How IGA differs from GRC and why you need BOTH

Connor Hammersmith

Connor Hammersmith

Application GRC Lead

How IGA differs from GRC and why you need BOTH

Most businesses and organizations rely on governance, risk, and compliance to increase business agility when meeting compliance requirements. When businesses shift from using an on-premise environment to cloud-based services, identity management and compliance becomes increasingly important and complex. This is especially true for modern IT environments that contain a mix of legacy ERP’s, Cloud-Based ERP’s, SaaS applications, and multiple public cloud providers. 

Organizations are struggling to manage identities, access, and risk posed to the organization. Auditors and Compliance teams are searching for a unified view of compliance across the organization – regardless of the type of technology being used to support critical business processes. In this blog, we will touch on some of the features provided by Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) and Application Access Governance solutions and why you should be concerned about both!

Quickly onboard, offboard

It is critical to define an architecture that suits your business needs while satisfying your compliance requirements. For example, designing a tight integration between your Human Resources department and your IGA platform drives automation during key employee and contractor lifecycle events. IGA eliminates the need for tedious manual processing and automates user onboarding and offboarding. IGA also enables organizations to create policies that automatically provision and deprovision users, automating tedious and repetitive tasks performed by system administrators. As organizations mature, they can simplify these processes even further by leveraging both attribute-based and role-based access control models. 

M&A gets in the way

As organizations grow, managing business processes manually usually does not scale well. As organizations grow via a merger or acquisition, the entailing business processes grow infinitely more complex and vary between different business units. IT struggles to keep up with manual provisioning of accounts for new hires, handling additional access requests, documenting approvals, making access changes, and providing supporting evidence for auditors. This complexity often leads to mistakes or oversights causing audit or compliance issues. Staying agile is critical in a modern IT environment. IGA automates your business processes keeping you agile. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked as a lesser priority to keeping the lights on. 

Complex architecture?

Your 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 to enable flexibility in assigning access based on an organization’s requirements. Managing user access in these complex environments at large scale can be difficult for even the most seasoned professionals. 

Good IGA tools provide visibility into who has access to what and can limit a user’s ability to gain access to sensitive applications. Often these tools lack deep visibility into these complex security models; thus, organizations typically require an Application Access Governance solution to help them manage these risks. 

Application Access Governance or GRC Access Control platforms can help organizations consume these complex security architectures by identifying potential Segregation of Duties and Sensitive Access risks. It can be difficult to identify these risks without a robust technology solution that can also define SoD and Sensitive Access policies at a fine-grained entitlement level. 

For example, John has had many different jobs within an organization over the years. He has held many roles and accumulated security permissions within the company’s ERP application, such as Oracle or SAP. As a result, John’s access and security permissions allow him to create and update vendors and process payments to these vendors.  In this case, a single person with both sets of access increases the risk of fraud which creates an SoD violation.  

Privileged or Temporary Access

You may run into an emergency that requires you to assign temporary or privileged access to keep business processes operating effectively. Whenever possible, your IGA system should provide an audit trail of that user’s activity. A process to review and sign-off on this activity strengthens your control environment. 

Using our previous example, 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 John only made the approved changes. This level of reporting is not typically available in IGA solutions but can be commonplace in industry-leading Application Access Governance applications. 

Simplify Cross Application Risk

With complex business processes that span multiple applications, many organizations lose visibility into the potential segregation of duties risks within their environment. As organizations add more cloud-based solutions to their IT portfolios and use existing manual processes, managing different security models across multiple solutions can lead to unknown SoD risks and cause audit findings. 

It can be difficult to identify SoD risks that span multiple applications. It is imperative for organizations to take a centralized approach to risk management and evaluate their business processes from end to end. Once you identify potential segregation of duties risks within a business process, you can then identify the technology platforms or applications that support those critical business activities. Your technology platform needs to provide fine-grained entitlements for insight into the access users have across multiple applications and not just one specific technology stack like ERP. 

How IGA and Application Access Governance work together

Saviynt’s cloud-based platform natively integrates with your enterprise applications to provide market-leading identity lifecycle management and visibility into potential segregation of duties risk across all your business processes. Combining Saviynt’s Application Access Governance with Identity Governance & Administration provides customers with full IGA capabilities. AAG and IGA together include automated provisioning, user access reviews, role mining, and deep insights into identity risk and compliance, including segregation of duties and sensitive access risks. 

Saviynt’s Application Access Governance 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. 

Providing these enhanced capabilities for your organization from your Enterprise IGA platform can provide a number of benefits to make your governance processes more efficient. For more details on the benefits of leveraging a modern IGA solution, read one of my other recent blogs The Convergence, Part 1: IGA and GRC

To learn more about how Saviynt’s AAG can protect your organization from fraud and compliance risks, contact us today or schedule a demo.

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