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Companies collaborate with hundreds of clients, partners, and vendors every day. Today’s organizations use many applications and devices, and managing digital identities for these guests increases the risk of security breaches. More than 40% of IT leaders said that they want an identity governance solution that improves their security posture, according to an internal Microsoft survey.
These decision-makers’ top concern is the increased risk of security breaches due to distributed access to company resources. This problem is exacerbated as more companies adopt hybrid work and require secure collaboration with external users. IT admins have no way to track usage or answer the following questions:
- What content are users interacting with?
- How long have the resources been shared?
- Are accounts still active?
- Are user privileges at risk of expiring?
Organizations can manage guest access with automated reviews
More than 70% of survey respondents said they either don’t have a process for managing guest accounts or they manually manage guest accounts. Manual processes often involve reliance on custom scripts or middleware, increasing the chance of human error that leads to elevated security risk. Also, an IT admin can never know all of the external users who require access to company resources. Business managers are the ones who are best suited for identity and access management activities for their guests and external partners.
An Azure Active Directory Identity Governance solution empowers Microsoft customers to securely collaborate with guests across organizational boundaries. Customers can set up automated, periodic access reviews using an intuitive interface that provides smart recommendations, ensuring that guests gain the right access to the right resources for the right amount of time.
Once guests no longer require access to sensitive data, companies can automatically revoke their access to those resources. If a business owner or a manager isn’t in Azure AD, guests can review their own membership in a group.
Figure 1: Access review features enable customers to securely manage guest access at scale.
Automated provisioning and deprovisioning of guest access to sensitive data enables customers to move away from custom scripts and reduces errors associated with manual processes Automated provisioning and de-provisioning of guest access into SaaS applications ensures that the only way guests can access these apps is through permissions set up by the organization and not decisions made on a case-by-case basis by an IT admin.
In large organizations, business managers are best suited to manage guest access for collaboration. Azure AD governance features put control firmly in the hands of business managers who are best suited to provide appropriate levels of access to sensitive data to external users. By delegating to non-administrators, customers can ensure that the right people are managing access to their department’s sensitive data. Delegation of responsibility reduces the IT helpdesk burden and frees up the IT staff for more strategic initiatives.
The response from Azure AD governance customers has been positive:
“Azure Active Directory guest access reviews give us that ability to be agile in our collaboration with external parties, with the right level of control, so our security, legal, and data privacy people are comfortable.” ~ Avanade
Microsoft customers in regulated industries and those that work with the government have to regularly demonstrate to auditors the effectiveness of their controls over access rights. Azure AD access reviews for guests enable these customers to easily prove to auditors that their organization has the appropriate controls in place. Azure AD provides a centralized view of all access reviews with a simple interface involving very few configuration steps, enabling IT admins to see which resources a user can or cannot access across a multi-cloud, multi-device, and fragmented application landscape.
Watch our video review of guest user access across all Microsoft 365 groups and Microsoft Teams for a step-by-step overview of Azure AD Access Reviews. To learn more about Microsoft Identity Governance solutions, visit our website.
Learn more about Microsoft identity:
- Related Posts: Access Reviews for guests in all Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups is now in public preview – Microsoft Tech Community
- Return to the Azure Active Directory Identity blog home
- Join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Share product suggestions on the Azure Feedback Forum
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.