Most organizations have experienced this scenario first-hand: a compliance audit is imminent and suddenly IT staff scramble to find out who has access to what data, who granted it and why. And on top of that, they have to prove to auditors that those privileges were subject to regular reviews. It’s a bit of a nightmare for organizations who have not yet employed a proper access management solution.
This article aims to take a closer look at the challenges of identity access management and to explain why doing it all manually may cost you far more than just a few resources.
Access Management: The Risks
Identity and access management is a multi-faceted chain of processes and very challenging to stay on top of. First off, we are going to explore what exactly makes access management so complex and why more and more businesses are opting to automate the processes involved.
Users usually don’t just have a one-fits-all user account, say, in the Active Directory. No, they will have multiple accounts across multiple systems –in Exchange, various business apps, the cloud, and more. If a user leaves the company, all of their user accounts must be identified and taken offline. If the user had different user names for different systems, identifying orphaned accounts is even more difficult.
Dynamic Processes and High Fluctuation
In most organizations, the motto is come and go. New people join, switch departments, work on different projects and leave again. Every one of these changes means there are privileges that need adapting. Users either require additional privileges or have their old ones removed. Keeping track of whether every single user really only has the privileges he or she needs for their job is a huge task that is, in fact, impossible to do manually.
Inadequate or Wrong Tools
The tools provided by Microsoft (Active Directory management console and NTFS settings) are not in any way suitable to fulfill the demands of the modern business world. They are unable to provide an overview of effective rights and have no reporting function. But the numbers of files, folders and data that need managing are ever-increasing, which means the problem is growing bigger, not smaller. One approach to flattening these numbers is by applying and sticking to the best practices.