What is an entitlement review?

The term “entitlement review” means a review of user access permissions and other rights. As a general rule, tech users in the IT environment shall have access only to the data they need to do their job and nothing more. This limitation is guided by the so-called Principle of Least Privilege referring to an information security concept in which a user is given the minimum levels of access – or permissions – needed to perform a certain function.

A structured and regular entitlement review process helps mitigate security risks and protect sensitive data.

The entitlement review process requires the following:

  • Visibility into each user’s data access permissions
  • Visibility into user activity, especially access to sensitive or regulated data
  • Accurate assignment of data ownership rights. Data owners are responsible for making access decisions that ensure the right users have the right access permissions to data they own. Data owners typically include managers and active users of particular information.

Why are entitlement reviews important for cybersecurity?

Entitlement reviews help organizations strengthen cybersecurity by limiting the data, applications and other resources each user account can access, either accidentally or deliberately by its owner, or in the hands of an attacker who has taken it over.

Failure to perform proper and regular entitlement reviews can lead to overexposure of sensitive data, employee errors or malicious access abuse or misuse.

Entitlement review best practices

The following best practices can help organizations conduct effective entitlement reviews that mitigate security and compliance risks.

  1. Users should be assigned access rights through group membership, not direct assignment. This helps ensure proper provisioning since all users with similar business responsibilities can be made members of the same groups. IT teams need to work closely with managers and data owners to set up appropriate groups with the right sets of access
  1. Access reviews should be conducted on a regular basis. Data owners should receive a list of users who have access to the content they own, and they should determine whether privileges should be changed or removed to reflect current access
  2. Access reviews should cover not just business users but IT pros and other privileged users as well.


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