In today’s world, data breaches and cyber attacks seem to make headlines on a daily basis, so it is more important than ever for organizations to manage their access to sensitive data and resources effectively. But due to the rise of remote work models and the increased complexity of modern IT solutions, ensuring proper access levels can be daunting. That’s where identity governance comes in, the superhero of access management.
In this article, we’ll talk about identity governance and explore its critical role in Access Management. We will cover most of the things you need to understand its importance and to follow its best practices. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn more about identity governance.
Table of Contents
- What is Identity Governance?
- Why is Identity Governance Important in Access Management?
- Best Practices for Identity Governance
- Identity Governance and Compliance
What is Identity Governance?
Identity governance is mainly a comprehensive framework for managing digital identities, privileges, and access rights within an organization. The purpose of this framework is to ensure that all users only have access to what they need daily and nothing more and to maintain the security of sensitive data. In simpler terms, identity governance helps organizations answer the critical question of “Who has access?” and “Why?”.
This framework usually includes several components including identity provisioning, access certification, and access request and approval. Identity provisioning is the step of creating and maintaining user permissions. Access request and approval are where admins manage how to grant access to specific resources. Lastly, access certification is the process of analyzing and certifying access rights to stay up-to-date with the current roles of the users.
In short, identity governance is a structured approach to access management that offers a better way to control digital identities and their access permissions. It is a great way to ensure access is granted or revoked consistently and securely. By implementing identity governance policies, organizations can effectively manage user identities while protecting sensitive data from every kind of digital threat.
Why is Identity Governance Important in Access Management?
Effective access management is essential for the security of an organization’s resources. After all, the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility”, is definitely true when it comes to access management. Organizations have the responsibility to ensure that only authorized personnel is allowed to access sensitive information.
So how does identity governance help companies do that? For one, it helps ensure that access is granted based on a user’s role and job function. The ability to assign access permissions based on roles reduces the risk of intentional or accidental data breaches. It also ensures that people only have access to resources within their rights.
In addition to this, identity governance can help organizations manage the lifecycle of access rights. This means that access is granted or revoked in a timely manner, and there are no leftover permissions if that user is not allowed to it anymore.
If you think about what would happen if all the former employees or contractors still had some type of access, you can imagine how that would damage an organization. Using identity governance, they can immediately revoke access once the contract is finished.
Last but not least, identity governance is critical to maintaining compliance with regulatory bodies. Most security regulations require organizations to use access control mechanisms and monitor all access to sensitive data. Organizations that have identity governance policies can meet these requirements quite effectively and avoid costly penalties and legal issues.
All in all, identity governance is essential to access management procedures since it offers a structured and comprehensive approach. Identity governance is the superhero we need to protect our organizations from the increasing number of cyber threats in today’s interconnected world.
Best Practices for Identity Governance
In this section, we’ll talk a bit about the best practices for identity governance, and introduce a new concept called Privileged Access Management (PAM). PAM focuses on managing and controlling privileged accounts, which have elevated permissions that can be used to gain access to sensitive data. For this reason, Privileged Access Management (PAM) best practices go hand in hand with identity governance tips and should be considered together.
Use strong passwords and MFA
When it comes to securing privileged accounts, strong passwords are a must but they are not sufficient. The best way to secure access to sensitive data is by enforcing password policies but also using multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an added layer of security. MFA asks for something else other than a password such as biometrics, one-time codes, or facial recognition.
Implement least-privilege access
This is definitely surprised when we talk about PAM and highly privileged accounts. But in general, least-privilege access is far more secure since this principle limits access rights to the minimum necessary to perform a job. Although organizations will have some accounts that have elevated rights, a least-privilege approach should be adopted and access should be granted carefully.
Conduct regular security assessments
PAM policies and other identity governance procedures will have some vulnerabilities due to new and old accounts, emerging threats, and the scope of data an organization stores. This is why regular security assessments are critical; they help to detect these vulnerabilities and address them to have updated PAM policies.
Monitor and audit privileged access usage
Privileged access is prone to over-usage, so it needs to be monitored and audited frequently. In order to identify suspicious activity and prevent data breaches, organizations should monitor elevated accounts and see if data usage is acceptable or not. The most important thing in this case is checking all access attempts including successful and unsuccessful ones. This will help you have a better idea of what’s going on in a network.
Identity Governance and Compliance
Identity governance helps organizations achieve compliance since most security regulations require them to take specific steps to protect sensitive data and control access. Effective identity governance means that an organization regularly tracks and updates access levels, limits access permissions, and ensures authorized access only throughout its network.
An example of this is HIPAA, which requires organizations to protect individuals’ health information. By having proper identity governance policies, organizations can limit access to health information so that only a few elevated accounts can see this information.
Access management is a hot topic due to the increasing number of security threats and pressing regulations. Identity governance, which refers to a set of policies and procedures to control access, is an integral part of this practice. By having clear-cut policies, organizations can secure the sensitive data in their networks from the prying eyes of the Internet, and offer their audience a safer digital environment. From strong authentication to handling privileged accounts, identity governance is the center of access management.