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Identity and Access Management: Protecting Identities to Protect Your Enterprise

Posted by Olivia Scullard - 09 July, 2020

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It is a well-known reality that humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity. As businesses continually invest in strengthening security perimeters, hackers move away from compromising defences and instead on compromising people. Social engineering and phishing scams fool employees into divulging credentials and allow hackers access to invaluable assets, information and critical systems.

Risks posed to organisations are not only of the external variety. Internal risks, such as negligent employees or malicious ex-employees pose a great threat to your system. For example, if a disgruntled employee leaves the company but still possesses the credentials to access your network, they are in the position to breach information and this will cost you more than just a tarnished reputation. Moreover, the increasing consumption of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications within an organisation also makes it very difficult to grant, manage and revoke access.

Therefore, it is essential to define, monitor and manage identities and access privileges within your network. Implementing Identity and Access Management (IAM), also known as Identity Management, is key to gaining greater control and reducing both internal and external risks to your enterprise.

What is Identity and Access Management?

IAM is a dynamic framework of policies, processes and technologies that assist in determining and managing users, access privileges and roles within a network. It is a crucial part of any security plan and assists both IT managers and other employees in securing a business. IAM enables IT managers to establish user digital identities, the roles they are able to perform, the assets they are able to access in accordance with their role and moreover, the levels of access they are given. IAM works to protect data across an enterprise by allowing IT managers to add, remove and modify identities and roles, as well as auditing and reporting of user activity.

Examples of IAM systems:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication: As we discussed in a recent blog post, Multi-Factor Authentication is a layered approach to barring unwanted access and authenticating a verified user. It involves combining multiple identity verification factors, such as things the user is or knows, to grant access to a network.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO): SSO is particularly convenient for customer identity and access management, because it only requires the user to authenticate themselves once in order to access all systems.
  • Privileged Access Management (PAM): PAM involves authenticating users by consulting a predefined list of job roles. The predefined roles also determine the level of access privileges which can also be modified, allowing for a more granular approach.

Why is Identity and Access Management important?

Identity Management allows for automated provisioning and de-provisioning of identities, which assists in optimising life cycle management. This is not only crucial for on-boarding and departing employees, but for the constant upkeep of current employee workflow to enhance productivity and security.

IAM is a versatile solution that allows for scalable security practices and a continuous management of identities that helps employees make informed security decisions. It helps protect an organisation from being compromised and also enforces security policies that users would otherwise ignore.

It assists IT security professionals to identify abnormalities and protect against both insider and outsider threats. IAM is particularly important because it not only covers on-premise security, but manages off-premise users in a dispersed workforce who may be using their mobiles and other devices. This means that you can securely open your network to users other than employees, such as customers, vendors and partners.

6 reasons why you need Identity and Access Management:

1. It will enhance your security measures:

An IAM is a great way to improve your security by centralising assets and layering controls. Streamlining the provisioning and deprovisioning process will assist you in protecting your critical assets and reducing the chance of a breach.

2. It can optimise productivity:

Automating workflows will facilitate a better user experience and help make security second nature for all users. Increasing user convenience will enhance productivity and simplify their role in securing your business.

3. It can assist compliance efforts:

Identity Management can help you gain and maintain compliance with government regulations by automatically enforcing security policies through the workflow and ensuring data is securely handled.

4. It's Cost-effective:

Reducing risk means reducing costs of potential data breaches. Whether you choose on-premise IAM, a cloud-based subscription or to outsource third-party IAM, you can reduce overall operating costs by automating typically manual and tedious IT operations.

5. It can give you a competitive edge:

IAM allows you to open your network to secure collaboration between employees, customers, vendors and partners. By allowing and managing customer, vendor and partner activity within your network, you are able to increase the efficiency of business operations within a single platform.

6. It will reduce authentication time:

Identity management can reduce the time it takes for a user to verify themselves and the time it takes for IT managers to modify access and privilege requirements. Moreover, employees and other users are granted access to assets based on their context and are therefore able to access resources scaled to their roles and needs.


For more information on Identity and Access Management, please get in contact with our cyber security professionals by clicking below:

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