Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions allow organizations to protect data, ensure regulatory compliance, reduce costs, and provide a simplified and enhanced experience for users. IAM solutions are designed to protect enterprise assets by ensuring that only the right people, under the correct circumstances, can access specific data and resources.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a foundational part of cybersecurity and refers to the practice of putting identity-based controls at the center on your organization’s security architecture. IAM is an umbrella term given to the range of technical solutions, policies, and processes that organizations can implement to manage user identities and regulate user access.
According to this summary of the Gartner Identity & Access Management Summit, 75% of cyber insurance providers will mandate the use of just-in-time privileged access management principles by 2025. There is also projected to be significant growth in the IAM market, from USD 12.26 billion in 2020 to around USD 34.52 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights. This demonstrates how seriously organizations treat IAM, and that cybersecurity is entering an identity-first era.
To help you find the right platform for your businesses, we’ll take you through the top Identity and Access Management Solutions on the market today. We’ll explore the key features like role-based account controls, single sign-on (SSO), user monitoring, and compliance. In each case we’ll identify the type of organization that would benefit most from implementing a particular solution.
Identity And Access Management: Everything You Need To Know
What Are Identity Management Solutions?
Our digital identities contain information that defines our role and our level of access in the overall enterprise hierarchy, as well as information about who we are and how to contact us. Identities do not remain stagnant and evolve over time – if there is a change to the role or work technologies, for example. The role of an identity management solution is to keep tabs on these changes to effectively identify individuals, ensuring that the correct people are granted appropriate access.
What Is Access Management Software?
Access management involves authenticating that a user is authentic, and that they have the correct permissions for being granted access to a particular network are or service. Any identity that cannot be verified, or does not have the correct permission level, should be prevented from accessing resources.
Authentication and authorization are not the same thing, and both are required to be granted access. Your identity can be authenticated (proof that you are who you say you are), but that does not mean you have authorization to access a particular area.
Identity management software manages the attributes related to the user, while access management services work to evaluate those attributes based on policies to make an access decision.
How Is IAM Software Deployed?
Identity and access management software can be deployed on-premises, or alternatively businesses can take a cloud-based approach. With on-premises deployment, software must be installed on your own computers. Cloud services, on the other hand, can be deployed quickly and easily without requiring any additional installation.
Why Do You Need An IAM Solution?
Not having an IAM strategy is simply not an option today. With hybrid workplaces and so many remote employees, identity and identity compromise is one of the biggest cause of data breaches. Users will always need to access data and tools that are restricted from general use. The more robust your identity security, the more comprehensive your overall security will be.
One of the main tasks facing IT teams today is determining how best to protect the identities of their remote workers while ensuring they can still access the resources they need to fulfill their work tasks. IAM supports this by enforcing individual, personalized security.
The benefits of utilizing IAM are obvious but may not seem necessary for every enterprise at first glance. However, all organizations that have users logging into a restricted area can benefit from IAM.
How Can You Compare Identity And Access Management Systems?
The best way to compare identity and access management systems is to first get a clear idea of your organization’s specific needs. These needs may differ widely depending on industry, number of users, and other risk factors. Once you have a clear understanding of your need, read our buyers guide to understand the top solutions on the market. Your decision may come down to a specific capability, familiarity with the security vendor offering the solution, or specific recommendations from peers.
With such a wide range of IAM solutions available on the market, enterprises may struggle to narrow down their choices. One way to do this is to carry out the following activities:
- Conduct a full audit of legacy systems, particularly if you have applications in the cloud and on-premises
- Identify and outline existing security gaps for both internal and external stakeholders
- Define the different types of users and the specific access rights they will require
Once you have a firm idea of your organization’s security needs, it is time to pick the IAM solution best suited to them. You may choose a standalone solution, a managed identity service, or a cloud subscription service from a third party, such as an Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS).
What Features Should You Look For When Considering IAM Solutions?
Solutions will differ from vendor to vendor, but typically should include the following features to be considered a robust solution:
- MFA. This is an absolute must-have that any decent IAM solution should be including. Multi-factor authentication is undeniably safer than using a single authentication method (like a passcode or password/login).
- Passwordless authentication. Passwordless authentication options streamline login process whilst maintaining a robust security standard.
- Privileged Account Management (PAM). Privileged accounts are a particularly vulnerable to attack as these accounts have a high level of access. Compromising a privileged account is an attractive target for attackers. There should be as limited a number of privileged accounts as possible – this way you can reduce the attack surface. IAM solutions should have appropriate and additional controls in place to manage privileged accounts and keep them safe.
- Role-based access control. Organizations utilizing role-based access control will have greater control over their permission, increasing security in critical areas through ensuring that that users only have access to information they absolutely need to do their job role. This comes under the category of zero-trust infrastructure.
- Audit and compliance compatibility. It is increasingly important to be able to provide a comprehensive digital trail for audit purposes and to maintain compliance. A good IAM system should be able to provide this information regarding all users’ access across all digital files.
A strong IAM solution should covers the increasing necessity for organizations to have quick, secure, and centralized control over the identities of their clients and workforce. They should also be scalable and adaptive. Small and mid-sized organizations can make the mistake of choosing a bulky, overly complex ID management systems that ends up costing them al lot of time and resources to maintain, when a more lean, low-code solution would be a better choice for them.
Employees face so many diverse security threats today, especially in the era of remote working. IAM solutions allow organizations to provide effective and responsive user authentication and validation. This ensures that access is granted in accordance with the organizational policies, and that no user is permitted access beyond their needs. These solutions also ensure that admins have comprehensive logs of user activity, allowing them to identify who has had access and who has implemented changes.