The Art of Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management (IAM) plays an important role in IT industries. It is very important to control what a particular user can access. We cannot grant access to everyone for everything. IAM means specifying roles and managing access privileges of individual users. IAM not only includes managing privileges granted to users, but it also includes managing the situations in which those privileges should be granted and when those can be revoked.
With the IAM framework, administrators can manage access to the systems and networks using Role-based Access Control. Access means giving permissions to the user to perform a task based on his role. A user is given a role based on his responsibility towards that organization.
IAM is used to authenticate and authorize someone to use a resource. Authentication is checking the identity of the person. It is proof that they really are who they say they are. Once it is proved that the identity is correct, the person is granted access. Access control is an extension of authentication as it controls the granting of access to a person based on its identity. Authorization is permissions granted to the user to perform actions on the things he is granted access to.
IAM consists of the following:
•Identifying the users in the system
•Identifying roles in the system
•Assigning those roles to particular users
•Adding, removing and updating identities and roles in the system
•Granular Permissions
•Protecting sensitive data in the system
•Securing the system as a whole

Benefits of IAM

IAM provides organizations with various benefits like better efficiency, increased productivity and reduced costs, as it manages user’s accesses based on their identity automatically. Some of the benefits are:
•A proper policy is followed to authenticate, authorize and provide access to users.
•With systems following IAM, sensitive information is protected and not shared with everyone.
•As the client’s data is used properly, IAM helps organizations to adhere to government rules and regulations.
•While auditing, data can be provided easily and as requested.
•Manually managing the access over networks need high effort and money, so IAM systems can be automated that minimize cost and helps an organization to work more efficiently.
•Properly managed IAM systems prevent data loss and data breach internally as well as externally.

Essentials of IAM tool

While purchasing IAM software, organizations should consider a few things like business requirements, integration with the existing systems. Along with such things, basic functionalities should also be present in the tool to make it ideal for the organization. Some of them are:
•It should be able to support various directory types and also support the existing systems, servers, and databases.
•Providing users with privileges to change their profile data after logging in thus requiring minimum intervention from the administration.
•An ideal tool should be able to handle a large number of users at a time without hampering the system’s performance.
•The access component and identity component of the tool should be integrated so that any change in the user’s identity would automatically update his access.

Authored by
Anika, Cyber Security Analyst
TCS Cyber Security

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