Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) is Foundational to Compliance

Look at all the nuances of compliance and how IGA can help your team shine

Identity governance and administration addresses core IT functions of authentication, authorization, privacy, data protection, and regulatory compliance. Download this guide to get a clearer picture of what compliance means and the IGA practices that help you accomplish it.

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IT teams spend way too much time tracking help desk tickets for routine access requests. And employees spend way too much time waiting to get access to the apps they need to do their jobs.

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How to Approach Identity Governance and Administration

Identity governance and administration (IGA) is more than just managing an employee's access requests and their subsequent access to resources. In encompasses many areas of IT responsibility. Given the complexity, it is important to not only understand IGA, but the framework to use in its implementation, components of good governance, and what it can do to help your team shine as company growth compounds your challenges.

What is Identity Governance and Administration?

The term ‘identity governance and administration’ or IGA refers to the management of user identities across various technologies and services. This includes authentication, authorization, privacy, data protection, and regulatory compliance. Because it combines many areas of responsibility within an IT team, conscious decisions around IGA have a significant impact on your team's ability to effectively manage onboarding and offboarding of employees, prevent security risks involving company data and accelerate the compliance process that is required for many mid- to enterprise-level companies.

What Roles Does Access Management Play in an Identity Governance Solution?

Access management is a key ingredient to identity governance. Identity governance is about ensuring that only approved individuals have access to applications, systems, content, and other resources. It can be challenging to manage identities in large organizations. You may find yourself managing hundreds or even thousands of users, which can lead to confusion and errors. This is why it is essential to have access management controls in place. An industry standard is for IT managers to set up role-based access control (RBAC), particularly in user provisioning. This helps teams better manage the levels of access users need while making fewer human errors. The outcome is the protection of critical assets like customer data.

Why is Governance Important in Identity Management?

Proper governance helps companies ensure they are able to achieve SOC2 compliance by providing secure authentication and authorization processes among other things. It also ensures that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information though security controls. While things like automated access may seem like a time-saver for onboarding credentialed employees, it can result in excessive access or privileged access that puts your company at risk for data loss or misuse. In the case of a compliance audit, it is not only necessary to document all persons that have access to company applications, but review their level of access and whether that access is appropriate given their employee status and role. A governance strategy with clearly defined rules for role management and entitlement management can help tremendously in scaling and growing a successful company.

Common Misconceptions About User Identities and IGA

The most common misconception around digital identities and IGA is that it is only used by large enterprises. In reality, IGA is being adopted across industries and organizations of every size. A common catalyst to defining a clear IGA strategy and implementing both technology and processes is in preparing to do business with a larger public company that undergoes regular access reviews for SOC2 compliance or in the preparation of your own company going public. Because continuous compliance is part of the quarterly routine for companies that are SOC2 certified, user identities, access rights, access policies and a host of other areas related to identity governance are constantly being reviewed.

What are the Benefits of IGA Services or Platforms?

The most obvious benefit of IGA is that it helps organizations comply with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, etc., while ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. In addition, IGA enables organizations to automate processes and reduce operational costs by eliminating manual steps and redundant tasks. This has a significant impact on employee productivity. Finally, IGA provides visibility into who has access to what, which helps identify access risks and stop breaches due to inappropriate access before they happen.

What Are the Identity Functions Required in Identity Governance?

The IGA function provides user authentication, authorization, and secure communications between people, devices, and systems. This includes authentication of users, devices, and applications; authorization of actions based on user roles, permissions, and policies; and secure communication using encryption and tokenization technologies.

Overview of the Identity Governance Framework

The IGA framework consists of three components: Identity Lifecycle Management, Identity Access Management and Identity Analytics. These three components are designed to enable organizations to manage identities across the entire lifecycle from account creation through usage and deprovisioning. Security teams, as well as broader IT teams, regardless of what the segregation of duties are, typically work together to implement a winning identity and access management strategy that forms the core of a larger IGA strategy. In similar fashion, identity lifecycle management processes and related analytics are implemented, often with cloud-based services that help accelerate framework setup.

Secure Role-Based Approach to Provisioning

IGA provides a secure way to manage user identities across different systems and devices. This includes single sign-on, password management, and authentication. It also helps organizations prevent fraud by ensuring only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. While RBAC has helped eliminate some human error when it comes to user accounts, it should not necessarily be the only approach used, as the same human error can surface as application use multiplies in larger organizations.

Automation of Provisioning and User Lifecycle Management

With IGA, organizations can automate provisioning and access privileges as the user lifecycle evolves. This may include initial employee onboarding, specific app registration, authentication, authorization and access management as their role evolves. SaaS or cloud identity governance platforms have various identity governance capabilities, but should touch on all areas of the IGA framework. These solutions can assist with not only the provisioning of things like privileged accounts, but reduce costs associated with manual processes. The right identity platform can intelligently manage many identity workflows with administration tools, plus help IT teams meet service level requirements they have within their companies.

Does an Identity Governance and Administration Solution Make Sense for Your Organization?

An IGA solution will give you a single point of control for all your identity management needs. While there is no perfect solution, the right set of apps will help to address authentication, authorization, provisioning, lifecycle management, data protection and governance within an organization. It is an absolute must for any enterprise organization. At the same time, the productivity, loss prevention and new opportunities resulting from compliance can help catapult smaller organizations to new heights.