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Do You Have an Effective IAM Solution? 5 Ways to Improve Your Strategy

Implementing and managing an effective identity and access management (IAM) strategy is important for every business today. IAM solutions offer the ability to automate labor intensive processes such as onboarding and offboarding employees, managing permissions effectively when employees change roles within the organization, and ensuring appropriate access is granted for the employee’s role while maintaining an audit trail along the way. Essentially, an IAM solution empowers your business to standardize how you provide process governance. A strong IAM solution in place will enable your company to execute on its business strategy, minimize security risk, and in some cases, save money.

IAM solutions are not new. However, until recently they did not deliver the ROI that companies expected. This happened for a number or reasons, including difficult implementations, complicated customization requirements, and a lack of organizational alignment around the new software and processes. Another issue businesses faced was the inability to manage third-party non-employees, such as contractors and vendors within their IAM solution.

Fortunately, today there are new solutions that address these challenges helping businesses effectively manage employees and non-employees alike. As with any solution, it is only as good as the strategies you put in place to ensure the IAM solution is successful. An effective strategy combined with the correct technical components are essential to a successful IAM solution.

Here are 5 of the most important components of a strong IAM strategy

1. Implement a Third Party Identity Management Strategy

Contractors and vendors are an increasingly large part of our workforce today but surprisingly most organizations have no effective way of managing this growing population. One of the reasons for this is that there is no one department that is accountable for the management and maintenance of non-employees. The first step to ensuring your company has an effective third party management solution is assigning an internal stakeholder to be held accountable for the non-employee population. Second, there must be a reliable and comprehensive authoritative source for every identity, internal employees and third parties. This will allow you to establish visibility into every identity and ensure that access is granted based on attributes that are related to each identity. If this authoritative source of identities is incomplete or unreliable, access and everything downstream is negatively affected. Typically, this is more of an issue for the third party population that is not managed in an HR system. A third party IAM integration, such as NE Profile, which manages and controls the full lifecycle of non-employee identities, can solve this third party problem and fill the gaping hole that most IAM software has today.

2. Create Organizational Alignment

It is critical, when implementing an IAM strategy, that the entire organization understands its importance and how this process will work. Getting buy in across the business is crucial. To achieve this, and convince management that an IAM strategy is necessary, it is important to align the benefits of your IAM strategy with the business’ overall strategic objectives. But perhaps just as important is ensuring that human resources and the IT department are working together and are in agreement on how the entire identity lifecycle will function.

3. Fully Understand Business Critical Roles

Understanding each individual role and what access each role requires is crucial to an effective IAM strategy. This is especially important when it comes to business critical roles such as call center representative, claims analyst or actuary, just to name a few examples.

4. Assign Levels of Risk from the Start

Understand the risk of an identity before you create an account for that employee or non-employee. That way if you have a high-risk identity you can ratchet up the controls around that identity by implementing more robust auditing and logging, limiting access and removing download ability. When risk is assessed from the start, everything that comes next can be based on that initial risk rating. On the other hand, the way it is currently done, creating a batch of blanket identities and worrying about the risk later, compromises the security of the business.

5. Embrace Change

Change can be hard. Especially in large organizations where processes and procedures have been in place for years. But in order to grow, companies need to change and evolve. A part of that evolution might be adopting a new IAM strategy or implementing one for the first time. In order for that IAM strategy to be successful, each member of the organization needs to embrace change. More often than not a new IAM solution is going to be intrusive and force people to change the way they operate. However, if IAM is done correctly it will also give your organization the power to drastically improve internal processes, including onboarding, offboarding, termination, data security and more. For change to work it is important that the organization understand what an IAM solution is and what it is not. It is not like a firewall, a one-time set it and forget it fix. An IAM strategy will be constantly evolving if the company is willing to get behind it, growing as the company grows. To have a successful IAM implementation there must be an organizational culture change — one that will be enabled by technology but depend on each employee.

 

Need more advice on implementing an effective and modern IAM strategy? At SecZetta we have been implementing IAM software for over two decades. Today we sell the first and only third party identity management software solution on the market. Contact us if you would like to speak with one of our identity and access experts.