What Identity Analytics really is and why you need it

What Identity Analytics really is and why you need it

IT security’s advent: the “identity” concept as key factor

Digital transformation has changed and is changing more and more business processes, job positions as well as many companies’ core activities. In consequence, it has implied a change in the way we mitigate risks.

Risk mitigation has existed long before digital transformation but it mainly relied before on manual processes, spreading risk management across departments – thus relying on silos – and on analyses over samplings. But this risk management is no longer possible with today’s world digital transformation, which often goes too fast for companies to properly adapt to new risks, especially IT risks. They most often have no visibility on what is key: their users’ access rights to their information system, user behaviors as well as existing security breaches. 

Financial costs of IT security risks, whether it be data thefts or internal frauds, are continuously rising. According to a 2016 Ponemon Institute study, data leakage costs have risen 30% between 2013 and 2016 in the 12 countries of this survey. Companies are paying at a high cost the rise of cyber risks but what about their investments to prevent these threats and mitigate these risks? 

Organizations need to ensure efficient and continuous risk mitigation and detection. They need to know the risks threatening them, including the humpan error risk which is constantly underestimated even though it was the source of 1 out of 4 data breaches in 2016 (2016 Ponemon study).

Companies are becoming more conscious of cyber risks and the need to reduce them through the IT vector but many doubt their capacity to really identify who accessed their sensitive data and applications. Indeed, the main stakes are here: knowing who has access to wgat and who accessed what in your information system. This is about cyber resilience: ensuring both cyber security along with productivity and innovation for companies.

Becoming cyber resilient means focusing on identites, that is individuals. It is both through individuals that secured digital transformation projects can unfold and that the cyber attacks happen. Risk analysis, detection and mitigation need to be built around this identity concept and that is what Identity Analytics is all about.

 

The rise of Identity Analytics

Digital opportunities should not make you forget that significant risks are generally atatched to them. Let’s take the classic icerberg methaphor. The emerged part of it represents known and visible digital and cyber risks today: ransomwares, virus, etc. But these risks aren’t the most important or threatening. The risks underwater, invisible for most of us, are the most threatening and frequent ones for organizations. You need to target these first and foremost.

With Identity Analytics you are able to answer the question “what resources can these users access, how and how are they using these access rights?” and this is what matters to ensure a secured business environment. It is about conducting in-depth analytics within a contextualized environment, with HR and technical data reconciled. Audit and internal control tasks as well as proper analyses, access reviews and clear reporting processes are at last possible in one unique platform centered on the identity concept.

 

Regarding digital transformation and cyber security, the notion of identity crystallizes opportunites, threats and solutions all in one. It is the key concept companies need to understand fully and implement. 

With Identity Analytics, companies can more easily mobilize their resources and think in a transversal way, beyond silos, to achieve both business development and efficient risk management. All actors, internal actors and third parties, need to engage in this process. This collaboration and communication between actors is all the more important as cyber incidents are hard to detect and it takes several months, almost a year, as an average for companies to detect a breach or suspicious activities. Organizations need to pay attention to unusual user behaviors for example but most of them do not have the maturity and the resources to do so.

Identity Analytics has developped over the last 10 years and is continuing its rise as companies realize worldwide that traditional cyber security methods and tools are no longer adapted and can even become harmful by exposing them to risks they cannot detect and prevent.

Identity Analytics is still misunderstood or rather unknown but this is changing. Meanwhile, significant cyber security actors have tried to hijack the Identity Analytics term and use it for other meanings and cyber security specific features such as SIEM for example. Identity Analytics isn’t about real time detection but about enabling you to better analyze risks, prevent threats and ensure compliance by focusing on your key asset and threat: indentities.

 

With Brainwave GRC, its Identity Analytics solution includes advanced in-depth analytics, machine-learning and workflows to reduce access-related risks and ensure continuous compliance for all organizations. 

 

Is IAM outdated? Why you need to study alternatives

Is IAM outdated? Why you need to study alternatives

15 years of IAM: the end of an era?

IAM projects have blossomed since the early 2000’s and most large companies implemented one. Unfortunately, for most organizations, a significative gap appeared between what they hoped  to get from their IAM projects, the expected benefits, and what they got, or should we say what they didn’t get in most cases. Many aspects of these projects initally planned weren’t implemented or requested specific developments that haver prevented any evolution or upgrading since because of these in-house specifications.

Companies initially launched IAM projects to provide an efficient answer to their risk and compliance challenges through automation. But unfortunately, this resulted in focusing on operational efficiency and leaving out risk mitigation on the long run.

Today, IAM domination is coming to an end with business and security needs evolving at a high pace, much faster than the rate at which massive IT projects, such as IAM projects, can evolve. Desillusion, constraining IT architectures inherited from these projects, lack of defined goals and perimeters from the start, all of these are some of the main reasons why IAM systems alone aren’t enough anymore.

Organizations need something else – something more – today to, not only ensure proper access management, but also implement access governance, continuous compliance and reduce security risks which continue to increase every year.

Getting rid of silos and connecting access management to the rest of the information system is essential. Making things simple and ensuring that technical and business internal actors are working together as much as possible are some of the key recommandations to start fresh. Working with silos is no longer possible. Services and departments within a company are more and more connected. Organizations now belong to a full network and need to communicate across the board. Silos are no longer accepted while IAM projects have most often been built that way, based on silos.

That is why it so hard to make them evolve, and in many cases impossible, because they cannot be connected and have often included in house specifications that prevent their upgrading. In many cases, making your IAM solution evolve amounts to as much work as implementing a new one.

Thus, when discussing IAM strategies and projects, it appears as if nothing has changed over the last ten to fifteen years. With the surrounding environment evolving – new risks, new ways of consuming IT – there is a need to reassess the way companies leverage their IAM programs, in terms of services, technology and organization.

Understanding why IAM projects often fail

If we consider a traditional Identity and Access management approach, a strong focus is set on connectors, meaning access fulfillment and automation. Other IAM services that should be included and implemented are too often considered as a secondary concern and never really implemented.

Companies’ experiences with IAM projects have many similarities for most of them: very long projects, weak visibility regarding the software’s adequacy with business users’ needs, budget and deadlines beyond pushed way beyond limits set at the start. The delivery value is most often not what was expected. For most organizations, the project’s scope has shrunk and very little automation has been implemented.

Other very important aspect: access-related risks aren’t taken care of by IAM solutions but they represent significative security risks for any company, regarding external and internal threats. Indeed, with the rise of access-related security risks, both through external and internal threats, companies now do not have the choice and need to mitigate these risks with an efficient access governance.

Knowing your information system as a whole – its users, their job positions and access righs, their usages and behaviors – is now necessary and IAM solutions cannot take this in charge.

 

What you need to succeed

Changing IAM solution, trying to make yours evolve according to your business needs or studying alternatives, all of these options require you apply best practices to make sure you chose the proper one.

What you need to pay attention to : ensure proper user experience, make sure that the solution is able to evolve according to your business needs, ensure data quality and controls automation as key components, and maybe try and see why you do not need IAM provisoning that much to ensure proper access management.

In addition, here are 3 key factors for success :

  • a unique platform to process end users’ requests
  • technical tools relying on standards
  • transversal solutions for audit, reporting and control

 

These 3 key factors will enable you to brake silos and take in charge all necessary processes you need to ensure: information browsing, request input, validation workflows, provisioning and technical actions as well as reporting, audit and control.

This will enable you to operate transversal processes and brake 4 key silos: IT & logistics, IAM for application access, non structured data and, last, ERPs.

You may ask, is this really possible? Do cross system and cross application solutions already exist? Indeed, some organizations are currently studying and implementing alternatives to the traditional IAM approach and it is promising.

 

Studying alternatives: a new paradigm with Identity Analytics

There is adequate and proven technology on the market to support this approach and organizations can chose among several options, according to their business needs and environment.

Some companies are examining alternatives to the traditional IAM model such as replacing IAM by a meta repository. Nevertheless, what we should be paying attention to are the other components of these options. ITSM tools and Brainwave Identity GRC, as an Identity Analytics solution, are included in many alternatives, so of them which do not even include an IAM solution.

Usually, an IAM solution does not cover what is initially needed and access governance as well as access related risk mitigation are left out. With these alternatives, some companies are starting to see how to meet their evolving needs outside traditional IAM and costly projects.

Nevertheless, the point isn’t to conclude that IAM projects are all failures – which is far from being true – and that Identity Analytics coupled with ITSM is THE alternative. IAM and Identity Analytics are complementary and companies need to make them work together to attain both of their prime goals: operational efficiency and risk mitigation, on a continuous basis.

BRAINWAVE GRC LAUNCHES THE 2017 VERSION OF ITS IDENTITY GRC SOLUTION

BRAINWAVE GRC LAUNCHES THE 2017 VERSION OF ITS IDENTITY GRC SOLUTION

Brainwave GRC, software vendor specialized in Identity Analytics, launches the 2017 version of its Brainwave Identity GRC solution.

A FLEXIBLE SOLUTION TO ENSURE EFFORTLESS RISK MANAGEMENT

Brainwave Identity GRC is an out of the box solution for audit and compliance control regarding user access rights in information systems. The solution enables companies to mitigate their security risks and easily fulfill their compliance requirements thanks to automated control and analysis processes. With Brainwave Identity GRC, organizations benefit from a 360° view over individuals who have access to the company’s data and applications, their access rights and their use of them on a daily basis in order to detect any abnormal behavior or unusual situation. Brainwave GRC clients know “who has access to what” within their systems and “who has been doing what” to ensure a continuous risk management.

The 2017 Brainwave Identity GRC edition includes multiple innovative features which answer strategic client needs, facilitate user experience and enable our clients to take advantage of all of our solution’s potential.

LOG LAKE AND USER BEHAVIOR ANALYTICS (UBA)

In its 2017 version, Identity GRC enables you to know “who is doing what” in your information systems and in an immediate way. The solution collects and centralizes application access logs within a log lake and highlights rapidly and easily informations regarding user behavior. With Identity GRC, you can know who works in your company and who has access to what but also who accessed which application or referential and when. With this log lake, the solution provides useful and precise user behavior analyses in order to easily fight against internal fraud or provide informations for audits.

 

AN OPTIMAL USER EXPERIENCE

Identity GRC 2017 has again improved the solution’s web platform user experience by enabling the user to edit and customize dashboards in a few clicks and share them via a web interface. This 2017 new feature – mashup dashboards – grants more autonomy and responsability to the user, for example for security offciers managing a community. With the Identity GRC mashup dashboards, each user views only results corresponding to data placed under his jurisdiction and can chose to view them as a list, indicators or graphs with the possibility to view trends.

 

AN POWERFUL CAMPAIGN MANAGER

Last, the Identity GRC 2017 version also includes a new review campaign manager which enables you to monitor and automatically set the rythm for campaigns.  It reinforces and improves the current campaign manager as it enables you to benefit from a precise follow-up regarding campaigns’ progress, to directly access compliance reports as well as include an electronic signature and show compliance reports stamped with date and time to prove, if needed, non repudiation.

Brainwave Identity GRC 2017 still operates automated remediation actions by connecting to target systems (ServiceNow, Atlassian Jira, …), as well as customizing execution, reminder and validation stages of a review.

Recent events reveal how much it has become harder and harder to keep control of IT infrastructures and that cybersecurity is the key to proper assets and user management considering digital transformation as a whole. 

Identity management’s promess, focused on operational efficiency – “who works in the company” and “who has access to what regarding his/her role” – is no longer sufficient. It is now necessary to understand how the company’s sensitive assets are used in order to anticipate cyberattack, fraud or data leak risks. 

This new paradigm, relying both on an in-depth knowledge of access rights and which access rights individuals use, his reinforced by decision aid approaches (user behavior analytics, machine learning) in order to identify weak signals. 

We are proud, after two years of R&D, to be the first European actor able to answer this challenge. Our “plug&play” approach enables security officers and assets managers to take back control of the company’s assets wherever they are and, in consequence, support and accelerate digital transformation initiatives”.

explains Sébastien Faivre, Brainwave GRC Director and co-founder.

Brainwave GRC & Infonex event: Cyber Risk for Financial Institutions

Brainwave GRC & Infonex event: Cyber Risk for Financial Institutions

Brainwave GRC presentation at the Cyber Risk for Financial Institutions – Infonex event

Toronto, Canada – May 16 & 17

 

Eric In, VP of Brainwave GRC for North-America, will be a speaker at this two-day seminar in Toronto, Canada on Cyber Risk for Financial Instituions. His presentation – Reducing Cyber Risk by using Identity Analytics – will take place on May 17 from 09:15 am to 10:15 am.

It will examine the challenges and provide solutions regarding risks related to individuals for organizations.

  • Cyber security is also about the individual : how can we reduce risks related to individuals?
  • How Identity Analytics can help to better monitor risks and make informed decisions?
  • Exploring practical examples of how identity analytics can help financial institutions to comply with the new SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework

 

Make sure you can attend! 

5 reasons why access-related security is key to hybrid ERP transformation

5 reasons why access-related security is key to hybrid ERP transformation

Hybrid ERP: the postmodern transformation for ERPs

Postmodern ERPs are the new form of ERP systems, no longer coming only from single-instance megasuites such as SAP or Oracle. ERPs are now hybrid – mega-suite on-premise but also partly in the cloud – or even fully outsourced.

Analysts have been paying attention for several years now to this rising phenomenon but this is it. Hybrid ERPs are not a hype but becoming the norm, year after year. Indeed, according to a Gartner study, within 3 years less than 1 out of 5 multinational companies will still be having a single-instance megasuite ERP system.

ERP transformation projects are launched for various business needs, from adopting a new marketing or HR cloud-based management solution, a new Saas CRM such as Salesforce or conducting a major ERP renovation after years with costly megasuites.

 

Paying attention to security risks to ensure success and business goals

The enthusiasm coming with such projects and the business stakes shouldn’t make you forget the security risks will probably rise with your company’s transformation projects. With ERPs going to the cloud and, in most cases, spread between on-premise applications and cloud-based ones, new risks appear and more actors are involved.

Here are 5 reasons why you need to put access-related security at the top of your priorities for your hybrid ERP:

  1. Greater lack of visibility over applications and business processes
  2. Higher risk of frauds and human errors with more actors involved, including numerous third parties
  3. Greater risk of data quality and management issues with mutliple data sources and formats
  4. Less control over HR movements, access rights management and the activity of users regarding these access rights
  5. Harder to ensure audits and controls over access rights and user activity at a satisfying frequency (larger and more diversified perimeter)

 

The solution? A proper access-rights security policy, collaboration and Identity Analytics & Intelligence

With hybrid ERPs now becoming the dominant ERP model, the security stakes are high and need to be taken in charge properly. Defining a relevant and realistic security policy is only one of the steps that will ensure success for your transformation projects. The other steps? Enabling and encouraging collaboration between IT and business units in order to reduce the risks related to data collection, transmission and processing but also to conduct efficient and easy access certifications as well as regular controls.

What are often under-estimated risks ? Access-related risks in Active Directory, SoD or even your CRM. With the proper tool you need to ensure a 360° visibility over access rights and how people use them in your company, including contractors and interns. The risks can go from a high number of dormant accounts and ex-employees with access-rights still active in some applications to SoD risks with users able to operate incompatible actions over the Purchase-to-Pay business process.

The need for a cross-applications and business process view for risk analysis and remediation but also controls and access reviews is stronger than ever with a hybrid ERP. Are you ready?