Identity Governance Solutions

Explore the nuances of identity governance and administration, learn how to develop an IGA strategy and pick the right IGA solution.

by Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

Table of Contents

Navigating the complex world of cybersecurity can feel like trying to find your way through the labyrinth. That’s why you need a good identity governance strategy (and the tech used to implement it)—this is your ball of thread that leads you back to safety, easily avoiding the monster of unchecked user access…okay, okay, this analogy is getting out of control…

Here at Lumos, we’re proud to offer features that streamline the tedious tasks of access requests, user reviews, and policy enforcement. Our IGA solution helps businesses across the spectrum, from small startups to large enterprises, implement and enforce excellent identity governance practices. And we’re here to help you too! In this short guide, we’ll cover what an identity governance and administration (IGA) strategy is and help you determine what IGA solution will work best for you.

What Is Identity Governance and Administration?

According to Gartner, identity governance and administration is the “process of managing digital identities and their access to various applications and systems.” In short, IGA is simply the rules, steps, and tech tools that your company can use to control access to your system. Imagine you’re playing  Dungeons and Dragons—IGA is essentially your “Dungeon Master,” the person who knows the guidebook front to back and tells your party what they can or can’t do (whether they listen is a whole other story…).

What Is the Difference Between Identity Management and Identity Governance?

Going back to Gartner, the difference is highlighted as: “IGA differs from IAM in that it allows organizations to not only define and enforce IAM policy, but also connect IAM functions to meet audit and compliance requirements.” So, when comparing identity governance and administration vs identity and access management, the key thing to remember is the focus:

  • Identity management is focused on all the aspects of controlling digital identities and user access.
  • Identity governance is focused on all the aspects of carrying out and enforcing policies and procedures around digital identities and user access.

You’ll notice that these concepts are closely linked, and that sometimes their definitions overlap. You’ll also often find these two concepts working together!

What Is an Identity Governance and Administration Strategy?

An IGA strategy, sometimes called an identity governance framework, involves defining the policies and processes and selecting the technology that you’ll use to control how identities are created, managed, and used across your organization. The ultimate goal? Making sure each and every employee—from the intern to your CEO—has the right level of access to your system.

How Do I Develop an IGA Strategy?

To develop a comprehensive IGA strategy, you’ll need to take several steps:

  1. Assess Your Current IGA Practices: Start by evaluating what is currently in place. Are there gaps or weaknesses in how digital identities are managed? Don’t forget to check on both your provision and de-provisioning workflows. You’ll need to understand how access is currently granted, reviewed, and revoked.
  2. Define Your Goals and Objectives: You’ll want to clearly outline what you want to achieve with this strategy. For example, if you found that your current practices are too lax, you might want to focus on increasing security. Or, maybe you realized that you haven’t had an audit in awhile and you need to ensure that your company is staying compliant with regulations like HIPAA. Perhaps you simply want to improve operational efficiency since you noticed your IT team is completely bogged down with routine access requests.
  3. Map Out The Lifecycle: Plot out the ideal lifecycle for digital identities, from creation to deletion. This will help you in the next steps!
  4. Develop Policies and Procedures: Using your goals and lifecycle, create policies that include access control processes, regular access reviews, and protocols for responding to security incidents.
  1. Select the Right IGA Solution: It will be pretty difficult to carry out this strategy without technology to support it. Look for tools that include automation and reporting capabilities. (More on how to select an IGA solution in a moment!)
  2. Implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Define the roles within your organization and determine what level of access is appropriate for each. RBAC is an excellent way to simplify the management of user permissions, since you can simply select the group of permissions for each employee rather than having to manage each individual user’s access manually.
  3. Train and Educate Your Team: People pay attention to things they care about, and it’s part of a good IGA strategy to help employees care about cybersecurity. It’s important to convey why they need to create secure passwords, use authorized devices or two-factor authentication, watch out for phishing attempts, go through the correct process to request access rights to a resource, etc etc etc.
  4. Conduct Regular Access Reviews: As the great sci-fi writer Octavia E. Butler once wrote, “the only lasting truth is Change.” You should establish a routine for reviewing and certifying access rights, because things will always shift. Employees get hired, promoted, quit, moved to different teams…it’s important to regularly review to make sure users have access only to the resources they need for their current role and responsibilities.
  5. Monitor and Audit: Along with auditing permissioning, you should continuously monitor access patterns and review audit logs to look for any unusual activity or policy violations. This is vital for identifying potential security risks and ensuring compliance with your IGA policies.
  6. Iterate and Improve: Your IGA strategy shouldn’t be “set-it-and-forget-it!” Get in the habit now of reviewing and updating your IGA policies, practices, and tools to adapt to new cyberthreats, shifting regulatory requirements, and changing business needs.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to create a robust framework that not only secures your systems, but also supports operational efficiency and compliance.

What Is an Identity Governance Solution?

An IGA solution is a specific technology that is designed to manage and secure digital identities across your organization’s system. Without the right IGA solution, you’re potentially opening your business up to issues like:

  • Increased security risks due to lack of control over who can access your data and system, like over-provisioning users or failing to de-provision former employees.
  • Compliance issues and inadequate audit trails which could lead to legal penalties and fines.
  • Operational inefficiencies with manual workflows, causing downtime for employees and overburdening your IT team, diverting them from other critical tasks.

Implementing an IGA solution helps mitigate these risks by providing the right tools for carrying out a robust IGA strategy.

What Is an Identity Management Solution?

An identity management solution is sometimes used as another name for an IGA solution, or can refer to a technology used to manage individual identities. The difference between an identity management solution and an IGA solution often revolves around the functionalities—IGA solutions typically offer a broader set of capabilities designed to ensure compliance with policies and regulations, manage risks, and enforce consistent access controls across your organization.

What Should I Look for in Identity Governance Solutions?

When evaluating identity governance and administration tools, you’ll want to look for a solution that includes:

  • Comprehensive Capabilities: You need a solution that isn’t just a one-trick pony. IGA covers a wide range of users and activities, so look for a solution that can handle all the users, applications, workflows, and data that your organization has to manage. (Good thing you’ve already assessed your needs when developing your IGA strategy!)
  • Role-Based Access Control Functionality: This is a basic requirement—RBAC is vital for streamlining your IGA workflows. You need to be able to define roles within your organization and assign access rights based on these roles.
  • Customizable Access Request and Approval Workflows: A robust solution will allow you to set up customized workflows for requesting and approving access. This is essential for streamlining your process and reducing errors that could put your organization at risk.
  • Self-Service Options: Look for a platform that allows users to manage certain aspects of their own digital identity—like the ability to look through a catalog of your tech stack and request access to apps that they need. This can help reduce your IT team’s workload and improve user satisfaction.
  • Advanced Analytics: To make data-based decisions, you need data that you can use to find patterns and potential risks. Be sure to evaluate the reports and dashboards you’ll have available to you!
  • Easy Audit and Compliance Reporting: Auditing is stressful enough without having to wade through six different reports to pull together the right information. Look for a solution that has auditing reports baked into the functionality.
  • Integration Capabilities: You’ll need to hook up your IGA solution to your existing tech stack in order for this to work. Be sure to check that the solution can integrate easily with your organization’s technology ecosystem.
  • A User-Friendly Interface: It should go without saying, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. Even in today’s day and age, there are definitely solutions out there that aren’t intuitive enough. Be sure to look for a solution that is simple to learn and use.
  • Scalability: Remember that “change” thing? Your organization is going to do just that. You need an identity governance solution that can grow right along with you. Be sure to consider the IGA solution’s performance and scalability as part of your selection process.
  • A Reputable Vendor: It’s important to look for a vendor who will be a great partner on your IGA journey. We’ll dive deeper on this in the next section.

How Do I Choose an Identity Governance and Administration Vendor?

Choosing the right identity governance and administration vendor involves carefully evaluating your specific needs, the vendor’s capabilities, and the overall value proposition. In order to make an informed decision, you should:

  • Review Your Needs: You’re looking for a great match here, so be sure to go over your IGA strategy before looking at what vendors have to offer. It’s easy to get caught up in all the shiny bells-and-whistles, but stay focused on what you need for your unique situation.
  • Research Vendors: It’s important to consider the vendor’s reputation before jumping into a partnership. Look for customer testimonials and reviews, case studies, recommendations, and industry reports to gauge the vendor’s reliability and the satisfaction of their current customers.
  • Evaluate Feature Sets: Compare the different functionalities of the solutions you’re considering. Don’t forget to look for: some text
    • Strong security features
    • Scalability and flexibility
    • Integration capabilities

and all the other features from the list above.

  • Consider the Total Cost of Ownership: It’s important to evaluate implementation costs, ongoing licensing fees, maintenance costs, and any additional expenses for support and upgrades. On the other side of the coin, be sure to also consider how much money you’ll save through improving operational efficiency (and avoiding any fines or fees for compliance infractions!).
  • Request a Demo: You’ll want to get a hands-on understanding of how the solution will fit your needs and determine if it’s user-friendly enough for your team.

Selecting the right identity governance solution and vendor requires finding the right mix of features and level of support. With the two lists above, you can choose a solution (and vendor!) that will protect your business and support your growth and evolution.

Get IGA Right With Lumos

In wrapping up our exploration of identity governance solutions, it has hopefully become clear how the right strategy and the right tool can help your organization make sure the right user has the right level of access to the right resources at the right time. Our IGA solution is a game-changer for businesses looking to secure their digital spaces effectively and efficiently. Brian McGuiness from Chegg shared how Lumos helped turn things around for them, cutting down on IT headaches by 99%! It’s like giving your IT team a magic wand to zap away routine tasks, letting them focus on more strategic initiatives.
We’re not only about quick operational fixes though. We’re about making everything smooth and secure—from automating access reviews for standards like SOX and SOC 2 to enabling employees to handle their own access requests with a few clicks. And it doesn’t stop there. Want to set up multi-stage approval workflows? Check. Ready to make onboarding and offboarding easy as pie? Double-check.
Patrick Achuff’s take on Lumos says it all: our solution is user-friendly and gets you where you need to be fast. With Lumos, companies aren’t just speeding up ticket times; they’re keeping the digital doors locked tight, only allowing authorized users into the party.

Still not convinced? Check out our free calculator to get an idea of how much you could save with Lumos—or book a demo to see us in action!  If you’re ready to get it right, it’s time to choose Lumos.