Entitlement Management Identity Governance Explained

User access can be controlled with entitlement management, which administers access to systems, devices, software, and digital content. Entitlement management can also refer to privileges, access rights, permissions, or authorizations, basically ensuring that only authorized users have access to specific things. 

Entitlement management can provide a method of controlling access and user privileges within a system.

Entitlement management solutions can use multiple technologies, often across various platforms, systems, devices, network components, and applications. An identity governance feature, entitlement management can automate access request workflows, ensuring that users who need privileges have access to what they need but only to what they specifically need.

Understanding entitlement management

Entitlement management is a form of technology that administers access to user privileges, or entitlements, by granting, issuing, enforcing, revoking, and resolving specific user access within a system. This can help eliminate potential human error involved with ensuring the right users have access to the systems, networks, software, applications, and devices that they need while also managing what users do not have, or need, access to.

It can be challenging to manage a continuously changing workflow with employee access needs and rights constantly changing and evolving. It is important for employees to have the access and user privileges for the systems, applications, and software necessary to perform their job duties, but as these needs change, so can the type of access required. Entitlement management can help to efficiently manage access for users both inside and outside of an organization.

Entitlement management can also be used to manage how rights to licensed software are used in order to not breach the terms of a software licensing agreement. For example, if a company purchases a specific number of licenses for a software, it needs to ensure that only the users who need to use it are doing so and in the right situations. Entitlement management frameworks can help with this.

What are entitlement management solutions?

Entitlement management solutions use a single platform to automate tedious tasks, including activating and provisioning entitlements for system administrators and software providers. 

Access management for user privileges within an organization is an important cybersecurity aspect, but it can be time-consuming and may lead to human error. User management policies that reduce administrative overhead while helping to strengthen IT security in a standardized way can be highly beneficial.

An entitlement management solution will need to be easy to deploy and integrate within the overall system of an organization. Central management of entitlements is vital to streamlining this process. 

Conditions and user privileges within an organization evolve and change constantly. As such, administrators will need to be able to manage entitlements when necessary. A good entitlement management solution will be easy to administer, automated, and manageable. 

Entitlement management solutions use a centralized framework that is able to target specific users and define what entitlements each user has access to, when, and for how long. 

Delegating user privileges and rights can be time-consuming and costly, requiring a lot of time and manual effort from system administrators. With an entitlements management solution, this entire process can be automated down to the specific user, groups of users, and length of time for each user.

Entitlement management systems

Entitlement management systems must be able to perform the following:

  • Define user roles.
  • Manage hierarchies of user roles.
  • Define and manage permissions and user resources.
  • Enforce and revoke user privileges as needed.
  • Handle complex conditions related to granting and denying access control.
  • Enforce software entitlements.
  • Implement access control paradigms, such as data-driven approaches and role-based access control.
  • Monitor and track application performance to determine results of products and specific product features.

Entitlement management systems can be important tools to eliminate the potential security breaches that can be caused by the wrong people having access to resources. 

Business needs can change rapidly with employees changing roles or leaving the company. When an employee transitions to a different group or department, they may require different access control privileges. When someone leaves a company, their access to entitlements will need to be revoked.

An entitlements management system can provision entitlements internally for end customers and software developers. It can also allow software developers to adapt to changes in the market by adding new features and repackaging software applications as part of a software monetization solution.

Controlling access to entitlements

An entitlements management solution can use access packages to determine which resources a user needs to access to perform their job responsibilities and bundle them together. This can work for both people within and outside of an organization. 

To control who has access to what entitlements, the administrator, or access package manager that has been delegated this role, will first list all of the resources and the roles users will need for these resources. 

Resources can include the following:

  • Groups
  • Applications
  • Websites
  • Network platforms
  • Devices
  • Systems
  • Files and/or databases
  • Software

Within the access package, policies will also exist that set the rules for assigning each access package. Every policy will determine that only authorized users can request access to an access package, that there is a set approver in place to grant or deny access, and that the access will expire if not renewed (that it is time-limited). The access package manager or administrator defines the specific policies for each access package, and these policies then specify and control access to entitlements. 

When are access packages used?

Access packages can be especially useful to control who has access to what entitlements in the following situations:

  • An employee or group of employees needs access to a resource but only for a limited amount of time. With an entitlements management system, administrators can delegate access to specific resources for the duration of a project or specific task with the access expiring at the end of the set time limit.  
  • Departments within an organization can manage their access control packages and policies for their specific resources without the need for IT involvement.  
  • When user access needs to be granted by a manager or other designated individual within an organization, an access package can be helpful.  
  • Access packages can be especially beneficial when two or more organizations, or individuals from both inside and outside of an organization, need to access the same resources for the purpose of a joint project. This type of access control can ensure that users only have access to the specific resources they need and for the length of time for which they need entitlements.

Additional resources

A strong entitlements management solution will work in real time to govern access, monitor threats, compile continuous risk assessments, and protect users, resources, and assets. 

There are several software solutions on the market capable of handling this. They will integrate into an organization’s framework seamlessly to provide a central access control point for multiple access packages and policies.

An example includes the Azure Active Directory security and governance by Microsoft. 

The 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms names Okta as a leader in access control management solutions. With Okta, you can effectively manage your access control using Okta (Auth0) to establish and enforce cloud solutions and web applications.


Adaptive Identity and Access Management- Contextual Data Based on Policies. (August 2016). EURASIP Journal on Information Security

Azure Active Directory Security and Governance. (2022). Microsoft.

2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms. (2022). M-Files, Inc.