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In today’s dynamic business environments, maintaining secure and efficient access to applications and data is paramount. Access certifications play a critical role in ensuring that user permissions are regularly reviewed and updated to meet audit compliance standards. However, traditional certification processes often fall short in addressing key risk factors associated with user access. This is where Pathlock’s Application Access Governance (AAG) steps in, adding a much-needed layer of risk management to the certification process.

The Challenge of Access Certifications

Access certifications are designed to revalidate user permissions on a regular basis. This is essential for maintaining audit compliance and ensuring that users only have access to the resources necessary for their roles. Initially, when access is provisioned, it is typically reviewed and approved based on the user’s job responsibilities. However, over time, as users change positions or their responsibilities evolve, their access needs may change. This can lead to “stale access” – permissions that are no longer needed but remain active.

Despite adhering to the least privilege model, where users are granted the minimum access required for their roles, organizations often find that some users never fully utilize the access they are given. This misalignment between granted permissions and actual usage can pose significant security risks. Certifications aim to mitigate these risks by identifying and removing stale or unused access.

The Limitations of Traditional IGA Solutions

Identity Governance Administration (IGA) solutions facilitate access certifications by providing detailed information about user access. They typically offer insights such as:

  • The user’s assigned access
  • The last login time
  • The last time the access was used
  • Comparisons of the user’s access to their peer group

While this information is valuable, it lacks two critical components: actual usage and risk assessment. Traditional IGA solutions do not account for the potential risks associated with retaining certain access permissions, and lack the fine-grained permissions reporting capabilities to show usage data for multiple applications. This is where AAG can make a significant impact.

Introducing Pathlock AAG: Adding the Risk Perspective

Pathlock’s Application Access Governance (AAG) product enhances the traditional certification process by incorporating a risk-based approach. AAG considers not only whether access is actively utilized and typical for the user but also evaluates the risk associated with retaining that access. This risk assessment includes factors such as:

  • Segregation of Duties (SoD) Risks: Identifying conflicts where a user’s access might violate SoD principles, potentially leading to fraudulent activities.
  • Highly Sensitive Access Risks: Evaluating whether the access grants users control over highly sensitive data or critical systems.
  • Usage Frequency and Peer Comparisons: Assessing how frequently the user utilizes the access and comparing it with the access patterns of peers in similar roles

By integrating these risk factors, AAG provides a comprehensive view that helps decision-makers understand the full implications of retaining certain access permissions. This approach ensures that certifications are not only about compliance but also about minimizing risk exposure.

How AAG Impacts Access Certifications

Having a risk perspective on user access during the certification process offers several advantages:

  1. Enhanced Risk Awareness: AAG highlights the potential risks associated with user access, enabling organizations to make more informed decisions.
  2. Improved Compliance: By incorporating risk assessments, organizations can ensure that their access certifications meet both compliance requirements and internal security standards.
  3. Reduced Risk Exposure: Regularly reviewing and adjusting access based on risk factors helps minimize the organization’s overall risk exposure.
  4. Better Resource Utilization: AAG ensures that users only retain access they actively use and need, leading to more efficient resource allocation.

Go Beyond IGA with Pathlock

Access certifications are a critical component of maintaining secure and compliant IT environments. However, to truly maximize their effectiveness, organizations need to go beyond traditional IGA solutions and incorporate a risk-based approach. Application Access Governance (AAG) by Pathlock provides this by adding a crucial layer of risk and usage assessment to the certification process.

By doing so, AAG not only helps organizations identify and remove stale or unused access but also enhances their ability to manage and mitigate risks associated with user permissions. This comprehensive approach ensures that access certifications are not only about validating access but also about safeguarding the organization against potential security threats.

Get in touch with us today to learn how Pathlock’s Zero Risk approach can enhance your IGA initiatives.

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