5 Best Practices for Identity Lifecycle Management

28 May, 2024

As per the latest data, a data breach can cost a business over 4 million USD on average globally. Hence, it is crucial to assign access to your new hires with utmost care so that they can hit the ground running from day one – while preventing unauthorized access. Similarly, when employees leave the organization, their permissions must be revoked and accounts terminated to minimize the risk of orphaned accounts. Attackers can exploit this security loophole to steal business data or launch cyberattacks. In addition to onboarding and offboarding, the digital identities and privileges of your employees, contractors, and applications must be carefully managed throughout their tenure in the organization.

Below we have outlined five best practices that will help you maximize identity security throughout the employee lifecycle. With such identity lifecycle management best practices in place, you can streamline onboarding and offboarding procedures, prevent unauthorized access, and reduce the risk of data breaches and other security threats.

Wondering how? Let’s explore this in detail:

Implement automated provisioning for swift user onboarding

Automating the user provisioning process is a great way to speed up the time-consuming, legacy onboarding procedures in your organization. Automated and real-time user provisioning is all about granting timely and accurate access to duty-relevant enterprise apps and resources to new hires on day one. This, in turn, reduces the administrative burden on your IT staff while ensuring superior onboarding experiences.

It’s the best practice to deploy modern identity and access management (IAM) tools to simplify the user onboarding journey. With features like role-based access control or attribute-based access control, these tools provide new hires with the necessary permissions and resources they need to effectively perform their duties. This helps to avoid wasting time in guessing the birthright permissions of employees and grant the correct level of access immediately. Furthermore, modern IAM solutions have an intuitive interface with easy-to-use tools to set up automated workflows to streamline the onboarding process.   

Schedule regular access reviews to prevent the risk of privilege creep  

Employees with senior roles or privileged accounts have the authority to access sensitive data and applications in your organization. However, employees’ roles and responsibilities evolve as they switch departments, and it may not be necessary for them to hold those high-level permissions for a long time. Hence, adjusting their permissions or roles becomes crucial for your IT team to prevent the unnecessary accumulation of privileges, known as privilege creep. One of the best ways to prevent this security risk involves conducting regular access reviews or attestation. With periodic monitoring of user access activity, permission levels, and application usage, you can minimize the threat of privilege creep and other security threats.   

Modern access management and governance solutions empower you to schedule and automate access attestations to keep a check on user access permissions while maintaining a secure and compliant IT environment. They also provide advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities to keep your confidential business data and systems secure. Moreover, they offer deeper visibility into user access activity and permission levels through data-rich reports and dashboard visualizations, ensuring informed decision-making and strict policy enforcement.   

Deploy self-service tools to enhance employee experience

A legacy or manual approach to handling repetitive identity lifecycle tasks, such as password resets and access request approvals, consumes a significant time of your service desk, which could otherwise be spent on strategic initiatives that drive business growth. Hence, it is always better to deploy modern Identity and access management solutions to reduce the number of help desk tickets and ensure a superior employee experience. Such solutions provide powerful self-service dashboard tools, allowing employees to perform password resets, update account details, and other access management tasks with minimal IT assistance.     

Moreover, modern IAM solutions support delegated administration, which shifts the identity administration tasks from the IT department to application owners. These tools empower application owners with self-service capabilities, enabling them to perform identity lifecycle tasks, such as adding or removing roles, adjusting access permissions, and onboarding new apps. 

Drive automated deprovisioning to maintain security and regulatory compliance

One of the most pressing tasks for your IT teams is timely and accurately revoking the user accounts and privileges of departing employees. Any error during this process can negatively impact your organization’s security and compliance posture. For example, failing to terminate the departing employee’s account introduces the risk of an orphaned account. Such an account has authorized access to company resources but without a valid owner. As a result, this identity loophole provides an opportunity for malicious attackers to steal sensitive business data and enforce cyberattacks. 

The next-gen Identity management tools can help you set up automated offboarding workflows with a few easy clicks to avoid security breaches and compliance failures. They promptly terminate user accounts and revoke all the access permissions of departing employees without missing any critical steps, enhancing your IT team’s productivity and efficiency. 

Implement zero trust security strategy to secure digital identities  

Protecting the digital identities of employees, contractors, business apps, and other enterprise resources is of utmost importance. Even the slightest identity security oversight can lead to data breaches and compliance failures. By implementing a trust security model, you can safeguard the user identities throughout the employee lifecycle. The zero-trust model adheres to the principle of “never trust, always verify,” which considers every business user or application –whether internal or external – suspicious until its identity is verified. In addition, this model focuses on granting employees the minimum level of access necessary to perform their daily duties.

Modern IAM solutions can help you implement the zero-trust security model by offering robust user authentication and authorization capabilities. They help you enforce the principle of least privilege across your organization by implementing role-based access controls. Similarly, they provide robust authentication methods like multi-factor authentication and single sign-on to verify user credentials before permitting access to sensitive business data and systems. 

Streamline Your User Onboarding and Offboarding Journey with AccessFlow  

In summary, adopting modern access management and governance solutions is vital for companies to speed up and simplify their user onboarding, offboarding, and identity governance processes. AccessFlow is an ideal IAM solution for companies looking to overcome challenges at every stage of the identity lifecycle, from onboarding to offboarding, and everything in between. With role-based access control and seamless integration with HR systems and active directory services, it allows you to quickly onboard new hires, update user roles and permissions, and revoke the access rights of departing employees with a few easy clicks. Hosted and certified on the ServiceNow platform, it offers Low Code No Code capability, an intuitive interface and self-service capabilities for application owners and admins to onboard new apps and adjust or revoke user roles and permissions with minimal technical assistance – leading to reduced IT burden and a more efficient work environment.   

So, are you ready to unburden your IT staff and streamline your user onboarding, offboarding, and identity governance efforts? Choose AccessFlow for a smarter, more efficient approach to identity lifecycle management. To learn more about AccessFlow and how it can elevate your identity management strategy, reach out to us at information@alcortech.com.

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