Access recertification is an IT control that involves auditing user access privileges to determine if they are correct and adhere to the organization’s internal policies and compliance regulations. Access recertification is typically the responsibility of the organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and may also be known as access attestation or entitlements review.
Access recertification can be carried out manually or programmatically. The first step in a manual recertification process is to extract and collate account information from the organization’s IT and business systems and distribute it in a format that will allow each manager to easily see what privileges each of his or her employees has been granted. Managers are then given a deadline for reviewing the information to flag inappropriate access and verify appropriate access. Challenges with this approach include the possibility that recertification may only be carried out sporadically and that some managers may not understand the importance of access recertification and rubberstamp their verifications.
In large organizations, access governance software can be used to automate the recertification process and ensure that audits occur on a regular basis. Once the information has been extracted and normalized, the software uses a message template to issue recertification requests. If the recipient of the recertification request fails to respond within a specified time period, the software suspends the recipient’s access rights and notifies the recipient’s manager. Challenges with this approach include the cost of the software as well as the time, effort and technical knowledge it requires to ensure the software’s interoperability with legacy systems.