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In today’s world, keeping sensitive data safe is more important than ever. One way large and medium-sized businesses do this is by using an Application Access Governance (AAG) solution. This solution helps ensure that only the right people can access important information, which is crucial for keeping data secure, ensuring regulatory compliance, and mitigating access risks.

When a company gets a new system for controlling application access, they might be tempted to start using it right away to provision users. However, it’s better to first conduct a baseline risk analysis and address any issues before starting the provisioning process. This proactive approach to access governance, rooted in thorough analysis and risk mitigation, is essential to navigating cybersecurity’s complex and ever-evolving landscape. Skipping this step can lead to serious problems like hackers getting into the system, non-compliance, and damage to the company’s reputation.

What Is an Access Risk Analysis

An access risk analysis (ARA) is a process that identifies and evaluates the risks associated with user access to systems and data. It is an essential step in implementing an effective AAG solution.

The process of analyzing access risks involves using a risk owner dashboard that can be tailored to focus on user risk counts based on different criteria such as application, department, and business process. A risk report provides details on single, multiple, or cross-application risks, which can be ranked as high, medium, or low. The report also shows how the risks align with various regulatory compliance frameworks, including SOX and GDPR. All of these features can be customized to suit the organization’s priorities and help speed up the identification and risk remediation.  

Pathlock offers a flexible simulation engine that can forecast risk changes at the business role, technical role, or user level across applications. Before and after views include usage analytics of would-be business impact.

The Importance of Access Risk Analysis Before User Provisioning

Just like you wouldn’t set off on a long car journey without ensuring that all critical parts of your vehicle work flawlessly to keep you safe, you shouldn’t start provisioning users with an AAG product without conducting a thorough access risk analysis. Failing to do so poses a significant threat to your company’s overall security and compliance posture. In many cases, the effectiveness of these AAG solutions is contingent upon taking this critical step.

Risk and compliance managers must understand the crucial role ARA plays in strengthening their organization’s cybersecurity defenses, ensuring regulatory adherence, and protecting against reputational damage. Conducting a thorough access risk analysis yields many additional benefits.

Six Benefits of Performing an ARA Before Provisioning

Enhanced Security and Authorized Access

Conducting a thorough analysis of application risks can significantly reduce the chances of security breaches. By having a comprehensive understanding of potential access risks, organizations can ensure that user permissions are managed securely, preventing unauthorized access and data exposure. A preemptive ARA enables companies to accurately tailor user privileges, thus safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of critical information. It also helps identify and close gaps that cyber threats could exploit.

Assured Regulatory Compliance

When it comes to businesses, conforming to regulatory frameworks is of utmost importance. Conducting a comprehensive ARA ensures that AAG solutions align with industry-specific regulations such as GDPR, FERPA, ITAR, or SOX. This helps avoid severe penalties and legal consequences. Organizations can maintain their corporate reputation and avoid legal and financial repercussions by clearly understanding access permissions and potential compliance requirements.

Optimized Resource Utilization

Managing resources effectively is crucial due to the scarcity of cybersecurity skills. ARA allows organizations to give internal audit and IT security teams the tools they need to complete the review without spending a significant amount of time manually gathering and reviewing access risks only to find the results technically insufficient. By granting only necessary privileges aligned with users’ roles, companies can improve productivity, reduce the risk of errors, and prevent misuse of privileged information, resulting in a balanced workload and efficient use of skills and technology.

Guaranteed Data Integrity

The integrity of enterprise data is critical to operations and maintaining stakeholder trust. A comprehensive ARA policy ensures access is structured to preserve data integrity. This proactive measure helps to prevent unintentional or malicious changes of critical information, thereby avoiding internal fraud resulting in financial or data losses and sustaining the reliability and trustworthiness of the organization’s information assets.

Strengthened Reputational Standing

A proactive ARA before implementing an AAG solution can be instrumental in upholding an organization’s reputation. By identifying and mitigating access risks in advance, companies can avoid incidents that may harm customer trust and investor confidence. This proactive approach helps maintain a positive corporate image, bolstering stakeholder confidence and safeguarding against reputational damage.

Reduced Operational Costs

Proactively mitigating access risks through ARA before user provisioning can lead to significant cost savings. By preventing unauthorized access from the beginning, organizations can avoid the costly and resource-intensive processes involved in remediation efforts. This preemptive strategy limits the need for post-incident investigations, legal actions, and potential fines, thereby protecting the organization’s budget and contributing positively to the bottom line.

Your AAG Solution with Built-In ARA

Access Risk Analysis (ARA) is essential for robust Application Access Governance (AAG), enabling organizations to preemptively protect against cyber threats and maintain compliance. Implementing ARA before provisioning enhances security, assures regulatory alignment, and supports data integrity, bolstering the company’s reputation while reducing costs. Pathlock’s AAG product, with its integrated ARA module, offers automated, customizable rulesets that streamline access risk management, underscoring the importance of ARA in today’s digital security landscape.

Pathlock’s Access Risk Analysis module can help you get started on the right foot and continuously monitor your risk exposure to keep your organization safe.

Contact us for a customized demo to take your first steps toward proactive access governance.

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