IAM systems verify user identity and ensure that the right users have access to the right tools and information. This reduces the risk of security breaches and meets compliance standards. IAM tools allow passwordless authentication and single sign-on (SSO). They also help with password best practices, including regular updates, MFA, and adaptive authentication.
Identity and access management tools ensure that only authorized users gain access to your company’s information. They do this by verifying that someone’s login information – username, password, or fingerprint – matches their identity in a database of known persons. That verification, also called authentication, can occur on your network or the cloud. Once a user’s login credentials are verified, IAM keeps track of what level of access the person should have to your data and applications. This can be based on the person’s job title, security clearance, or project scope. Then, once an individual’s identity has been authenticated, a permission-based action is taken that grants access to your systems and applications. Another way that IAM helps secure business data is by using a policy of least-privilege access, which means that employees can’t gain access to systems they don’t need to use on their job. This helps mitigate security risks from malicious insiders and limits the damage done by hackers who breach a system with stolen login credentials. IAM solutions also help prevent security risks when employees leave the company by automatically de-provisioning their access privileges to apps and systems they no longer need to use. In addition, IAM solutions can track and flag unauthorized or suspicious activity to help reduce the risk of data breaches.
With the proliferation of remote work, BYOD, and multiple cloud environments, users need access to various apps and data sources. An IAM system can centrally manage that access while maintaining network security and ensuring user identities are always accurate, secure, and current. An IAM solution should include robust user authentication mechanisms that verify that a person is who they say they are and the access granted is appropriate for their role. This includes multi-factor authentication (MFA), which helps protect against hacking attempts by requiring more than just a password or PIN, such as a code sent to a mobile device or a physical security key. IAM solutions also use the principle of least privilege, which means a person is only allowed to access the minimum number of systems and applications needed to complete their job functions, and those permissions are revoked as soon as they’re no longer required. An IAM solution should simplify granting and revoking access across different platforms and environments and help keep pace with changing regulations. Ideally, it should integrate with existing directory services like Active Directory and LDAP to ensure consistency of profiles and reduce the time taken to grant or revoke access. It should also provide an easy-to-use dashboard and automated reporting that provides business leaders with audit-ready reports and compliance analytics. A good IAM solution should also offer integrated Privileged Access Management (PAM) to help control the actions of privileged accounts, such as admin privileges.
IAM solutions use automation to help businesses manage user identities, roles, and permissions. This helps with account verification, risk management, audit, and compliance. IAM can also provide single sign-on (SSO) services to simplify user login processes. In addition, IAM allows businesses to control access to systems by establishing the digital identity of each employee or external user that accesses data and applications. This helps prevent hacking, data breaches, and other security threats that stem from unauthorized access to information or systems. The most fundamental aspect of IAM is authentication. It verifies that a person is who they claim to be, and this can be done through a combination of methods, including information the user knows, like passwords or answers to security questions; an object in the user’s possession, such as a mobile device; or a biometric, such as a fingerprint. IAM can also automate granting and revoking access, which helps businesses maintain a granular level of control over each individual’s ability to access and view data. This can prevent users from viewing confidential information, and it can also prevent data leaks. This feature also helps minimize security risks that stem from the misuse of privileged accounts and overly generous access rights. It can also help reduce operational costs through the reduction of manual processes.
As organizations grow and evolve, so too must their security framework. Without disrupting productivity, IAM systems must scale seamlessly with a business’s changing infrastructure, user base, and IT capabilities. The best IAM tools provide a high level of functionality that is flexible enough to allow for changes in business processes and account verification while maintaining the same levels of security. A sound IAM system will include multi-factor authentication (MFA), an extra layer of security requiring users to supply more than just a username and password to gain access to a business’s networks or systems. These additional factors could include a code sent to the user’s mobile device, physical security keys, or fingerprint scans. This helps to ensure that only authenticated users have access to sensitive data and information, protecting against cyber threats and preventing data breaches. IAM solutions also help to reduce the IT department’s workload by automating account provisioning and deprovisioning, password reset and unlocking functions, and monitoring access logs to identify anomalies. This frees IT departments to focus on more critical tasks like implementing zero-trust policies throughout their businesses.