The Benefits of Centralizing Third-Party Access Governance Processes

Ensure third parties are only granted access to systems and data needed to complete their tasks. Regular access reviews can detect over-provisioning and remove stale accounts from the system.

Managing these identities manually can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Converging identity governance & administration and privileged access management into one platform provides a powerful way to raise cybersecurity maturity and improve third-party control.

Streamlined Vendor Management

As organizations rely on contractors, freelancers, and other third-party workers to achieve business goals, these entities may require access to different parts of the company for various lengths of time. This increases their vulnerability to cyberattacks, as they may need to be onboarded through the same processes or vetted with the same levels of scrutiny that full-time employees undergo.

When protecting sensitive information, data, and systems, privacy and security teams need complete, real-time visibility into all third parties with access. However, this isn’t always easy – many traditional identity governance and administration (IGA) tools were designed to manage only employee identities, making it difficult for them to keep up with today’s growing list of third-party relationships.

The good news is that there are dedicated solutions to help you manage third-party risk. They provide an integrated platform to aggregate your vendor information, automate your risk assessments, and quickly onboard new vendors. They also offer a way to easily communicate with your team members about questionnaires, breach notifications, expiring cyber-liability insurance, or any other identified risks.

A robust TPM solution will also enable you to streamline the pre-contract inherent risk assessment process by allowing the teams to quickly and efficiently send questionnaires, questions, and requirements to your entire list of vendors – even those that have already been onboarded and approved. This saves countless hours of manual work and helps ensure that the right people receive the information they need to do their jobs correctly.

Real-Time Visibility

Contractors, freelancers, partners, bots, and service accounts must access your systems. However, granting them broad privileges or letting them remain in the system after they’re no longer required poses a significant risk. For example, hackers can steal these credentials and move unfettered throughout your infrastructure to steal data or commit other attacks. Or, a third-party employee can make a mistake or even log in as an admin and cause massive damage. In either case, you need to be able to monitor and control their activities in real time.

When you centralize your privileged access management and third-party access governance, you can provide your teams with a single pane of glass to manage identity relationships, review their activities, and ensure that they are only granted access for the duration of their work. And, when that work is done, or their contract is over, you can quickly revoke access.

Reduced Risk

Many companies need help managing their third parties effectively because the processes are manual, resource-intensive, and complex. To minimize risk, it’s critical to understand who you work with and their roles in defining the appropriate level of access required. Role-based access governance ensures that third parties only get the minimum access necessary to complete their assigned tasks. This helps to reduce risks, such as data leakage and unintended business impact, while ensuring that the third party maintains the highest levels of performance and quality.

For instance, implementing regular access reviews can help to ensure that the third party is only completing activities within granted access or that stale access to systems and data gets identified and removed promptly. However, relying on people to manually conduct these reviews can be inefficient and prone to error. Continuous monitoring is becoming necessary with the rise of third-party threats and the increased focus by regulators and auditors on third-party access.

Fortunately, there are solutions available that enable organizations to streamline and automate the entire third-party management lifecycle. These solutions, which leverage identity and access management (IAM) to manage non-employee identities, include onboarding, ongoing monitoring, risk assessment, mitigation, and reporting capabilities. By leveraging these purpose-built solutions, organizations can scale their third-party management programs and gain visibility into the identities of third parties and the applications they use within their ecosystems.

Increased Efficiency

Using a single identity governance and management solution reduces the manual processes needed to onboard third-party users, handle access requests and reviews, and terminate access when contracts expire. A converged platform can elevate cybersecurity maturity by bringing third-party identity into the same compliance process as employees. This ensures consistency and enables security teams to mitigate risks or violations quickly, whoever the user is. To minimize risk, a third-party access management system should be able to verify and validate identities by matching job titles, business unit identifiers, or locations with corresponding privilege levels. This helps to eliminate the need for manual, human-based verification processes that can be vulnerable to inadvertent errors and slow down onboarding times. The system should also enable administrators to automate reviewing access regularly to prevent privilege creep, where users gradually accumulate access rights that go beyond what they need to complete their work.

Lastly, the system should make it easy for administrators to audit the activity of third-party users. This includes monitoring when they connect to systems, which applications or systems they access, and if they have accessed or modified any information. It should also include a mechanism to pause or sever connection if something doesn’t look right, preventing accidental breaches and data leaks.

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