The number of high-profile data breaches has soared over the past few years, too many of which have happened as the result of a total failure to enforce appropriate user access. At the same time, a slew of new privacy and data protection regulations have been introduced, each one seemingly more stringent than the last - which are putting businesses under pressure to keep their data safe and secure.
And as technology touches every aspect of our personal and business lives, there’s a increasing need among organisations of every size, and in every industry, for an identity and access strategy that not only secures but boosts digital services and interactions.
Step in identity and access management (IAM), which makes it possible for the right people and things to use the right resources, such as applications or data, when they need to, without hinderances, using the devices they choose.
It about defining and managing the roles and access privileges of individual network users and devices to a wide range of applications, bot in the cloud, and on-premise. Users aren’t only employees, they include contractors, business partners, remote and mobile users, and customers. Devices include laptops, smartphones, wearables, tablets, routers, IoT devices, servers, controllers and sensors, and in today's digital transformation era, can include robots, APIs and even micro-services.
IAM’s main objective is to have one digital identity per person or device.
Once established, that digital identity must be strictly maintained, modified and monitored throughout the lifecycle of that user or device. In this way, the broad goal of IAM is to ensure users have the right access to the right resources in the right context. This includes onboarding individuals and systems, granting permissions, and off-boarding of users who are no longer with the company, as well as the devices that are no longer in use - all in a timely fashion.
The main goal of IAM.
The main goal of IAM is to serve as a barrier between users and critical company assets, which is why it has become a vital component of any enterprise security program. It helps enterprises protect against compromised user credentials and the weak passwords that are too often the weak point that lets attackers slip through the security nets.
IAM systems give administrators the tools and technologies they need to alter a user’s role, track their activities, create reports on those activities, and enforce policies on a continual basis. These are designed to offer a means of administering user access across the whole enterprise and to guarantee compliance with corporate policies and data privacy and protection regulations.
In today’s complex environments, littered with new threats and adversaries who are more cunning and determined adversaries, a strong username and password simply doesn’t cut it anymore. An IAM system can not only provide assurances it can help keep track of employee activity. Being secure in the fact that only certain employees can access certain information or applications will strengthen both security and operational programs for any organisation.