iam

What is Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

We’ll cover how IAM works and why it’s important for organizations to have in order to protect their data. IAM stands for Identity and access management, it is a term for managing user identities and regulating who can do what within an organization.

There are two key concepts in IAM: access, which refers to what a user can do (like view or create files), and users, who could be employees or contractors.


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IAM Explained

IAM systems are designed to identify, authenticate and authorize users. This means that only the right people should have access to any IT resources or perform specific tasks.

Some of the most important components in an IAM framework are:

  • The database holds the identity and access privileges of users.
  • IAM tools are used to create, monitor, modify and delete access privileges.
  • A system that records login and access history.

IAM usually falls under IT departments and cybersecurity sections. IAM is about keeping access privileges up-to-date as new people come in or roles change.

IAM Examples

IAM is a good example of how to create an inclusive workplace.

  • When a user enters his login credentials, the system checks to see if they match what’s stored in its database. For example, when someone logs into a content management system and then posts their work on it, that person can only edit their own works but not others.
  • An operator can view an online work procedure, but not edit it. A supervisor may have the power to modify documents, which could lead to disastrous effects if there’s no IAM in place.
  • IAM helps companies meet stringent and complex regulations. IAM makes it so that only specific users in the organization are allowed to access sensitive information, which means outsiders can’t get into company files.

Role-Based Access

One of the benefits to role-based access control (RBAC) is that it helps keep employees focused on their jobs. It also minimizes any concerns about people having too much power and opening up sensitive information.

Single Sign-On

Single Sign-On (SSO) is when users only need to verify themselves one time. After they log in, they would be able to access all systems without the need for separate passwords.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Whenever you need an extra step for authentication, it’s either two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor (MFA). These processes combine something the user knows with a thing that they have or part of their body.

Why is IAM important?

Here are some of the main benefits that IAM is important for.

  • With IAM, companies can make sure the right people have access to information and prevent data breaches.
  • IAM can streamline IT workloads. Whenever a security policy gets updated, all access privileges across the organization can be changed in one sweep.
  • IAM helps with compliance, especially in the healthcare industry. It also implements best practices for IAM.
  • IAM helps you collaborate and be more productive. Companies can share information with outsiders without risking security.
  • SSO is an important feature for companies that want to improve user experience. It’s easy to use, and it eliminates the need for complex passwords.

Best Processes for IAM

One way to ensure your company is meeting the best IAM practices would be following relevant ISO standards. These include:

  • The ISOIEC 24760-1:2019 IT Security and Privacy is a framework for identity management. It defines the terminology used in this domain.
  • The ISOIEC 24760-2:2015 is the framework for identity management. It specifies reference architecture and requirements.
  • This standard provides a framework for using identity management in the workplace.
  • ISOIEC 29115:2013 is an international standard for authentication assurance framework.
  • The ISOIEC 29146:2016 standard is a framework for access management. It has been established as the international de facto best practice.
  • ISOIEC 29100:2011 is an international standard for privacy protection.
  • This standard is for an information security framework that includes privacy architecture.
  • ISOIEC TS 29003:2018 is used to identify and authenticate people.
  • ISOIEC 29134 is an international standard that provides instructions for doing a privacy assessment.

The more robust the identity management solution, the less likely it is to be hacked. But even with a secure system in place like this one, employees can still make mistakes and crack their own security.


Protect Your Organization from Cybersecurity Threats

SecurityStudio help information security leaders at organizations ensure they’re protected against cybersecurity threats, stay insurable, and legally defensible with our risk assessment and risk management software. Schedule a demo to learn how we can help.