Leading Banks’ Secret Weapon for Managing Authorizations in 2021

Oren Harel
April 14, 2021

Banks have been building and maintaining complex access control systems starting long before the Internet age. In some ways, this is a strength: Banks have a depth of experience with data protection and authorization management that companies in most other industries lack.

Yet on the other hand, the fact that authorization management solutions in the banking industry date back decades presents a critical challenge: These systems are outdated from a usability, adaptability and auditability perspective. The systems may suffice at performing their core job -- managing authorizations and access -- but they do so inefficiently and with a lack of transparency compared to more modern solutions.

This is especially true in a world where banks must increasingly provide a seamless digital experience. Legacy authorization management tools may have worked when banks were primarily brick-and-mortar institutions. But they no longer suffice when they must secure personal financial data within the websites and applications that consumers now expect as a basic part of their banking experience.

That’s why it’s high time for banks to migrate away from legacy, home-built access control tools. By replacing legacy systems with modern tools that are capable of supporting the special authorization management needs of the finance industry, banks gain agility and security while retaining the core access control features they depend on.

The essential features of modern authorization management

An access control solution that works for modern banks needs to deliver a core set of essential features.

Control over business decisions

The ultimate purpose of access control is to support the needs of the business, not just manage what users can and can’t do for the sake of access control alone.

Toward that end, it’s critical for organizations to be able to define access control policies that support business priorities. They may need to implement different levels of access control for different websites or applications, for instance, in order to encourage consumers to use different digital channels in different ways.

Integrated compliance and auditing

Merely managing authorization is not enough. The ability to align access policies with the compliance rules that banks must meet, and to update policies as compliance rules change (which they frequently do), is equally important. So is being able to perform systematic audits to ensure that access control rules meet compliance needs.

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Cost efficiency

Building and maintaining an access control system in-house is expensive. It requires a dedicated team of developers to write the code and IT engineers to deploy and manage it -- not to mention security engineers to help keep it safe.

A modern access control solution solves these pain points by enabling banks to implement access controls using ready-made services that require little or no custom development and deployment effort on the part of the company.

Solutions that automate access policy creation and deployment add another layer of cost efficiency by reducing the burden on banks’ IT teams in administering the authorization management system.

Support for on-premises, cloud and hybrid environments

Banks’ IT infrastructures come in many forms and sizes. Some banks have moved fully to the public cloud. Others still operate mostly on-premises. And still others use a hybrid model that includes a mix of both types of infrastructures.

Modern authorization management tools should be platform-agnostic and able to work in any type of environment. Companies shouldn’t have to overhaul their access control tooling when they move an application from on-prem to the cloud, for instance, or when they deploy a hybrid cloud framework.

The secret to modern access control: PBAC

Policy-Based Access Control, or PBAC, forms the foundation for a modern approach to authorization management for the banking industry and beyond.

With PBAC, companies can write access policies using plain language (which reduces the need for specialized IT staff), then automatically apply them across their diverse environments. No matter which types of legacy and modern applications an organization deploys, and whether it hosts those applications on-premises, in the public cloud or in a hybrid architecture, PBAC policies can be applied across the environment.

PBAC also enables the use of policy mining to help automate the creation of policies themselves. Policy mining automatically identifies logical relationships and access needs within an organization’s IT environments, then creates policies to support them.

And because policies can be audited and updated at any time, companies enjoy the confidence of full visibility into who can do what within their systems, as well as the ability to change access rules easily and instantly.

To learn more about how PlainID’s PBAC authorization solution helps banks modernize their access control systems, download our whitepaper “Why It’s Time For Banks To Move On From Legacy Authorization Solutions” or contact us for a product demo.

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