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Jayne Hallock
August 15th, 2017

As an increasing number of organizations are required to comply with industry regulations, the need for access governance has grown. Through access governance, IT and security management can reduce the risks associated with incorrect or unnecessary end user access to sensitive data.

The best way to keep your network secure is to ensure that the right people – and only those people – within the organization have access to the resources they need to do their job. To improve the security of your data, your Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution needs to have comprehensive access management and identity policies.

Clear IAM policies will help you specify what actions you will allow, what resources you permit the action on and what effect the policy has on the user request for access — to allow or deny. The following best practices will improve your policies and identity management:

Prioritize processes

Employing IAM provides a built-in best practice to improve procedures for provisioning and deprovisioning user accounts. To make your identity management solution even more effective, prioritize your processes. For instance, you could place an emphasis on authorized accounts first. Some organizations start with the security team and build from there.

Use least privilege

Identities are used to access sensitive resources inside and outside the perimeter. Least privilege improves security by only allowing users the privileges that are absolutely necessary to get the job done. An IAM policy generator can assist in determining what specific programs and identity policies should be permitted by individual users.

Improve authentication

Passwords alone aren’t sufficient to protect your data. A hacker with stolen credentials can spoof an identity, or an insider who finds an authorized user’s password written on a notepad can gain access to sensitive data. Two-factor authentication methods, like a token or a code sent by SMS, are proven to stop a good percentage of unintentional access. All passwords should be strong and be required to be changed regularly.

Focus on job functions, not people

Rather than connect access permissions to individuals who may leave the organization or have a shift in job duties, link the permissions directly to the specific job function. This will help avoid privilege creep and orphaned accounts, especially if access governance is slow to respond to personnel changes.

Implement a dynamic review process

Nothing stays the same, and this is especially true in identity management. New employees are hired while others leave, or a promotion can mean a higher level of access is needed. A select team within the organization should be tasked with regularly reviewing who has access permissions and determine if the right people have access to the right data and files. Having a dynamic review process keeps all access current and lowers potential security risks.

Following a standard of best practices outlined in these policies will help lower risks, improve the ability to pass security audits, and improve both data and cloud security.

Simeio Solutions is the leading provider of Managed Identity as a Service (IDaaS). Simeio Solutions provides the industry’s most complete set of enterprise-grade security and identity capabilities as a managed service, including: Identity Administration; Access Governance; Privileged Identity Management; Access Management & Federation; Core Directory Services; Security & Risk Intelligence; Data Security & Loss Prevention; and Cloud Security. Contact us for more information.