Request A demo

Your office can be likened to a bustling city. Like cities utilizing gates and guards to fend off unwanted visitors, companies establish systems to prevent unauthorized data access. They also control the actions of permitted users in these systems. Here is where access certification software takes a pivotal role, acting as a checkpoint to ensure authorized access matches the designated personnel at the right time.

Access certification adds a crucial security layer that verifies access rights. This process is fundamental in upholding your organization’s data integrity, mitigating risks, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Regular checks on user access rights facilitate early detection and correction of potential anomalies.

Yet, choosing the right access certification software can be daunting, given the many options available. To aid your selection, we’ve assembled a checklist. This list encapsulates crucial features your software should possess, such as seamless system integration, comprehensive audit trails, and robust user access control mechanisms. Other considerations, including scalability, security, and vendor support, are also addressed.

We crafted this checklist to help you make an informed decision, ensuring your chosen software aligns with your organization’s unique needs.

Understanding Access Certification

Access certification, or access recertification, forms a crucial part of an organization’s identity and access management (IAM) strategy. It systematically checks the necessity and appropriateness of each user’s access rights based on their role. This process helps maintain a secure and compliant IT environment, protecting your organization from internal and external threats.

Why is this important?

Imagine an employee leaves your company, but their access rights to sensitive information remain active. This lingering access is a security risk that could lead to data breaches or non-compliance with regulations. Access certification helps avoid such situations by regularly auditing user privileges. This ensures only the necessary personnel have access to your company’s sensitive data.

Access certification also helps satisfy regulatory compliance. Standards and regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require organizations to control who can access specific data. Access certification aids compliance by providing evidence of proper access control.

Moreover, access certification can mitigate the risk of insider threats. Regular reviews can detect anomalies and revoke unnecessary access quickly, reducing the risk posed by disgruntled employees or contractors.

Access Certification Components

While each organization’s access certification process may differ, here are some fundamental components:

  • Identification of Access: The process starts with identifying who has access to systems, data, or physical locations.
  • Verification of Access: Next, it verifies if the identified access aligns with the user’s role and responsibilities.
  • Validation of Access: Then, it confirms whether the user still requires the access they have. If not, the access is revoked.
  • Documentation: Each step of the process is documented, serving as evidence of effective access control during audits.

Access certification can be labor-intensive, especially for large organizations. However, you can automate this process with the right software tool, making it more accurate, efficient, and less prone to human error. The aim is to ensure the right people have the right access at the right time.

Key Features of Access Certification Software

When selecting access certification software, consider three main features – compatibility with existing systems, thorough audit trails, and robust user access control mechanisms.

Compatibility with Existing Systems

Effective access certification software integrates effortlessly with your current systems. This feature eliminates the need for system modification or replacement, saving resources and time. Additionally, it enables centralized management of access certification, streamlining the monitoring process. This isn’t just about immediate functionality, but the adaptability to evolve with your organization’s needs.

In-depth Audit Trails

High-quality access certification software provides detailed audit trails, recording every action within the system – the who, what, when, and where of each event. These thorough records are crucial for maintaining security and regulatory compliance. They help during audits and can highlight irregularities, such as unauthorized access attempts, triggering an investigation. Thus, your software should offer easy-to-understand, detailed audit trails.

Cross-application Capabilities

In today’s multi-application environment, employees can access multiple applications to perform their jobs. Since these applications have their own security schema, they require creating independent user identities (separate user credentials). When processes are distributed across applications and users have multi-app access, the risk is now spread across applications, which cannot be detected through user certification of individual applications. Hence, it becomes critical for organizations to implement certification solutions with cross-app capabilities that provide a complete view of every access possessed by the user across applications.

Choosing Software: Beyond the Basics

While compatibility, audit trails, and user access control mechanisms are important, scalability and vendor support are equally critical in choosing the right access certification software. These features can determine your software’s long-term viability and effectiveness.


Your company will grow and change, leading to an influx of new users, applications, and data – all needing access rights management. The software you choose must handle this growth and adapt to future needs. With scalable access certification software, you can accommodate increased users, data, and systems, maintaining control amidst increasing complexity. This adaptability means you won’t need to reinvest in new software as your organization expands.

Scalability isn’t just about growth. It’s also about managing reductions in scale. If a department closes or a product line is discontinued, your software should allow for downscaling without issues.

Vendor Support

Consider the level of vendor support. Even user-friendly software can pose challenges, and reliable vendor support can make all the difference. Assess the vendor’s availability and the channels of support they offer, such as phone, email, or live chat. Vendors providing round-the-clock support can assist you whenever you need, regardless of your time zone.

Look for vendors committed to regular software updates that address security vulnerabilities, add new features, and improve system performance. This commitment shows the vendor’s dedication to providing a high-quality product.

Investigate whether the vendor provides resources like tutorials, knowledge bases, or forums. These can be crucial for learning the software and resolving issues.

Both features and support are equally important in software choices. Choose a vendor committed to helping you succeed. With these factors, alongside the key features previously discussed, you will be well-equipped to choose the best access certification software for your organization. This software will align with your unique needs and ensure robust access control.

Advancing Access Certification with Pathlock

Pathlock’s Certifications module automates the process of reviewing application access, which is often a long, labor-intensive process that is prone to human error. The module manages the entire review process, enables reviewers to make informed decisions on whether to confirm or revoke access, and provides the audit trail to prove recertifications have taken place.

With customizable, automated workflows, you can eliminate spreadsheets, buried emails, and chasing down absent-minded reviewers, which significantly reduces the time, effort, and cost of running recertification campaigns. The module allows role owners and supervisors to grant/remove specific user access directly without IT involvement. The customizable auto-lock also decertifies inactive users automatically.

Additionally, the cross-application support makes it easy for reviewers to get a full view of access usage while allowing campaign managers to run multi-application campaigns simultaneously. Pathlock enables you to perform multi-system access reviews simultaneously across business applications like SAP, Salesforce, Oracle EBS, and more.

Pathlock provides auditors with a single source of truth for all certification results to validate compliance and ensure that controls are being executed. Business users get context and visibility of all user roles across business applications and the ability to easily filter, sort, approve, and revoke access with a full audit trail.

Take an up-close look into how Pathlock creates an efficient and compliant certification process. Schedule a demo today.

Table of contents