AI in identity governance and access management
Louis Philip Morin Louis Philip Morin
February 19 5 min

AI in identity governance and access management

Global digital transformation moves fast, and organizations are under pressure to ensure their cybersecurity can keep pace. Today’s headlines frequently feature high-profile data breaches, which take a heavy toll on both a company’s reputation and finances. Security demands are more complex, increasingly decentralized and shared with business functions, thanks to new ways of working powered by technologies such as the cloud. This all means that rigorous identity government and access management have never been more vital.

In this article, we explore the current state of the cybersecurity landscape, and discuss how AI can solve the problems that businesses now face.

The situation today

The advent of data protection regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means that the consequences of compromised systems or the lack of access controls on customer data can hit a business directly where it hurts: their bottom line.

At the time of writing, the GDPR alone has handed out over €114 (US$126 million) in fines since it was launched, according to a report by law firm DLA Piper. The report states that “over 160,000 data breach notifications have been reported across the 28 European Union Member States plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein since the GDPR came into force.”

The security situation is further complicated by a growing demand for enterprise mobility, including the growth of “bring your own device” (BYOD). New flexible and mobile ways of working, enabled by the cloud, have the potential to deliver significant productivity gains, while raising new challenges not present with traditional on-premises systems. And, as well as permanent employees, businesses today may also deal with the access needs of freelancers, contractors, partners, and clients. All of this must be managed by somebody.

Identity governance and access management demands

IT departments must devote more time to discerning and managing identities and access permissions. It’s often not possible for them to do it alone, causing delays due to communications and approvals. Provisioning access and managing identities and roles may not be a full-time job for your IT personnel, but it’s likely to constitute a significant part of their workload.

According to a 2019 white paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the biggest security threat comes from current employees, accounting for almost a third of incidents. Why? “Many organizations simply lack the time or resources to complete a comprehensive access review, leading to the risk of managers bulk approving when they are swamped by too many requests and consequently allowing insider security incidents to take place.”

A security incident is just one consequence of ineffective access management and identity governance – albeit the most serious. Slow, insufficient, or inaccurate access provisioning prevents users from reaching the tools or information they need to do their jobs. IT or security staff overburdened with access management tasks are unable to devote sufficient attention to their other tasks, or concentrate on innovation, process improvement, and other valuable, high-level work, such as detecting and remediating security issues.

Now AI can share the load

It’s easy for identity governance and access management to overwhelm IT departments. However, as the saying goes, “it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it”. Fortunately, thanks to recent advances in AI, IT staff will no longer have to tackle the job unaided.

With advances in data mining techniques, systems administrators can understand access needs more easily and accurately than ever before. Using sophisticated analysis of usage and access data, the latest tools can recommend roles and entitlements to be assigned based on a person’s department or the attributes of their job. This takes a lot of the hard work out of building an accurate job profile and setting the right level of access.

AI can even automatically allocate roles and provision access, while retaining records for later reference and auditing. Because this automation is based on your own pre-defined rules and roles, you can be sure everything’s being done “by the book”, all the time. No more worries about compliance.

Introducing Access Governor

The technology described here is available to businesses right now. We’ve developed the Element AI Access Governor to address organizations’ access management and identity governance hurdles. We want to make role engineering an asset to their security and their business, instead of an ineffective process that causes unmanageable workloads and hinders productivity.

Access Governor unlocks the full value of one of your organization’s most valuable assets: data. By intelligently analyzing this data for better role assignment, our solution frees up administrators’ time and ensures that users have the right provisions to do their jobs effectively. Security no longer has to be a barrier to productivity.


Would you like to find out more about how AI can help with identity governance and access management? Want to try Element AI Access Governor for yourself with a free demo? Click the button below to speak with one of our experts.