Spera’s Identity Role Mining Module - Automating Principle of Least Privilege

Spera’s Identity Role Mining Module - Automating Principle of Least Privilege

Lior Tamir, Product Manager at Spera Security
Lior Tamir, Product Manager at Spera Security
December 14, 2023

Birthright permissions - When RBAC goes awry

A common practice to ensure least privilege is granting application permissions based on a person's role within the organization (Role Based Access Control - RBAC), grouping identities into IAM groups, roles and policies, all organized to align with common usage patterns. 

In the dynamic business realm, multiple apps are added or removed all the time and people join, change roles, and leave, at times without security oversight. The result is a tangled web of access permissions: thousands of groups, each designed for a specific purpose, but with many of them being outdated, duplicated, or containstale members.

One critical example of the challenge in determining birthright permissions for employees is the difficulty of maintaining an accurate and up-to-date record of their baseline access rights. This involves striking a delicate balance between granting the necessary permissions for their roles and responsibilities while minimizing potential security risks.

Addressing this challenge manually becomes an operational struggle as identity platforms grow fragmented and intricate, fostering information silos, leading to wasted time, resources, operational inefficiencies, and potential errors.

Operational inefficiency exposes organizations to security vulnerabilities, as unused permissions expand the attack surface, granting hackers access to critical information..

Moreover, this intricate landscape leaves organizations with a compliance gap, as international standards such as NIST, SOX and PCI-DSS demand implementation of the principle of least privilege.

Role Mining - Strategy born out of necessity 

Due to the lack of viable solutions using existing capabilities, many are turning to enable Role Mining workflows. This strategic process involves analyzing access patterns to define suitable roles for users. By mapping user activities to roles, integrating an activity layer and utilizing algorithms and AI to identify common access needs and flag anomalies, security and identity teams can efficiently assign accurate access permissions to groups based on roles and usage. 

Teams currently lack vital tools for the effective implementation of this approach, especially in automating the continuous monitoring and in-depth analysis of identity provider groups, identities, and applications. Without this automated vigilance, the collection and analysis of such data become immensely challenging.

Navigating the RBAC groups challenge with Spera’s Role Mining module

Spera Security offers a module that provides security and identity teams with continuous, unprecedented visibility and context into the complex relations between identities, groups and apps. Leveraging automation, gaps and blind spots are removed to ensure constant identification and removal of unused access to apps driven by groups.

The new module operates by continuously analyzing the data from identity providers, correlating IAM groups and identities and their access to applications. It augments this information with usage data and employs algorithms to identify anomalies. This provides a straightforward yet powerful solution for effective group management. 

Key Benefits:

  1. Define Birthright Access Permissions
    By discerning usage patterns, the module identifies consistent access needs for employees in specific groups to certain applications. Furthermore, it pinpoints instances where birthright access isn't utilized for specific apps, thereby enhancing overall access efficiency. These insights empower IAM teams to make informed refinements to group memberships.
  2. Eliminate unused access to apps
    Quickly identify and remove unused apps from groups. For instance, if the "Developers" group grants access to Box, and most developers don't utilize it, the module suggests removing "Box" assignments, providing an alternative solution for active users.

  3. Consolidate duplicate groups
    Enhance access control hygiene by detecting and consolidating duplicate groups with similar functionalities that may have accumulated over the years.

  4. Reduce costs
    Realize cost savings by identifying underutilized licenses. If, for instance, Microsoft CoPilot access is granted via an AAD group, but most users don't utilize it, the module enables the removal of redundant licenses, translating into tangible financial savings.

  5. Critical evidence for remediation
    The inclusion of an activity layer provides critical evidence for remediation without business interruption, ensuring that adjustments are made based on actual usage patterns and enhancing security without disrupting operations.

  6. Easily export and report
    Simplify reporting with easy export and automated reports, streamlining the tracking and management of IAM group activities. Seamlessly open Jira or Service Now tickets to address identified issues, ensuring minimal operational disruption and efficient issue resolution.

Many Security and IAM teams are leveraging the capabilities of  Spera’s Role Mining module. Seamless workflow integration, accelerated access review times, removal of costly licenses and efficient cleanups of unused groups and permissions are some of the common ROIs being realized by the security and IAM teams. . 

Contact Spera Security to learn more about how Role Mining capabilities are elevating IAM practices.

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