IGA).
An IGA solution provides a centralized view of user access to IT systems and applications. This reduces risk, improves security, and simplifies compliance reporting and management.
It incorporates best practices, such as SoD (Segregation of Duties) and privileged access management, into workflows to prevent conflicts of interest and enforce least privilege principles. It also automates processes for access requests, reviews, and certifications.
IGA solutions also enable a streamlined provisioning process by combining access policies into roles to manage the lifecycle of user identities and their associated access privileges. This helps companies avoid over-provisioning and minimizes the time needed for access review. It also ensures that the right people have access to the information they need when they need it. This supports compliance with industry regulations and reduces the risk of data breaches.
5. Monitoring and Managing the Plan
Effective identity governance requires ongoing monitoring and review to identify and correct issues. This includes conducting periodic needs assessments, ensuring the governance framework is aligned with security goals and policies, and addressing new business requirements such as compliance standards like GDPR.
The first step is often a cleanup of users, roles, and entitlements to remove unnecessary or risky access. This can also include identifying unauthorized accounts or privileged access created by attackers to maintain persistence in the system even after being revoked or disabled.
IGA solutions automate and streamline processes related to user provisioning, access reviews, granting and certifying rights, identity lifecycle management, and compliance reporting. This lessens the burden on IAM teams, IT, and security administrators while reducing the risk of human error across all departments, from HR to the Help Desk.
In conclusion, a key component of an effective governance process is accurate and timely identity data. This allows IGA solutions to automatically detect changes across all connected systems and quickly notify managers and application owners of out-of-the-ordinary access that requires immediate attention or could be a sign of a breach. This helps to minimize the potential impact of data breaches and other serious risks to your organization.