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Why Migrate from Birthright to Just-in-Time (JIT) Access?
Birthright access is a common practice for companies in which all employees are granted access to resources and systems by default, based solely on their employment status or role rather than what they actually need access to. This approach assumes that all employees need complete access to do their job, and therefore, access is granted to everyone out of the gate. This approach can give employees unnecessary access to sensitive information and systems, increasing the risk of insider threats.
While birthright access may be convenient and efficient in the short-term, it is not considered a best practice in terms of security and access management. Just-in-time, or JIT, access is a much more secure approach to access management. Access is granted to users only when they need it for a specific task or purpose, and revoked immediately after the task is completed. JIT access reduces the risk of insider threats, as well as external threats such as stolen credentials or compromised accounts.
JIT access is becoming more popular and is seen as a more secure and efficient way to manage access to resources and systems within a company. When migrating from birthright access to JIT access, organizations will need to implement more granular access controls and adopt a zero-trust security model. Access requests need to be verified and authorized on a case-by-case basis, and access is granted only for the minimum amount of time needed to complete a specific task. This approach improves security by limiting access to only what is necessary and reducing the attack surface.
Why is JIT a security best practice over birthright access?
JIT access is considered more secure than birthright access due to several reasons:
Enhanced Security: JIT access minimizes the exposure of sensitive data, mitigates the risk of insider threats, and reduces the impact of compromised credentials or accounts which reduces the attack surface area.
Principle of Least Privilege: JIT access follows the principle of least privilege, granting users the minimum necessary access required to perform their tasks.
Adaptive Access Control: JIT access enables a more granular and context-aware approach to access management, aligning access privileges with specific requirements and reducing the reliance on static and broad access permissions.
Compliance and Auditing: JIT access helps organizations demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and access can be more easily monitored, reviewed, and audited to ensure adherence to security policies.
Operational Efficiency: JIT access streamlines user onboarding and offboarding, reduces manual errors, and ensures that access is granted promptly when needed and revoked promptly when no longer necessary.
JIT access provides improved security, adherence to the principle of least privilege, adaptability, compliance support, and operational efficiency compared to birthright access. It aligns access privileges with specific needs, reducing risks and enhancing overall access control.
How do you start migrating from birthright to JIT access?
Migrating from birthright access to JIT access involves several steps and considerations. Here’s a high-level overview of the process:
- Assess current access policies and identify critical systems: Evaluate existing access policies and determine the key systems, applications, and data that require more controlled access.
- Define access policies: Establish policies based on the principle of least privilege that grant users the minimum level of access necessary to perform their specific roles, reducing the risk of excessive privileges.
- Implement Privileged Access Management (PAM): Adopt a PAM solution to centralize control over privileged accounts, enforce access policies, and monitor privileged user activities.
- Introduce JIT access workflow for access requests: Establish a process where users can request temporary access to systems or resources as needed, with defined approval mechanisms in place.
- Automate access provisioning and deprovisioning processes: Utilize automation tools to streamline the provisioning and deprovisioning of access, ensuring access rights are granted only when necessary and promptly revoked when no longer needed.
- Monitor and audit access activities: Implement robust monitoring and auditing mechanisms to track access activities, detect anomalies, and ensure compliance with security policies and regulations.
These steps provide a basic overview of the migration process. It’s important to note that each organization’s journey may have unique considerations and requirements. Automating JIT provisioning and access can help to streamline this process and seamlessly allow you integrate JIT access into your organization.
Birthright access is increasingly migrating to JIT access as a way to enhance security and minimize risks associated with long-term access. With JIT access, users can request access to specific resources, and access is granted only after proper authentication and authorization checks are performed. This approach allows for a more fine-grained control over access rights and can improve the overall security posture of an organization.