The mere mention of the term “access control” generally conjures up images of an office worker routinely presenting their badge to a card reader before being granted access into a facility or secured area. Even as physical access control systems (PACS) and physical identity and access management (PIAM) technologies continue to evolve, not much has changed on the backend in terms of aggregating data from these solutions for more highly integrated business intelligence applications. For years, these systems have operated in isolation, disconnected from both people, and other workforce and compliance processes. Given the untapped sources of data that can be gathered from PACS and PIAM solutions, doesn’t it make sense to analyze and apply this information?
This is the very thinking that is driving the evolution of access control into data-driven access management.
What Is Access Management?
If access control is about the physical entry and egress of people, access management is about aggregating all the useful data that PACS, PIAM and other related enterprise systems routinely capture, and analyzing that data to provide new insights into who, where, and what people are doing within an organization. By utilizing this data, organizations are empowered to not only control access, but to manage it on a role, policy, or attribute level for every employee, contractor, vendor, or visitor. In this way, organizations can best manage access permissions while also integrating with various information systems (HR, LMS and ERP systems), so that physical access rights align with identity profiles, syncing data together for better access management decisions. Automating these time/cost-consuming functions ultimately improves efficiency and reduces errors, while intelligently enforcing safety, security and compliance.
Here are 3 reasons why your organization needs to evolve beyond simple access control into access management:
1. To Reduce Risk
Hybrid workforce schedules and flex hours have erased any semblance of what were once considered conventional 9-5 workflows resulting in a heightened state of Access Chaos. This further compounds the task of handling thousands of identity and access transactions per year in a manual or semi-automated manner, which undoubtedly results in the wrong people having valid credentials. When volumes of erroneous data exist, organizations are subject to the very threats that physical security systems were initially designed to prevent. Integrating physical access control and information systems helps prevent the threats caused by erroneous data.
With an integrated access management approach, it is easier to identify people with inappropriate access from PACS, HR, and IT systems regardless of the technology mix in place. Based on real-time data input from these enterprise systems, intelligent access analytics software visualizes identity anomalies, expired access permissions, duplicate cards, access for terminated staff, and more – thus reducing risks and mitigating insider threats.
2. To Improve Operational Efficiencies
One of the main benefits of access management is the ability to automate physical access management processes. With a physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution, many of the backend PACS functions being performed manually (approving or denying access requests, removing out-of-date permissions, etc.) are automated. This allows security teams to focus on mission critical tasks while reducing human errors known to contribute to Access Chaos.
Furthermore, using data gathered from access management solutions enables the deployment of attribute-based access control (ABAC). At its core, ABAC is a means of granting access to a user based on rules and policies that relate to characteristics or properties of each identity. ABAC is a much more secure alternative to traditional access control lists, wherein access rights are granted directly to a user. Powered by workforce access management technology, ABAC ensures that all PACS data is up to date automatically.
3. To Actively Demonstrate Compliance
Employers making use of PACS can often be bound to local, national, or industry-wide compliance mandates. For example, TSA regulations require airports to perform regular audits of identification badges in circulation. Should the percentage of unaccounted-for credentials for Security Identification Display Areas (SIDAs) exceed 5%, the entire airport must be rebadged. Other mandates, such as NIST or ISO 27001, may require organizations to complete intermittent access reviews which is the laborious task of reviewing and validating user access rights based on locations, systems, and other information. Completing such audits or access reviews manually is time-consuming, expensive and often wrought manual errors, which can result in costly fines or even a closure of operations.
Access management solutions help companies demonstrate that physical access management policies are enforced, and auditable reporting is available on demand. Users can conveniently review access rights with context from multiple systems in a single view to make informed decisions. Audit facilitators further track completion and perform support functions in real-time. The output provides the supporting evidence required for industry standards such as NERC CIP, ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOX, and many others.
The goal of evolving access control to access management is to further extend the utility of PACS and PIAM technology beyond traditional security for enterprise-level operations. With software solutions available that easily collaborate, review and take action against inappropriate access, it’s time to look leverage such data collection tools for data-driven policy applications that transcend physical access security.
RightCrowd Access Analytics does all this by adding powerful analytics to existing PACS and related enterprise systems, allowing physical security teams and management personnel to easily collaborate, review, and take action against inappropriate access from any assets and enterprise systems in a single view. The solution identifies and monitors privileged physical access, lapsed and inappropriate access permissions, duplicate cardholders and a host of other security risks and compliance failures.