Gartner Research

Keep Auditors and Risk Managers Happy With Access Certification

Published: 10 February 2014

ID: G00258394

Analyst(s): Ian Glazer, Heidi L. Wachs


Inappropriate and outdated access to enterprise resources creates risk. A comprehensive access certification program can help identify and manage these risks and address compliance requirements. IAM teams will find that access certification provides a solid foundation for all IAM activities.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • What's in a Name?
  • Fundamentals of an Access Certification Implementation
    • Step 1: Review of Organizational Relationships
    • Step 2: Review of Current Access
    • Step 3: Record Audit Data
    • Step 4: Build the Revocation List
  • Correlation — Associating People With Their Access
    • Data Gathering
    • Data Correlation
  • Evaluation: What Is the Risk Associated With the Access?
    • What Type of Certification Is Appropriate?
    • How Often Should Certifications Be Carried Out?
    • How Much Needs to Be Certified?
    • Who Needs to Be Certified?
    • What Gets Certified?
  • Remediation: Cleaning Up Inappropriate Access
    • Audit Data
    • Revoking Inappropriate Access
    • Auditing Post-Remediation
  • The Big Rubber Stamp
    • Combating the Big Rubber Stamp
  • Seeing the Whole Picture: The Context of Access
    • The Plain-Language Meaning of the Access
    • Understanding Entitlement Details
    • The Organizational Context
    • Consumers of the Context of Access
  • Motivating Factors for Access Certification
    • Regulatory Requirements
    • Security
    • Accountability and Risk Transference
    • Strengthening Other Identity Projects
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Develop a Culture of Compliance
  • Identify Critical Systems
  • For Enterprises With an Existing Access Certification Process
    • Shorten the Distance Between the List of Access to Be Revoked and the Revocation Itself
    • Provide More Data in Exchange for Accountability
    • Add Event-Based Certifications
    • Add Risk Scoring
    • Consider Costs Before Adding the Next System
  • For Enterprises Without an Existing Access Certification Process
    • Design Workflow Before the Technical System

The Details

  • What Does the Certification Workflow Look Like?
    • Application and Entitlement Owners
    • Organizational Managers
    • Workflows
  • Access Certification and Risk Management
    • Full Certifications: Risk and Administrative Burden
    • Delta Certifications: Risk and Burden
    • Event Certifications
    • Risk-Based Certifications

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