The Consequences of Neglecting Access Management
What would a world without data access management be like? Think of how much disorder and chaos it would cause. Everyone in the organization, no matter what their title, would have access to all the company’s information on all of their systems and applications. Employees would be able to make changes to secure data, such as the payroll and customer information. The scary part is that many organizations often have minimal access management structures in place or they believe they are managing their access rights correctly, when they may actually not be. Without proper access management, security risks are high, and it is easy lose track of who has access to what, easily leading to a security breach.
So what are some of the common issues that organizations would endure without proper access management, and are many organizations overlooking now? Let’s take a look.
Setting Correct Access Rights
One of the main issues organizations would incur without proper access management is that it would be difficult to control who has access to systems and applications at the company. Often one of the main focuses in many organizations is protecting the network from outside hackers. In actuality, many of the security breaches come from inside the company from the organization’s employees. This is why it is important to ensure that all employees only have access to the resources which they require to perform a job or function. Certain industries in particular deal with highly sensitive company and client data, which makes this need for correct access even more important. For example, you wouldn’t want an intern to be able to access secure customer data and be able to accidently make changes.
Even if proper access rights are set for an employee, there can still be issues during their employment. Often employees lend each other access, or are given access for a certain project, and those rights are never removed. Even if there is a plan in place for accurate access rights to be set for a new employee, rights can often be changed during their employment, and a plan needs to be in place to address these rights inherited during an employee’s tenure.
Removal of Access
Another common access management issue is forgetting to disable an employee’s account once they are no longer with the organization. During employment there is often a focus on giving access to work on certain projects, and when the employee leaves there is often no urgency to remove the access. It is equally as important to manage access rights when the employee is leaving the organization, to ensure that a disgruntled former employee cannot access any company data.
The other major problem with no or incorrect access management is audits and compliance issues. Without access management, organizations are not able to ensure that they meet government standards or audit rules. When audit time comes around it usually is a headache to gather all of the information and then comply with the audit results. Audits and compliance laws are in place for a reason, so allowing all employees to have access to all the companies systems and applications would be a huge breach of security protocols.
Ensure a Proper Access Management Process
A world without access management, or improper management, would lead to many security issues, as well as a large risk for data breaches. To ensure security of the organization’s network, there needs to be an access management plan in place.
The minimum plan should include a process for creating and managing user access rights to data and applications, both on premises and in the cloud. This ensures that employees, depending on their title and location, have the correct access to only the applications they need for their jobs rather than access to everything on the network.
Organizations may also want to research and implement available products for identity and access governance (IAG) that can be adapted to make the process much more efficient. Many solutions allow for automated account management, which simplifies the process and ensures that all access is correct. This makes the task of granting and removing access simple, ensuring that it is done correctly. For example, when an employee is leaving the organization, a manager can easily disable access from one place in employee’s profile in the source system, and all access is immediately revoked.
A role-based access control (RBAC) matrix should also be implemented to ensure correct rights are assigned to individuals going forward. This allows the organization to easily generate a report of access rights to have a clear overview of everyone’s rights in the company. They can then correct any errors for existing employee's access rights based on the norm. This also helps with any audit issues since the organization knows exactly who has access to what secure information.
Overall, a world without access management would be disastrous, but many organizations are very close to this situation since they often don’t realize they don’t have correct access management processes in place. That is why it is extremely important that your company has some type of access management controls in place to ensure correct security.