Access Management for Dummies
Knowing the basics of an effective identity and access management strategy can help auditors provide recommendations that enhance an organization's information security posture.
Francis Kaitano, CISA, CISSP, MCSD.Net, MCAD.Net
Senior Advisor, Technology and Security Risk Services
Ernst & Young
IT networks face increasing threats from inside and outside an organization. Conventional perimeter defenses, for instance, can miss insider threats, such as password disclosures and fraud due to staff collusion as well as external online threats including zero-day attacks (i.e., attacks that take advantage of computer security holes for which no solution is currently available). To curb the presence of these threats, many IT departments are using companywide identity and access management (IAM) solutions that provide ongoing access to information, applications, and networks.
While access to company resources is critical for the day-to-day operations of private, public, and government organizations, this access must be highly secure and fast. In addition, users must be able to access network resources for which they are authorized as easily as possible. During their work, auditors often are required to provide recommendations that improve their organization's IAM activities. But before doing so, they need to understand the basics of IAM systems as well as their role in the design and implementation of IAM strategies.
IDENTITY AND ACCESS MANAGEMENT DEFINED
Before learning the basics behind an effective IAM program, it is important for internal auditors to understand each of the program's components: identity management and access management. Despite the differences between these activities, many beginning auditors treat them the same during audit reviews. However, they each oversee different aspects of the IAM program.
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