Identity Access Management (IAM) is a security process that enables individuals to have the right access to information and resources. It addresses access to resources to meet the increasing demands of a digital environment.
IAM serves as a foundation for integrating and realizing business benefits for management control, savings and growth. By effectively managing access to information and applications, a business can have better access to the information needed for the growth of the company
Different Components of IAM
As with other security processes, there are different components that make up the bulk of the system. IAM components are classified into 4 major categories:
Authentication provides security requirements needed to gain access to an application or system. Usually, authentication comes with password services such as number coding, user ID/password input etc. Upon authentication, the session between the user and application system is created and referenced during the interaction.
Basically, the Authentication component of IAM includes:
- Single Sign On
- Session Management
- Password Service
- Strong Authentication
Authorization determines whether certain users are permitted to have access to the information. It’s done by reviewing the user’s access request, in the form of an URL in a web-based application, against authorization regulations stored in IAM policy store.
The authorization component of IAM could provide complex access controls based on data or information or policies which include:
- User attributes
- User roles / groups,
- Actions taken
- Access channels
- Resources requested
- External data
- Business rules
3) User Management
User management defines the functionality that a user needs for administrative functions like identity creation and maintenance. User management should be centralized by administration to create the right interactions between the front end and back end users. Delegation is a must as it helps distribute workload to the right user departmental units, thus facilitating system data accuracy.
The User Management component of IAM includes:
- Delegated Administration
- User and Role Management
- Password Management
4) Central User Repository (Enterprise Directory)
Central User Repository stores and delivers information on services, to verify information submitted by clients. A Central User Repository has a Meta-Directory and Virtual Directory that is used to manage identity data from users. A metadirectory system provides the flow of data between one or more databases in order to maintain synchronization data, which is why it’s an important component for the flow of data between one or more directory services and databases, in order to maintain synchronization of that data, and is an important part of identity management systems.
Usually it comes in a 2-way data synchronization service that keeps data in sync with other sources and includes:
- Data Synchronization
- Virtual directory
The Role of IAM to Data Security
As high-performance computer resources are made available, hackers are now able to crack even the most complex passwords, which makes the task of providing complete protection for application login and data access more challenging.
Roles of Identity Access Management and Security include planning for information security. Identity management planning is used to secure information, and provides the tools needed to request access on said information, such as authentication and authorization.
Benefits of having an IAM
- Secures access to information
- Provides the lever to make huge efficiency savings that can grow exponentially over time
- Creates a map/directory of where specific files can be found
- Visibility throughout the organization, assisting in helping pinpoint the source of a breach or leak
- Scalability, helping companies shift strategies as technology changes
With the continuing rise of network security threats, such as identity theft, there is a need to consolidate the approaches in improving IAM. Needless to say, identity management still remains a constant challenge for enterprises.
How can IAM improve security and cut costs?
The security of external suppliers have come into focus as more and more organizations are granting access to their suppliers. IAM is one solution geared toward improving security. Here are some of the methods of IAM::
All access decisions, management and technology is made available to a single physical or virtual location. Other information such as operations, policies and standards are not included in this location. This model is not usually applicable for large organizations, due to issues of jurisdiction.
Local, regional or business units can all make decisions on access, management and technology. There may be enterprise-wide standards and policies that may serve as a guide for the decentralised provider. Decentralised models usually lead to inefficiencies brought about by overlapping efforts, redundancies as well as conflicting rights.
Each organization subscribes to a common set of policies, standards and procedures. By developing a set of common policies, IAM can be implemented in a centralised manner with both the organization and suppliers. Here, access rights and roles are pre-defined.
Effective identity access management is of high value to all enterprises. IAM reduces risk, helps sustain your organization’s compliance, and improves the end-user experience. It is vital for an organization to assess its existing IAM capabilities and develop a risk-based action plan.