Smarter security for human & non-human identities

Jaime Lewis-Gross

Jaime Lewis-Gross

Global Director for Solution Strategy
Govern machine identity (serverless, API) privileged access to enterprise data with identity governance and access governance

Over the last several years, I’ve had the privilege of working with organizations to shape their Identity and Access Management (IAM) programs.  As I see more and more organizations migrate data to the cloud, multiple new identities such as (APIs, Bots, Vendor Accounts, etc.) will need close management.  You will experience the benefits and challenges of moving at cloud velocity. And during your digital transformation, you will need to secure your hybrid environment by creating identity-centric strategies while operating in sophisticated and complex IT ecosystems. 


Digital transformation has changed the way in you need to view identity. As your enterprise seeks to create an identity-centric digital transformation strategy, managing expanding identities across on-premise, hybrid, and cloud infrastructures become difficult. For example, traditional on-premise definitions of identity focused on humans (employees, contractors and vendors). New technologies focus on service accounts, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, robotic process automation (RPA), and programmatic functions within IaaS/PaaS ecosystems as identities. These non-human identities change how you need to create and manage access to information. 

Define Identity Types

Using IAM policies, you can limit user access to and within infrastructure and applications. Securing data starts by defining all identity types within your ecosystem. These identities include employees, vendors, human and non-human. To define all identities, you need to rate the risk they pose by asking questions such as:

  • Who are my employees?
  • Who are my vendors?
  • Who are my privileged users?
  • What applications require service accounts?
  • What IoT devices do I need to manage?
  • What RPAs do I use to manage repetitive activities?
  • What servers do I need to monitor?
  • What serverless functions do I need to control?

Rate User Risk

Rating the risk identities pose to your infrastructure means ensuring that you know where you store information as well as the risk a data breach poses to that information. Some questions that can help you create risk based IAM policies are: 

  • What information do my users need to fulfill their job function?
  • Where do I store my PII?
  • Who are my identities?
  • Who are my most transient user types?
  • What identities are non-human?
  • Where are my identities located?
  • What identities have access to highly confidential information?

Provide Access to Resources

After rating identity risk, you need to find a way to provide access to resources using the principle of “least privilege” by limiting the amount of access you provide – only ensuring access to information that they need. While role-based access controls (RBAC) work to control access in on-premise IT infrastructures, cloud-based applications and infrastructures need dynamic, context-aware attribute-based access controls (ABAC). ABAC enables you to create detailed, fine-grained access privileges that incorporate a role, function, location, group, and other attributes to help limit access across a variety of factors. 

Continuously Monitor User Access

In the same way that you monitor your networks, applications, and software from malicious external actors, you also need to monitor access from internal actors. Ideally as access is requested to any resource type, you need to ensure that you maintain your “least privilege” controls. However, understandably you may hire vendors on an as-needed basis with an IT contractor on-boarded to deploy a solution requiring privileged access to complete the contracted work. Once the contract terminates, you need to revoke the privileged access. In some cases, however, we’ve seen the vendor return to update the solution. With the identification of resource types and risk rating, you can employ the necessary intelligence to streamline the suspend/deactivate/rehire process. 


Automating IAM processes enable you to mature your identity-centric security program by establishing risk-based, context-aware controls. Once you create the controls, Saviynt’s platform automates various components and incorporates intelligent analytics to allow you to streamline the time-consuming, mundane tasks often associated with IAM. 

Create a Unified Authority for Identity

Using our platform, you can bring together the different definitions for identities, roles, groups, humans, and non-humans from across your ecosystem. Since each SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS service uses its own definitions, many organizations struggle to create a single authoritative source of identity. The IT administrators need to manage multiple monitoring locations which increase human error. Moreover, it makes managing the segregation of duties difficult.

Using intelligent analytics for role-mining creates a unified source of identity across the ecosystem, providing a single location for monitoring. Automated tools reduce human error risk which also reduces potential compliance and security risks. 

Fine-grained, Detailed Access Entitlements

Automation that provides fine-grained entitlements enables better control over access to and within your ecosystem. The more detailed the attributes you apply, the more focused your access entitlements are. Fine-grained access entitlements both protect you from privilege misuse and provide better access for your employees. 

Streamline Request/Review/Certify Process with Predictive Access

Automated tools with analytics enable predictive access. Using predictive access with intelligent analytics, your users can request access then obtain near-real-time access according to usage analysis common across a function or identity type access based on peer- and usage-based data. Additionally, not only does predictive access restrict users from excess access, it also provides proactive additional access that they might need in the future. 

Automation Reduces Operational and Compliance Risks and Costs

Many operational and compliance risks inherent in managing governance over your digital transformation strategies arise from human error. Multiple locations for managing risk, divergent identity definitions, and lack of non-human identity definitions across the ecosystem increase operational costs and compliance risk. Using automation to create an authoritative source for identity that continuously monitors your infrastructure for anomalous access requests reduces time-consuming administrative tasks. Moreover, automation reduces compliance risks by providing governance over your IAM program and ensuring you maintain compliance with internal controls.


Saviynt starts with people – who they are and what applications they need – to create a holistic set of identities across the cloud ecosystem. Our approach enables customers to govern all identities access from cradle to grave, providing continuous visibility of access to enforce internal controls that align with regulatory and industry-standard mandates.  Saviynt’s cloud-native platform offers flexible deployments, including on-premises only or hybrid/cloud to match your hybrid ecosystem identity needs. 

Our suite of solutions enables you to create a holistic approach to IAM that enables you to mature your cybersecurity posture by securing your identity perimeter. 

For more information about managing an identity-centric security strategy, please contact us for a demo today.

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