These days, organizations have many different people accessing their networks, systems, platforms, applications, and data from a wide range of devices. Mobility has made it possible for employees, customers, suppliers, other partners, and even other software and applications to access what they need from wherever they are located. The result? Increased security risks for organizations. This is where Identity and access management (IAM) comes into the picture.
What IAM Is and How It Works
IAM includes the processes and tools an organization uses to define and manage the access privileges of people and devices to their cloud-based and on-premise network assets. This ensures that only the people who are allowed to have access can get into the network, and it ensures that, once they are in that network, they can only access the specific applications, data, and other assets they are permitted to access.
IAM systems come with the tools network administrators can use to assign and change a user’s sign-on credentials and access permissions, track and report on a user’s activities, and ensure all IAM policies are enforced. There are three IAM concepts that are most commonly used, including:
- Single sign-on – This is the use of a single set of sign-on credentials to gain access to a network or system. This makes it so users don’t have to remember or manage passwords for each account, minimizing bad password habits and reducing the risk of lost or misused passwords.
- Multi-factor authentication – This is the use of two or more credentials, such as a combination of password and a biometric tool, to log into a network or system. This boosts security because it adds an extra layer of security to the username and password, which can easily fall into the wrong hands.
- Privileged access management (PAM) – This is when a specific set of privileges is assigned to certain users to allows them access to vital business functions, such as assigning and resetting passwords and accessing confidential information. This improves access control and restricts it to a single location, prevents account attacks, and minimizes the sharing of credentials.
The Benefits of IAM
There are significant benefits for an organization that implements an IAM solution. These include:
- Access from anywhere – With IAM, users that need access to the organizational network assets can do so no matter where they are or what device they are using.
- Improved productivity – Employees can get immediate access to all the organizational networks assets they need, saving them from waiting for access and permissions and giving them more time to get their work done.
- Better user experience – It’s easy for IT administrators to create a single digital identity with credentials that are unique to each user, saving the user from having to manage multiple accounts.
- Increased security – With the implementation of IAM comes enhanced security policies across the organization’s systems, applications, and devices, which help manage access and more easily identify when security breaches occur.
- Superior regulatory compliance – There are many regulations regarding the collection, storage, and use of customer and employee information and IAM solutions help organizations protect that data by controlling access and keeping it fully secure.
- Lower operating costs – With fewer issues related to individual accounts and breaches of access, IAM results in lower IT operating costs.
Ultimately, the goal of an IAM system is to help an organization control who has access to its network assets. For this reason, IAM must connect with all parts of the organization, including partner and customer portals, business intelligence, and analytics. But for IAM to be truly effective, an organization must first develop their access policies in detail to define who has access to what network assets and under what conditions this access should be granted.
Connect with Platinum Technologies today to find out how we can help you implement a tailored IAM solution to protect your critical resources.