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User access reviews are often a tedious, manual exercise that organizations must undertake on a regular basis. While it is important from a compliance and risk perspective, going through the access recertification cycle using spreadsheets and email exchanges can be time-consuming and error-prone, especially in a multi-application environment.

While some applications like SAP or Oracle EBS have native access review capabilities, using a siloed, disjointed review process across your application landscape only adds complexity to an already difficult process. Many organizations are now turning to a centralized, cross-application solution to help simplify this process. Here are five best practices to consider in your journey to a more holistic, efficient, and simplified access review process:

1. Prioritize Application Rollout by Business Function

In many cases, the roles that need to be reviewed are defined by the security models in the target applications. However, this can often be too technical for the manager/approver to understand, resulting in wrong decision-making when it comes to managing roles and access. When planning your deployment roadmap, it is a best practice to weigh the alignment between applications and the business functions that fall under them so that your solution has the largest, most immediate impact. With the various roles (and security models) that must be reviewed, a centralized solution makes it easier for business managers to make accurate decisions in the review process.

2. Use Granular Segmentation

While conducting regular access reviews is a best practice for all users, the fact is that specific departments, applications, or user groups need to be prioritized based on the criticality of the access they possess and/or compliance regulations. The ability to focus your campaign on a specific set of users that you care about or a particular department in your organization allows you to review high-risk groups or roles more frequently, while reviewing the low-risk users with potentially non-critical access can be done less often. Using this approach you can net an increase in risk reduction and net decrease in effort spent on reviews.

3. Provide Context to Help Reviewers

Most organizations and the departments within them operate in multi-application environments. Since reviewers have a more extensive application landscape to consider, providing detailed usage insights helps them easily determine whether a particular access is necessary. Being able to view usage data at the account level, role level, and even at the functional level, including information like the last use date and the frequency of a function or activity usage, enables reviewers to make a more informed decision about revoking or keeping access. When expanding access reviews across multiple applications, this context is crucial to helping reviewers navigate what might otherwise be a more complex experience.

4. Enable Automation Throughout the Review Process

Traditionally, all current access is populated in a master spreadsheet, parts of which are shared with the relevant reviewers via email. The sheet is then updated once responses have been received. The entire process can sometimes take months, not to mention the manual errors which creep in. Automation can largely eliminate the back-and-forth communication and give reviewers the ability to remove access for a specific user with one click. The entire process can be automatically documented, making it easier for auditors to make assessments and provide evidence of compliance.

5. Incorporate Cross-Application SOD rulesets

Users today have roles assigned to them across different applications. This means the risk is distributed across applications and authorizations need to be assessed and reviewed not only for individual applications but also in cases where processes are spread across two or more applications. During the review process, visibility into both single-app and cross-app risk, SoD risk, and critical access risk provide context to the reviewers to make more informed decisions.

Pathlock’s Access Certification module enables you to implement the above-mentioned best practices by leveraging automation and cross-app review capabilities. The customizable workflows eliminate spreadsheets, buried emails, and chasing down absent-minded reviewers, which significantly reduces the time, effort, and cost of running recertification campaigns. It provides a single source of truth for auditors and enables reviewers to grant or revoke access with a single click.

Watch our on-demand webinar on the 5 Best Practices for Expanding User Access Reviews Across Your Application Landscape to understand how Pathlock automates and simplifies the entire access review process to save time, effort, and cost.

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