Exploring Advanced Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Privileged Session Management (PSM)

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Mon, Sep 11, 2023

 

Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Privileged Session Management (PSM) are integral components of modern cybersecurity practices. Traditional Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions have served their purpose for years, providing a good level of control and security. However, as threats become more sophisticated and organizations grow more and more complex with dynamic access management requirements, a transition to more fine-grained PAM solutions has become imperative. In this blog post, we'll explore why organizations should consider making this shift, alluding to the capabilities of cutting-edge solutions like EmpowerID.

The Limitations of Traditional PAM

Traditional PAM solutions, while effective in many aspects, have inherent limitations that hinder their ability to adapt to today's complex security challenges. These limitations include:

  1. Static Privileges: Traditional PAM often relies on static standing privileges that are assigned to users or accounts in advance. This approach poses a considerable security risk, as it means that users may have access to resources they don't need, potentially leading to misuse or unauthorized access.

  2. Limited Visibility: Traditional PAM solutions may provide limited visibility into privileged sessions, making it challenging to monitor user activities comprehensively. This lack of visibility can impede the detection of unusual or malicious behavior.

  3. Complex Approval Processes: The approval processes in traditional PAM solutions are often manual, time-consuming, and prone to human error. These processes can hinder operational efficiency and frustrate users seeking expedited access.

  4. Inefficient Rotation of Credentials: Password rotation in traditional PAM solutions can be cumbersome and may not fully prevent unauthorized access to sensitive systems. Frequent rotation also disrupts operations and can lead to service interruptions.

What is Advanced PAM?

Advanced Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Privileged Session Management (PSM) offer significant advantages over traditional PAM/PSM approaches. Unlike traditional methods that often rely on static, standing privileges, advanced PAM/PSM solutions provide dynamic, just-in-time access. This means users receive access only when needed and for specific tasks, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.

Additionally, advanced PAM/PSM solutions incorporate robust approval workflows, ensuring that access requests undergo a structured validation process. Furthermore, these modern solutions offer a higher level of visibility and auditability, tracking all activities during privileged sessions. With advanced PAM/PSM, organizations can enhance security, reduce standing privileges, and streamline access management in a more efficient and controlled manner. Here are some of the key benefits that Advanced PAM solutions provide over traditional PAM:

1. Better Credential Management:

When it comes to PSM sessions, credential management is crucial. With Advanced PAM, you have the option to manage credentials efficiently. Users initiating PSM sessions can automatically associate credentials with their target computer, simplifying the login process. Alternatively, they can manually select specific credentials if needed.

2. Just-In-Time Credential Provisioning:

Just-in-Time provisioning for credentials is a dynamic approach that offers real-time account creation during user access. This feature generates user accounts in real-time as users access target computers. These accounts are automatically placed in relevant administrative groups, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access. Importantly, these accounts are automatically deleted upon user logout, mitigating the risks associated with standing privileges.

3. Secure Non-JIT Provisioning:

Even without Just-in-Time (JIT) access provisioning, you can leverage advanced PAM and PSM features. By preassigning accounts and linking them to specific computers, a concept known as "standing credentials," you can ensure controlled access to designated resources.

4. Efficient Approval Workflow:

A robust approval workflow is essential for managing privileged access. Users must undergo an approval process to gain access. While pre-approved access is an option, specific eligibility criteria must be met to request access. Administrators have the authority to grant access ahead of time to specific users or groups, ensuring controlled and secure access management.

5. Elevated Access Levels:

Granting varying levels of elevated access during PSM sessions is essential for security. Users can request access levels based on their eligibility, minimizing over-privileged accounts and enhancing overall security.

6. Multiple Ways to Access:

There are three primary approaches to Privileged Access Management:

  1. JIT Access Provisioning: This approach dynamically creates and deletes accounts as needed, reducing standing privileges.

  2. Standing Credentials: Credentials assigned to specific computers facilitate controlled access to designated resources.

  3. Vaulted Credentials: Personal credentials that can be upgraded when necessary provide an added layer of security.

Conclusion:

All of these features coalesce to provide a more fine-grained privileged account management experience, with PAM growing beyond just traditional credential management that integrates perfectly with your security policies, and is ready to face modern security challenges such as Pass-the-Hash (PtH) Attacks and much more. 

EmpowerID's advanced PAM and PSM capabilities offer a comprehensive solution for managing privileged access and sessions. With flexible credential provisioning methods, robust approval workflows, and varying access levels, organizations can effectively secure their systems and resources while minimizing the risks associated with standing privileges. EmpowerID empowers organizations to achieve controlled, secure, and efficient privileged access management.

Tags: Active Directory, IAM, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security

Moving Beyond RBAC with Compliant Access Delivery

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Tue, Aug 29, 2023

In our previous article, we covered the benefits and drawbacks of different authorization models, namely:

  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)
  • Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC)

We summarized that each of them had its unique characteristics. However, for organizations aiming to scale and manage thousands of users, no single method covers all use cases and application technologies. This is because certain types of applications and use cases are better suited for a structured role-based approach, while others require real-time contextual decisions.

While there are overlapping qualities among these models, individually, none of them can address all the necessary aspects of access control. To meet the needs of these organizations, a combination of the benefits from all these authorization models is required to fully ensure the security requirements of enterprises from every possible angle.

This is where the need for a hybrid authorization model arises. With all these considerations, we at EmpowerID embarked on a journey to create a perfect authorization recipe – one that encompassed all aspects of authorization without the drawbacks associated with each model. The result of this endeavor is a unique hybrid approach that combines role and attribute compliance, which we aptly named "Compliant Access Delivery."

The overall goal of Compliant Access Delivery required using the best of each approach implemented following the principles of Zero Trust and Least Privilege. Based on RBAC relational modeling, it provides the backbone or
structure for defining an organization and its overall policies while leveraging the flexibility and real-time contextual nature of ABAC and PBAC to offer the most comprehensive access control solution. 

Compliant Access Delivery

“Compliant Access Delivery” is, first, the capability to map out in advance the position appropriate access for employees, partners, and customers and the risk policies that will measure and ensure continued compliance and to then monitor and enforce this compliant state through automation.

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The natural follow-up question to this is “What makes access compliant?” Compliant access is appropriate to the person to whom it is assigned in accordance with the organizational standards and business policies to minimize risk. Compliant Access Delivery synthesizes multiple Identity and Access Management (IAM) technologies with a business modeling approach to automate and maintain each user's appropriate access to IT systems while continuously minimizing risk. 

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Compliant Access is a well-defined target state against which the current state can be
measured.

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The key to Compliant Access are the words “appropriate” and compliant with “business policies.” With Compliant Access, the devil is in the details, and that is where traditional solutions miss the mark. Due to its distinct language, processes, and policies, Compliant Access cannot be delivered by an IAM system that doesn't bridge the divide between the technical system and the business. With its operating procedures, industry norms, and regulatory restrictions, the business defines which jobs are appropriate, what constitutes a risk, and what is considered non-compliant. To achieve this, EmpowerID leverages both the organization’s business model and its language to enforce and provision Compliant Access across Cloud and on-premises systems.

How Does Compliant Access Leverage Your Business Model? 

Defining business-appropriate access is a challenge for IT organizations using their existing IAM systems. These systems were designed to manage only the technical aspects of access control and universally lack a conceptual “bridge” to tie the technical entitlements to the business’s operating model and the activities or “Functions” performed by its participants. 

Everything we cover in this blog can be explored further in our whitepaper “A Guide to Authorization”. You can find that whitepaper here: 

Business Processes and Functions

Businesses are composed of processes for producing and delivering goods or services. These processes involve tasks performed by internal and external participants. Each task can be divided into functions needed for its completion. For instance, creating a purchase order is a function within a purchasing process. While a purchase order is recognizable and its creation straightforward, not all employees should have this ability. During access reviews, managers can easily identify authorized users. This simplicity contrasts with technical entitlements that grant system access, often named confusingly. Functions bridge the gap between technical access and business understanding, ensuring a clear separation between business and IT.

Risk Policies

Compliant Access must be "appropriate" and align with an organization's "business policies." These policies are specific to the organization and cater to its operations, industry, processes, and regulations. Notably, these policies are distinct from the organization's IT systems. For example, the customer acquisition process's risks remain consistent across different Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) like SalesForce.com or HubSpot. Users' end-to-end functions can be defined before any IT system interaction. Identifying higher-risk functions and potential fraud combinations empowers threat mitigation. Crucially, establishing risk policies at the function level ensures core business activities are monitored effectively. Business users often face confusion when risk policies are tied to technical entitlements instead of familiar business concepts, hindering visibility into actual actions.

Bridging the Gap between Business and Technology

To align business-appropriate access and risk policies, focusing on functions is crucial. This requires bridging them to IT systems, where business specialists play a key role. They map out business processes, activities, and roles involved (Figure 41). Collaborating with IT experts, they convert functions into task-based application roles within specific systems (Figure 42). EmpowerID supports mapping roles to functions and even mapping fine-grained permissions to functions. This clarifies which IT entitlements enable functions, who can perform them, and how access is assigned. Functions enhance business clarity in your IT landscape.

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Conclusion
 
In conclusion, the evolution of access control has led us to recognize the limitations of traditional models like RBAC. The new era demands a dynamic approach that bridges the gap between technical intricacies and real-world business needs. Compliant Access Delivery emerges as the answer, offering a comprehensive solution that combines the strengths of RBAC, ABAC, and PBAC. 
 
This hybrid approach ensures that access remains not just efficient, but also "appropriate" and aligned with an organization's specific "business policies." It leverages the expertise of both business and IT specialists to map out functions and roles, transforming them into practical, task-based application roles within IT systems. 
 
By embracing Compliant Access Delivery, organizations can confidently manage thousands of users, diverse application technologies, and industry-specific regulations. The complexity of modern enterprises is tamed through a holistic framework that leverages the power of functions – the essential building blocks of business processes. With this innovative approach, organizations can strike the balance between stringent security and operational efficiency, ensuring that access is not only controlled but also relevant and compliant.

 

Learn How CAD can evolve your Authorization Model

Tags: Active Directory, IAM, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security

RBAC vs ABAC vs PBAC: A Practical Guide for Enterprises

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Mon, Aug 21, 2023

It is easy to see how the fragmentation of the modern IT landscape caused by the adoption of a Cloud-first model has increased the importance of a having well-managed authorization strategy and the complexity of achieving this goal. 

To help you choose the best access control model for your organization or application, we compare the most popular options, we'll also analyze and discuss the various attribute-based and role-based approaches for application authorization, including their applicability, strengths, and weaknesses: 

  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)
  • Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC)
  • Hybrid Role and Attribute-Compliant Access

A well-designed authorization system is essential for managing the day-to-day activities to control who has access to what and enable organizations to safely undergo a digital transformation moving more of their business online and into the Cloud.

Understanding the differences between different authorization models is critical for choosing an appropriate access control method for your organization or application. 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a security and authorization model for securing access to computer
resources used by almost all enterprises to secure their systems. RBAC access is based on roles defined by the business using them. In the RBAC model, roles are created, and then sets of permissions for resources are assigned to the role. Users are then granted one or more roles to receive access to resources. 

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Fig: RBAC PDP Flow Determining Access to Bob’s X-Ray for Alice

RBAC Benefits
In the RBAC model, since access is not directly assigned to users but bundled into assignments made to roles, the correct assumption is that controlling and maintaining access is easier. Moreover, because roles and access management can be centralized, it is evident who has a role and access to the role grants. There are fewer assignments to be managed, which decreases the cost of security management and compliance auditing. Furthermore, according to a 2010 NIST study, correct RBAC implementation and efficient provisioning can also reduce employee downtime resulting in significant ROI.

  • RBAC is deterministic. An RBAC approach makes it easy to know who has access to what at any moment in time.
  • RBAC is more direct and easier to visualize. Security admins can visualize the actors and resources they will affect when creating or modifying a policy.
  • RBAC is inherently auditable. With RBAC assignments, as the consequences of that access are visible, it is simple for business owners to certify or attest to access granted. This visibility contrasts with ABAC where a “before the fact audit" is impossible and the effects of a rule are difficult to ascertain.
  • RBAC can be simpler than ABAC. For example, with RBAC, bundles of access can be directly assigned to a user. To do this in ABAC requires the creation of a new rule.

RBAC Weaknesses

Unfortunately, the precise nature of the RBAC model can also be considered the source of many of its weaknesses:

  • RBAC requires advanced knowledge of the Subjects and Resources and, typically, does not support making on-the-fly contextual decisions.
  • An RBAC-only approach can result in an enormous number of roles to accomplish fine-grained authorization.
  • Resource owners must know something about the roles and their intended purpose to grant access to those roles accurately.
  • Resources must be organized into collections to facilitate delegation.
  • Probably the most well-known problem with RBAC is “role explosion.”  Organizations often end up with large numbers of roles to accommodate people performing the same job function within different geographical or functional areas within the company. Given a substantial number of roles and collections of resources, a correspondingly large number of delegations would need to be created and managed. 


ATTRIBUTE-BASED ACCESS CONTROL (ABAC)

Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC): An access control method where the subject requests to perform operations on objects are granted or denied based on assigned attributes of the subject, assigned attributes of the object, environment conditions, and a set of policies that are specified in terms of those attributes and conditions.

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The policies that can be implemented in an ABAC model are limited only to the degree imposed by the computational language and the richness of the available attributes.

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Essentially, the more decision data at your disposal at runtime, the more sophisticated your ABAC policies can be. 

ABAC relies on user attributes for authorization decisions. ABAC policies are rules that evaluate access based upon the following four sets of attributes:

  • Subject – the attributes concerning the person or actor being evaluated.
  • Resource – the attributes of the target or object being affected.
  • Action – describe the action to be performed on the Resource
  • Environment – includes attributes such as the time of the day, IP subnet, and others that do not relate to
    either the Subject or the Resource. 

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Fig: NIST SP 800-162 ABAC Definition

ABAC Benefits

The key advantage of ABAC is that it does not allow application developers to hardcode a static list of roles and oversimplify their authorization source code. Rather, ABAC forces them to centralize all authorization decisions and call out at runtime to decide based on the Subject, Resource, Action, and Environment request attributes. Another key benefit is ABAC’s sometimes simpler nature. This simplicity can make it easier to understand how a rule grants access to a resource when dealing with a small number of rules. In contrast, RBAC does seem foreign to many users, and, especially during the early phase of its adoption, the levels of abstraction can be challenging for an IT team.

One other added advantage of ABAC is its flexibility. With ABAC, as long as the necessary data is available, almost anything can be represented as a rule-based query. For example, a rule evaluated at runtime in a login session can use contextual information—even information passed in via SAML claims or JWT tokens. In contrast, when delivering the role membership for a user to the application, a standard RBAC engine would not evaluate this type of information.

Everything we cover in this blog can be explored further in our whitepaper “A Guide to Authorization”. You can find that whitepaper here: 

ABAC Primary Benefits

  • ABAC enforces centralized management of authorization policies
  • ABAC makes it easy to specify access rules as simple queries.
  • ABAC rules can be extraordinarily fine-grained and contextual.
  • ABAC rules can evaluate attributes of Subjects and Resources that are not inventoried by the authorization system.
  • ABAC rules need less maintenance and overhead because they do not require the creation or maintenance of the structure on which an RBAC model depends, e.g., roles and resource locations.

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ABAC Weaknesses
The first challenge we encounter with implementing policies like this is the information needs to be obtained and evaluated at runtime. In our policy example, if we needed to know if the user’s nationality was Swiss, then this information would likely reside in either the corporate Active Directory or HR system. Moreover, if we needed to know if the company was in Emergency Mode or not, this essential information might be difficult to obtain in a live corporate environment. Likewise, if we needed to as certain their out-of-office status, this would reside in a corporate email system such as Microsoft 365. Furthermore, to attain information for network login sessions or the MFA status would require a query to an Identity Provider such as Ping Federate. 

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ABAC’s Primary Weaknesses

  • ABAC makes it extremely difficult to perform a “before the fact audit” and determine the permissions available to a specific user. To successfully determine access, not only might a considerable number of rules need to be executed, but they must also be done in the same order in which the system applies them. As a result, this could make it impossible to assess risk exposure for any given employee position.
  • In a comparable manner to how a “Role Explosion” can occur with RBAC, an explosion can also occur with ABAC where a system with N number of attributes would have 2N possible rule combinations.
  • Unless rules are kept extremely simple and do not access data from various source systems, ABAC systems with complex rules from multiple attribute sources can be unacceptably slow to answer authorization queries. 

RBAC Versus ABAC: Tradeoffs and Balance
As shown in Figure 28, the decision between ABAC and RBAC is a trade-off. On the one hand, you can have fast, simple, and other RBAC related benefits and, on the other, you can have extensible, scalable, and other ABAC-related advantages. To date, the challenge has been to find the right balance for your own organization’s needs. This is where Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC) helps. 

rbacabac

 

POLICY-BASED ACCESS CONTROL (PBAC)

Policy-Based Access Control (PBAC) is not a formally defined standard but rather describes an authorization model that combines RBAC and ABAC concepts and eliminates some of their shortcomings. The key concept behind PBAC is that policies are expressed as assignment relationships that can be visualized and manipulated graphically. Access rights to perform operations against resources or objects are acquired through relationships referred to as associations. This includes the ability to define complex hierarchical relationships with inheritance, which is overly cumbersome in ABAC. One might consider PBAC as “relational ABAC.” PBAC is best used for real time enforcement of authorization decisions where a well-developed role model can be leveraged for policy assignment.

PBAC policies are inherently more efficient than ABAC policies because authorization decisions are not based on multiple computed and then combined local decisions. Instead, they are based on the net result of multiple policies based on relationships existing within a single database. This aspect also allows PBAC to enforce dynamic Segregation of Duties (SOD) rules, which are not entirely achievable with ABAC. A last key feature mentioned is PBAC support for “before the fact audit,” which is the ability to see who has access to a resource at any time, and not just during the real-time evaluation of a policy set.

pbac

EMPOWERID’S HYBRID ROLE & ATTRIBUTE-COMPLIANT ACCESS APPROACH 

Defining and maintaining compliant access for a large organization can be a daunting task. Some types of applications and use cases are better suited to a more structured role-based approach, whereas others require real-time contextual decisions. RBAC, ABAC, and PBAC are three ways of managing authorization policies. Moreover, while both have overlapping qualities, individually, each one cannot cover all the necessary aspects of access control. However, for optimal, dynamic support of an IT organization’s needs, EmpowerID supports RBAC relational modeling. RBAC relational modeling provides the backbone or structure for defining an organization and its overall policies while leveraging the flexibility and real-time contextual nature of ABAC and PBAC to offer the best comprehensive solution. 



EmpowerID’s sophisticated role and relationship modeling allow security architects to model the organization and its structure and policies, including segregation of duties policies to prevent undesired combinations of access. As illustrated above, flexible attribute-based ABAC or PBAC policies support the centralized real-time decision point for applications that can call the EmpowerID API for authorization decisions. The ABAC/PBAC engine enhances or modifies the powerful RBAC engine's decisions, allowing their use only when greater flexibility or contextual information such as risk, location, and MFA type is required. By including the pre-calculated access results that the engine derives from complex RBAC policies that account for inheritance and even attribute-based queries, ABAC/PBAC policies are made much more potent. The end-goal of leveraging each approach's best is to deliver what EmpowerID calls “Compliant Access Delivery.” 

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Conclusion

In summary, we learned that no single method covers all use cases and application technologies. The overall goal of Compliant Access Delivery requires using the best of each approach implemented following the principles of Zero Trust and Least Privilege. When executed correctly, this automates access assignments and reduces an organization’s attack surface, making it harder for attackers to find privileged credentials and offers them fewer capabilities to perform malicious activities when they compromise a privileged account. 

 

Bridge Your Security Gaps Today!

Tags: Active Directory, IAM, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security

How Enterprises can Bridge Security Gaps using Low-Code Platforms

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Fri, Aug 11, 2023

 

 

Bridge Your Security Gaps Today!

Tags: Active Directory, IAM, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security

Enhancing Identity Governance in Zero Trust Environments: The Power of Proxy Models and Workflows

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Mon, Jun 19, 2023

In the realm of cybersecurity, the Zero Trust model has emerged as a robust framework for enhancing security. A key aspect of this model is effective identity governance, which can be significantly streamlined and made more efficient through the use of proxy models and workflows.

Today we'll be exploring how these tools can be leveraged to bolster security and efficiency in identity governance within Zero Trust environments.

What are Proxy Models?

Proxy Models in identity governance can be likened to gatekeepers in a business organization, ensuring that only authorized individuals gain access to sensitive resources. Just as a gatekeeper verifies the identity and permissions of individuals before granting entry, proxy models act as intermediaries between users and the systems they wish to access. They authenticate and validate user identities, ensuring that only authorized personnel are granted appropriate access privileges.

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The Power of Proxy Models

Proxy models provide a powerful tool for managing identities in a Zero Trust environment. By acting as an intermediary between users and resources, proxy models can enforce strict access controls, ensuring that users only have access to the resources they need. This approach significantly reduces the attack surface and helps to prevent unauthorized access.

Moreover, proxy models can help to alleviate some of the challenges of the cybersecurity labor shortage and skills gap. By reducing the need for costly IT staff with specific knowledge and training in each of the proxied systems, proxy models can help organizations to manage their resources more efficiently.

By implementing proxy models, businesses can establish a robust and secure system where user actions are monitored and controlled, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Think of proxy models as vigilant guards, protecting your business assets and maintaining the integrity of your identity governance framework.

The Efficiency of Workflows

Workflows, particularly those that are automated, can greatly enhance efficiency in identity governance. By automating routine tasks, workflows can reduce the time and effort required to manage identities, freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks.

For instance, consider the process of onboarding a new employee. An automated workflow could streamline this process, ensuring that the new employee's identity is properly set up across all necessary systems. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors that could lead to security vulnerabilities.

Practical Strategies for Implementation

Implementing proxy models and workflows in identity governance involves several key steps. First, organizations need to identify the resources that need to be managed and the users who will need access to these resources. Next, they need to define the access controls that will be enforced by the proxy models.

Once the proxy models are in place, organizations can then develop workflows to automate routine identity governance tasks. These workflows should be designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing for changes in the organization's needs and circumstances.

Today, most modern Identity Governance Platforms such as EmpowerID, are equipped with the requisite toolsets to implement these robust policy frameworks. Developing and integrating these systems separately might require significant planning, resources, and expertise for most organizations; instead opting for a modern Identity Platform that easily integrates with your enterprise's existing applications might be the way to go forward. The flexibility to easily handle on-prem, cloud, and even hybrid workflows paired with the ability to integrate with Microsoft 365, SAP, ServiceNow, SalesForce, etc creates an extremely compelling offering for any organization looking to manage their identities. 

Conclusion

Proxy models and workflows offer powerful tools for enhancing security and efficiency in identity governance, particularly within Zero Trust environments. By implementing these tools and techniques, organizations can streamline their identity governance processes, improve their security posture, and better manage their resources. As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, such strategies will be crucial for maintaining robust security.

Tags: IAM, Group Management, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security, iga

Say Goodbye to ActiveRoles - Upgrade Your Identity Management with EmpowerID

Posted by Aditya Taneja on Wed, Apr 05, 2023

If you are an ActiveRoles user, you know the value of a powerful and flexible Active Directory management solution. But as IT environments become more complex and diverse, managing identities and access across multiple systems and platforms requires a more comprehensive approach.

A modern Identity Governance solution provides more diverse features that understand the growing complexities of modern IT environments enabling deeper use cases than what you'd be limited by Quest Active Roles. While it provides many useful features for managing AD, it has quite a few limitations compared to other AD and identity governance platforms.

One of the biggest game-breakers with Active Roles is that it offers very limited functionality for Cloud users. While in theory, Quest can manage cloud users, but only to an extremely limited extent. The tool allows you to create and provision an AD user to a cloud system. However, the cloud system objects aren't inventoried and managed in the user interface, and you always need to have an AD user as your starting point for management.

This limitation can be problematic for organizations that rely heavily on cloud-based systems, as it creates an additional layer of complexity that may not be necessary. Without proper inventory and management of cloud-based users, organizations may struggle to maintain security and compliance standards.

EmpowerIDvsQuestActiveRoles-1

Aside from this, here's a list of a few more of these limitations for Quest ActiveRoles:
  1. Restrictive reporting and analytics capabilities:

    Quest ActiveRoles provides limited reporting and analytics capabilities, limited to just Users and Groups, as compared to other IGA Platforms that can provide in-depth and comprehensive analytics on every single AD Attribute. This severely limits you from getting a complete picture of your identity and access management activities.

  2. Neglible support for non-Microsoft platforms:

    Quest Active Roles is designed to work only with Microsoft Active Directory environments and does not support other directory services. This can be a significant limitation for your organization if you use a mix of different platforms, such as Unix or Linux. 

  3. Limited integration with other Systems and IAM solutions:

    Quest ActiveRoles does not integrate well with other IAM solutions, making it difficult for organizations to implement a comprehensive identity governance program. Active Roles also is limited to just being able to manage only your Active Directory, providing no way to manage users on other Systems and Applications. 

  4. Finite automation capabilities:

    Quest ActiveRoles does not provide extensive automation capabilities, which can make it difficult for organizations to automate repetitive tasks and workflows. Users will have to rely on writing scripting to complete tasks, which, when managing directories with millions of groups, objects, and users, can make even small tasks take exponentially longer and more expensive.

  5. Lacking Cloud readiness:

    ActiveRoles Server was designed to work with on-premises Active Directory environments, which is not ideal for organizations that are moving to the cloud or adopting hybrid environments. A modern Identity Management solution offers better cloud-ready features, such as support for multi-cloud environments and identity as a service (IDaaS) capabilities, reported missing in Quest ActiveRoles. 

  6. Lacking essential Identity features:

    ActiveRoles Server lacks advanced features like identity governance, access certification, risk-based access control, and identity analytics that are essential for modern organizations to manage identity and access in complex environments. Self Service features such as Access Requests and Password Resets are shown to have saved organizations millions of dollars in helpdesk costs and are seen as a must for any good IGA platform.

EmpowerID offers a modern, web-based solution that goes beyond Active Directory management to provide full Identity Governance and Administration, Access Management, and Privileged Access Management capabilities. With EmpowerID, you can manage identities and access across on-premises and cloud-based systems, applications, and platforms, including Microsoft Azure, SAP, Oracle, and more.

EmpowerID's True Zero Trust administration for Azure and other platforms allows for fine-grained access controls and risk management, and its low-code identity orchestration engine allows for easy automation of complex business processes. EmpowerID's powerful RBAC and PBAC hybrid authorization engine provides efficient and flexible administration and runtime policy enforcement.

Not only does EmpowerID offer advanced capabilities beyond Active Roles, but it also offers the convenience and scalability of a modern SaaS platform. EmpowerID's modular licensing allows you to add or remove features as your needs change easily, and its cloud-based deployment means you can manage your identities and access from anywhere.

Don't settle for less with ActiveRoles - Make the switch to EmpowerID and experience the power and flexibility of a modern, web-based Identity Governance and Administration solution that goes beyond Active Directory management.

If you'd like to read more about Cloud Ready Identity Governance Platforms, we'd recommend our Whitepapers on these subjects: Siemens Case Study, Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management (CIEM) Report

 

Upgrade from ActiveRoles Today!

 

Tags: Active Directory, IAM, Virtual Directory, Access Governance, cloud security

Worlds First Virtual Directory Built on Node.js®

Posted by Chris Hayes on Thu, Feb 05, 2015
nodejs logo
EmpowerID has cleaned the dust off of the Virtual Directory market with the world's first Virtual Directory Service written in Node.js and integrated it with our world class IAM Suite.

Virtual Directory Services (VDS) are supposed to aggregate identity and user information stored across data stores into a single point of access.  The dirty little secret of the market is latency when the VDS is returning indentity information.  This compounds itself again and again when making LDAP calls.  Some have tried to move from a "Proxy" view and use a Cached view, but I/O is still slow.

EmpowerID looked at the current VDS landscape, identified issues and built our VDS from the ground up on Node.js.  Compared to legacy VDS technology that spawns a new thread for each connection or request and takes up RAM, Node.js operates on a single-thread using a different type of I/O call.  This allows it to support tens of thousands of concurrent connections.
toptal blog 1 BPicture from toptal.com Why use Node.js
So, why use EmpowerID's VDS?
  • Highly Scalable, a VDS should be able to handle incoming LDAP connection requests and we do it better than anyone in the industry.
  • Data Transformation allows you to easily support legacy apps that require a fixed schema
  • Persistent Metadirectory Cache that automatically refreshes the source data
  • Ties in with full IAM Suite from EmpowerID.
  • Group-based authorization and provisioning for all of your authentication endpoints
  • Application authorization provides a virtual view of all existing groups
  • Easily onboard new organizations' directory stores into a unified view
  • Create a single unified user profile from your disparate user stores

Ready to learn more?

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Tags: IAM, Federation, Virtual Directory, VDS

Virtual Directory for application authentication

Posted by Edward Killeen on Wed, Jul 17, 2013

Whether you are building a new application or trying to retire the old legacy directory for an old application, having a virtual directory directly tied to your identity directory gives you great flexibility.

EmpowerID maintains a metadirectory that inventories and updates all of your various identity stores on a continuous basis, keeping a single unified "person view" of each user, whether they be internal or external.  This metadirectory can be used for a lot more than Identity and Access Management (IAM), however.

But rather than synchronize all of this identity information to yet another directory, EmpowerID's Virtual Directory allows you to present this metadirectory identity information as LDAP.  EmpowerID roles are presented as LDAP groups and you can maintain the exact schema required for the application without having to manage another directory.

This virtual directory is especially useful for applications that require internal and external users to both have access, replacing the need to have external users inside of your corporate directory.  As LDAP, users on any OS can access, authenticate and authorize against the directory.

Virtual Directory for application authentication

By using this virtual directory as your application directory, you no longer have to worry about separate provisioning and de-provisioning as all of the workflows around user management are included in your IAM, you simply create a role based provisioning workflow to create accounts in the virtual directory based on user attributes.  You can offer self registration, password management, single sign-on, and RBAC policies to apply to what your user can and cannot do in the application.

Since all of EmpowerID is workflow based and can be managed with APIs and web services, you can even build the management of these users into your application, lessening the learning curve for administration of the application

Virtual directories that are separate from your IAM have many of the same challenges as legacy directories, take a look at what you would need to integrate the two and take advantage of all of the IAM capabilities for your application.

Tags: Virtual Directory, Identity and Access Management (IAM)