Identity and Access Management (IAM) is identifying, authenticating, and authorizing access to enterprise systems and data. IAM solutions also help businesses demonstrate compliance with regulations.
IAM provides secure access to company resources—like emails, databases, data, and applications—to verified entities only. This helps prevent unauthorized hacking and ensures that all regulations are met.
Security has always been important for businesses, whether for the legal reasons of data privacy or to ensure profitability. Increasingly, sensitive information is stored digitally, and cybercriminals are finding it easier than ever to access networks through tools like hacking or stealing passwords. IAM enables companies to protect their most valuable assets by providing the necessary infrastructure and software to prevent breaches and identify unauthorized activity in real-time.
So, what is the identity and access management process? IAM systems incorporate technologies like encryption (turning data into a code that cannot be read) and access control to restrict who can see what, when, and how, limiting the risk of a breach. They also include user authentication that authenticates the identity of a person or device, often with multiple factors, including passwords, biometrics, and smart cards.
IAM solutions also provide the ability to merge different identity repositories during acquisition or merger processes, preventing a disparate set of access privileges or credentials from creating an opportunity for human error. They also enable unified access policies and single sign-on across cloud, on-premises, and third-party applications and services to boost productivity without sacrificing security.
Identity and access management (IAM) is a set of policies and technologies that ensure the right people have access to technology tools. It’s an overarching category that includes cyber security and IT security, and it’s a critical part of a business’s overall information security strategy.
IAM solutions use a combination of “something you know” (like a password), “something you have” (like a security token), and “something you are” (like a fingerprint) to authenticate users. They link that access to specific privileges or permissions. These systems also apply role-based access control that uses predefined job roles to grant access to particular methods, applications, and data.
Most importantly, IAM solutions can help businesses with their regulatory compliance efforts. It’s a pivotal way to reduce the risk of security breaches, which can expose sensitive information and lead to expensive fines for violating various laws and regulations. These systems can help reduce the time and cost of catching those violations, which will lessen the damage to a company’s reputation and bottom line.
Today’s corporate networks connect to on-premises, remote, and cloud-based apps and data sources. Many of these resources are handled by humans (employees, contractors) and non-humans (IoT devices, bots, automated workloads).
Identity access management enables companies to create a single digital identity for each user on the network. It then manages access privileges to apps and data sources based on the role of that individual. This helps to keep hackers out while ensuring authorized users can easily handle everything they need to do.
Scalability is also crucial because it allows businesses to adapt to changing business conditions and market changes without having to invest in new infrastructure or change existing management processes and teams. Without scalability, a company can become overwhelmed by increasing demand and eventually collapse under the weight of its expenses.
IAM can also automate processes like onboarding, updating, and offboarding, which reduces human errors and improves security by reducing the number of people who can access critical systems. It can also use tokens to communicate identity information rather than letting applications and resources access it directly.
Identity and access management is an essential tool for businesses that want to increase efficiency, productivity, and security. It allows companies to automate processes and eliminate human errors. Errors relating to permission can be deadly when it comes to sensitive data, and IAM can help prevent these errors by managing identities and access from a central system.
Another benefit of automation is that it can reduce the number of usernames and passwords employees need to remember. This can help lower the risk of attacks by reducing the amount of data hackers have to target to gain access to systems. Additionally, IAM can also be used to manage mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) equipment, enabling organizations to control access to resources remotely.
Finally, IAM can automate onboarding and de-provisioning, improve user experience through single sign-on technologies, and make compliance easier through auditing. This is possible because IAM uses tokens to communicate identity information instead of directly accessing the underlying applications and resources. This tagging can also be applied to business process automation, allowing organizations to automate specific tasks that humans would otherwise do.
In a highly connected, multi-cloud world, IAM is essential to keeping hackers out and only authorized users handling company data. IAM enables companies to assign a digital identity for each network user and set access privileges for them that only apply to the systems they need to handle. Some IAM solutions use AI and machine learning to keep tabs on suspicious activity, such as a sudden rash of failed login attempts or the fact that an employee isn’t using the corporate VPN, and take action like requiring more authentication factors or revoking access entirely.
Flexibility is the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Whether that’s responding to customer needs and demands, changes in the economy or marketplace, or shifting business models to accommodate new technologies or strategies. It’s also about giving employees control over how, where, and when they do their work, allowing them to pace their workloads and providing flexibility around office hours. Many employees, in-person or remote, reported that this kind of flexible working is a crucial reason they took their current jobs.