Identity Governance
Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

What Is an Identity Administrator?

More apps, more problems? Learn how the right identity governance solution can streamline workflows, increase security, and save you countless headaches.

For Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, the need for identity governance is nothing new. It’s essential to optimizing operations and ensuring that cybersecurity vulnerabilities are minimized if not outright eliminated. Without an effective identity governance framework—and the right tools for the job—an organization’s IT team can become buried in access review requests and other details of the job. 

That’s because each application a company uses (and the average organization uses over 100) brings with it a wide range of tasks related to configuring the right permissions. Not only that, but every time an employee changes roles—or the needs of the business change—they’ll need their access controls updated.

This isn’t particularly difficult, but it is tedious, time-consuming, and requires an attention to detail. For just a handful of employees this might be feasible with a manual approach, but as an organization scales, it becomes much more difficult to keep up.

In this article, we’re going to look at the role played by an organization’s identity administrator, the tools used for identity governance and administration (IGA), and how to find the best identity governance and administration vendors to work with.

What Is Identity Governance and Administration?

Identity governance and administration (IGA) is a framework for configuring and managing user account details and access controls across an organization. It involves a wide range of processes, like: 

  • Onboarding new employees.
  • Setting up user accounts for various SaaS platforms.
  • Adjusting or removing access to certain apps or systems as employees’ roles change or they leave the company.

What Is the Difference between IAM and IGA?

It primarily comes down to their scope and objectives. Even when you try to sort out their responsibilities, you’ll find that the two are very strongly connected, with IAM considered a subset or component of a broader IGA program. 

Within any organization, there may be a single “identity administrator” or a team or committee—either way, IAM and IGA are better thought of as two sides of the same coin rather than competing priorities.

What Are the Four Components of an Identity and Access Management System?

While no two programs will be identical, virtually every successful program addresses four key components of identity and access management:

  1. Identity Lifecycle Management: This involves creating digital user identities, as well as managing who can access certain applications or systems—from each individual’s initial onboarding through the moment they leave the company. 
  1. Access Control: Setting specific policies on a per-user or per-app basis is the best way to ensure that security vulnerabilities are minimized and companies can reduce their software spend by deactivating users that don’t need access to certain programs.
  1. Authentication and Authorization: Specific access controls are only effective if users are properly authenticated (they are who they say they are) and authorized for use. Common authentication measures include multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO).
  1. Identity Governance: Identity and access management is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing—rather, it requires a framework for ongoing monitoring and vigilance. Monitoring how users are accessing and interacting with different systems helps ensure that an organization’s cybersecurity posture remains consistent as users or roles change over time.

What Is the Role of an Identity Management Manager?

An identity management manager basically serves as the coordinator for all things IGA—including identity and access management, a vital subset of broader IGA functions. So, what does an identity access manager do, exactly? While their exact responsibilities will vary depending on the organization’s size and priorities, this role is typically tasked with things like:

  • Creating policies for verifying and managing user identities across various applications.
  • Implementing systems and policies for access reviews and provisioning.
  • Monitoring key applications and systems in order to identify and mitigate potential risks.
  • Evaluating SaaS platforms and vendors to ensure that the company leverages the best tools for the job.

Which Tool Is Used for Identity Governance and Administration?

As you can imagine, if identity administrators had to perform their entire scope of work manually, it would take an incredible amount of time and effort. Setting up access controls is just the start of their work, after all. 

Once the right access management protocols are in place, administrators still have to be vigilant in maintaining them. As roles change, every impacted application’s permissions and controls will need to be added, removed, or updated, for example. 

Lumos Brings Together the Best Identity Governance Tools for Administrators

A platform like Lumos enables administrators with the identity governance and administration tools they need to configure and manage access controls, empowering them to:

  • Reduce their SaaS costs and overall software spend.
  • Enhance their access governance capabilities.
  • Streamline the process of user access reviews.
  • Automate workflows for employee on- and offboarding.
  • Provide employees with automated self-service options.

We’ve helped companies across many different industries to improve their security while reducing costs. To learn more and see the platform in action, book a demo today!