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Third-Party Access: 3 Advantages of Delegated Administration

Author: Kyle Benson

Date: 02/09/2023

Provision Access With Confidence, From Procurement To Termination

Third-party vendors have changed the game. Companies that once struggled with the burnout and bottlenecks of providing in-house services like payroll and shipping logistics are now freed to focus on what they do best. And while this on-demand workforce has allowed us to scale up operations and double our reach, there’s another upward trend: more than 50% of organizations reported a third-party data breach last year. Most of those incidents were caused by (you guessed it) too much access. 

If this emerging threat is on your radar, you’ve come to the right post. In my previous blogs on conducting an inventory of third-party risks and onboarding vendors, I shared that companies who begin this excavation process often find their exposure is bigger than they think. Moving forward, they need a way to maintain visibility, monitor access, and remediate third-party risk on a day-to-day basis.  

You’ve heard the expression, “location location location.” With third-party access, it’s delegation, delegation, delegation. In this final installment, we’ll introduce you to three critical, cross-functional features of a well-defined (and well-delegated) administration model. Together with proper third-party risk inventory and onboarding, delegation can help you simplify communication between departments, reduce administrative burden, and provide identity oversight throughout the third party’s entire lifecycle.

Delegating The Terms of Access 

By this point in this series, you’re no doubt familiar with my favorite Third-Party Access Governance (TPAG) mantra: assign a sponsor

There’s a reason for this. Designating a point of contact for each third-party vendor vastly simplifies the process of reviewing access. Sponsors can identify internal and external administrators from different departments who can work together to define roles, assign levels of access, and ensure compliance with security and regulatory requirements. 

Sponsors can also ensure that these baseline expectations get communicated and written into your third-party contracts and SLAs (Service Level Agreements). Defining third-party accountability, ensuring a company’s sensitive information remains secure, and requiring any breaches are immediately disclosed should be standard contract terms. Of course, it takes some teamwork and patience to track down all of the organizations you’re doing business with and hammer out the terms, but it’s the backbone of a strong security posture. 

How Saviynt Helps. Saviynt’s centralized platform gives different managers and admins from both internal and external departments real-time visibility into who has access to systems and data — and what they are doing with that access. This improves your organization’s ability to collaborate and enforce consistent policies and procedures, and to review and update access as needed. 

Having up-to-the-minute access review visibility keeps both you and the third-party organization in sync — reducing risks associated with orphaned accounts, minimizing your governance burden, and identifying potential security incidents before they become a problem.

Delegating Access Reviews 

How much access and privilege do your third parties need to perform their functions effectively? Regular access reviews are a best practice that ensure third-party users are not completing activities outside granted access — and that stale access to systems or data gets detected and tossed out. But manually managing this can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and be rife with delays and errors.

How Saviynt Helps. As your number of users grows, so do our automation capabilities. With Saviynt, you can replace tedious manual steps and manage a larger scope of third-party access. We can streamline the creation of user accounts, assignment of roles, and other access-related tasks, ensuring that access is granted consistently and in accordance with your established policies and procedures.

For example, built-in workflows can delegate access reviews to the third-party administrator and can automatically send reminders when it’s time for an update. Or, when third-party access changes, Saviynt can automate the approval process, reducing the burden on internal IT and security tea ms.

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Saviynt’s Enterprise Identity Cloud (EIC) platform delivers intelligent out-of-the-box and custom controls that automate the approval of low-risk access and flag high-risk requests for additional review using peer and access-based analytics. We not only ensure third parties have only the minimum access necessary to perform specific tasks, we allow for one-click certification, revocation, and decommissioning — moving you closer to the ideal of 
Zero Standing Privilege.

Delegating Risk Mitigation and Reporting

To proactively manage cyber risk, you need access to real-time, actionable information and insights 24/7. Waiting for an incident to occur or relying on inherent risks to predict impact is not an effective approach. Any delay in response can mean a higher impact if an attack occurs.

But for many organizations, it isn’t feasible to hire staff with the skills and experience to identify, assess, and respond — let alone keep up with the latest threats and regulatory standards. Adding to the complexity, regulators are cracking down on third-party access as this threat vector continues to make headlines.

How Saviynt Helps. Saviynt automates compliance checks and monitors third-party vendors in real-time, continuously assessing their security posture and alerting the company to any vulnerabilities or compliance issues. This helps you quickly evaluate the security and compliance risks posed by granting access to any given third party. If a breach does occur, malicious activities can be stopped immediately and you can revoke access before serious damage occurs. In some cases, these are accidental and can be quickly corrected. But if they are malicious, the third-party organization can be alerted to manage the issue. 

Our real-time reporting capabilities also generate audit trails that give organizations additional sight lines into third-party activities. Out-of-the-box controls are cross-mapped across regulations, industry standards, platforms, and control types, accelerating audit prep and providing fully documented compliance reports and dashboards for regulations like SOX, HIPAA, PCI DSS, GLBA, ISO 27002, FISMA, and CMMC.

Taking stock of your third-party risk might feel like an overwhelming task, but congratulations, you’ve taken the first steps to protect your assets, reputation, and bottom line. You don’t have to do it alone. Saviynt has your back for the entire third-party journey, from first introduction to relationship completion.

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