What is Identity and Access Management?
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a term used to define the process of managing the digital identities provided to all workers within an organization. It has become such a crucial component of IT security that, according to a recent survey by KPMG, 92% of businesses plan to increase their IAM investments in the coming years.
Digital identity is the credential the end users have to use to access certain systems and applications. An IAM framework allows the system to capture and record information entered by the end user. It also allows the administrator to create a new digital identity and assign rights to it.
Why Do You Need IAM?
Usually, most companies (both IT & Non-IT) have a separate IT department entrusted with the responsibility to create or remove credentials of a user depending on the situation. Generally, this is where the process ends for a lot of small businesses while some mid-sized businesses may have slightly more enhanced security. (But not enough by any means).
Security issues are now in a phase where most identity methods are no longer sufficient. With new technology comes new threats, which IAM helps to significantly mitigate.
Due to the steady growth in areas encompassing big data, cloud computing, and BYOD, information security has naturally become a hot topic as all three of these areas depend on it. With an ever-increasing number of threats, data security has always been a prime concern.
Due to the amount of information being stored, used and transmitted, it is necessary to define certain restrictions regarding who is allowed to access data. Restricting access to information for users who don’t require it reduces the risk of data leakage.
IAM is not limited to access to a system, either. Access restrictions can also be applied to internet networks, internet connections, specific websites, access to printers, server rooms, software applications and Wi-Fi.
A company’s IT department is more often than not responsible for carrying out these responsibilities. However, as the number of threats increase, it is recommended to have a team of expert security professionals in charge of monitoring access control.
Maintaining a robust IAM policy can provide the following benefits:
1. Confidentiality of Data
Restricting access to users who have no need to use certain applications or files helps to ensure confidentiality of data, and can help project managers gain a clearer picture of which users are associated with a given project.
Managing access rights to equipment and networks can help to better prioritize their operations, leading to greater efficiency.
For example, an unmanaged printer network can be incredibly inefficient, whereas having all print jobs pass through one authorized user with the rights to print makes sure that all printing is done on a priority or first come first serve basis.
Similarly, restricting WiFi access to authorized employees ensures that not too many users are accessing it at the same time which could lead to poor performance.
3. Segregated Tasks
Creating groups and providing access to resources pertaining to only tasks specific to the group is a very strategic and organized way to run a business. This further emphasizes the confidentiality of data as mentioned in the first point.
4. Enhanced Security
Enacting IAM measures leads to enhanced security against data breaches, a crucial concern among organizations today.
Tutanota recently reported that in the USA, about 48% of people would refrain buying from a company that had experienced a data breach and went public about it. It is also worth noting that thanks to social media, companies usually do not have the option to not go public in case of such an event.
Indeed, announcing such an event could worsen the situation. Infosecurity Magazine recently mentioned that consumers blame companies, not password mistakes, if and when their digital identities are compromised.
Identity and Access Management is an issue that cannot be overlooked. It is one of those frameworks which if strategically planned, can immensely improve your security while at the same time ensuring that your business moves forward flawlessly and effortlessly.
Feature Image Credit – DepositPhotos