Does Your IT Security Team Spend Too Much Time on Access Management?

Does Your IT Security Team Spend Too Much Time on Access Management?

In an IT security crisis like a hacking event, work hours don’t matter. Everybody on the team is committed to fixing the breach fast! The rest of the time? You might not think of access management productivity very much.

Did you know an industry survey found that IT staff spend 20 days per year on identity and access management tasks? That’s about one full month’s worth of work effort. That level of work effort tells us that many organizations are struggling with access management productivity. Find out how the key drivers for this workplace challenge and what you can do to solve it.

Defining Access Management Productivity: The Key Business Drivers For Problems

There are a few reasons why access management productivity is such a common problem.

Staffing model problems are one reason your access management task list is never completed. In this situation, your staffing model does not line up with your IT security policies. Specifically, you might have created complex identity and access management policies and procedures and then assigned no dedicated staff to manage the program. As a consequence, access management productivity suffers because staff only take care of these tasks when a problem occurs.

Reliance on manual processes is another reason access management productivity may suffer. If employees have to send employees to IT or their manager for every access change, it is tough to manage those messages. You would need a ticket system to manage each email. Fortunately, there are identity and access management tools that make this whole process easier.

Finally, your access management productivity may suffer because you have unclear goals. If there are unclear IT security goals like “maintain compliance with the access management policy,” it is hard to know where you have gaps or problems. When success is not well defined, your staff may work hard on access management maintenance but never really know if they have done enough.

Measure Your Access Management Productivity Situation

Measuring your current access management productivity requires a few points of information. First, gather data and metrics such as your access management KPIs. Next, review the IT department’s objectives for the year. Ask yourself if you are making progress toward a comprehensive, sustainable access management program that protects all users, customers and assets.

Now that we know what has been accomplished in access management, you need to find out the cost. If your employees already keep detailed time cards or similar reports, start by reviewing that data. You will probably find that time-reporting systems only provide a general level of detail. Your next step is to meet with a few analysts, technicians and managers to discuss their daily routines. Ask them about everyday access management tasks (e.g., creating new user accounts, managing inactive user account risk, and keeping up with IT compliance). Ask them to keep a time log for the next week concerning these activities.

Once you have time logs in hand, you assess your access management productivity. Start by reviewing effectiveness: Are the right access management tasks being completed on time and to standard? Check if any critical tasks (e.g., remediation tasks from the last audit) are being managed. Next, evaluate efficiency: How well are tasks being completed? With these insights, you complete the next step of access management productivity analysis.

The Key Distinction To Make In Assessing Your Access Management Productivity

Simplify your analysis by categorizing tasks into two categories: routine and non-routine. A routine access management task would be administering a password reset. A non-routine access task would require a higher level of judgment, such as revising your password management training materials. After you categorize your department’s tasks into these two groups, you may be surprised at what you find.

If routine tasks are 50% or more of your department’s activities, you have a significant opportunity to improve effectiveness. When routine tasks take 25-50% of your department’s work time, you are operating in the yellow zone. You’re one IT security crisis away from a significant IT security failure. If routine tasks are less than 25% of your team’s work efforts, celebrate for a moment! Your access management productivity is high!

The Simple Way To Improve Access Management Productivity This Quarter

Boosting your access management productivity is simple. You’ve already done most of the vital work to make a significant leap forward in effectiveness. Remember all those time-consuming routine tasks you identified? Few professionals enjoy performing the same task over and over. Fortunately, software doesn’t complain.

Implement new identity and access management software to manage routine tasks for your team. Apollo is a great choice to handle routine administrative tasks like password resets. Beyond saving time, Apollo can handle requests 24/7, which is helpful if you have employees in a variety of time zones. Your employees get password changes when they need them, and your IT team no longer has to burn the midnight oil. A report from found that “IAM continues to be a significant productivity bog for IT and employees alike, with 57% of IT workers resetting employee passwords up to five times per week — and 15% doing so at least 21 times per week.” That’s a lot of work time to put into a routine task that can be easily handled by software.

On the other hand, your IT team might be struggling to keep current with IT compliance requirements. In that situation, Compliance Auditor is an excellent choice to save time. This access tool will make your next IT security audit much faster.

What Should You Do With Your Free Time?

By improving your access management productivity, your staff will have some excess capacity. Please resist the urge to assign more tasks to them immediately. Instead, take a step back and look at your department’s strategy and project list. Find one project that has the potential to improve the company’s effectiveness significantly. You might decide to put your efforts into implementing additional cloud computing services. In that case, make sure your IT security keeps up by implementing modern security like multi-factor authentication.

Written by Nelson Cicchitto