Managing Governance to Meet IAM Compliance Requirements

Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh


As data breaches continue to plague businesses, legislators and industry standards organizations increase their compliance requirements to provide best practices for data privacy and security. These continuously evolving requirements often act as a barrier to digital transformation as maintaining Identity and Access Management (IAM) compliance requires an Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) program that enables you to protect data privacy while managing an increasingly complex on-premises, hybrid, and cloud-based IT infrastructure.

What Is Compliance?

Compliance means conformity to rules set by a governing body such as industry standards organizations or regulations created by legislative bodies, by establishing policies, such as a privacy policy, that a compliance officer reviews to ensure the continued effectiveness of and corporate governance over controls.

What Is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) programs protect data privacy and security starting with user authentication and authorization, often by using a single sign-on solution that incorporates multi-factor authentication, and then assign users’ access rights to resources with Identity Management (IDM) solutions to continuously monitor access for proving enforcement of and governance over “least privilege” access rights.

What Is Identity and Access Management Governance?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) governance requires identity governance and access governance during the provisioning/deprovisioning process to ensure that the organization’s technical controls over user access to resources comply with policies that protect data privacy and security. Often, organizations incorporate identity management services or solutions that streamline the way you manage role definitions, assign access rights, engage in password management (such as using single sign-on), streamline the access certification process, and monitor privileged access to business-critical resources.

What Are The Compliance Requirements for Governing IGA?

Legislative bodies, regulatory agencies, and industry standards organizations increasingly set more stringent compliance requirements for enterprise reporting over access management, identity governance, and privileged access. While each industry standard and regulatory compliance requirement incorporates its own terminology, most establish similar best practices.

Risk Analysis

Almost every regulation, industry standard, and cybersecurity framework require you to engage in an analysis of potential data privacy and security risks. Your risk-based user access management policies should create appropriate controls that mitigate any risks arising from privilege abuse or excess privilege to data that can compromise information integrity, confidentiality, or accessibility.

Least Privilege

The “least privilege” requirement focuses on limiting user access to resources in a way that provides only the access needed to complete the user’s job function. For example, while your marketing department needs information about potential customers, they do not need the detailed level of access to personally identifiable information (PII) that your sales representatives need.

Segregation of Duties (SOD)

Segregation of Duties requires you to limit access in a way that ensures users cannot engage in fraudulent behavior. For example, users should not be able to access your accounts payable resources as well as your accounts receivable. Users with access to both resources can create vendors and pay them, thus opening you up to potential fraud.


As your organization incorporates more resources, your users will require additional access. Monitoring user requests means ensuring control effectiveness and reviewing for anomalous access requests that can increase data breach risks.


In order to prove compliance, you need to ensure that you maintain appropriate documentation over your access management strategies. For example, as your users request access, you need to ensure that they maintain the “least privilege” access to resources and ensure SOD controls remain intact. To appropriately document your access governance to meet compliance requirements, you need to ensure that all user requests are reviewed and approved or denied based on the level of risk that they post to your data’s privacy and security.

Why Do Organizations Struggle with IAM Governance?

As organizations increasingly adopt Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to streamline business operations and increase customer engagement, they face a variety of new struggles related to governance over identity and access.

Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC)

Many organizations still rely on role-based access controls that lack the ability to incorporate context. Increasingly, industry standards and regulatory compliance requirements incorporate Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC) that incorporate additional user attributes such as location, resource, and environment.

Non-Person Identities

Legacy IAM products and many of the IAM governance products built into SaaS, PaaS and IaaS solutions lack the ability to create identities for new technologies that interact with data. For example, robotic process automation (RPA), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and service accounts require governance for how they access resources. However, many organizations find that their current IGA providers lack the ability to monitor this access effectively.


The more cloud services your organization incorporates into its infrastructure, the less visibility you have over who accesses what resources as well as how they access it and why they need to access it.

For example, as your organization creates a cloud-first or cloud-only strategy, you create an intricate, interconnected ecosystem. Each IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS provider defines roles and groups differently and also requires individual products to manage IGA. The inability to create a standardized IAM policy becomes a barrier to compliance efforts.

Access Request/Review/Certification Process

With more users requesting more access, the manual process of reviewing requests for appropriate access becomes overwhelming. Disconnected tools that obfuscate visibility also lead to increased excess access risk.

For example, a user’s role or group definition in your PaaS environment may differ from the role or group definition in your SaaS application. If your IT administrator grants access to the entire SaaS application based on the PaaS definition, then the user may be able to access too many resources.

How Intelligent Analytics Enable IAM Compliance Requirements

Intelligent analytics ease many of the burdens associated with proving governance over your IAM policies. Automated tools can use different data sources across your ecosystem to create a single authoritative identity source that allows you to streamline onboarding new users, provisioning/deprovisioning, and privileged access monitoring.

Role-Mining for Standardized Identities

Role-mining with intelligent analytics allows you to compare definitions of attributes such as roles and groups so that you can have more standardized credentials, access privileges, and role management across your interconnected ecosystem. Automated tools allow you to standardize your identity and access policies while also providing you with context-aware ABAC.

Fine-Grained Entitlements

Fine-grained entitlements go beyond your traditional single sign-on’s (SSO) ability to authenticate user accounts and authorize their access to resources.  While these tools ensure that your users are who they say they are, they lack the ability to control data access once inside your systems, networks, and applications. Fine-grained entitlements enable context-aware, risk-based access controls as detailed as field-level read/write access.

Peer- and Usage-Based Analytics

Solutions that incorporate peer- and usage-based big data analytics enable you to compare users’ access and needs to help streamline the request/review/certify process. Once you set appropriate fine-grained entitlements, solutions with intelligent analytics can automate the provisioning/deprovisioning process by suggesting additional access or limiting access, such as that which would cause SOD violations. To ensure compliance with internal controls, you need a solution that provides actionable remediation activities to limit access.

Why Saviynt? Assured Compliance-as-a-Service

Saviynt’s cloud-native IGA and IDM solutions offers flexible deployment options, including on-premises, that enable you to create a compliance-based IGA program.

Our Gartner-recognized IGA platform incorporates role-mining capabilities and fine-grained entitlements allow you to create a single authoritative identity source across your ecosystem. Meanwhile, since all your identity monitoring is done in our platform, you lower human error risk and operational costs because our peer- and usage-based analytics create a risk-based, context-aware, policy-driven process in one location for a single source of documentation.

Moreover, our platform allows you to create non-person identities so that you can manage RPA, IoT, service accounts, and other digital identities that access your resources. Managing your non-person users allows you to better manage the identity lifecycle by limiting access on a timebound basis and establishing succession policies for these identities.

Our Control Exchange is a library of over 200 controls based on industry standards, regulatory requirements, and mission-critical IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS providers. Using our Control Exchange, you can implement the necessary controls in your Saviynt platform for greater visibility and more effective monitoring. 

Our cloud-based Cloud PAM solution changes the way you manage privileged access to your resources. Our Cloud PAM governs your IaaS or PaaS ecosystem and applies our IGA to privileged access. Our continuous monitoring capabilities detect new risky activities such as workloads, containers, or servers/serverless and alert you to potential risks arising from them.

For more information about how you can automate governance over your IAM compliance, contact us today or start your free trial now.

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