6 top-level takeaways for Google Workspace identity and access management

By SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

The desire to boost productivity and collaboration for hybrid, distributed teams has naturally led many enterprises to Google Workspace. While this popular, cloud-native set of tools has allowed teams to work together seamlessly in any configuration, its Identity and Access Management (IAM) features provide assurance that data and users are protected at every level. 

SADA provides support for organizations of any size and in any industry to get the most from Google Workspace and third-party IAM solutions, from seamless migrations to ongoing managed services. In this blog post, we’ll share insights into how your organization can protect your system and users with a robust IAM strategy that includes Workspace, third-party solutions, and ongoing managed services from SADA. Consider this your primer on everything IAM can offer your business, and the sorts of considerations you’ll need to make when establishing a strong IAM strategy. 

  1. IAM, integral to Google Workspace

Simply put, IAM refers to the set of policies, procedures, and technologies that organizations use to control access to their systems, applications, and data. IAM is a critical component of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy because it helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information. 

As more organizations operate in the cloud, IAM becomes increasingly vital. Where to start? We’ve found that Google Workspace provides a powerful platform for implementing IAM solutions.

Google Workspace offers a range of tools and features that can be used to implement IAM solutions. One of the key features of Google Workspace is its ability to provide a single sign-on (SSO) experience. With SSO, users can sign on once and access all the applications and services they need without having to enter their credentials again. This not only makes it easier for users, but also helps organizations ensure that users are authenticated and authorized to access the applications and services they need.

In addition to SSO, Google Workspace offers other IAM-related features, such as role-based access control (RBAC), and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Administrators have full authority to define who can access which resources and under what circumstances. RBAC allows organizations to define different roles and assign permissions based on those roles. And MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional authentication factors, such as a one-time code sent to their mobile device.

  1. Set your foundation with identity governance

The first step in IAM is to establish a strong identity governance framework. Identity governance is the process of defining and managing the roles and permissions that users have in an organization. This process involves defining user roles, creating policies for granting and revoking access, and monitoring access to ensure compliance with regulations.

We’ve observed that many enterprises depend on Google Cloud Identity Premium, which provides robust core identity and endpoint management services, enterprise security, application management, and device management services. What’s more, these services include features such as automated user provisioning, app whitelisting, and automated mobile device management. For those who are serious about IAM, Google Cloud Identity Premium is a great place to start.

  1. Fortify IAM with additional platforms and solutions

In addition to features native to Google Workspace and Google Cloud Platform, we’ve found a number of third-party solutions that augment, compliment, and extend IAM. Here are a few solutions that enterprises have increasingly come to rely upon: 

  • Okta: Cloud-based software that helps organizations manage and secure user authentication in applications, and for developers to build identity controls into applications, website web services, and devices.
  • VMware: A solution enabling secure role-based access control, password management, and account policies. VMware Workspace One extends these capabilities to devices. 
  • JumpCloud: An open directory platform that allows organizations to centrally manage one identity and one set of credentials per user, with unified and automated identity creation and deactivation, as well as access provisioning and deprovisioning.
  • Google BeyondCorp Enterprise (BCE): A solution that provides simple and secure access to applications and cloud resources with a zero trust focus. 
  • Prisma Cloud IAM Security: A solution for evaluating effective permissions assigned to users, workloads, and data so that organizations can properly administer IAM policies and enforce access using the principle of least privilege.

Every business is different, operating in a variety of regulatory environments with industry-specific needs. Finding the right third-party platforms and software to augment your IAM solution may be daunting. That’s where SADA comes in. With a track record of successful deployments, your dedicated SADA team will work side by side with your team to develop the strategy that’s just right for you. Industry best practices, unique regulatory requirements, and your organization’s desired business outcomes are all part of the conversation.

  1. Think beyond usernames and passwords

Traditionally, IAM has been focused on managing usernames and passwords. However, modern IAM solutions are much more sophisticated and can include Okta, JumpCloud, Google Cloud Identity Premium, and other security measures that take into account evolving workplaces and increased device usage.

MFA is a security mechanism that requires users to provide two or more forms of authentication to access a resource. For example, a user may be required to enter a password and provide a fingerprint or use a smart card. MFA is an effective way to protect against password-based attacks and is becoming increasingly popular in enterprise environments.

SSO is another important aspect of modern IAM. SSO enables users to access multiple resources with a single set of credentials. This simplifies the authentication process for users and reduces the risk of credential theft.

You’ll also want to consider Google Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy, which provides a secure method for accessing applications and services hosted on Google Cloud Platform. It supports MFA and SSO, and enables administrators to control access to resources based on user and device attributes.

  1. Ensure regulatory compliance with IAM

IAM is critical for ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS. These regulations require organizations to implement controls around data access and security, and IAM is a key part of those controls.

For example, GDPR requires organizations to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal data. This includes measures to control access to that data, such as role-based access control (RBAC) and MFA.

Google Workspace provides a variety of IAM tools designed to be the backbone of compliance. For example, Google Cloud IAM enables administrators to define custom roles and permissions that can be used to control access to resources. It also provides audit logs that can be used to monitor access and compliance.

  1. Think of IAM as a continuous process

It’s important to understand that IAM depends on vigilance. It’s not something that can be implemented once and then forgotten about. Your organization is wise to continually monitor and update your IAM policies and procedures to ensure that they remain effective. But this can be a heavy lift, especially when you wish to direct your teams to other business-critical projects. 

That’s where your dedicated SADA team comes in. Informed by countless successful deployments of IAM solutions, including enterprise-level Workspace migrations and the implementation of powerful third-party solutions, SADA experts will listen to your ambitions, help you implement cost-efficient solutions, and bring your teams on board with a host of change management and training resources. To learn more about the IAM and Google Workspace solutions that are right for your business, be sure to take a look at our productivity and collaboration resources today.

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