IGA, also known as Identity Governance and Administration, is vital in maintaining security and meeting industry compliance. Effective IGA practices help organizations balance business productivity by ensuring the right access privileges are granted to users.
PAM solutions focus on authentication and authorization, but IGA goes far beyond that to provide capabilities for policy enforcement, access reviews, and compliance.
Identify the Risk
With identity governance and administration, organizations can automate previously labor-intensive processes like password management, review and approval of access requests, and provisioning and de-provisioning access permissions for applications and resources. This reduces human error, improves security and compliance performance, and enables businesses to streamline operations more efficiently.
Whether working with sensitive data or trying to keep productivity high, the right access rights make all the difference. Employees needing more access to systems and applications could put your data at risk or stifle innovation. A single mistake with access provisioning, de-provisioning, or granting permissions can result in a data breach that impacts your company’s reputation, revenue, and compliance.
An identity and access management can help by consolidating data from multiple repositories and systems of record into a centralized management console for correlation and access governance across your IT environment. These tools can also help you meet regulatory requirements, including SOX (U.S. law focusing on financial reporting), HIPAA (U.S. healthcare regulations), and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) by implementing policies and procedures that enforce segregation of duties and a clear audit trail of user activities and access changes.
The core of identity governance is Identity Lifecycle Management, which handles managing digital identities across your IT environment and all aspects of their lifecycle from initial creation to de-provisioned or termination. This includes defining access policies, conducting access reviews, and certifying user entitlements for adherence to regulations and security best practices.
Identify the Needs
Identity governance and administration (IGA) goes far beyond the technical aspects of IAM, like provisioning and de-provisioning users, logging procedures, access review processes, and more. Essentially, IGA solutions provide mechanisms for managing user identities and access privileges within your organization with business context and policies, ensuring user access is aligned with overall organizational goals and compliance regulations.
IGA also incorporates Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) principles, where access privileges are defined and assigned based on predefined roles. This helps to reduce the likelihood that standard users receive more access permissions than they need and enables Segregation of Duties policies to help prevent conflicts of interest and fraud. Furthermore, IGA systems support password synchronization and single sign-on to streamline full provisioning and self-service requests.
In addition, an IGA solution enables you to automate labor-intensive operations like access reviews and certifications to save time for IT teams and improve employee convenience. IGA solutions can also assist with reducing risk by monitoring users’ activity to detect suspicious behavior.
Whether your organization has to comply with specific regulatory compliances, every cybersecurity strategy should include identity governance and administration. Malicious threat actors constantly search for unprotected user credentials and can quickly exploit any security gaps to gain unauthorized access. Identity governance and administration can help strengthen your company’s security posture, reduce risks and costs, and improve compliance and audit performance.
Create a Plan
Identity governance is a set of best practices designed to help you maintain security over your applications and ensure access privileges are appropriately granted. A key aspect of the process is mapping all your workflows that involve identity and identifying the steps involved in those processes. This helps you understand the requirements to implement a governance program effectively.
Identifying the processes involved in granting access, managing privileges, and conducting access reviews is critical. A governance solution can help you automate these processes and reduce the manual work your team will need to perform. This can also help you improve your compliance with regulatory standards and internal policies.
It is important to note that identity governance and administration (IGA) goes beyond access management. It is about ensuring that your processes and systems are aligned with the security principles of segregation of duties (SoD), attestation, least privilege, and visibility.
Once you have an inventory of your identities and mapped all the applications they access, you can decide what permissions you want to keep or change. You will have to weigh productivity against security in these decisions, which is why a governance solution that can help you automate this process will be very helpful.
Implement the Plan
Once the needs assessment is complete, it’s time to implement the identity governance plan. This includes identifying and defining roles, workflows, and procedures to manage user access privileges. Integrating the governance framework with business systems and processes is also important. This will help ensure the governance program is fully aligned with security objectives.
For example, you’ll want to allow employees to request access to applications and data they need for their work, but you don’t want them to have too much access. This is why it’s important to implement access management processes that follow the principle of least privilege. Similarly, you’ll want to automate or at least streamline labor-intensive processes like access certifications and provisioning. This will allow you to reduce the number of IT professionals doing manual work and improve efficiencies and accuracy.
Identity governance is also critical for meeting regulatory compliance requirements. For example, it can help organizations meet the demands of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). This is because it helps to establish appropriate controls over access to financial systems, ensures segregation of duties, and maintains accurate records of access changes and activities.
Finally, it’s important to continue to monitor and review the identity governance process regularly. This will allow you to address emerging risks and ensure that the access policies work as intended.