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Identity Governance and Security Concerns

The question of privacy and trust and this is where the concept of identity governance comes in. Identity governance is thus a policy based centralised arrangement of user identity management and access control that sees to it that identity-related data is safe and secured from any sort of identity breach.

You must have heard of the term identity governance and you are probably wondering what it is. Well, we all know that technology systems in enterprises today are full of data silos that harbour vital personal information in the realm of customers, employees and even partners. It is common or rather inevitable for such enterprises to have duplicate data in various facets of their systems a feat that presents another challenge to many.

The question of privacy and trust and this is where the concept of identity governance comes in. Identity governance is thus a policy based centralised arrangement of user identity management and access control that sees to it that identity-related data is safe and secured from any sort of identity breach.

IDENTITY GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK (IGF)

This framework was designed to help organisations to define and regulate how identity information is applied, stored and propagated while also seeing to it that organisations meet the terms and conditions for identity data as agreed to with their users and the governing regulatory requirements.

IGF works by adding privacy properties, consent data, and business agreement meta-data to allow control systems to make better policy decisions about how trustworthy the information is. It enables the decoupling of identity-awareness applications from a specific deployment infrastructure.

The other advantage of using IGF is that the developers do not need to worry about the programming languages or databases they use since coding and developing security for these applications have become easier. The framework also enables organisations to have full documentation and control as well as facilitate auditing and storage of identity-related data across all platforms.

There are many purposes of IGF but the main ones are just two:

  1. To define policies that regulate and controls the exchange of identity information between application systems within and without the organisation.
  2. To easily manage risks of how sensitive data (identity data) is used by applications by reassuring the involved parties that their private and operational controls are well maintained and secured in whichever way they are accessing their information.

The Upside of Identity Governance to the business

Organisations that handle critical and personal data such as health and financial records should always be on the forefront in implementing Identity governance frameworks. This ensures that the data is kept safe and away from those with malicious intentions to illegally acquire and misuse the data. Once frameworks have been implemented in the company, standard based mechanisms such as binding contracts between the parties involved are created. These will guarantee that any identity-related information will be dated and accessed securely without any worry of compromise.  

The Upside of Identity Governance to the developers

Take a scenario whereby you are playing a computer or any physical game. It is common that the same rules apply to all the participants so that it is fair for every player. The same case applies to Identity Governance Frameworks whereby, the developers agree on how identity-related data is treated when writing the applications. The best part of this is that the developer’s work becomes easy since standard-based options are used to write applications that use the data. The result of this is that governing policies are used to control the application as well as the data thus the right privacy policies are also developed faster.

Downside of poor identity governance implementations and their solutions

Even in the most secure organisation, security breaches can pose a threat to it. The IT department should be on the lookout at all times to ensure that they are properly secured. Identity governance comes in handy when trying to find ways in which security can be enhanced and taken seriously within the organisation. Some of the challenges to IGF coupled by their solutions are listed below:

  • Dormant account

New members, whether employees or clients join a company occasionally means that new accounts can be created up for them. What happens when this individual leaves the company? In other words, what happens to the account details? Who can access the account? Who knows about the account? These are just some of the many questions that the IT department has to ask as they manage accounts. It is their duty to ensure that dormant accounts are closed to prevent unauthorised access to the accounts and the company as well

  • Inappropriate access to rights and privileges

In a growing environment, new employees have to be absorbed into the company every occasionally. The existing staff might be upgraded to another level and their clearance levels will not change since they are still in the company. This may pose a threat in that failure to close this loop might open a doorway to fraudsters. New access privileges and credentials should be provided to the staff to seal any gaps in the company.

  • Insider threats

Always be aware of the insider enemy. There are some malicious people in the organisation that can use any loopholes for their own good. Some may intentionally steal or plan to steal data from the company. Such threats can be caused when individuals misuse the privileges. When an administrator to a particular credential logs into the system to alter certain data as a user and later on deletes the activity log to leave no traces. One way to deal with such a problem, no particular person should be granted immunity from being audited or granted any impunity in the system privileges.

  • Proof of access to data and secure facilities

There are many sensitive parts in an organisation such as server rooms and storage rooms where access rights should be limited. Access to such facilities should strictly be allowed only to those with privileges and the right to access them. The best way to avoid a security breach of these facilities is to log the access and keep track of those who grant access to such facilities.

CONCLUSION

Identity Governance Framework is hence the best way to go for any modern enterprise looking to prevent and control data theft. Identity Governance aims at protecting individual and organisations access to data and sensitive information. It is the work of the IT departments to ensure that the company data and its staff are secure.

About the author

Sidharth Pk

Sidharth. Professional Blogger. Android dev. Audiophile. Find us on Google+
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