This article is about Cloud Computing
The Ultimate Guide to Implementing Identity and Access Management in Your Organization
By NIIT Editorial
Published on 03/05/2021
Many organizations, these days, have been facing challenges to provide their employees with the right level of success at the right time. Although employees have moved to mobile first strategy, devices are still vulnerable to new threats if not managed appropriately.
But when it comes to managing these risks and tackling operational efficiencies, organizations need to adopt governance practices and solutions. And this mushrooming demand can be met by implementing the right identity and access management program (IAM).
Also, choosing an IAM (Identity and Access Management) can effortlessly manage and find out with the same speed and utmost efficiency. When it comes to providing businesses a multitude of benefits, including cost savings, management control, operational efficiency, and business growth of enterprises, IAM emerged as a critical foundation.
What is an IAM Framework?
Identity and access management in a company is mainly concerned with identifying and controlling user roles and access privileges. When your business has the best IAM framework, it can support role definition and authorization engine, password management, authentication system with single sign-on capabilities, auditing, and provisioning/de-provisioning.
IAM is divided into four important areas that include Authentication, Authorization, User Management, and Central User Repository. For those who don’t know, IAM will provide you the right people with the right access. For a better understanding of the framework, let’s discuss some of their parts:
Authorization, on the other hand, can be defined as the process that determines whether a user is permitted to access a specific resource. Once the resource access request, authorization is performed typically in the form of URL in a web-based application against authorization policies that are stored in an IAM policy store.
Based on data, policies, or information, the authorization model could provide complex access controls including actions taken, access channels, attributes, user roles /groups, external data, resources requested, and business rules.
Authentication can be defined as the process where a user provides all credentials to gain access to an application system or a particular resource. After the authentication of the user, a dedicated session is created and referred to during the interaction between the user and the application system until the session is terminated by other means or the user logs off.
When the user ID /password authentication method is used, it usually comes with a password service module. When you centrally maintain a user’s session, it provides a Single-Sign-On service so that the user doesn’t need to log-on accessing another application system or resource governed under the same IAM Framework.
Ø User Management
The best thing about user management is that it enables an enterprise to effortlessly manage the life period of a user account, from conceptualization to implementation.
There are some functions related to the user management that should be centralized while others should be delegated to end-users. Delegated administration may help an enterprise to directly distribute workflow to different departments. Also, this would ultimately improve the system accuracy by assigning the responsibility of updates to associated professionals to information and situation.
Within user management, self-service is another key concept that an enterprise can use to maintain the identity of data. Also, there’s a self-service function that can significantly lessen the workload to handle the requests to password reset.
To approve some user actions such as user account provisioning and de-provisioning, user management requires an integrated workflow capability.
Ø Central User Repository
It securely stores and delivers information associated with identity while offering services to verify credentials submitted from clients. It gives a conceptual or aggregate view of an organization's identities.
For Central User Repository, directory services adopting LDAPv3 standards have become the dominant technology. When it comes to managing identity data from different user repositories of applications and systems, both meta-directory and virtual directory can be used.
A virtual directory delivers a unified LDAP view of identity information, and multiple databases that contain different sets of users are combined in real-time behind the scene. To keep the data in synchronization with other identity sources, it usually comes with a 2-way data synchronization service.
How Does Identity and Access Management Work?
IAM systems are specifically designed to perform a multitude of important tasks: identify, authenticate, and authorize. This certainly means that people should have access to software apps, hardware, computers, IT resources, or any platform-related tasks.
Some of the important IAM components that can make up the framework are:
· A database containing users’ identities and access privileges
· IAM tools for managing, tracking, and removing access privileges
· A log-in and access-history auditing method
IT divisions or parts that handle cybersecurity and data protection are usually responsible for IAM functions.
In today’s complex computing environment, a strong username and password have become outdated. This is where the importance of IAM comes in!
Today, IAM often includes machine learning and artificial intelligence biometrics and risk-based authentication. With an IAM framework, IT can easily control user access to important information within their organizations.
Role-based access control is a feature of the IAM product that allows system administrators to control access to systems or networks based on the positions of individual users within the company. Also, a user can perform a specific task such as create or modify a file. As per the authority, competency, and responsibility, roles are assigned within an enterprise.
When it comes to simplifying password management and other aspects of IAM, there are many technologies.
Ø Multi-Factor Authentication: It uses a combination of something the user knows, what the user has and what a user is, to authenticate and let them access.
Ø Privileged Access Management: It can easily interact with the employee database and pre-defined job roles to create and provide workers with the access they need to perform their jobs.
Ø Single Sign-On (SSO): An access and login system that allows users to authenticate themselves and then grants them access to all the software, systems, and data they need.
Why an Organization Should Implement IAM?
When an organization can appropriately protect its information assets, business value improves to an unprecedented scale. One of the best things about IAM is to provide the reliability and accessibility to user access control that can be lucrative to online businesses.
Also, new employees and contractors can easily gain information from applications so they can be productive whilst allowing the organization to keep an eye on the access rights.
Top 5 Benefits of IAM
The following are the top 5 benefits of IAM. Let’s discuss them in detail!
Ø Enhanced Security for Maximum Protection
In addition to identifying and mitigating security risks, you can use IAM to remove inappropriate access privileges or identify policy violations. If you want to ensure that your security measures must meet regulatory and audit requirements, IAM has got you covered!
Ø Hassle-free Sharing of Data
IAM provides a common platform that may let you apply the same security policies across all the operating platforms and devices used by the organization. Also, it will help you to enforce policies related to privileges, authentication, validation, and more.
Ø Simplifies Tasks
For application owners, end-users, and system administrators, IAM simplifies signup, sign-in, and user management processes and ultimately results in user satisfaction. As per the roles and permissions, IAM also allows bespoke access based on a user’s history and the context in which they are requesting access.
Ø Increases Productivity
By organizing all access policies into a unified system, IAM may significantly reduce the access complexities to an unprecedented scale. It will grant permissions to users so they can adopt new applications faster.
One of the best things about IAM is that IT admins can utilize the automated provisioning and Lifecycle Management tools that come with identity and access management solutions. Rather than requesting different tools and resources ad hoc, users need not wait because they have instant access to everything they need as soon as they’re onboarded.
Ø Minimize Upfront IT Costs
It couldn’t be wrong to say that IAM services can significantly minimize the operating costs. When you efficiently utilize IAM, you don’t need local identities for external users, making the application administration easier. Also, you don’t need to buy or maintain on-premise infrastructure.
So, that’s a wrap-up to the reasons that companies have started implementing Identity and Access Management (IAM)!!
It couldn’t be wrong to say that business expansion will ultimately increase the users and employees accessing different applications and platforms from many devices.
Companies can adopt Identity and Access Management to avoid potentially cybersecurity risks - a framework that utilizes technologies such as multi-factor authentication, Single Sign-On (SSO), and privileged access management. Companies with a dedicated IAM framework can efficiently control user access to important roles within their organizations.
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