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What is Policy Orchestration?

by | Apr 10, 2024

As an organization’s data volume grows, so does the need to manage its access and governance consistently and securely. The proliferation of vast and siloed data spread across diverse applications, multi-cloud and hybrid environments, and formats over the last few decades has made it difficult to control data access and governance. In order for structured data to be effectively utilized, it needs to be combined and enhanced in a way that supports both operational and analytical tasks.

However, many organizations face challenges in consolidating data from different sources and presenting it in a secure, segmented, and compliant manner. Explore how Policy Orchestration simplifies the complexity of managing data access, security and governance to accelerate operational decision-making processes.

Challenges of managing security and access policies in the Cloud

With data spread across a multi-cloud infrastructure, many organizations struggle with:

  • Managing sensitive and classified that data is voluminous and siloed, spread across multiple systems and formats.
  • Applying security policies consistently across the data landscape.
  • Inadequate integration and automation capabilities to uniformly handle security and access policies.
  • Controlling and governing sensitive/classified data against strict ‘need to know’ principles and regulatory compliance requirements.

What is Policy Orchestration?

Policy orchestration provides a central point for managing security policies across the organization and its applications to holistically manage compliance and security risks. Consistently deploying access and data protection rules across all of an organization’s data islands, cloud, SaaS applications, data centers, mobile devices, etc., helps enforce policies, increase cyber resilience, manage risk, and maintain compliance.

A policy orchestration platform offers a set of features to help centrally create and manage an organization’s security and access policies. Once defined, the platform can automatically enforce the policies across all the organization’s systems and applications, ensuring consistent and efficient adherence. Additionally, the platform may send alerts and notifications when policy violations or security incidents are detected.

What are the benefits of Policy Orchestration?

Policy Orchestration solutions are designed to centrally manage the complex dynamics of data security, access and governance policies, determining who is authorized to see what across multiple sources of data at once.

While policy orchestration solution capabilities can vary, their key function is to provide a single point of control to:

  • Unify and automate policy management across disparate environments, systems and resources.
  • Build, manage, and govern policies using a single policy console.
  • Provide a single pane of glass for security policy management, and visibility and control over access rights.
  • Deliver robust auditing capabilities to demonstrate compliance and maintain governance.

Policy orchestration allows IT teams to manage security, compliance, and governance with speed and agility, prevent breaches, and accelerate decision-making processes by securely serving data to only authorized parties. In the high-stakes Defence industry, where timely information sharing between multiple parties and systems and the need to alter access levels as situations evolve is critical, Policy Orchestration offers a powerful solution.

Enhancing Policy Orchestration Capabilities with ABAC

When Policy Orchestration is combined with Attribute-based Access Control (ABAC) technology, it provides a robust solution to manage the complexities of data access and security, especially for Defence applications.

By using ABAC, organizations can define access policies based on attributes such as a user’s clearance, nationality, and department, data sensitivity/classification, and other factors. With Policy Orchestration, these rules can be centrally managed, monitored, and enforced in real-time, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data – no matter where it resides or is visualized. Policies be easily updated and propagated across the data landscape, ensuring that access and data protection controls are consistent and always up to date.

What makes an ABAC-enabled Policy Orchestration solution unique is its dynamic and data-centric nature. As a user’s context (location, time of day, security posture, etc.) or the classification of the data changes, ABAC policies dynamically adjust access and protection to match the scenario. ABAC’s dynamic nature simplifies overall policy management by allowing for more complex access and security scenarios with fewer policies. This approach differs from traditional models that rely on predefined roles or groups and lots of complicated rules. Instead, ABAC employs a more flexible, data-centric zero trust process for automatically applying access and security controls.

Tips and best practices for orchestrating cloud security and access policies

Orchestrating security and access control policies can help you more efficiently manage and secure your cloud data. Having a clear plan of what you want to accomplish through policy orchestration is critical to ensuring success and gaining optimal efficiencies. Here are some general best practices to follow:

  • Ensure policies are aligned with business goals, security and regulatory requirements.
  • Monitor and update polices as required to maintain business alignment and compliance.
  • Employ the principles of least privileged and zero trust to ensure access is only granted to those who require it.
  • Utilize attribute-based access control to assign permissions based on multiple factors and to apply conditional controls.

Overall, Policy Orchestration and ABAC technology offer both defense and business an advanced and highly customizable approach to data security. By combining these two powerful solutions, organization’s can ensure that sensitive and classified data remain secure, improve compliance, and accelerate decision-making processes in the cloud.

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