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5 tips for strengthening your identity security program with integrated data access governance

Authored by: Eric Zimmerman, SailPointProduct Marketing Manager

As your identity security program evolves, it’s essential to gain greater context on critical content to help lock down sensitive information as a foundational piece of your security program. At the end of the day, data is ultimately what you are trying to govern and protect.

2024-06-12 17:14:13


GBI, Industry News

With the proliferation of sensitive enterprise data and new data regulations, lack of context about sensitive data increases the risk of rubber stamping and unintended overprovisioning – amplifying the potential for unwarranted data exposure and data theft. With limited visibility into where sensitive data is and who has access to it, the task of satisfying strict regulatory requirements grows more complex.

So, where do you start – and how can you leverage the benefits of integrated data access governance as a core aspect of a comprehensive identity security program?

Below are our top recommendations to get started.

Extend identity security best practices to sensitive data

To optimize your access governance decisions and strengthen security controls, it is important to understand where sensitive data is, who has access to it, and how it is being used across your organization. With broader context and intelligence on your most critical data, your organization can holistically manage data access throughout an identity’s lifecycle, minimize overprovisioning, and improve security posture.

Leveraging identity security best practices built into SailPoint’s Atlas Platform, Data Access Security extends your governance processes to your most critical data assets. With automated data discovery and classification, you can now find and catalog sensitive content and holistically govern access through a unified platform.

First, find out where your sensitive data is and catalog it appropriately. Using Data Access Security’s data discovery and classification functionality, you can set up customized data classification policies and easily discover sensitive information across file and data storage locations.

For example, you can leverage Data Access Security’s out-of-the-box data classification policies within your environment to automatically classify and catalog regulated sensitive data, including sensitive personally identifiable information (PII), payment card information (PCI), medical records regulated under HIPAA, and data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA. You can also catalog content based on internal identifiers and dynamic policies to secure intellectual property, parented information, and classified restricted content.  

Understand the data access landscape

Once you have mapped out where critical data resides, you can leverage Data Access Security’s access analytics to gain better visibility into how identities gain access to data assets across your organization.

Whether it is direct access granted to an individual or implicit access inherited through an array of entitlements, groups, and access paths, Data Access Security identifies exactly who has access and how they gained that access.

Holistically analyzing the data access landscape enables your organization to highlight when security best practices are being violated, where access is misaligned (exposing sensitive data to large audiences), or if data is being shared outside the organization.

Understanding these anomalies is critical, especially in this early stage, as it provides the opportunity to correct violations and align entitlements and access paths – the core building blocks of your access model.

Surface data insights at key decision points

After classifying sensitive data and analyzing access, SailPoint Identity Security Cloud leverages these insights to provide enhanced information about entitlements that contain access to sensitive information or grant broad unrestricted access. These insights are critical when approving or rejecting access, or in building roles to automate provisioning access.

For example, access reviewers certifying identities can see what sensitive data is provided for a specific entitlement and view the specific data classification categories in context with each entitlement. 

With better context on the data being governed, you can optimize governance decisions, proactively uncover implicit access to critical data, and lock down sensitive content as an integral part of your identity security program.

Integrate data context across the organization

Entitlement Enrichment 

With entitlement enrichment, Data Access Security provides better visibility into data exposure and helps identify entitlements that provide access to business-critical and sensitive regulated data that need to be tightly governed and more frequently reviewed.

For example, admins can easily identify entitlements that grant access to internally classified information, create policies to prevent that access from contractors, third parties and non-employees, and ensure no sensitive access is granted too broadly through organization-wide roles.

Certification Enrichment 

Data Access Security also enables compliance practitioners to easily identify entitlements that grant access to sensitive regulated data, such as personally identifiable information (PII). This allows such access to be reviewed and certified in the appropriate cadence, certification efforts to encompass the correct information, and audits to be passed with ease.

Certification enrichment gives teams the power to certify identities with access to regulated and sensitive information and data locations. Teams can now get additional context, sensitivity labels, and impact scores according to their access to unstructured data, helping to keep data safe and secure.

For example, a manager might be alerted to the need for a deeper review before approving the access of an employee from the Tokyo office after learning that access grants them visibility into critical information about U.S. accounts.

Minimize information silos with shared dashboards

Access decisions can no longer be made in a vacuum, as the need for contextual awareness of critical data assets and risk insights are an integral part of every decision an organization makes. Recognizing these needs, Data Access Security brings greater sensitive data visibility to shared dashboards in MySailPoint by surfacing critical data insights for admins and security teams.  

Ensure key decision-makers are informed with actionable insights and up-to-date reporting to understand risks and prioritize security initiatives. With a single glance, admins can assess the progress towards their governance goals, get real-time status on active certification campaigns, identify critical data assets without assigned data owners, and see which areas require increased monitoring.

How SailPoint can help

By leveraging the power of Data Access Security, your security team can now unify access policies and controls across applications and data. To learn more about Data Access Security and how to add insights on sensitive data to your identity security program, contact our team to request a live demo or take a self-guided product tour today.