What is Identity and Access Management? Advantages and Disadvantages | Hideez

IAM helps companies ensure secure access of the right individuals to the technical and information resources in the right context. IAM technology sets up the framework for managing digital identities of employees and/or customers.

What is identity and access management?

Identity and access management (IAM) is often defined as a system used by IT departments to initiate, store, and manage user identities and access permissions. IAM includes two important processes: authentication and authorization. 

In short, authentication answers who you are by matching your login and password with your record in a database. Authorization checks what access and permissions you have.

 

IAM methodology ensures that users have access to the assets they need, like systems, infrastructure, software, information, but the assets are not accessible by unauthorized users. The key to secure identity management and access control lies in the combination of strong credentials, appropriate permissions, specified assets, and the right context.

Identity and access management policies and procedures are developed with the principal idea in mind - prevent exposure of sensitive data.   

Identity and access management concepts

Identity and access management solutions, like Hideez Enterprise Server, consist of the following fundamental elements: 

  • an identity repository with personal data used by the system to identify users; 
  • access lifecycle management tools (used to add, modify, update or delete that data); 
  • an access regulation system that enforces security policies and access privileges;
  • a report and audit system that monitors activity in the overall system.

Other identity access management tools include automatic provisioning software, password-manager, security-policy enforcement applications, monitoring apps, multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, and more. 

With the advancement of technologies and an increased number of data breaches, it takes more than a strong login and password to protect an account. That’s why more and more IAM solutions use biometrics, physical tokens, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in their systems.

 

Identity and access management roles and responsibilities

User identity management

User identities are managed by the IAM solution. The IAM may integrate with existing directories, synchronize with them, or be the one source of truth. In any case, this component is used to create, modify, and delete users.

 

User provisioning and de-provisioning

An IT department is responsible for user provisioning. They need to enter new users to the system and specify what apps, software, sites, directories, and other resources they can access. It is important to define what level of access (administrator, editor, viewer) every individual user has to each of them. To simplify the process, the IT department can use role-based access control (RBAC). This way, when a user is assigned one or more roles, he or she automatically gets access as defined by that role. 

De-provisioning is also an important IAM component. When done manually, it can result in delayed action and unintended disclosure. Hideez Enterprise server automates the process, and immediately de-provision ex-employees. 

 

User authentication

IAM systems authenticate a user when the user requests access. A common standard is to use multi-factor authentication to ensure stronger protection.

 

User Authorization

Based on user provisioning, an IAM system authorizes user access to the requested resource, if the credentials match the records in the database.

 

Reporting

To help companies comply with regulations, identify security risks, and improve internal processes, IAM provides reports and dashboards to monitor the situation.

 

Single Sign-On (SSO)

Only best IAMs like Hideez include SSO in their solution. SSO is an extra level of security that makes access for the end-user much faster, as it allows to use multiple resources without an additional login. 

Benefits of identity and access management services

By implementing access control and identity management solution, a company can gain the following benefits:

  • Proper identity management gives companies greater control of user access and reduces the risk of a data breach.
  • Access is provided based on a single interpretation of the existing policy. 
  • IAM also strengthens internal policy compliance and reduces financial, labor, and time resources needed for this end. 
  • Automated IAM systems boost employee productivity by decreasing the effort, time, and money required to manage the IAM tasks manually. 
  • IAM assists companies in compliance with governmental regulations, as they incorporate the necessary measures, and provide on-demand reports for the audit.

 

Information access management for stronger compliance 

As more attention and media exposure is given to the issue of data privacy, the government and regulatory bodies introduced multiple acts and regulations to protect client and business data. PCI DSS, PSD2, HIPAA, GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, to name a few, hold companies accountable for controlling access to sensitive user information. Identity management systems can significantly reduce the risk of breaching those regulations. Given the cost of negative audit results for the business, compliance should be a top priority for every IT department in companies subject to the before-mentioned regulations.

Conclusion

Identity and access management (IAM) definition encompasses a system of processes, policies, and technologies used to create, store, and manage user identities and permissions. The use of IAM solutions ensures stronger information security, access management, internal and external policy compliance. It increases employee productivity, lowers IT overhead costs, and reduces the risks of data breaches. Hideez offers an advanced IAM solution with all the key features like automated provisioning and de-provisioning, SSO, MFA, convenient dashboard, and more. Completed with a hardware wireless token, Hideez's solution takes identity and access management to a new level of convenience for the end-user.