Cross Identity: Converged IAM Solutions for Enhanced Security

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Just-In-Time to save your organization’s data!

Just-In-Time to save your organization's data!

Managing the security of IT systems is a difficult task, with the ever-growing security compromises it has become the need of the hour to secure your organization. In securing the precious data of your organization, The Just in time approach reduces the risk that comes from standing privileges. Just in time access is a concept in Identity and access management and is a feature of PAM solutions that provides users with access to sensitive information, servers or resources, as and when needed. It uses the principle of least privilege (PolP) where a user is granted access as and when always needed and not. JIT removes the risk that comes from Standing privileges, also known as ‘Always on ‘Access’.

If we look at the Forcepoint report, we can observe that almost 44% of users can share their privileged access, and that can lead to a compromise in the organization’s security. This approach of Just in Time access reduces the abuse of privileged accounts by reducing the amount of time that a malicious attacker has when he gains access into one of the accounts before he moves laterally into the systems and gains access to sensitive information.

A look at the key components of JIT:

Access provisioning:

Traditionally, access provisioning is a concept where the users are granted the necessary permissions in an organization that are required to perform certain tasks. JIT is one such concept that automates the process of access provisioning and grants users the necessary permissions and revokes the same when they are not required.

RBAC (Role-based Access control:

As the name suggests, in RBAC, the user is granted access based on their roles and responsibilities in an organization. If there is any change in the roles, then it would require changes from an administrator which were done manually.  While in JIT access, users associated with specific roles are given access dynamically, ensuring they have the right access when necessary. Just like every other concept in IAM, JIT also has some types which are given below.

Broker and remove access:

Also known as justification-based access, in this approach, the policies are created in such a manner that the user must give a justification for connecting to a specific target and for how long. In this the users have a standing privileged account, and the credentials are secured in a central vault. In simple terms, if you have a key to enter a special room, with this approach you will have to explain why you are using the key every time and for how long.

Ephemeral accounts:

These are one-time accounts created and used for giving access and deleted or deprovisioned after use.

Temporary elevation:

This approach allows users to run privileged accounts on a ‘by-request’ and times basis. It is just like a special badge that gives extra powers for a brief period to the users, and then those powers are gone once the mission is over.

This gives us an actual idea of what Just in time Access is, and what are its types. Let us now understand how JIT works with the help of an example:

Imagine having a library access card that lets you borrow books from the library. If you want to borrow a special book, you send a request to the library if you can gain access with your library card. If your request is genuine, it activates your library card for some time. Once approved, your library card becomes active, only for a specific time, and it would work only when you’re in the library and need to borrow the specific book. When you’re done, the access to the book is revoked and the card becomes inactive again. If someone else tries to steal the card, the access would only last for a short time.

But does an organization really need it? Let’s find out.

If a company does not support Just in time access, the major issue is faced by the security team, balancing critical access to users and facilitating the productivity of the users.  They must ensure that legitimate users have access to the resources essential for their roles.  If there is any delay, the productivity of the user suffers as they can experience a delay in getting the important permissions, which in turn slows down efficiency. If there is manual provisioning, the chances of a higher risk of errors and inconsistencies increase. Another drawback is that if access is granted for an extended period, or if it is granted to the wrong user, it is very likely that a data breach can happen.

In addition to the issues mentioned above, if an organization does not have JIT, it can result in higher number of vulnerabilities for an organization, because when access is granted to a privileged user for a long time, it can be misused by attackers who can exploit the vulnerabilities in the IT system of the organization.

The lack of JIT not being implemented can also cause problems for the organization in regard to the regulatory bodies related to access control and data protection. These government regulated bodies establish and maintain procedures which ensure that the sensitive data is made available on a need-to-know basis.  One way to safely implement JIT is through automation tools which identify and grant access to the users in an organization which are based on their roles and responsibilities. These automated tools do not require any admin to revoke the access which significantly reduces the risk of sensitive data breaches.

Multi-factor authentication can also be used by companies to implement JIT. MFA requires the users to give multiple forms of authentication before gaining access to sensitive information. This also adds an extra layer of security to the IT system.  In conclusion, Just –in- time access is a great way to secure the p Just-in-time precious information in your organization. It is all about granting access only when needed. Since more businesses are embracing digital transformations, they are becoming more inclined to use the Zero trust Framework.

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