Identity and access management should be a key strategic and technical priority for businesses in 2022. Identity and access management or IAM is a broad term. IAM describes internal organizational processes focused on managing user accounts and network resources, including access rights for users, systems, and applications.
The broad goal of IAM is to manage user identity on a network and authenticate users.
The following are key things to know about IAM in general and also, more specifically, its benefits.
The Basics of IAM
IAM is a broad term related to identifying individuals in a system and controlling how they access a system.
IAM is a way to control who is authenticated or signed in and has permission to use certain resources.
With IAM, there are systems and processes so that IT admins can assign a single digital identity to every entity. Then with that singular digital identity, they can be authorized to access certain resources, and their identities are monitored and managed.
Along with IAM for employees, businesses and organizations have to consider its relevance for business partners, contractors, customers, and remote and mobile users. Identities are also assigned to devices that are part of the Internet of Things, robots, and pieces of code.
Multicloud IT environments and software as a service further add complexity and necessity to the IAM landscape.
Below, we got into more of the specific benefits of IAM.
Centralized Access Control
When there’s too much access to your systems, there are risks, but too little access is problematic because you will impact productivity and make your users feel frustrated. IAM strikes a balance. You can set centralized policies for the correct levels of access privileges.
Every user’s roles and attributes can be used to determine the resources they should be able to access and to what extent they can access them.
There’s easier management paired with better security and flexibility.
Reduced Cybersecurity Risks
When you use identity and access management with MFA and SSO, your employees don’t have to create and remember multiple strong passwords. Instead, they can prove their identity with evidence-based authorization.
There are also encryption tools available with IAM to protect sensitive data as it’s being transmitted and reduce the risk of a breach of user credentials.
With IAM, your organization is empowered and proactive in identifying policy violations and removing access privileges when needed, without searching multiple distributed systems.
You can know at any given time that the proper security measures are in place and that these measures are meeting regulatory and audit requirements.
You can quickly provision and de-provision access, and you can use identity analytics to improve risk management and decision-making.
Research shows more than 80% of data breaches are due to weak or stolen passwords. IAM enforces best practices for credential management.
Reduction of Insider Threats
There are a growing number of security breaches coming from back actors within an organization. IAM helps protect against these as well.
IAM can limit the damage caused by insiders by making sure users have access to only the systems they need to do their jobs. They can’t escalate their access privileges without approval.
There’s centralized, automated management of the identity and access lifecycle. Workflows are automated for certain tasks, such as role transition or hiring a new person. There is increased processing time for any changes in access and identity and reduced errors.
Remote accessibility that happens securely is a massive priority for organizations right now, as many are moving toward hybrid or all-remote work.
Users need their identities at all times to access services and resources. With IAM, users can securely access resources no matter where they’re physically located.
Better User Experience
When anyone has to remember multiple usernames and passwords to log into resources, it becomes challenging and frustrating. For users, IAM makes this more manageable and can help them feel more engaged rather than worrying about logging into so many different systems with different credentials.
The use of identity and access management can reduce processes for end-users, system administrators, and application owners.
If appropriately implemented, identity and access management should be intuitive and user-friendly.
Finally, IAM solutions can reduce operational costs. There’s an elimination of the need for local identities, which simplifies the administration of applications. When you leverage a cloud-based IAM solution, you’re reducing costs even further and paying for just what you need.