While there are many burdens enterprise cybersecurity teams bear while conducting identity and access management—insider threats, permissions management, and auditing for regulation compliance—arguably the greatest burden of all is time. Cybersecurity teams have human limitations and the demands of an enterprise on their backs. Paired with the frequent problem of understaffing, time is always against them: there just aren’t enough hours in the day to handle every permissions request or password reset.
Therefore, automating the processes of identity and access management can prove a major boon to your cybersecurity team. Not only can it help decrease the tremendous strain on your staff, it can also free up their overtaxed schedules allowing them to tackle more pressing identity security issues.
Here are the identity and access management processes you should consider automating:
1. Password Management: Automating Recovery and Rests
Increasingly, the tone surrounding passwords as an authentication method is one of near-universal contempt. Employees hate having to memorize lengthy, complicated passwords, especially if they have to constantly change their credentials per enterprise mandates. IT security professionals loathe passwords as being an at-best unreliable security tool, easily cracked or stolen by malicious threat actors. And help desk teams dread having to constantly spend time helping employees recover or reset their passwords—a drain of untold hours.
Automating password management, including employee recovery and resets, can be a major help for both employees and help desk teams. While it can’t alter the fundamental security issues of passwords, it can assist in freeing up help desk schedules. Furthermore, automating password management processes can improve the speed of password recovery, creating better employee satisfaction and boosting their productivity.
2. Identity Lifecycle Management
Some IT security teams still spend several hours a day dealing with all the facets of identity and access management manually. Keep in mind this is more than just one task. Identity processes can and do include onboarding (bringing an employee into the identity system), provisioning (giving that identity permissions as those permissions become necessary), deprovisioning (removing permissions as they become irrelevant to job functions), and offboarding (terminating an identity when the employee leaves). That’s a lot for any cybersecurity team to handle on their own.
And handling these processes properly is essential. Granting digital identities the wrong permissions can increase the risks if their respective credentials are stolen, or the damage an insider threat can wreck. Automating the identity lifecycle can prevent these issues from occurring, ensuring that permissions are granted and removed properly as the employee continues their career in the enterprise. It can also give your IT security team more time to deal with more severe threats. Finally, automating the lifecycle processes can keep identity policies consistent across the enterprise and its applications.
3. Seeking Out Orphan or Rogue Accounts
Recent studies by Thycotic indicate that 70% of enterprises never find all of the privileged accounts on their networks—which may be double what enterprises believe they have. 40% never bother to look in the first place. After all it is a time consuming and frustrating process to hunt for what slipped through the cracks. Automating the hunt can help enterprises find and close those orphaned accounts, simultaneously closing a major security vulnerability.
In other words, automating the more tedious tasks of identity and access management can help them deal with the demands of their enterprise and even with their compliance mandates. Identity governance and administration solutions are focused on helping IT security teams automate their identity processes, providing better security and peace of mind.
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