Identity Access Governance: Some Key Considerations

    Identity Access Governance (IAG) is about having an operating environment that is frictionless to lead your company toward growth while reducing your risk exposure. It is an ongoing program to identify, execute, and monitor the efficacy of the controls you have put in place.

    The effects of IAG cannot always be easily quantified using conventional ‘cost-saving’ ROI methods, especially in the area of risk-based governance. Yet to maintain a sound business case for IAG programs, calculation is crucial.

    The following five practical steps can act as a starting point in order to prevent disappointments, such as a failed audit or security vulnerabilities.

    Assess the IAG maturity of the organization. Determine within your current posture what is and is not possible. Failure to do so would lead to misspent cash and wasted time, and then unfinished or abandoned ventures. ‘Maturity models’ may be an aid. But because every business has a different IAG journey, you’re likely to have to build a personalized edition. And if you are embarking on the first IAG project of the company or determining where to invest next, you might ask about the company’s investments in digital acceleration, how can IAG support there, and how well placed is your company to step up the maturity model to your intended target, given the potential investment?

    Get a complete picture of the status quo. In deciding the Key Risk Indicators (KRIs), this will be crucial. Risk resulting from operational factors such as inconsistencies, availability, redundancies, and compliance carries the business with negative potential. Include all user identity categories and provide a risk environment to be evaluated. For instance, many organizations have hundreds of SaaS products that are live at any time, and no specific identity lifecycle processes are defined/implemented around them. Identify ‘access silos’ that working under various rules. Consider the privileged identity management and how IAG applies within key business applications, such as finance, to elevated device administration functions and consider the nature of this access from outsourced contractors and suppliers. Define how to build and access fresh accounts in the future to solve problems while reducing your exposure to risk. Model the dangers inherent in your plan.

    Fill the gaps. Work with the teams to develop a strategy that removes contradictions when identifying and enforcing controls that the IAG framework enforces and records. This method can be policy or technology-based, depending on the nature of the business and the prioritized issues. You would need to ensure that adequate measures are in place in any situation, and they can be assessed. Controls such as ‘Segregation of Duties’ (SoD) help to avoid access combinations or forms that pose a security risk. Assign ownership with single access ‘center’ to key applications and privileged identities that involves multi-factor authentication, plus access monitoring and recording.

    Establish, monitor, and share main IAG goals and indicators of performance. To prepare and know where to stop, it is important to ensure that your IAG controls are working and that you are on your way to achieving your goals. When assessing the progress of an IAG project, there are many approaches and many viewpoints. It does not need to be difficult to identify KPIs; some are rather tangible, while others are likely to be patterns.

    Periodically review your approach and manage by risk. As business priorities gradually evolve, IAG should be considered an ongoing journey of continuous refinement of KPIs. IAG is not a one-off program with a beginning and end. In order to ensure you achieve full benefit, stops and path adjustments must occasionally be observed.


    Governance is about enhancement, responsibility, and accountability. And from productive IAG, there are simple and quantifiable benefits to be leveraged. Effective IAG programs offer far more than protection against crime costs and data breaches. In an increasingly hostile global marketplace, a risk-aware business that offers safe and efficient access places itself in the very best position to be competitive and creative.

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