How IT Teams Should Approach User Access Management

If your business relies on an array of SaaS applications to keep operations running smoothly, tracking which employees have access to individual products can be tricky. If a worker is promoted, changes job role, or leaves the company, their access requirements are likely to change. Failure to update these changes on your cloud-based programs could lead to workflow problems, security breaches, and could even cause legal issues. 

Fortunately, user access management technologies such as onetool make it much easier to control access permission across your tech stack. In this handy guide, we explain the importance of identity and access management for protecting your brand’s reputation and maximizing the value of your SaaS investments. 

So, why is efficient access management so important to the success of a growing company? The primary challenges it helps to overcome include:

1. Lack of visibility surrounding permissions and user activity

To avoid compliance and productivity problems, your IT team must know:

  • Which employees have access to particular applications and data sets
  • Where and how they are accessing information
  • How they are using data stored in cloud applications

 

While some sophisticated SaaS applications may produce insightful reports about compliance rates across your company, they only offer information about single siloed applications.

If auditors request information about access and compliance rates across your company, you must have centralized visibility of permissions for your entire tech stack. In this way, it makes sense to invest in a service such as onetool. It offers full visibility of SaaS permissions, complete with usage insights and automated provisioning and deprovisioning. 

2. Manual provisioning processes are slow and prone to errors

When new starters are onboarded, IT teams are typically required to provide them access to email accounts, printing devices, file servers and more. However, when it comes to managing SaaS applications, provisioning and deprovisioning are often left to department managers and application administrators. 

This lack of supervision by an internal IT professional could leave your company vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks. While the provisioning process tends to be relatively safe, the deprovisioning process is fraught with potential issues. A former employee bearing a grudge, for example, could misuse sensitive data if you fail to revoke their access permissions to SaaS applications.  

An identity and access management tool can help IT professionals regain control of the deprovisioning process, thus protecting company data. Try to opt for a platform that automatically deprovisions users to avoid errors.  

3. Missing integrations for your SaaS apps and identity systems

If you’re hoping to implement a comprehensively centralized user access management, you must build integrations across all your SaaS products. When new versions of your favorite SaaS programs are released, you may also need to update these integrations. For most fast-growing companies, asking the IT department to complete these integrations would be unrealistic. Your IT staff have better things to do than keep track of a constantly changing array of tech products, after all.

Contemporary SaaS software and cloud applications tend to use architectures optimized for a digital landscape. For IT departments, however, these cutting-edge technologies may demand confusing new approaches to integration, especially regarding user authentication.  

Fortunately, identity and access management programs can help IT professionals keep up with changing approaches to application integration, ensuring employees are always able to access vital tools and data. 

Best practices for effective user access management

Managing users across a variety of different SaaS applications doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here is a handy list of best practices to ensure your provisioning and deprovisioning processes remain secure and efficient:

1. Remove orphaned accounts promptly

Most organizations experience personnel changes on a very regular basis, particularly those with a high number of temporary staff members. If a SaaS user moves to a different department, receives a promotion, or leaves the company, you must alter their access permissions. These adjustments are particularly important when you’re offboarding workers, as failure to remove permissions could lead to an orphaned account.

Orphaned accounts contain sensitive information about ex-employees but don’t have an assigned user. If left floating around your network for too long, an orphaned account could help a hacker steal data. 

Without an adequate identity management solution, IT teams are unlikely to notice activity on unattended accounts. As such, cybercriminals can use orphaned accounts to gather private data, harnessing it to carry out attacks.  

2. Automate your onboarding and offboarding process

If you’re hoping to implement a comprehensively centralized user access management, you must build integrations across all your SaaS products. When new versions of your favorite SaaS programs are released, you may also need to update these integrations. For most fast-growing companies, asking the IT department to complete these integrations would be unrealistic. Your IT staff have better things to do than keep track of a constantly changing array of tech products, after all.

Contemporary SaaS software and cloud applications tend to use architectures optimized for a digital landscape. For IT departments, however, these cutting-edge technologies may demand confusing new approaches to integration, especially regarding user authentication.  

Fortunately, identity and access management programs can help IT professionals keep up with changing approaches to application integration, ensuring employees are always able to access vital tools and data. 

3. Embrace a zero-trust philosophy

How can you trust a user or application that hasn’t been verified? You simply can’t. Don’t be fooled by users originating from within your corporate network – if they aren’t verified, they have the potential to wreak havoc with your systems. By adopting a zero-trust philosophy, you can prevent security slip-ups and reputational disasters. 

Remember – with remote and outsourced forms of working on the rise, an increasing number of employees are working outside of their corporate networks. This means they’re likely to be using a combination of personal devices, SaaS and cloud-based applications, and on-premises corporate technologies to do their jobs. Without sufficient oversight of these activities, your employees are increasingly likely to encounter security issues. 

While your instinct may be to trust certain employees and partners, it could end up damaging your business in the long run.

4. Make the most of multi-factor authentication

Non-technical staff are notoriously unreliable when it comes to creating secure passwords. No matter how repeatedly you emphasize the importance of password strength, you’re bound to have one or two employees who choose to log in to SaaS platforms using their birth date, their dog’s name, or ‘password123’. Similarly, forgetful workers often use the same passwords across a range of applications – another way to attract hackers. 

Fortunately, you can combat the problem of easily guessable passwords using multi-factor authentication. This increasingly popular technology requires SaaS users to complete additional verification tasks before they can log in to their desired platform. 

Examples of multi-factor authentication methods include passwords paired with push notifications, facial recognition software, or verification sent via SMS. Adding this extra layer of security deters cybercriminals and ensures your company’s assets are protected.

5. Centralize your tech stack

We probably don’t need to tell you that manually tracking all the SaaS and cloud-based activity in your company is a monumental task. As your business grows, it is likely to become impossible.

Luckily, integrated access management platforms are here to save the day. Platforms such as onetool work to centralize access details related to your tech stack, thus improving SaaS visibility. If you’re looking to gain a detailed view of who has access to what programs within your organization, now is the time to invest in cutting-edge access management technologies. 

6. Get rid of high-risk onsite systems

Contrary to popular belief, on-premise data centers and locally stored applications represent greater security threats than cloud-based alternatives. The vast majority of SaaS services and cloud computing vendors operate using highly sophisticated security systems designed to protect clients from data breaches. Examples include security patches, encryption, multi-factor access requirements, segmentation, and more. 

Onsite systems, on the other hand, require significant investment in security technologies. If you’re looking to boost your company’s security credentials and deter cybercriminals, it is worth ditching old systems and committing to cloud-based platforms.  

While migrating to new technologies may seem complicated at first, an access management platform will ensure the process is as seamless as possible. 

Try onetool today

If you’re ready to implement an integrated access management platform in your organization, look no further than onetool. Our platform uses pioneering technologies to make onboarding and offboarding a breeze. 

Forget time-consuming manual processes – our centralized dashboard allows you to manage employees’ permissions with just a few clicks. If you would like to learn more about automating your provisioning workflows, just book a demo with one of our experts here!

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