In some circles also known as identity security, the goal of identity governance is to give all users, applications, and data their own authentic digital identities and keep them secure. It is what allows every business to give their technological assets automated access while keeping the internal business affairs secure.
What is Identity Governance?
As a concept, identity governance was authored to be rather similar to identity management. It’s an approach that uses policies to allow or restrict access based on authentic identities, and it aims to boost the functionality that a conventional system would provide. True, it does have a lot to do with access management, but it also greatly supports the audit of compliance requirements and can help automate the workflow itself when it comes to a user and their provision.
Identity governance and administration as a complete solution is made to achieve a couple of goals. And these goals as a whole enhance your enterprise’s identity management.
- Manage and allow the provision of permissions and passwords, to streamline what each user can access within the various apps and resources in the enterprise. It can also work alongside solutions like single sign-on to allow your users to use strong passwords and keep the enterprise safe from any potential breach
- Automate onboarding and offboarding processes by giving different users varying levels of access. It also aims to approve or restrict access to complete systems or specific applications
- Create logs and reports that allow an enterprise to remain compliant with any regulations, whether they’re general regulations in regards to data, or industry-specific ones that could impact the enterprise. The logs and reports can also be used to identify any potential optimizations that could help the enterprise
- Allow easier scaling, whether it’s on-premise or within the cloud. This allows the enterprise’s development team to focus on the enterprise, while the governance system takes care of scaling
A Bit of History on Identity and Access Governance
The idea of identity governance, as it was initially authored, came out as a subcategory of identity management. The initial goal was to improve both access manageability and transparency and give every enterprise an improved overview of who can access what. This also went a long way towards making sure those same enterprises also can detect and prevent access when it’s unauthorized or inappropriate.
What Does Identity Governance and Administration Offer for Enterprises?
Any traditional enterprise probably already has some kind of solution in place to allow provision of access. But they’re oftentimes based around an enterprise’s on-premise infrastructure, and are managed and authored by policies that might not be up to date. On the other hand, if you opt for a cloud-based solution, you’re looking at faster overall deployment, lowered running costs, and easier updates and management in general. It’s a way of keeping any enterprise that’s moving to the cloud secure, and allow its employees to access any necessary data.
Initially, the governance solutions that were first authored and made available were all made to work within an on-premise infrastructure. But today, you can get cloud-based solutions – in fact, most of them are oriented towards enterprises that run mostly, or completely, in the cloud.
And this is a big one, because the cloud is completely changing the way enterprises work. However, it still holds true that many enterprises find it overwhelming to consider these kinds of solutions, and they’ll avoid any kind of identity management or governance because they think it’s too much for them. But with how far the concept itself has gotten in recent years, that’s far from the truth.
A Closer Look at the Benefits
We already briefly covered the main goals of a governance system for identities, but what does that mean for your enterprise? What are the things you’ll notice on a daily basis, the ones that impact you most?
The first thing is the reduced operational costs. Things like access requests and certifications, making sure things are authentic, managing passwords – they’re all costly endeavors, but if you want to keep your security in check, they’re necessary for your enterprise. Identity governance automates many of them, and on top of that, adds a friendly user interface that allows you to cut down on time spent doing administrative tasks.
Then there’s the improved security when it comes to your employees and their digital identity. Using insecure credentials, whether they’re default ones, they’re weak, or they’ve been stolen, is a bad idea and a threat you want to eliminate as soon as possible. Having a centralized identity governance system gives you a complete overview of who can access what, and that’s a quick way of being able to identify any unauthorized access or violation and give provision of additional access where needed.
Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that every managed identity policy is usually made to comply with regulations your enterprise must keep up with. And to add to this, the system itself allows you an easy way of verifying whether or not you have everything under control, with extensive options of reviewing and approving access, all based on a policies-compliant model. And when it comes to auditing and managing the identity of employees, the overview we mentioned a second ago is a godsend.
Last but not least, an identity management and governance solution will give you a bit of a productivity boost, by giving users managed access to everything they need promptly. There is no waiting, regardless of how quickly an employee’s responsibility or role changes. To add to this, managed access can be granted quickly and efficiently without needing the tech support team, which greatly reduces their workload and makes their job easier. And when you add to this the automated policies, you’ve got yourself a solution that ensures user access is authentic – a solution every enterprise should implement.
At the end of the day, it’s not about whether or not you should do it. If you’re moving to the cloud, or have already made the switch, identity governance will make running your enterprise much easier and more secure when it comes to managing the identity of each employee.