Access Governance in Financial Services

Access Governance For Financial Services
Access Governance for Financial Services

The importance of Access Governance in Financial Services

Banks, insurance, and other financial services organizations encounter significant economic, security, and compliance challenges caused by digitalization, cloud transformation, and mergers and acquisitions. Financial services are a critical sector of the economy, and security is essential. However, most financial services organizations still use manual processes, which introduces significant risk and cost to managing user identities and privileges.

But you can protect your brand and reputation from unauthorized access to sensitive data and resources. Identity security helps ensure the least privileged access, prevent onboarding delays, and simplifies audit readiness.

Changing Risk Landscape for Financial Services

The world is changing, altering the financial services risk landscape. But the news is not all bad; according to McKinsey Global Institute, research suggests that "artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics (AA) in banking could generate as much as $1 trillion globally in annual economic value." 

However, fundamental changes also bring increased uncertainty and new threats. For instance, EY reported that some of the top threats to the banking industry include:


  1. Protecting privacy to maintain trust 
  2. Fighting a cyber war in financial services organizations and across the system 
  3. Navigating the inevitable industry transition to cloud
  4. Weathering the likely financial downturn 
  5. Operating in an ever-expanding ecosystem 

Dealing with any one of these risks individually would be challenging. But their combined impact of these risks calls for financial services organizations to find solutions to automate processes embedded with controls and move to a continuous risk monitoring system.

Mitigate Emerging Risks in Financial Services

Although risk capabilities in the banking industry have matured, most financial services organizations still have risk management approaches centered around regulations. As a result, financial services organizations have an opportunity to become more efficient by streamlining processes and increasing automation, enhancing efficiency, and promoting operational sustainability.

Protecting privacy to maintain trust


  • Automated access controls

Data and privacy are an increasing focus of regulations. And the financial and reputational consequences of non-compliance with regulations like Basel II, FFIEC, and Dodd-Frank are significant. Financial reporting guidance on the classification of revenue, losses, and measurement of financial assets is changing globally. In addition, disclosure of sensitive data beyond the traditional annual report is becoming critical to the audit committee's reporting oversight mandate.

Today's businesses are not static: people come and go, change departments, and roles. Without an automated solution, the provisioning and de-provisioning of access to sensitive customer data becomes challenging. And performing these tasks manually is not only costly but time-consuming. An all-in-one automated identity governance platform makes provisioning and removing access easier, mitigating the risk of SoD violations, privileged access misuse, and data breach or loss. 

Fighting a cyber war in financial services organizations and across the system


  • Policy-based Access governance (PBAC) and access certification

Misuse of user identity and access is the root cause of most cybersecurity incidents. This is because as your digital ecosystem expands, so does your attack surface. A growing digital footprint makes you increasingly vulnerable to cyber risk as bad actors seek to exploit unmonitored and orphaned accounts. In particular, migration to the cloud can make preserving your security posture increasingly complex. The capability to detect access policy violations to financial, operational, fraud and cyber controls is critical. 

PBAC Access governance allows financial services organizations to define policies specific to risk regarding core banking and IT system security entitlements and privileges for access policy governance, such as segregation of duties, privileged access, and data protection. Within this threat landscape, it's essential to have broad and continuous visibility and control of user access across your digital ecosystem.

Navigating the inevitable industry transition to cloud

  • Identity lifecycle management

At the "The State of IAM Program Management, 2023" talk, Gartner senior director analyst Rebecca Archambault suggested that enterprises have an average IAM maturity score of 2.4 out of 5.

According to Gartner, "Identity is the new network perimeter. In a world powered by cloud computing, every human and machine identity, whether on-premises or in the cloud, must be protected to prevent a breach." 

Financial services organizations increasingly demand modern Identity lifecycle management and analytics within identity and access management (IAM) platforms to detect malicious bots, prevent cyber threats and monitor fraud risks without obstructing user productivity as they transition to more hybrid and digital computing.

Identity orchestration enables consistent, policy-based access to all your applications and infrastructure by levering your current investment in IAM tools like Microsoft Azure/AD, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity, IBM, Hitachi, Oracle, etc. You can analyze and control all identities in a distributed model across multi and hybrid-cloud enterprise platforms. Policy-based identity lifecycle management ensures users have authorized access to applications on-premises or in the cloud through an orchestration hub allowing siloed identities and distributed policies across fragmented systems to come together for complete visibility.

Weathering the likely financial downturn


  • Business governance - streamline processes and operations

The global economic environment has become highly complex, and risk can be rapidly heightened or diminished depending on geopolitical factors. Companies face financial risks as they enter emerging markets or react to geopolitical risks like massive demographic shifts. Auditors need better insight into new risks to continuously monitor existing internal control effectiveness and design new controls to mitigate emerging risks.

The best defense against financial downturn is to establish an ERM framework to monitor risk and KRIs, reducing the frequency and severity of loss events. An ERM framework allows organizations to act in real-time to perform root-cause analysis, reduce process inconsistencies, and make better decisions by adding context and perspective to data from multiple sources.

Operating in an ever-expanding ecosystem 

  • Advanced analytics

Access analytics is a critical component of an access governance solution because it can improve the effectiveness of internal controls and provide real-time insight to mitigate emerging threats. Access analytics can be used in many ways to safeguard your business against cyber security risks and insider threats from access policy violations. Analytics is also a catalyst for digital strategy and transformation because it enables the timely and accurate design of business roles and application entitlements in complex and fast-changing business contexts to optimize productivity.

Financial services organizations can leverage the identity data stored in the information system using analytics to ensure successful digital transformation, including policy-based access governance for sustainable value creation.

Financial services organizations face many risks, which must be managed very carefully. Policy-based access governance is the most effective way to mitigate many of those risks. With proper governance in banking, the world's economy has a better chance of remaining stable and avoiding recession.