It’s a well-known fact that organizations need to protect their data, as they otherwise risk to get confronted with data breaches and compliance issues. But how can you successfully protect your organization’s data if there are factors at play – orphaned accounts, shadow IT, vague access needs, to name just a few – that you cannot see or control?
The short answer: you can’t. As long as you do not have a complete overview of all of the software – on-prem or cloud based – that is used throughout the organization, there is no way you can guarantee your data is secure. The same goes for the users in the organization and their respective roles and access rights. You need to have a list giving you all of this information that is 100% accurate and up to date. If not, your data will be vulnerable.
All of this makes perfect sense, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to accomplish. In fact, even though ever more organizations understand the need to achieve full transparency of users and data flows all too well, it is becoming increasingly difficult to realize this in practice.
+120 apps and counting
There are several reasons for this. First, the average number of applications that organizations use is growing quickly. A 2019 analysis by Okta shows that big organizations – having more than 2.000 employees – use on average 129 different software apps. That’s an increase of 68% compared to 2015! The same goes for smaller organizations, which now use on average 73 applications, coming from only 53 in 2015.
This means that more and more apps need to be monitored, which increases the risk of losing the overview or missing upgrades, making the software unsafe. Besides, the fact that a growing number of these applications run in the cloud doesn’t make things easier. And there’s the shadow IT threat, of course. Gartner estimates that by 2020, a third of all cyberattacks will use shadow IT as an entry gate to enter your systems.
There are not just more apps, but also more devices on which those apps are used. Apart from desktop pc’s also laptops, tablets and smartphones are connected these days. Some of these devices might be approved and controlled by the organization, but some will not. For instance when the organization has a BYOD policy in place. Oh, and let’s not forget IoT, of course.
How to regain control?
There is no such thing as a single ‘fix-all’ solution that empowers you to safeguard all of the data in your organization. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that all possible solutions have one important element in common: they will only bring you trustworthy results on the condition that you feed them with a complete and accurate overview of what is going on in your organization.
And that is exactly what Elimity Insights – a very effective and easy to use identity governance platform – does. It enables you to get a clear, complete and up-to-date view on every individual who has access to the organization’s applications and data, and it shows you when and how they can access it (e.g. which role) and what they are allowed to do (e.g. read, write or both).
Elimity Insights also provides centralised compliance reports, showing access rights, (de-)provisioning information, orphaned accounts, etc. Even better: Insights’ time to value is remarkably short.
When you have a platform like Insights in place, you are finally enabled to spot the data related vulnerabilities in your organization. Which brings you to the next step: deciding which priorities you want to address first. Of course, in the end you probably want to address all of them, but one might be more urgent than the other.
But there’s more. Now that you have a clear view on things, you can make smarter and better decisions on long-term data policies and strategies regarding data safety and regulations and standards like GDPR, NIS and ISO. Last but not least, you will be better prepared for upcoming audits.
Let’s wrap it up
Okay, so nobody doubts that it is virtually impossible to protect what you cannot see or control. In other words, a solution which brings you detailed, accurate and up-to-date information on all of the data streams in your organization, plus the ability to trace back every data stream to every individual, would be very valuable. Elimity Insights is such a solution, offering a remarkably short time to value as the icing on the cake.
Contact Nele S’heeren if you want to know more about Insights.