For many organisations, the decision to deploy Identity and Access Management (IAM) has already been taken. The business case is clear and agreed, the budget is signed off and the project is being rolled out.
IAM is, after all, an essential framework for security and compliance as it defines individuals’ identities and lifecycles through an organisation, while also governing their authorisation and authentication. More than this though, it also offers efficiency benefits, granular insight opportunities and even a foundation for secure IoT (see my earlier blog for more detail on the benefits of IAM). But, all too often, organisations rush to deploy the technology without sufficient prior planning, specifically in terms of pre-defining the roles on which every aspect of IAM is based.
Accurate and well-defined roles are the foundations of identifying and classifying an individual’s lifecycle through the enterprise (Identity Management) and determining what access that individual should be granted (Access Management).
For example, a core part of IAM is to provide access to the organisation’s systems. But, in order to remain secure and compliant, the degree of access granted to each individual has to be appropriate to that individual’s needs and specific function. This requires the prior definition of roles against which individuals are categorised, with each role granted appropriate certain access rights. It is this prior planning that too many organisations overlook.
Without this step, it is impossible to achieve clarity over an individual’s day-to-day function, therefore undermining a crucial part of their digital identity. If this is vague, then the data and systems that they need in order to perform their function cannot be clarified and nor can those that they must not be granted access to for compliance reasons. In this scenario, the whole IAM framework very quickly crumbles.
In fairness, many organisations do go through the process of defining roles, but they are often too loosely created. In many cases, this will have little impact beyond administrative frustration as employees do not have the permissions they need for their daily tasks or HR teams struggle to define teams’ structures. But it can very easily result in employees moving between workflows and projects and taking unnecessary, even inappropriate, access rights with them. Permission creep and unauthorised access are the most common oversights of ineffective IAM projects and can quickly result in regulatory non-compliance.
The roles therefore need to be clear and granular, while also being robust enough to not require constant revision or amendment. Occasional flex to accommodate the realities of a busy organisation will be unavoidable, but this has to be dealt with carefully, with full attention to compliance, privacy and security.
Roles and their importance is just one complexity within IAM, making it a prime example of a technology-driven project that is so much more than a technology deployment. This is why KCOM has formed a long-standing partnership with ForgeRock, the multinational identity and access management software providers and a market leader in IAM, to guide organisations through their IAM deployment.
KCOM has also developed an eGuide that expands upon the nuances and benefits of IAM and provides further information on how KCOM is ideally placed to guide you through your own bespoke deployment. Read the eGuide now.
If you'd like to discuss your IAM requirements or an ongoing project, get in touch with the team today using the form below.