Enhancing Cybersecurity With Robust Identity Governance Processes

Protecting data and reducing risk with strong cybersecurity processes is challenging for any organization. Identity governance enables organizations to manage user accounts, entitlements and risk, strengthening security, compliance and data integrity.

An effective IGA solution combines the least privilege best practices with business processes (access certification, access request and password management). It automates these tasks with intelligence to reduce costs and increase security.


Authentication ensures that only authorized users can access your organization’s sensitive information and systems. It’s an important first step to protecting data from cyber threats and preventing leaks. In addition, it can help to meet regulatory compliance standards and avoid hefty penalties.

Strong authentication measures, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), use multiple verification factors, typically including something you know, something you have, and something you are to verify identity. This is especially important to mitigate security risks and protect against phishing attacks, brute force hacks, and other malicious attacks.

Another critical component of an effective identity governance strategy is adherence to the principle of least privilege. Over time, identities accumulate privileged access to applications and data. A well-designed access certification process streamlines reviewing, requesting and approving permits while minimizing risk.

An integrated CIAM solution provides a centralized platform to manage identities and access privileges across the enterprise, ensuring that only authorized users can gain access. This reduces risk and helps you comply with regulations while fostering a culture of identity governance awareness and accountability. For example, you can set up processes to automatically approve new user accounts and review account access continuously. You can also create workflows to escalate or deny requests based on security concerns automatically.

Access Control

Authentication is the first step in access control, regulating how people access your company’s network, systems, data and applications. This can be done through discretionary access control (DAC), where a system administrator sets permissions, or mandatory access control (MAC), where a central authority regulates information clearance.

Identity governance and administration (IGA) is the second key component of cybersecurity that helps ensure your organization protects user credentials from cyber thieves. It offers consistent business processes for granting and revoking passwords, and it supports role-based access control (RBAC), which defines user roles based on job functions and then assigns those roles initial access privileges.

It also helps companies automate the process of reviewing and certifying user access. This helps reduce the cost of compliance and management effort while providing a repeatable, auditable practice that reduces risk.

Effective identity governance processes deliver centralized visibility, segregation of duties, role management, attestation and analytics. They also prevent teams from rubber-stamping approvals and provide workflows informing users about the access request and its impact on productivity and security. With a growing number of apps, systems and devices in use in a diverse mix of on-premises and cloud environments, IGA solutions need to have the capability to scale up to manage tens of millions of access privileges across multiple systems.

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Privileged access management (PAM) adds a critical layer of protection to your cybersecurity defenses. It helps prevent privileged access from getting out of control, which can lead to a data loss incident or breach. PAM solutions typically incorporate tactics like privileged account password management, least privilege enforcement, and granular visibility to the secret access attack surface.

PAM differs from Identity and Access Management (IAM) in that it focuses on protecting a specific group of users rather than a broad group. However, many IAM solutions can be part of a PAM program.

Older PAM solutions often took a vault-centric approach, storing all privileged accounts in a vault and only providing a means to manage access. These systems were vulnerable to hackers who could gain access through credential theft, escalation, and lateral movement across the network. Newer PAM solutions help to limit the lateral attack surface by providing just-in-time and just-enough access to accounts based on business needs and only for the duration of the session.

PAM also helps to reduce the risk of a data breach by monitoring suspicious activities and flagging potential risks. PAM solutions can also automate privileged tasks to increase efficiency and reduce the time required for managing and logging activity. They can also help to eliminate manual processes, like storing passwords in spreadsheets and rotating them manually, which are both inefficient and open the door for hackers and insider misuse.

Identity Management

Identity management (IAM) is a broad set of processes and technologies that manage digital identities, authentication, authorization, and the overall lifecycle of access privileges. It supports business security and operations, reduces the risk of breaches, improves regulatory compliance and enhances operational efficiency.

IAM solutions include user provisioning, managing changes to user accounts and granting initial access privileges; a single sign-on (SSO) solution that allows users to authenticate to one system using multiple credentials; and role-based access control (RBAC) that will enable employees only to gain access to information required to perform their roles – improving security and reducing risk. By combining these components, enterprises can protect their data from external and internal threats and better control their IT environment.

As the number of applications, systems and devices grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to control users’ access. Many legacy systems don’t connect or manage the tens of millions of access privileges scattered across identity silos – especially those in hybrid, on-premise and cloud environments. This lack of visibility and inability to quickly identify potential issues leads to over-provisioning and unnecessary or inappropriate access privileges, putting your company at risk.

Implementing robust governance processes and ensuring policies are enforced consistently is the key to enhancing cybersecurity with IAM. This requires the right people, including IT, security and business representatives. This also means that you need to understand the role of each application and what access privileges are required for each function within it, ideally by using a role-based approach to access management – which makes it easier to quickly and easily perform accurate access reviews and certifications.

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