Access management is a vital part of maintaining the security of an organization and its systems. Although it is practiced in writing, unfortunately even the most well-intentioned teams fall to simple mistakes, dangering the integrity of the organization’s data. Therefore, it is important to provide some tips and tricks to avoid common mistakes and help companies be more secure overall.
In this article, we will look at five of these common mistakes including lack of a clear strategy, overreliance on manual processes, and more. By understanding these mistakes by the end of this article, we believe you will be ready to take proactive measures toward securing an organization’s digital systems, ensuring compliance, and defending against cyber threats.
As we mentioned at the beginning, a clear access management strategy is the foundation of an effective and working system. Many organizations become confused about who has and should have access to what because they don’t have a pronounced strategy for access management. This leads to access permission errors and compromises digital security.
The most common mistake in this is not understanding the roles and permissions of every team member. When users are not well-defined, they can be granted much more access than they need. Some companies also struggle when there are new hires or role changes in the organization, and they fail to adjust access permissions.
To avoid these mistakes, organizations can create a clear and up-to-date access management strategy defining every step and process. This should include all the roles within the organization and the responsibilities of users. If organizations have a strong foundation in terms of access management, they can avoid basic errors and ensure authorized data usage only.
Weak passwords and poor authentication methods make it easy for cyber criminals to get unauthorized access to sensitive data stored in the organization’s networks. Even though this sounds like such a simple mistake that no one actually falls prey to, unfortunately, it is also a mistake most organizations make.
One mistake about passwords is using the same one for multiple accounts. Not only can attackers guess these passwords or use stolen credentials, but they can also get access to a single password and get into multiple systems. Not all applications have the same level of security so even if your systems are highly protected, attackers can compromise the password from another system.
Secondly, organizations might have poor authentication systems or weak policies. When an organization uses single-factor authentication such as a password or PIN code, there is nothing further to prevent an attack if the attacker has access to this password. On the other hand, multi-factor authentication (MFA), such as asking for a fingerprint as well as a password, provides an additional layer of security.
To avoid these mistakes, it is important to have strong password policies and authentication technologies. If you think high-end authentication might be over your budget, you can easily get it by using an IAM solution. some benefits of Identity and Access Management (IAM) include MFA, reduced password threats, and lower operational costs.
Manual access management processes can be very time-consuming and prone to human error. Organizations that over-rely on manual processes usually face inefficiency and mistakes that compromise their security, especially if they grow fast.
One mistake that many organizations suffer from is manually granting or taking back access. This leads to too much or too little access in most cases and can be challenging to keep up with who has access to what. The expected results of these problems are access errors, oversights, and an insecure network.
The best way to avoid these mistakes is to automate access management processes when possible. Automation helps ensure consistency and accuracy throughout systems, providing increased user experience and better overall security. For example, if onboarding and offboarding steps are automated, employees can be sure that access is always granted promptly and properly.
With that being said, it is important to regularly review these automated processes and make changes where needed such as revoking unnecessary access. Although it will still need human supervision, it sure is safer than manually doing it.
Monitoring and auditing processes are critical to maintaining security. Even after you have a working access management system, your organization may not be aware of emerging threats, data breaches, or other security risks.
Not having a process for monitoring access is common. Without a process in place, it is challenging to determine unusual user activity or when someone accesses a specific set of data, which can lead to data breaches.
As we mentioned previously, it is also common that organizations do not audit access regularly. If an organization does not have frequent audits, it will not be able to grant proper access to users based on their roles. This will lead to both insufficient access as employees get new roles, or let them have too much access that is not aligned with their responsibilities.
To avoid these mistakes, organizations can regulate and automate monitoring processes, ensuring there are frequent audits without any delays. Using access management tools can also be extremely helpful as they reduce the risk of data breaches by highlighting unusual user activities.
Mistake #5: Insufficient Training and Education
Users within an organization are the first line of defense regardless of how secure your systems are. Thus, insufficient training can be a big reason why you don’t have effective access management. Without proper education on access management, they can’t understand the importance of secure access and how to follow best practices.
Not providing adequate training on company policies and procedures is a big mistake. Without the help of professionals, regular users may not be aware of the risks associated with weak access management and may not know how to use the tools effectively.
Another common mistake is not providing refresher training. Since cyber threats and technologies around them evolve, employees need refreshers and ongoing training on how to follow company policies and be updated on digital security.
It is easy to avoid these mistakes; organizations have to provide regular training and onboarding education about access management, teach them how to use the tools at their disposal and show the best practices.
Access management is a widely-known practice, but unfortunately, there are still some mistakes that almost all organizations make. Although these mistakes sound simple, they lead to irreversible damage to the integrity of company resources.
In order to help organizations, we provided five of these common mistakes and came up with suggestions to avoid them. Following these simple practices will ensure that your access management system is more capable than before.