How Identity and Access Management addresses data security and productivity challenges
There must be an emphasis on the identity and access management solution to balance the convenience that users demand with the data protection that organizations (and governing bodies) require.
By Venkatesh Swaminathan
The ever-growing digital business ecosystem, where the components that facilitate the information flow both within and outside the organization, is continuously on the edge from attacks and misuse. Enterprises must ensure data security, but the mechanisms must not be a hindrance to business stakeholders attempting to access the IT infrastructure.
While walking this middle path, there must be an emphasis on the identity and access management solution to balance the convenience that users demand with the data protection that organizations (and governing bodies) require. Consider a solution that delivers:
Enhancing Decision-Making & Productivity:
Businesses now operate in a rapid-fire mode with every second of time crucial to the organization’s overall business operations. Under such circumstances, quick decision-making holds the key and may even be considered a competitive advantage. It is, therefore, imperative to deploy an identity and access management system that allows users quick access to information resources, while securing unauthorized access. Users who wait days or weeks for access to applications or information lose productivity, as they sit idle. Companies, such as NetIQ, have made this feature possible by automating the identity and access provisioning process, thereby eliminating the manual back-end processes required otherwise.
Quick Access Revocation:
According to “Investing into Asia’s Reform Landscape: Asia’s Business Outlook Survey 2014,” a report by The Economist, “companies operating in the fastest-growing economies, notably China, India and South-east Asia, had to cope with double-digit staff turnover rates.” As noted in the report, staff turnover rates in India have steadily risen since 2012. With large organizations experiencing a significant amount of workforce turnover as an ongoing trend every month, organizations face a risk of data loss. This scenario calls for reducing the risk by having an effective, automated process for quickly revoking access of employees who have left the organization. This is also relevant when there are internal manpower movements within the same organization and access to sensitive information is no longer necessary.
Access providers should design the solution in such a way that people get access to resources only as required, typically referred to as the least-privilege principle. The way to do this is by granting and enforcing the minimal access and administrative rights that a particular user would require to get their jobs done, but this is difficult in practice. It is far easier for administrators to give blanket rights to an individual rather than narrow their privileges. And as employees change jobs, they tend to gather additional privileges that are no longer needed. Solution providers such as NetIQ enable business managers (not just the administrators) to review all access rights across the organization and certify their use along with automating changes across the organization.
Moreover, there is a need to take care of the multiple overlapping identities across the organization. This can be achieved by keeping the overlapping identities consistent and synchronized so as to ensure consistent policy and prevent gaps in the organization’s secure access strategy.
Modern identity and access management is an integral part of securing sensitive information. Done right, it has the ability to not only enhance security, but keep users happy and productive as well.
The author is Country Head – India (Novell, NetIQ, SUSE & Attachmate).