The impact of technologic growth on both business structure and function has shifted the corporate landscape to the point where IT systems have become integrated into core business processes even for those organizations that have been slow to adapt. Business critical information is now stored digitally, often entirely remotely using cloud computing software integrations offered by third-party companies.

With digital and business processes more intertwined than ever, it is understandable that organizations have continued to bolster IT controls, especially those that relate to the reliability and safety of their business’ IT environment. In this article, we’ll seek to describe some of the critical features of a robust controls structure.

Access Management

This process may also be referred to as rights management or identity management. The objective of access management is to grant service access to users with certain rights or restrictions depending upon their status or entitlements by role. The scope of access is defined by an organization’s policies and procedures relating to their IT controls structure.

When a user is granted access to an IT application, it is imperative that an organization designates a unique or role-centric User ID that both tracks a user’s use history as well as limits access to system functions that are unrelated to that individual’s job. Many software solutions limit the number of administrators, but often stock or generic user roles provide access beyond the needs of a user and add significant risk of unauthorized access.

A periodic review of user access is also important as a measure to both revoke and track user access as pertinent to that user’s role within an organization. As responsibilities shift within an organization, it may be that a user’s permission set is not altered when transitioning to another role where they no longer need access to certain applications or feature-sets. This process is also key for detecting irregular or aberrant access behavior.

Change Management

Applications within an organization’s IT structure are subject to consistent changes that range from proactive enhancements to reactive measures implemented to mitigate security risks or other such issues. An interruption to organizational functions that occur as a result of change can drastically affect business, so organizations have created change management policies to prevent interruption from occurring.

Much of change management is defined by an organization’s ability to control and segment the rollout of changes within a system. When IT initially considers a change to an application, it must go through an evaluation and review before wider implementation. Direct change, which does not undergo a testing process, provides a variety of risks to an organization. This is often caused by a lack of policy or segregation of duties that has the same developer overseeing the implementation process also be responsible for the testing.

A well-developed change management policy provides key guidelines for change authorization to navigate potential human error in implementation. This ensures that the authorized change is complete, does not incorporate additional changes beyond what is specified and accounts for risks that the developer may not have accounted for.

How Boulay Can Help

Boulay partners with you by evaluating your IT infrastructure, identifying deficiencies in internal controls and providing tailored solutions and recommendations for enhancing your control environment. Whether you’re seeking a full-scope or limited scope engagement, Boulay is here to help.

Contact our team today to see how they can assist you in enhancing your IT security to better protect your information and your business.