Why Access Governance Is Crucial For Strong CybersecurityThree Aspects of Governance that Need Consideration
Visibility. It’s crucial to a strong cybersecurity strategy, and unfortunately, many organizations are lacking in it. In fact, 63% of organizations don’t have visibility into the levels of access and permissions users have to their most critical systems. That lack of visibility is a godsend for hackers just waiting to skirt through access points and steal valuable information or hold a system for ransom. The solution? Access Governance.
What Is Access Governance?
Simply, access governance consists of the systems and processes that make sure an access policy is followed as closely as possible. This means there should be rules in place dictating who has access to what. These rules can look differently depending on the organization’s needs, third-party reliance, and individual critical access points and assets. But in general, knowing who is accessing what and how they’re accessing assets is crucial to building out any cybersecurity strategy.
If an organization doesn’t know who is accessing what, how can they be trusted to make sure a bad actor isn’t gaining access to data, assets, or systems they shouldn’t?
When it comes to internal users, access governance can consist of role-based access dictated by an HR department or IT department. That allows for automatic provisioning and deprovisioning of access, as well as an assurance that users are only granted access to what they need to do their jobs. For third parties, it can get complicated. There’s less visibility, and no HR department for those external users. In that situation, software is crucial to making sure access is handled properly.
There are three aspects of governance that need to be taken into consideration when developing those access policies, whether it’s for internal employees or external users.
- Tightly enforce access policy through access controls. Having a policy doesn’t matter if there aren’t ramifications for not following it. Whether it’s through role-based access control (i.e what access an employee needs for their job duties), or other access control measures such as multi-factor authentication and time-based controls.
- Create a granular access system through least privilege access. Too much access creates too many access points a hacker could slip through. By only giving a user access to what they need, and never anything more, an organization can ensure that there is both visibility and control. While access creep is a problem for organizations, where users are gaining too much access over time through a lack of stringent deprovisioning, that can be mediated through regular user access reviews.
- As mentioned above, user access reviews are crucial for that visibility and for policy development. Making sure a user doesn’t have too much access, as well as making sure users do have access to what they need (i.e is a third party constantly asking for access to the same asset?), so the access policy can evolve with both cybersecurity and efficiency in mind.
Why Is Access Governance Important?
If an organization doesn’t know who is accessing what, how can they be trusted to make sure a bad actor isn’t gaining access to data, assets, or systems they shouldn’t? With ransomware and third-party related hacks growing year after year, it’s clear that hackers are taking advantage of that darkness. Access is now the most important part of any cybersecurity strategy, especially since it’s been proven that moat-and-castle, external-focused strategies are no longer effective in the age of globalization, cloud operations, and third parties. So, start looking at access and make sure your organization is protected in this shifting landscape.