Members of the USAA Enterprise Security Group
The USAA Enterprise Security Group has been selected as a recipient of the fifth annual CSO50 Awards. The awards recognize organizations for security initiatives that demonstrate outstanding business value and thought leadership.
USAA’s winning project — employing Identity and Access Management (IAM) technology – focused on increasing both the security and efficiency of a fundamental process: granting USAA personnel appropriate access to electronic systems.
When new employees join USAA, one of their first tasks is to begin using electronic tools like email, databases and banking systems. Two years ago, it took five days, on average, for new hires to gain access. USAA’s winning project introduced a new, completely automated system that gives new employees access within two minutes.
The project employs the same automated efficiencies for personnel transfers. When employees transfer, their new manager is prompted to certify their security permissions to ensure the right people have access to the appropriate data and actions. When employees leave USAA, the system logs them off immediately and begins an automatic process for removing access to sensitive systems.
USAA IT Technical Director Patrick Landry said the efficiency benefits have been overwhelming. The onboarding process for new personnel has saved well over 450,000 work hours to date. More importantly, the improvements represent a significant step forward in security.
“The longer each of these processes takes, the more vulnerable our system is to hackers,” Landry said. “Getting these steps accomplished in minutes rather than days helps keep member data safe from cybercriminals.”
Although USAA experts began discussing it in 2012, the two-year development process began in earnest in 2014 and ended in April 2016. A core group of 45 USAA team members collaborated on the project, which included input from more than 70 employees across USAA, including IT, Information Security, Audit Services, Legal, Risk, and Compliance.
The project was also one of the first USAA projects conducted with agile development, a cutting-edge approach that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility and continuous improvement, Landry said.
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