The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Identity Governance

IGA solutions help organizations automate processes and reduce operational costs, boosting productivity. They also enable security and compliance teams to enforce application access controls and policies.

The best identity governance tools provide a balance between productivity and security. Combining efficient access provisioning, self-service capabilities, and policy enforcement ensures that users receive prompt access while maintaining separation of duties.

How Is IGA Different from IAM?

While IGA is a subcategory of IAM, it goes beyond centralized processes to encompass the entire identity lifecycle. Identity governance helps monitor digital identities and manage access to systems, resources, files, and data. It enables businesses to keep hackers out, maintain productivity, and ensure compliance with regulations.

IGA primarily aims to reduce risk by ensuring user accounts and systems are only accessible with the correct credentials. It also helps to automate processes and provide visibility into security risks. It can include processes such as account creation, credential management, device and user provisioning and de-provisioning, logging, access entitlement remediation, and other functions that support identity governance.

An intense IGA process is vital for all companies, regardless of size. Hackers are constantly looking for user credentials to access corporate systems, and small businesses can be a target just as quickly as larger organizations. 

What Are the Benefits of IGA?

As a result of industry regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, GDPR, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prioritizing data security, companies need to ensure that only authorized individuals can access the information they need. It has dramatically shifted how organizations manage user identity and access. Previously, many organizations managed this process via spreadsheets that were manually distributed to business line managers for review and attestation. As the number of identities grew and the number of systems, applications, and cloud environments expanded, this was no longer a scalable or efficient approach.

IGA solutions can automate and streamline these manual processes for people and non-people identities. It enables your IT team to focus on other strategic initiatives. It reduces risk by ensuring that only the right people have access to the information they need when they need it.

To make the best decision on whether or not to invest in an IGA solution, start by assessing your organization’s needs and pain points. Identify the components that will provide the most immediate benefit, such as speeding up the onboarding and offboarding process for new hires while balancing those needs against the potential long-term capabilities of a product to meet your identity management goals. For example, suppose you have multiple applications to manage your workforce. In that case, an IGA solution can provide a bird’s-eye view of all those platforms so that teams aren’t wasting time logging into each application individually.

What Are the Challenges of IGA?

IGA is a complex topic to implement, requiring many different skill sets to get it right. Successful IGA deployments are typically enterprise-scale, involve multiple departments and stakeholders, require technical integration with other software products, and often include data migration and cleansing. Additionally, an IGA solution requires a consistent approach across all systems that manage identity, including human and machine identities, and a standard data model to provide consistency and scalability.

As a result, most organizations need help with various challenges when trying to implement and maintain IGA. These challenges include:

It provided centralized governance and access control to applications, systems, and data. It includes user lifecycle management (onboarding, offboarding, role changes), access requests and reviews, and most minor privilege policies.

With regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, GDPR, and HIPAA now focusing on protecting sensitive information, it’s critical to restrict and limit access to unauthorized users. An effective IGA solution should enable streamlined and automated user access review, attestation, and certification processes.

With most business solutions being disconnected, it’s hard for help desk teams to have the real-time insights they need to manage identity, certification, and privilege. An IGA solution should help bridge these gaps and provide visibility into an increasingly complex business system. It allows IT to lower operational costs, reduce risk, and improve compliance while freeing up the time of your help desk team to address more complex security issues.

What Are the Solutions for IGA?

With the risk of data breaches rising, organizations need a more robust approach to mitigating access risks. Combined with Identity Provisioning, IGA solutions can help provide greater visibility into user accounts and entitlements to reduce the likelihood of malicious activity while enabling organizations to meet regulatory compliance standards, best practices, and internal policies.

IGA solutions can automate and streamline many processes, such as provisioning and deprovisioning, password management, access requests, and certifications. These solutions can also improve an organization’s security posture by ensuring that only users with necessary access are granted those privileges. It helps prevent employees with too much access from stealing credentials and exposing sensitive information to hackers.

Lastly, IGA solutions can detect and respond to changes in employee status, such as new hires, job promotions, and layoffs. It can be done using a role-based approach that allows access privileges to be pre-defined and assigned based on specific roles ahead of time. It can help organizations quickly and efficiently respond to changes in employee status and ensure that all required access privileges are being granted.