In today’s highly digital business environment, the volume and variety of data being handled by enterprises is growing at an exponential rate.
Consequently, IT security teams find themselves having to manage more and more access rules across everything from directories and data repositories to applications and cloud platforms. Not only is this incredibly time consuming, but the complexity involved is stretching many teams to their limits.
If that wasn’t enough, the huge global rise in remote and hybrid working practices over the last few years has made it almost impossible for many organisations to maintain a traditional security perimeter anymore. With remote employees needing round-the-clock access to key data and documents to do their jobs effectively, security teams have had to adapt as best they can, on time frames not of their choosing. While many have done an admirable job, it has inevitably led to an increased risk of data breaches.
All of this reinforces the importance of effective identity and access management (IAM), and the ability to closely control which individuals can access different parts of the network at any given time. In developing a new approach, one key question many teams must answer is how they can use IAM to manage network access in the face of a constantly evolving business landscape.
Traditionally, IAM has adapted to market demands predicated around governance, access, identity lifecycle, and proofing. The success of businesses such as ForgeRock, SailPoint, PING and Okta, serves as evidence of this. However, the demands of digital user journeys, expanding security risk vectors, and data privacy, means the next generation of IAM solutions require more advanced levels of access control. For this reason, authorisation has suddenly re-emerged as a crucial component of IAM.
In order to keep pace with a dynamic new business landscape, authorisation – and specifically “dynamic authorisation” in real-time – is emerging as a prerequisite to the increasing adoption of security strategies based on zero trust architectures. In reality, this is an extension of existing IAM components, which have sought to simplify and “harden” systems from risk relative to compromised credentials and unauthorised access to digital assets.
However, a major problem that many security teams come up against is the sheer number of disparate access and authorisation policies found across a typical enterprise environment today. In many cases it can run into the thousands, with no standardisation, visibility, or centralised management to speak of. Not only does this create significant operational headaches, but it also greatly increases risk if not addressed properly.
A dynamic new approach is required
With this in mind, security teams across the enterprise space are increasingly focussing on ways to effectively consolidate/standardise access and implement a preventative approach to the variety of risks their data face. Indeed, as trends in technology adapt to the demands of the future, the logical next frontier is identity-based security, not least because the shift towards digital-focussed work and lifestyles have significantly eroded the effectiveness of conventional perimeters. As a result, identity is the sole remaining common denominator through which enterprises can enforce authentication and access control (via dynamic authorisation).
This adoption of dynamic authorisation may be prompted by a range of factors, such as moving from a homegrown authorisation policy engine to a proven industry solution, particularly as applications are built or refreshed. For those implementing zero trust architecture, dynamic authorisation in real-time is now considered essential by many industry experts. In addition, across data authorisation use cases, and in order to meet data privacy regulations, organisations are increasingly looking for a fine-grained authorisation policy to govern access to specific data sets.
For example, in a growing number of enterprises, the adoption of zero-trust infrastructure means they need help fine tuning their approach to authorisations. In particular, manually processing the ever-growing number of entitlements is no longer viable for many security teams. As such, they must find ways to automate key parts of the process, to save time, reduce errors and ultimately, lower their exposure to risk.
As a result, dynamic decision-making capabilities are playing an increasingly important role in helping security teams make real-time changes to when/how users can access resources within enterprise networks. What happens in the network is controlled within a resilient architecture, with access points to critical data guarded by increased security.
As the modern business landscape becomes increasingly digital and perimeter free, enterprises face an uphill battle when it comes to data protection unless they can adapt their IAM strategy effectively. For many, the answer lies in a more dynamic approach to authorisation that puts identity at the heart of security and ensures sensitive data is only accessible to the right people, regardless of where they are accessing it from. Getting this right now will likely be pivotal to success in the months and years to come.
About the Author
Gal Helemski is co-founder and CTO at PlainID. PlainID is The Authorization Company. PlainID provides both Business AND Admin teams with a simple and intuitive means to control their organization’s entire authorization process, all based on your own business logic. The platform allows you to implement literally any kind of rules you could imagine, all without coding, and all in fine grained detail. PlainID simplifies Authorization so that thousands of Roles, Attributes and even Environmental Factors can be converted into a few logical SmartAuthorization policies using our Graph Database Decision Engine.
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