A Detailed Guide to Understanding What Identity and Access Management Is

Monitoring usage of corporate data and access to privileged information had been a daunting task before the advent of IAM, or Identity and Access Management. Encompassing numerous APIs, single sign-on frameworks, and data handling policies, IAM has established itself as a key component of every IT department. But how does it enforce these rules, and who are the key benefactors of these policies? Now, start by learning about identity and access management on a surface level.

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What is Identity and Access Management?

User identities and access rights are defined and managed by an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system. Customers (customer identity management) and employees (employee identity management) are both users of IAM. IT managers can use IAM technologies to ensure that users are who they say they are (authentication) and have access to the apps and resources they are permitted to use (authorization).

Two key IAM concepts are "access" and "user." "Access" refers to the actions that a user is allowed to perform (like view, create, or change a file). Employees, partners, distributors, contractors, and consumers are examples of "users." Employees can also be divided into groups depending on their job functions.

Now that you have an idea regarding IAM and its basic functionalities, go through how IAM works in a corporate setting.

How Does IAM Work?

IAM systems primarily have three roles: to identify, authenticate, and authorize. Only authorized individuals must have access to computers, equipment, software applications, and IT resources, or conduct certain duties.

Some of the key IAM components that comprise an IAM framework are as follows:

  • A database that stores user IDs and access credentials.
  • Access rights may be created, monitored, modified, and deleted using IAM tools.
  • A system that tracks login and access history.

The list of access privileges must be kept up to current conditions, whether new users are added or existing users' roles are changed. IAM duties are often handled by IT departments or divisions that deal with cybersecurity and data management.

There are several applications where IAM has made life easier for IT professionals to monitor external access and potential data corruption. Let's cover some of the tools that the IAM frameworks like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Auth0 provide.

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Identity and Access Management Tools

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): SSO is an IAM technology that allows users to log into one of an organization's domains and then automatically log into a set of other properties. For example, when you connect to Google, you are instantly logged into your Gmail and YouTube accounts. SSO minimizes friction for users because they don't have to remember multiple credentials for each application.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA is crucial to protect your organization's data from malicious intrusions, and virtually every IAM platform offers some form of MFA. However, it's equally crucial to customize MFA with the appropriate level of security. IN B2C contexts, you need to consider UX and try not to create unnecessary friction for users who don't want to be subjected to heightened scrutiny every time they log in.

  • Anomaly Detection: IAM systems may assist in detecting and mitigating harmful attacks in a variety of ways. IAM solutions identify attacks by analyzing signals such as traffic velocity, identifying login behaviors that deviate from a user's pattern (such as geolocation and browser), using a compromised password, or using equipment and IP addresses with a negative reputation.

Identity and access management frameworks have ample benefits from an employee standpoint and the point of view of network administrators. You will now cover some of these advantages.

Advantages of IAM Frameworks

  • Improved Security: IAM solutions aid in identifying and mitigating security concerns. IAM allows you to discover policy violations and revoke incorrect access rights without exploring various dispersed systems. You may also use these frameworks to guarantee that security measures fulfill regulatory and audit standards.
  • Information Sharing: IAM provides a centralized interface for access and identity management data. You may implement the same security policies to all of the organization's operating systems and devices. IAM frameworks may assist you in enforcing user authentication, rights, and validation policies.
  • Ease of access: For service owners, end-users, and system administrators, IAM streamlines sign-up, sign-in, and user management operations. IAM makes it easy to grant and oversee access, enhancing user experience.
  • Reduced IT costs: IAM services can help to reduce operational expenses. When you utilize platform-independent services, you no longer require local identities for external purposes, simplifying application administration. Cloud-based IAM solutions can eliminate the requirement for on-premise infrastructure purchases and maintenance.

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Conclusion

Identity and access management is a major part of the cybersecurity training curriculum in the current market. However, topics such as active directory configuration and incident response are gaining popularity among recruiters.

Simplilearn's Cyber Security Expert Course covers all such topics while studying ethical hacking tutorials that prepare you for your cybersecurity ventures. There is no pre-requisite for the course, and it is suitable for seasoned professionals and students. There is an increased demand for trained personnel in the cyber security industry, making the current time a very lucrative career choice for freshers and students alike.

If you have any queries regarding this article on identity and access management, feel free to drop your questions in the comment section below, and we will get back to you with solutions.

About the Author

Baivab Kumar JenaBaivab Kumar Jena

Baivab Kumar Jena is a computer science engineering graduate, he is well versed in multiple coding languages such as C/C++, Java, and Python.

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  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors