By Gal Helemski, co-founder and CTO, PlainID
Today’s digital-centric enterprises need to manage a multitude of access rules across everything from repositories and directories to applications, increasing complexity levels. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to control and audit both authorizations and entitlement.
What’s more, organizations worldwide have embraced remote and hybrid working environments. This means traditional security perimeters have expanded which has led to rising risk in data breaches.
These scenarios reinforce the importance of identity and access management (IAM), those whose job is to control who can access which parts of the network and its data. In developing an effective approach, a key question many teams are seeking to answer is how can IAM manage access across the expanding enterprise security perimeter?
Historically, IAM has adapted to market demands predicated around identity lifecycle, governance, proofing, and access. The emergence and growth of firms such as PING, Okta, SailPoint, CyberArk, and ForgeRock illustrate the point that these businesses have become category leaders in their area of specialty.
The demands of digital user journeys, expanding security risk vectors, and data privacy mean the next generation of IAM solutions require advanced levels of access control. This is how and why authorization has reemerged as a relevant component of IAM.
To keep pace with a dynamic landscape, authorization – and specifically “dynamic authorization” in real-time – is emerging as a prerequisite to the increasing adoption of security strategies based on zero trust architectures. This is, in fact, an extension of current IAM components, which have sought to simplify and “harden” systems from risk relative to compromised credentials and inappropriate access to digital assets.
The problem is that there are many disparate access and authorization policies across the typical enterprise. Literally, thousands of authorization policies can exist across an enterprise with no standardization, visibility, or centralized management. Not only does this create operating inefficiencies, but it also increases risk.
A preventative approach
Across the enterprise space, security teams are turning their attention to how they can consolidate and standardize access and implement a preventative approach to the variety of risks their networks face. Indeed, as trends in technology adapt to the demands of the future, the logical next frontier is identity-based security, not least due to the fact that our digital work and life have removed all conventional perimeters, leaving identity as the remaining common denominator to enforce authentication and access control (via dynamic authorization).
This adoption of dynamic authorization may be prompted by a range of factors, such as moving from a homegrown authorization policy engine to a proven industry solution, particularly as applications are built or refreshed. For those implementing zero trust architecture, dynamic authorization in real-time is now considered a prerequisite by many industry experts. In addition, across data authorization use cases, and in order to meet data privacy regulations, firms are looking for a fine-grained authorization policy to govern access to specific data sets.
Across a growing number of enterprises, for example, the growing adoption of zero-trust infrastructure means organizations often need assistance in their approach to authorizations. In particular, manually processing the growing number of entitlements is often no longer sustainable. Teams must look to increase the role of automated processes to both reduce human error and lower risk exposure.
As a result, dynamic decision-making capabilities are increasingly important so that security teams can make changes in real-time to when and how users can access resources within enterprise networks. An effective approach to policy management allows users to be verified through an authentication solution allowing data to be protected. What happens in the network is controlled within a resilient architecture, with access points to critical data guarded by increased security.
In an era when enterprises face increasingly complex access control challenges, expanding security perimeters, and a growing tide of cybercrime, a consolidated, standardized approach to access and authorization is key to ensuring businesses remain both secure and agile. Achieving this objective opens the door to a win-win scenario of robust security that supports the operational and strategic priorities required to succeed in the modern digital economy.
About the Author
Gal Helemski is co-founder and CIO/CPO at PlainID and a highly recognized and acclaimed cyber security expert. She plays a key role at PlainID as a strategic leader, visionary and evangelist while overseeing product development, including leading the product architecture, strategy, and engineering teams.
During the last 20+ years, Gal has defined solutions for customers and created and defined project specs, technical documentation, presentations, and training focused on identity and access management. As an early member of the CyberArk team, Gal has been extremely influential in the identity space for most of her career. She served six years in the Israeli Defense Force’s prestigious Mamram computing unit. https://www.plainid.com/