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How IGA Differs From GRC and Why You Need Both

Author: Keri Bowman

Date: 12/13/2022

Don’t Let the Shift to the Cloud Spread Your Teams Thin — IGA and Application GRC Can Keep You Fully Protected.

When it comes to meeting compliance requirements, most organizations rely on governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions to increase business agility. This is especially true as businesses shift away from on-premises environments and toward a mix of legacy and cloud-based ERPs, SaaS applications, and multiple public cloud providers. 

Regardless of the type of technology you use to support critical business processes, your Auditors and Compliance Teams need a simpler, more unified view of identities, access, and risk across your organization. In this blog, we’ll touch on some of the top compliance pitfalls that should be on everyone’s radar, the features provided by both Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) and Application GRC solutions — and why you need both to keep your business agile and secure.

Complex Architecture and SoDs

Today’s digital landscape consists of high-value mission-critical assets that can include intellectual property, financial data, or private customer information. Many of these IT assets contain their own security architecture. Managing user access in these complex environments can be difficult for even the most seasoned professionals.

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For example, let’s say “John” is a longstanding employee who has held many different roles within an organization. He’s accumulated security permissions within the company’s ERP applications, such as Oracle or SAP. As a result, his access and security permissions allow him to create and update vendors and process payments to those vendors. In this case, John has both sets of access — and this increases the risk of fraud and Separation of Duties (SoD) violations.  

Effective IGA tools can prevent this by providing a line of sight into who has access to what and limiting a user’s ability to gain access to sensitive applications. However, some IGA tools lack deep visibility into a range of complex security models; in this case, organizations require an additional technology solution for full coverage.

Application Access Governance (AAG) (or Application GRC) platforms can help organizations consume these complex security architectures by defining SoD and Sensitive Access policies at a fine-grained entitlement level and identifying more potential risks.

Privileged Access Pitfalls

When organizations need to re-assign temporary or “emergency”  privileged access to keep processes operating effectively, an IGA system can provide an audit trail of that user’s activity.

Using our previous example, let’s say John received vendor maintenance access to process a last-minute payment because the person who performs vendor management activities was on vacation. John should have been assigned this access temporarily and had it automatically revoked after his update was completed. John’s manager should have reviewed the audit report to ensure that he only made the approved changes.

A process to review and sign off on this type of activity strengthens your control environment, but this level of reporting is not typically available in IGA solutions. It is, however, a common feature in industry-leading AAG solutions.

Quickly Onboard and Offboard

IGA solutions can also eliminate the need for tedious manual processing during key employee and contractor lifecycle events like onboarding and offboarding. For example, IGA can help admins automatically provision and deprovision users, saving time on repetitive tasks. And as organizations mature, they can simplify these processes even further by leveraging both attribute-based and role-based access control models.

M&A Can Get in The Way

As organizations grow via a merger or acquisition, business processes grow infinitely more complex — and can vary widely between different business units. System admins are in charge of provisioning accounts for new hires, additional access requests, approval documentation, access changes, and evidence for auditors. Managing this manually does not scale well, and can set the stage for oversights that lead to audit or compliance issues.

In a modern IT environment, automating business processes with an IGA solution can avoid slowdowns and mistakes and keep your organization light on its feet. Unfortunately, this often gets overlooked as a lesser priority.

Cross-Application Risks

As your business brings in more cloud-based solutions, it can become increasingly complex to manage different security models across multiple solutions. In addition, visibility into SoD issues becomes even poorer as complex business processes span an increasing number of applications.

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To effectively evaluate compliance risks from end to end, organizations need to centralize risk management. Once you identify a potential SoD within a business process, you can then identify the platforms or applications that support those critical business activities. Technology platforms should provide fine-grained entitlements and insight into the types of access users have across multiple applications — not just one specific technology stack like ERP.

How IGA + AAG Work Together

Saviynt’s cloud-based platform natively integrates with your enterprise applications to provide market-leading identity lifecycle management and visibility into potential cross-appplication SoD risks across all your business processes. Combining Saviynt’s AAG with IGA provides customers with automated provisioning, user access reviews, role mining, and deep insights into identity risk and compliance — including SoD and sensitive access risks.

Saviynt’s AAG module delves into the complexities of application security architectures to identify access-related risks. This deep visibility supports security remediation and redesign activities, ensuring you’re adhering to the principle of least privilege across the entire application ecosystem.

Saviynt Enterprise Identity Cloud (EIC) is the only converged cloud identity platform that provides intelligent access & governance for any app, any identity, any cloud. Together, this full suite of enhanced capabilities can protect your organization from fraud and make your governance more efficient.

Want more tips on how to get GRC right? Check out my blog on how to get clean, stay clean, and optimize.

 

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