How IAM Assessments Help Protect Your Business

Written August 30, 2022

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Cybersecurity experts should be aware that the wave of cybercrime affecting businesses for the past few years won't stop in 2022 or 2023. Before Covid-19, cybersecurity was already a fast-paced field and with the rise of remote work, problems in the supply chain, and quickly moving to the cloud, IT security professionals have become challenged to properly detect and prevent threats. The landscape of cyber threats is becoming more automated, complex, and costly. Adding to the complexity cybersecurity professionals are facing in 2022, compliance rules are also becoming more stringent accompanied by an increase in fines for non-compliance. Companies are having a difficult time understanding the gaps in their control environment and what is required to achieve compliance with applicable control frameworks (NIST, NERC CIP, FERC, GDPR, ISO27001, SOX and more). As a result of the evolving threat landscape and the need for organizations to meet compliance and regulatory obligations, a heightened interest is being shown in strengthening the management of access to sensitive and vital information.

Organizations find themselves asking questions they don't readily have the answer to, such as,

  • Who has access to what in the organization?
  • How is authorization and approval of access accomplished?
  • What employees or contractors are still active and require access?
  • Which procedures are being followed to administer access control?
  • How are administrative permissions assigned to privileged accounts?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Privileged Account Management (PAM) are at the core of most regulatory and internal compliance requirements. It is necessary to have processes that are consistent, repeatable, and automated, to provide appropriate controls commensurate with organizational risk posture and to meet regulatory obligations. The best way to establish these processes and procedures is to identify the gaps an organization faces through an in-depth assessment.

What is an IAM assessment?

When it comes to managing user access rights and privileges throughout their lifetime, many companies still rely on manual and disjointed IAM/PAM operations. This strategy does not scale well and is prone to mistakes and omissions. Some companies are employing homegrown and/or commercial solutions that provide some automation and relief; nevertheless, these tools may not always match the requirements of a company for the secure and reliable administration of a user access and can cause poor user experiences.

An evaluation of an organization's identity landscape is carried out during an IAM assessment. It analyzes the present status of IAM, locates any gaps in coverage, and then develops a strategic roadmap to deliver governance, process, and technology to ensure enterprise IAM vision.

IAM evaluations are also helpful in determining the efficacy and efficiency of the IAM procedures used by an organization. IAM evaluations are carried out by organizations for the following reasons:

  • Reduce as much as possible the likelihood of data breaches and assaults being carried out by either internal actors or external threat actors.
  • Enhance supporting Identity and Access Management technologies and ensure through system reviews and audits that company wide rules and procedures are followed.
  • Define stronger IAM security standards, controls, and practices.
  • Validate organizational alignment to Zero Trust security approaches.
  • Protect and manage the ever-shifting identity landscape more effectively, including the challenges posed by remote work and legacy systems, as well as those posed by on-premise, hybrid, and cloud-based apps, systems, and platforms.

While an organization can conduct its own assessment, it is recommended to utilize an experienced, objective third party to assess an organization's IAM framework who can provide an objective point of view, which will benefit the organization overall.

How Does an IAM Assessment Help Your Business?

Organizations continue to face a diverse set of challenges to protect credentials while attackers leverage these complexities and exploit the gaps discovered. One of the most common methods of attack that often goes unknown due to the amount of noise in the environment is the brute force of credentials that have been lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. In the past few years, credential theft has been on the rise. According to the 2020 "Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report," more than 80% of hacks are caused by credential theft, most of which comes from successful phishing attempts. Attacks rooted in credential theft are expected to continue to rise, as remote work introduces additional threat vectors that were otherwise controlled through perimeter access controls and organizational procedures. Once breached, organizations must assume that privileged credentials and associated IT assets have been compromised. Preventing these types of attacks is critical to organizational security and understanding the gaps in access controls starts with an IAM assessment.

IAM evaluations are a necessary component of a thorough IT security strategy, and critical for adoption of an all-encompassing and long-term IAM solution. Assessments assist firms in locating weak points in their security and provide context for the reasons why controls specific to IAM are essential. Assessments also assist in gaining a better understanding to business requirements for supporting future organizational strategy or shifting market conditions. The maturity of an organization's entire security program, as well as its positioning to support business objectives can be achieved with the help of an evaluation process.

When is the Right Time for An Assessment?

Though it may seem easier to start building processes and technologies to fill immediate business requirements, this is usually ineffective. The age-old adage - if you build it, they will come – is a misnomer, especially in a rapidly changing threat and technology landscape. Organizations must have the discipline and patience to understand the current state first, to build an effective long-term future state solution.

If your organization’s IAM strategy is unclear, you may not be positioned to meet the evolving landscape, for example remote work arrangements and accommodating BYOD preferences. Undefined strategies also introduce additional risks for compliance with internal and regulatory requirements.

Reviewing these gaps with an IAM assessment service can help build an appropriate plan to address tactical issues, and align resources for strategic, longer-term projects to holistically guide continuous IAM process and technology improvement. This roadmap can help to organize solution development; make consideration for resources, dependencies, and costs; define realistic timelines; and ultimately serves as the IAM program's guide. A good roadmap communicates timelines that can be shared with the organization, and more importantly, it aligns business and IT objectives.

How Can KeyData Can Help?

KeyData helps organizations reduce risk, improve operational efficiency, and improve the end-user experience by offering a comprehensive Rapid Assessment. KeyData's risk-based methodology addresses control gaps, regulatory control requirements, and industry-leading best practices. A summary color-coded matrix of the organization's priority needs for IAM/PAM is produced, displaying deeper insights into the organizational gaps and priorities for IAM/PAM vis-à-vis the pain points, causal factors, and root-cause analysis. The assessment identifies gaps and provides recommendations for remediation pertaining to four key areas: governance, people, process, and technology.

KeyData’s IAM/PAM Rapid Assessment feeds nicely into the development of the organization’s IAM/PAM target state architecture and an enterprise IAM/PAM Roadmap.

Benefit’s of KeyData’s Rapid Assessment

  • Identify, prioritize and remediate gaps, issues, pain points, and business requirements pertaining to IAM/PAM as measured against industry-leading best practices, regulatory compliance requirements, and the organization's risk appetite;
  • Develop an IAM/PAM target state architecture and strategic roadmap towards effective compliance and meeting business needs and priorities;
  • Provide a blueprint for improved operational efficiency, reduced risk, improved end-user experience, and improved regulatory compliance;
  • Provides recommendations on improved IAM/PAM business processes, governance, technology, control standards, and operating model;
  • Assists in defining the key elements of the IAM/PAM Program, business case, and RFP and assists with the technology selection process, as required.

KeyData can ensure you're on the right track through a Rapid IAM Assessment or by reviewing your existing plans. Schedule an assessment with KeyData today. 

More About KeyData

KeyData's flagship service is Identity and Access Management (IAM). We concentrate all our efforts on IAM. The KeyData advantage is based on our people and our knowledge. Our team is made up of a highly skilled group of engineers and consultants who specialize in Identity Governance and Administration, Privileged Access Management, Customer Identity and Access Management, and Cloud Security Posture Management. Our team has a strong track record of providing end-to-end IAM services, from requirements gathering and roadmap development to full implementation, training, and managed support. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us right away for a free initial consultation.


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