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Access Review: How to fasten the process using SSPM

Access review is a crucial process for continuously monitoring and validating the access levels and roles granted to users within SaaS applications. It allows security teams to regularly evaluate access permissions, ensuring that employees have access only to the information necessary for their roles, and can only perform actions relevant to their roles, in the respective applications.

Periodic access reviews play a vital role in identifying and later, remediating risks. It encompasses the identification of users holding excessive privileges and instances of unauthorized access. Through consistent access review, organizations can proactively uncover potential security vulnerabilities and gaps, effectively avoiding security breaches and sensitive data leaks.

Failing to conduct proper user access reviews can have significant implications for a business, especially considering its necessity for many compliance audits. Neglecting this crucial process can lead to the unintentional exposure of sensitive data, potentially causing harm to negligent employees, even if not maliciously intended. Employees accessing information beyond their designated roles can create insider threats, leading to legal liabilities, customer mistrust, and negative publicity. These consequences can disrupt the organization’s growth and success, emphasizing the importance of addressing negligent users and their impact on insider risk management.

Error message text indicating the manual errors of outdated access review practices

The Challenges of Manual User Access Review

A significant challenge posed by manual access reviews is the complexity and time-consuming nature surrounding the compliance audit process. Without a streamlined system or automated access review software in place, organizations often find themselves grappling with the arduous task of manually collecting evidence to demonstrate that they have conducted these reviews.

This process typically involves capturing screenshots, generating manual reports, and consolidating them to present to auditors. The sheer volume of applications and users in larger organizations intensifies this challenge. However, partnerships like the Wing and Drata partnership offer a remedy to this issue by streamlining the evidence-collection process. Furthermore, for Drata customers, this information can be effortlessly uploaded back into their system.

The Time-Consuming Nature

While access reviews are crucial for compliance, they often prove labor-intensive and time-consuming. Security teams bear the burden of dedicating countless hours, often spanning weeks, to review access permissions for each user across numerous applications manually. In organizations with thousands of users and hundreds of applications, this process demands a significant amount of time and effort, diverting valuable resources from other critical security tasks.

Struggles in Keeping Up

In today’s ever-evolving and fast-paced business landscape, security teams already face a continuous stream of new challenges. Challenges include identifying and mitigating emerging threats and monitoring for suspicious user behaviors. The additional burden of manual access reviews only compounds these existing pressures, placing a substantial strain on the efficiency and effectiveness of the security team.

Risks of Human Error

Manual user access review processes are highly susceptible to human error. The complexity of managing access and roles across a wide range of SaaS applications increases the likelihood of errors in the approval process. To show the scale of this challenge, it is estimated that the average employee has 28 applications in use. Ultimately, errors of this nature can result in security breaches and even compliance violations.

5 stars representing the security score on a third party vendor risk management

Using Automation to Manage and Review User Access

Recognizing the challenges posed by manual access reviews and the need to reduce the time-consuming and error-prone processes, Wing’s Essential SSPM solution extends its automation capabilities to this critical process. By consolidating and automating user access reviews, organizations can significantly reduce the time and effort required to assess user permissions and prove compliance. Additionally, Wing’s SSPM solution also ensures that security is prioritized throughout, providing advanced vendor risk assessment capabilities.

The Benefits of Automating User Access Review

Checklist symbolizing the user access review process

Efficiency Gains: Automation streamlines the access review processes. Through automation, security teams can complete reviews in a fraction of the time required for manual methods. This not only enhances efficiency but also facilitates the creation of consolidated reports that are easy to track and share with auditors. A win-win for both the company and the auditors.

Consistency: Automated access reviews ensure the consistent application of access policies across the organization, minimizing the risk of human errors. No matter who is conducting the reviews, a standard approach is taken that ensures better accuracy in the process.

Always-on Security: With an SSPM solution that automates access review, not only can you reduce the time spent on manual tasks, but you can also gain peace of mind knowing that your SaaS stack is secure. It allows security teams to focus on high-priority security tasks such as proactive threat detection and mitigation.

The Importance of User Access Review for Compliance

Access reviews play a pivotal role in maintaining a secure and compliant SaaS environment. They ensure that access privileges are aligned with the principle of least privilege. This helps reduce the risk of unauthorized data exposure and potential breaches.

Access evaluations are closely linked to the compliance standards required by industry regulations, like SOC 2 and ISO 20071. These standards highlight the significance of overseeing and tracking access to data. Utilizing automated processes for access assessments allows security teams to gather evidence for compliance with these regulations, aiding in protecting organizations from potential penalties and harm to their reputation.

SOC 2 established by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is an accepted auditing standard that sets out the criteria for evaluating the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of cloud service providers. Compliance with SOC 2 involves controlling access to systems and data.

On the other hand, ISO 27001 is a recognized information security management system (ISMS) standard that offers an approach to managing and safeguarding confidential information within a company. A key element of ISO 27001 is implementing an access control policy to ensure that authorized individuals can access critical resources.

Access evaluations play a role, in upholding compliance requirements and protecting information. Nevertheless, the traditional manual method poses challenges that impede security teams’ optimal performance.

By utilizing Wings SSPM solutions automation features companies can accelerate access reviews. Reduce the burden on their security teams. Automation needs to simplify and quicken compliance processes. Also enables security experts to improve their overall security stance and enhance protection, against internal threats.

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