Identity Governance Blog

7 Challenges That Prevent Good Access Governance

By Stephen Lowing, VP Marketing at Omada

July 27, 2023

Access governance is the element of identity governance and administration (IGA) that refers to the set of policies, processes, and technologies that organizations design to manage and control user access to information systems, applications, and data within an organization. The primary goal is to ensure that the right people have the right access to the right resources at the right time, while also minimizing security risks and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

What is good access governance?

Good access governance maintains a balance between enabling authorized users to access the resources they need to do their jobs and at the same time prevent unauthorized access. When users cannot access the resources they need when they need it, the entire business process slows down which makes critical internal and public-facing operations unacceptably slow. The results are internal people “working around” policies and diminished public confidence. When access governance does not prevent unauthorized access to resources it cannot protect your infrastructure against security breaches, sensitive data loss, or misuse of resources. Effective practices, particularly in data access governance, are critical for organizations that must enhance data privacy, maintain asset integrity, and meet regulatory requirements.

There are many factors that can contribute to a poor access governance implementation. Your organization’s ability to keep up with dynamic changes in your business and technology stack will be the principal factor in your ability to create and sustain effective access governance. In this post, we take a closer look at the challenges that can hamper or even neutralize your efforts to maintain good access governance and what to do to overcome them.

1. Outdated, undermaintained identity-based access control policies

Identity-based access control grants or denies access to resources based on the identities of individual users or groups. Good identity access governance requires careful consideration of the attributes associated with the user’s identity, such as their role, job title, department, or any other relevant information. To remain effective, identity-based access control must scale to manage increasing numbers of identities and access lifecycle events such as role changes or terminations. Also, identity-based access control must manage and enforce access control across both on-premises and cloud-based environments.

2. Insufficient user provisioning and role management

Managing user accounts, authentication, and authorization processes to ensure that users have appropriate access rights based on their roles and responsibilities within the organization is core to any access governance best practice. As the number of roles proliferates, role-based access control policies, processes, and technologies must be able to manage and assign roles to users in more complicated environments.

3. Poor entitlement management

Access governance controls and monitors user access rights and permissions, including granting, modifying, and revoking access privileges as needed. As business expands and requires change, IGA managers must stay abreast of emerging trends and best practices in entitlement management to maintain optimal efficiency.

4. Ineffective classification and sensitivity labeling

Categorizing data based on its sensitivity and importance, and applying appropriate security controls and access management based on the classification is integral to good access governance. Your process must account for visibility into user behavior with all sensitive assets to ensure the principle of least privilege is enforced.

5. Outmoded auditing and monitoring

Tracking and logging access activities, performing regular audits, and monitoring access to identify any suspicious or unauthorized activities are critical to effective access governance.

6. Non-alignment with compliance and regulatory requirements

State-of-the-art access governance ensures that practices align with relevant industry regulations and data protection laws, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). IGA managers must be fluent in these regulations and laws and understand how to use the organization’s governance process to demonstrate compliance in an audit scenario with minimal impact on performance.

7. Insufficient access requests and user access reviews

Implementing processes to handle access requests from users, assess the legitimacy of requests, and periodically reviewing and recertifying user access rights to ensure they remain appropriate and up-to-date are critical to maintaining relevant access governance.

Constantly paying attention to these challenges and working to overcome them is critical to sustainable, effective access governance. By staying on top of dynamic business and technology changes enables you to make consistently best efforts to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, insider threats, and compliance violations. This enhances data and application security, maintains regulatory compliance, and safeguards sensitive resources.

Omada Identity Cloud is a flexible and future-proof choice that delivers scalable and configurable identity and access management processes with essential identity governance solutions and access management capabilities. Learn more.

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