Identity and Access Management: are you using it?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is essential in today’s digital world, as it helps organisations protect their sensitive data and ensure that only authorised individuals can access certain data and resources. By implementing IAM, your business can reduce potential security risks, and ensure that their data is secure.

In this article, we will discuss the basics of Identity and Access Management and why it is important as a cyber security practice. We will also explore the various components of IAM and how it can help to secure your data and resources.

What is Identity and Access Management?

The goal of Identity and Access Management is to provide an effective, safe, and auditable process for accessing and managing resources. Gartner best describes IAM as, “… a security and business discipline that includes multiple technologies and business processes to help the right people or machines to access the right assets at the right time for the right reasons, while keeping unauthorised access and fraud at bay.”

An IAM strategy involves the use of identity management systems, software programs, and processes that help to track, validate, and manage users and their access to systems and services.

Why is IAM important?

The most important reason to use IAM is to keep your data safe. Many successful data breaches involve a failure to manage access to sensitive data. This is due to the fact that many organisations use the same password across multiple systems, do not enforce password policies, or do not manage user access permissions.

When implemented correctly, IAM can help to prevent malicious actors from infiltrating and stealing data, as well as preventing users from accessing systems they’re not authorised to use. It also reduces the risk of fraud due to the fact that it can identify and block users who are attempting to use multiple identities.

Users can also be more confident in knowing that their information is secure when accessing services, as it’s less likely that someone will try to impersonate them.

IAM’s role in cyber security

Identity and Access Management is an important part of a robust cyber security strategy. It helps to mitigate the risk of potential vulnerabilities, such as having the same password for multiple accounts. Vulnerabilities like this make it easier for cybercriminals to infiltrate networks and steal sensitive data.

Components of IAM

An effective IAM management strategy will include a comprehensive approach to user authentication, account management, and policy controls.

It’s important to first verify the identity of all your users to ensure they have the right access levels to data and resources. This is done using authentication, which involves verifying a user’s identity with something they know, like a username and password, or with something they have, like a one-time authentication code or fingerprint.

Once each user has been authenticated, the next step is to create accounts. After the users have been added to an account, the next task is to manage permissions, which includes assigning specific roles and managing who has access to what resources.

Finally, it’s essential to enforce policies and manage access to resources. This provides an audit trail and helps to prevent unauthorised access. Clearly convey these policies and management strategies to your users so they are aware of the permissions and restrictions in place.

Signs your business needs IAM

There are several indicators that businesses should look for to determine if they need to implement an effective IAM solution. These can include:

Security incidents involving sensitive data: If there have been any breaches involving unauthorised access to data, then it’s essential to look into implementing an effective IAM strategy.

High rate of employee turnover: Employee turnover will mean new accounts have to be created for new staff members, and old accounts may be forgotten before they are deactivated. These forgotten accounts pose a severe vulnerability to your data, as they provide an easy way to access data unnoticed.

Increase in cyber security breaches: It’s essential to implement effective IAM practices to help to prevent breaches. The stronger your cyber security strategy, the more difficulty cybercriminals will have breaking into your systems.

Microsoft Azure Active Directory IAM

Microsoft Azure Active Directory is a cloud-based service that allows organisations to manage users, access control, and permissions. It’s a centralised security solution that provides businesses with a comprehensive view of their users and access rights.

Azure AD IAM provides a single sign-on experience for cloud applications and a single sign-off for cloud services, giving you a comprehensive overview of your users, and easy management of the access they have to resources. Azure AD allows you to easily configure policies, track user activity, and enforce audit policies to help to ensure data is protected.

Implement your IAM strategies and policies with expert help

Effective IAM is critical for organisations of all sizes to protect their data and resources.

The cyber security specialists at Essential Tech can audit your infrastructure, recommend the best IAM strategy for your business needs, and fully manage your IT environment for maximum protection.

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