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Playing by the book: Authorization

While enterprises are acknowledging the importance of authorization, there is still a lack of understanding of what authorization really is.

Throughout 2023 the discussions regarding identity management have not only increased, but have also strengthened the overall understanding of the important role authorization plays in cybersecurity.

Adding to these conversations and leading the discussion of what’s next has made it clear to us that while enterprises are acknowledging the importance, there is still a lack of understanding of what authorization really is and how it should be incorporated to…do what?

While it is top-of-mind for many, we have also found that authorization is not consistently a senior-level conversation.

While many teams across an organization are tasked with finding a way to solve cybersecurity and identity management problems – which authorization is a main part of the solution – it still isn’t discussed and understood well enough to be effectively prioritized for funding and implementation.

This is why our team took the time to document our understanding and expertise surrounding authorization to put together our State of Authorization: Playbook Edition.

The two main goals of this piece are to improve the rate of executive sponsorship when it comes to implementing authorization, and to provide a guideline of what to do when you have that sponsorship.

Sponsoring the solution

Over the past ten years, fine-grained authorization has not been seen as an important area of identity management.

The necessary technology, for the most part, just was not there yet to make it a useful part of the solution, it was not easily understood to reach into the higher levels of the organization while at the same time, organizational needs have been constantly changing.

All the while, risks continued to increase, especially those that could be mitigated and prevented with the use of customized authorization.

Now, with increased risks combined with operational needs to ensure the best experience with right-sized access for every user, there must be more understanding of and buy-in to the need for authorization-related solutions on the senior level and amongst boards.

One of the main purposes of this playbook is to break down critical considerations and clearly outline the positive business impact authorization will have.

Removing the barriers of misunderstanding regarding the impact authorization delivers to employee efficiencies and overall business processes can truly lead to top level buy-in.

When the top decision-making levels are truly bought in and understand more about the importance of policies as well as the crawl, walk, run aspects of implementation, that is when the right solutions can be sponsored and allows for ideal customization and implementation.

Moving forward

Once you have the sponsorship to move forward with authorization, most of the time there’s a feeling of an all or nothing prospect where it needs to be solved enterprise-wide.

The reality is, somewhere in the organization today you’re continuing to solve for authorization in an incorrect fashion.

In some cases, you may be relying on a developer implementing or using role-based authorization.

In others, it’s likely you have actually not yet implemented role-based authorization and may be accidentally still just relying on authentication.

Your enterprise as a whole needs to be protected, however security is going to be most ideal when you start small and then expand. Working through your API gateway or even specifically targeting new applications or microservices is a great place to start.

Going with an externalized authorization and policy platform like ours enables implementation and easier collaboration on policies and review.

Our playbook is meant to play a role in providing more insight and understanding to what needs to be done to improve your security specifically related to authorization. Focusing on understanding and implementing policies correctly enables you to start small, but truly branch out to protect your entire enterprise effectively.

Why our customers trust us

In the technology industry there are constantly new players on the field, all claiming to have the best new way to solve the new problems enterprises are encountering.

And yes, as I mentioned before, risks are changing, so there’s a difference between a company like ours who has ebbed and flowed with the changes and a company who is only looking to solve the current issue that seems to loom largest right now.

For over ten years we have worked with the largest, most complex, organizations in the world that were early adopters or required a solution ahead of the curve.

Our ongoing relationships allow us to have a vision into innovation faster than our competitors – and we are excited to release our innovative approach of incorporating generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) through our Policy Companion.

Through this constant state of looking to continue to lead in our industry, we continue to grow beyond our customers’ expectations.

This playbook in particular is meant to bring even more discussion and understanding of authorization to those looking for the right solution when it comes to cybersecurity, and I’m excited to see what our team comes up with next.

Take the next step

Download our State of Authorization: Playbook Edition for a definitive guide to authorization detailing considerations on every aspect of an authorization project, from ideation through deployment.

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About the author

Jim Barkdoll is the president and CEO for Axiomatics, leading the company’s overall vision, growth strategy and go-to-market initiatives. He has more than 20 years of leadership and business development experience with an established track record of successfully growing teams and revenues for partners and vendors of all sizes.