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2021 CyberSecurity Excellence Award – Team of the Year (North America).

by Casey Yarbrough - Posted 4 months ago


Recently I had the privilege
nof leading the implementation of SailPoint IIQ for the usual reasons’ companies
ngo on such journeys (compliance with regulatory and/or audit requirements) and
nI’m happy to say our team was successful for all the usual reasons (lots of
nhard work and sacrifice by all involved). We were even rewarded with a
nnomination and eventual recognition for the
2021 CyberSecurity Excellence Award – Team
nof the Year (North Amercia)
.
nHowever, I want to talk more about what we learned during that journey than the
njourney itself.


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First, don’t let your past
nsuccesses prevent you from delivering what’s best for your current situation.


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It is human nature to figure
nout a “recipe for success” for a given problem and then apply said recipe
nanytime said problem presents itself. We even put a bunch of our favorite
nrecipes together and call them “best practices”. It is no different with large
nimplementations, especially when there is a large price tag involved. We want
nto be as certain as we can that we will be good stewards of the trust that we
nare given.  In my experience, most
nIdentity Management implementations take two to three years. Typically, we start
nwith base provisioning and then build in an application request workflow and
nreconciliation cadence with key applications, usually no more than six to ten
nto start with. What we really needed was a huge improvement in all our user
naccess reviews, which would typically come, at the earliest, at the end of year
none. Typically, I had to decide whether to ask our Senior Leaders to continue
nto bear the current state for another year along with the increased risk while
nwe took the typical life cycle approach. Again typically, the only other option
nwould be taking a more unorthodox implementation approach with greater risk
nwhile delivering the pieces they needed first instead of year two. The lesson
nhere is to succeed faster and more comprehensively by using the tools as well
nas our knowledge and experience.


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Second, do not be afraid to
nuse all the tools at your disposal, even the older ones. 


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As a weakness, we had manual
nprocesses that involved collecting, transforming, staging, certifying, and
nfinally reporting on the data.  What
ntypically gives an Audit organization heartburn is a lack of evidence that your
nprocesses are “complete and accurate”. While end to end automation is the
nprescribed elixir here to produce accurate logs and reduce human error, time
ncan sometimes limit what is possible. In our case, it was faster and easier to
ncreate transformation scripts for the source data files using the toolset from
nour old provisioning engine.  We created a
nstaging database to receive the transformed data from our scripts.The logs were
nkept courtesy of the old provisioning engine and we now had ONE JDBC
nintegration for our new platform with associated lifecycle rules instead of
nforty. We learned that it is not necessary to build out all new roads to lead
nto your destination. Sometimes you need to use some of the older roads to keep
nyour traffic moving while you complete higher priority objectives.


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Third, be the rock and do not
nlose your cool.


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People get sick.  Loved ones have emergencies. People react to
nstress differently, but by and large, they do not perform better if you
npressure them when they are dealing with external issues beyond their control. Stressful
nsituations will come at critical junctures so resist the urge to appeal to
ntheir sense of guilt. Avoid using fear, regardless of how real that fear is for
nyou. Instead, an investment of empathy and a reasonable amount of understanding
nwill pay huge dividends. Remember, all eyes will be on you, especially those of
nyour team. When you show them that you, their leader, has their back they won’t
nbe looking over their shoulder and checking their six. It is hard to move
nforward with alacrity if your attention is on what is behind you. You will be
nspending a lot of time with your team under less-than-ideal circumstances (i.e.
nnot enough time, too much to get done, you broke what?) and you will need their
ntrust. Earn their trust and they will go to the wall for you. Appreciate
nthem accordingly and they will continue to follow you and go to the wall for
nyou again.


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I said at the beginning that I
nhad the privilege of leading a team on a successful journey. 


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To me, that is what leadership
nis: a privilege. It is also one of the greatest responsibilities you will have:
nto mentor the next leader(s). Knowledge, skill, and experience gets us to the
nmountain. However, it is your team that gets you to the summit. Use your skill
nand knowledge to help identify a new efficient solution to a problem your team is
ntrying to solve. Challenge your team by asking them what they can do to work
naround gaps using whatever is at hand to buy time for the final solution. Be
nthere for your team with words of wisdom, advice, encouragement, understanding,
nand most importantly, appreciation. Don’t miss an opportunity to recognize key
nindividual contributions in leadership team forums/meetings so they are
nfamiliar with those names during merit and calibration meetings. Now, more than
never, I think people will be more likely to choose the “who” they want to work
nfor rather than “where” they want to work as proximity becomes less and less
nimportant. Be the leader that makes your organization the best place to work
nbecause for most of us, the free coffee and snacks are not nearly as relevant
nas they used to be.


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