As online security concerns grow, identity management and access management are taking the forefront as strategic organizational priorities. The basis of an identity management system is to define and manage user identities to ensure secure access. Oftentimes, roles are both internal (employees) and external (customers) which makes identifying user accounts one of many cybersecurity best practices.

Identity and access management (IAM) are critical for the establishment of digital identities and their authentication. By following the essentials of identity management, corporations are empowered to establish and maintain compliance with internal policies as well as government regulations.

IAM Basics

Beyond integral uses for access control, identity management is also incredibly important for asset management. Many of the functions of access management are implemented to ensure that user access is granted only to the right individuals and within the right context. This is done through the creation of the digital identity, so to speak. Once this user identity has been defined, the role of an identity management system is to ensure that said identity is properly maintained throughout the entirety of the user access cycle. While it may seem as though an identity management system is one singular entity, it’s better understood as a collection of different systems all of which work in tandem to ensure proper access control and align identity governance.

IAM Tools

Administrators rely on a variety of tools to formulate an identity management system. These can include a variety of functional features like password managers, multi-factor authentication protocols, smart cards, and more. Several IAM tools have gained particular notice from IT and security techs alike:

  • API security: This enables identity management primarily for B2B commerce needs, cloud integration, and microservices. API is useful for single sign-on (SSO) between resources or applications.
  • Identity analytics: By leveraging machine learning to your organizational benefit, identity analytics allows you to predict, detect, and end risky behaviors.
  • Identity as a service: Part of the SaaS model, this includes solutions that provision SSO from portals on toward web applications and mobile applications. This also commonly incorporates user account provisioning and access management solutions.
  • Risk-based authentication: This falls under the larger umbrella of corporate risk management but incorporates the generalized context of an access session and assigns it a specific risk score. This type of technology can then prompt users to authenticate accordingly based on their assigned risk value.
  • Identity management and governance: Identity governance looks for ways to regulate and govern the entirety of the access life-cycle.

While there are more IAM tools constantly in the works, these five have proven particularly impactful. This is due, in part, to how robust and flexible they are without compromising secure access points or shortcutting overall access management protocols.

The Importance of Identity Management

In the past, IAM services looked much different. This is due to the fact that many enterprises had to maintain on-premises hardware and security protocols. As such, it was easier to track, verify, and authenticate users as they worked on-premises as well. It limited access points and provided an internal information system. Now, there aren’t physical barriers to access, especially when it concerns dedicated cybersecurity threats.

With the advent of cloud migration and provisioning, IAM has morphed into a more flexible concept. It needs to be able to provide for on-site access as well as remote access. It also needs to maintain consistency for a smarter business throughway. As it stands, identity management systems are inextricably linked to the state of modern cybersecurity and business productivity. While the economy reaches further toward a future in which corporate systems are digitally defined, identity management will continue its expansion.