Gartner Research

Combating Policy Sprawl: Identity and Access Governance and Externalized Authorization Management Systems

Published: 12 February 2012

ID: G00226769

Analyst(s): Ian Glazer


The business of access governance and authorization is to allow the right people to gain access to appropriate information, applications and functions within those applications. But the rules that define who the right people are and which things they can work with do not originate in identity professionals' minds; these rules are derived from business controls. The translation of business control into access-governing policies is not always faithful; minor inconsistencies can have major effects. This assessment explores a methodology for achieving coherence between identity and access governance (IAG) and externalized authorization management (EAM) policies, an important step toward policy traceability.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Achieving Policy Coherence
    • Why IAG? Why EAM?
    • Policies Everywhere: On the Use of Terminology
  • A Methodology for Mirroring EAM Policies into an IAG System
    • Step 1: Map Managed Systems and PIPs
    • Step 2: Decompose EAM Policies
    • Step 3: Discover Attribute and Entitlement Usage
    • Step 4: Represent Attribute Usage as a Policy in the IAG System
    • What This Methodology Doesn't Cover
    • When to Apply This Methodology
  • Walking the Path to Traceability: Policy Coherence
  • Strengths
    • Connecting the Dots: Building Traceability
    • Authorization Language Agnostic
    • Specialized Technology Not Required
  • Weaknesses
    • Lossy Translation
    • Context Not Available
    • Manual Updates
  • Be Disciplined to Document
  • Identify Relevant Sets of Policies
  • Perform Attribute and Entitlement Dependency Analysis
  • Consider Access Certification Improvements

The Details

  • Examples of the Gap Between IAG and EAM Systems
    • Attribute and Entitlement Dependency
    • Policy Impact Assessment
    • Forensic Investigation
    • Closed-Loop Authorization
    • Access Certification
    • Example Summary

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