What Exactly is Identity Access Management (IAM)?

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Identity Access Management (IAM) is a system with processes, technologies, and policies to ensure that the right connections are built to resources by the right people and for the right reasons. Having an IAM framework will help IT managers control how critical organizational data is being used. Some widely used IAM services include two-factor authentication, single sign-on systems, and privilege access management. Other features offered by the technologies help users securely store profiles and identities and data governance functions. So that only relevant data is distributed.

IAM fixes the problems with the resources finding their way into the wrong hands and offering job roles. They are also provided access to the necessary tools to implement jobs. It provides organizations with tools to manage people’s identities, hardware, and software like IoT devices and robotics. Companies that can design IAM capabilities can reduce their identity management costs and become well fit in supporting new business initiatives such as the provided IAM solution by NordLayer.

How Does IAM Work?

IAM management solutions have two major tasks it performs. First, it ensures that the identity provided is authentic and the user, software, or hardware are the actual thing they are claimed to be by authenticating credentials against a database. The identity tools they use are built with high-security technologies and are far more flexible than the traditional identity means of verification, such as usernames and passwords.

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Another task IAM systems offer is providing only the required access level to a prospective user. So, instead of inputting usernames and passwords and gaining access to all software resources, IAM narrows down the access points to every user. In essence, editors are offered editor rights, commenters also have such rights alone, and viewers can only view in a content management system.

Why Do I Need IAM?

IAM is essential to tighten loose ends in organizations’ security infrastructure and increase employee productivity.

In terms of delivering high-level security, IAM narrows the point of failure and backstops them with necessary features that help expose the system’s weaknesses when they surface. IAM fixes the problem with traditional security. Usually, in the case of traditional security, there is a point of failure: the password. If a user’s password is exposed to a hacker or the email address for their password recoveries is breached, your organization will become vulnerable to attack. But IAM provides a solution to this.

As regards productivity, IAM offers a good level of productivity with the company workforce; when they log on to their leading IAM portal, they’ll have do not have to be bothered whether they have their correct password or access level to perform their tasks. IAM offers every employee the required access to the perfect suite of tools needed to execute necessary tasks. Their access is also either managed as a role or group instead of as an individual. With this, IT teams have less to worry about.

Basic IAM Components

The IAM framework offers control to the IT management team to control how critical information is being accessed within the organizations. The products provide role-based access control, offering system administrators the regulated access they need to networks or systems based on their roles within the company.

From this point of view, access is the control given to individual users to perform various tasks and create or modify a file, such as a view. The roles are also defined based on the organization’s job, responsibility, and authority. IAM systems have essential functions, which should include capturing and recording user login information, orchestrating assigning and removing access privileges, and managing enterprise databases of user identities.

In essence, IAM systems should provide a centralized directory service, offering visibility with oversight into core aspects within the company user base. 

IAM can also manage digital identities and software to ensure that only the right people are provided with access to the required resources. 

In the cloud, the IAM framework is handled by either identity as a service or authentication as a service. And in either situation, the responsibility is taken up by a third-party service provider who takes up the burden of registering and authenticating prospective users and also manages their data on the systems.

Basically, IAM comprises these components:

  • How user roles are identified and assigned within the system.
  • How individuals are identified in a system.
  • Making updates, adding, and removing individuals and their roles in a system.
  • How identities are generated, and roles are assigned to users. 
  • Securing a complete system and all the sensitive data within.
  • Assigning access levels.to groups and individuals.
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Benefits of IAM

The IAM framework is essential to determining user identity functionalities by initiating, recording, capturing, and managing them through automated processes. Organizations that deploy the IAM framework gain the following benefits:

1. Companies with effectively managed identities have significant user access control, which helps to reduce the possibility of internal and external data breaches. 

2. Users are given access privileges based on company policy, while individuals and services are audited, authenticated, and authorized.

3. I am systems help organizations comply with government regulations better by offering them the opportunity to uncover how they use corporate information. They can also demonstrate that access to every data needed for auditing can be generated.

4. Automating IAM systems boasts the efficiency of business operations by reducing time, effort, and money that would have been invested in manual network access management.

5. As regards security, deploying the IAM framework can help to implement policies better around user authentication, validation, and privileges, while also addressing issues connected to privilege creep.

Companies can gain competitive advantages over others by implementing IAM tools and following related best practices. For example, IAM technologies allow the business to give users outside the organization — like customers, partners, contractors, and suppliers — access to its network across mobile applications, on-premises applications, and SaaS without compromising security. This enables better collaboration, enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, and reduced operating costs.

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Craig Zedwick
I'm a chemical engineer and operations leader, but in my spare time I love technology, building computers, and DIY projects. I like to dive deep into researching new topics, so my articles tend to focus on that same level of detail to help others like me to learn as much as they can.