IAM (Identity Access Management) is a useful framework that facilitates the management of digital identities. This article will focus on how the IAM can help companies in their cybersecurity implementation. Currently, on the market, there are some really interesting solutions, that allow companies to apply the IAM methodology. Let’s find out more!
What is Identity and Access Management (IAM)?
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the process of authenticating and managing electronic identities and the permissions associated with them. The IAM system includes creating and managing user accounts, setting up and managing access control lists. That is why the IAM framework is a critical part of any organization’s security strategy. It helps to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data, passwords, or access rights. The platform can be implemented as on-premises IAM or through a cloud-based model. There are also hybrid models that allow secure access using both of these methodologies.
What is the IAM solution useful for? Benefits of Identity and Access Management Systems
The implementation of an Identity Management System provides organizations with a number of benefits. Both the IAM technologies (for example RedHat SSO/Keycloak solutions) and the correct management process can provide the following benefits:
- Enhanced security: IAM systems can help your company to improve cyber security by providing a centralized location for managing user access, privileges, and providing any other, required permissions. Enhanced security due to the IAM implementation can definitely help to reduce the risks. Such risks are for example unauthorized access to sensitive data or systems within your company. That is why companies need help (like Keycloak support) in terms of additional protection and coordination of cybersecurity activities. What is also important: administrators will be able to manage privileged access to specific users and correctly distribute the necessary access.
- Improved efficiency: This system can be really useful in improving efficiency by automating the provisioning and de-provisioning of user accounts. Such improved efficiency in managing the user’s identity and the ability to control access to critical functionalities can save time and reduce the need for manual interventions. System administrators can easily check control access to critical information. They can also provide the right level of access to the new joiners or other members of the team.
- Reduced costs: Implementing an IAM system can help your company to reduce costs. Companies can achieve this by decreasing the need for multiple user accounts across different systems. IAM solution can contribute to the reduction of the cost of licensing fees and reduce the need for IT support. IAM cyber defense will result in cost reduction and improved security.
- Increased compliance: This solution can also contribute to increasing compliance liability with internal or external data protection regulations. A properly implemented IAM platform can help to ensure that only authorized users have access to data or systems. What is also important, a company with the IAM in place can demonstrate, that any data which can be required for the purpose of the audit, can be available on demand.
- Improved user experience: IAM systems can help to improve the user experience by providing a single sign-on (SSO) solution. This can reduce the need for users to remember multiple usernames and passwords, and make it easier to access multiple systems. Users will be also able to verify their identity without bothering the service desk or system administrators. This will also cause better security discipline within the company.
- Greater visibility and control: This solution can also provide greater visibility into which users have access to what, and give administrators greater control over users. Proper data management and the ability to control access to data sections can improve the security of the systems. IAM can help to prevent unauthorized access and ensure that only the appropriate users have access to sensitive data.
- Improved scalability: This benefit can improve scalability by providing a centralized solution for access management. With IAM, administrators are able to add or remove users as needed much easier. IAM tools can also help to reduce the need for manual interventions. Implementing this framework can provide opportunities for growth, by improving scalability. Services that are critical to onboard the new users can be transferred and the reduction of IT manpower translates to a better return on investment for the IT company as a whole.
- Enhanced flexibility: By implementing this cyber defense framework, you can provide enhanced flexibility by supporting multiple authentication methods. Such security posture can make it easier to support a variety of users and therefore, centralized management is much more convenient for administrators.
- Improved disaster recovery: In case of the necessary data recovery, such security systems can be really useful. A centralized location for managing user access will help to ensure that users can still access critical data or systems even in the event of an IT disaster.
What are the cybersecurity goals in the context of the IAM framework?
In order to achieve the numerous benefits of the IAM, there are some important goals that need to be considered. Every responsible company should pursue these cybersecurity goals. It doesn’t have to be difficult with the IAM implementation!
- Every company should aim to implement a comprehensive and centralized identity management solution to provide a single “source of truth” for identities across the whole organization.
- A company cannot achieve a secure IT environment without strong authentication requirements for all users. This includes multi-factor authentication designated especially for high-risk users or those with access to resources that are crucial to the company.
- Implementation of role-based access controls is important to ensure that cyber defense is in place. Every company should limit user access to only the data and systems they need to do their job. This way the company can secure the user access to critical information and reduce the security risks within the organization.
- Proper risk management for cybersecurity should include also that users are segmented into different security zones based on their risk profile. Well-established security measures and security policies together with the IAM should provide users with granular access to the correct security zones.
- In order to implement the proper cyber security goals it is important to also monitor user activity and flag any suspicious behaviors that could cause the safety risk.
- Regularly review and audit user access to ensure that it aligns with company business needs.
This is how Identity Access Management System implements cyber security goals
Now that we know what the goals are, we should focus on how the IAM can help us achieve them.
- With a centralized identity management solution, the company will have a single source of truth for identities across the whole organization. With this solution, it is much easier to track and manage user activity, accesses, and any system access requests.
- Due to the strong authentication requirements, the system makes it much more difficult for an unauthorized party to access sensitive data.
- Thanks to role-based access, system administrators are able to control the user access to only the data and systems they need to do their job. Any authorized users will have it much more difficult to access sensitive information. With smart assigning access privileges, you will be able to control your data easily.
- By segmenting users into different security zones based on their risk profile, the IAM makes it easier to monitor user activity and flag suspicious behavior.
- With regular audits and reviews, system administrators will be able to adjust the IAM with the business. All necessary changes can be done without compromising security, and any unusual activity can be monitored effectively.
It is important to know, that this system implementation should be carried out taking into account best business practices. This includes documenting expectations and responsibilities. Businesses should also ensure that security and critical systems should be also centralized around identity. And what is also really important – organizations should establish a process they can use to assess the effectiveness of current IAM controls. Companies can easily achieve this with the RedHat SSO/Keycloak solutions.
Additional benefits of IAM implementation
As mentioned above security goals are not the only benefits that the company can gain from the proper identity management strategy. Here are some additional benefits of the proper system implementation:
- Allowing secure, seamless access through safe authentication to various web properties.
- It exhibits an extreme degree of scalability, anticipating the potential ups and downs of user registrations and activities.
- Providing a unified experience by using consolidated reports and analytics on user demographics, social sign-ups and logins, and many more.
- Keeping the user data protected at all times with access to any unusual activities.
- It allows you to be in compliance with the privacy regulations for protecting data in transit and at rest.
Conclusion – what is the future of IAM?
We are currently living in an era of ever-increasing cybersecurity threats. With remote work becoming the norm and the extended use of mobile devices, the systems are more than ever exposed to both unintentional and intentional hazards. That is why identity and access management has expanded significantly. Solutions such as RedHat SSO or Keycloak can ensure that all the systems are secured and the system admins have the necessary tools to identify, track, update and maintain all IAM aspects. What is important: fully managed Keycloak automates every part of setup, running and scaling of clusters. Organizations will need to rethink their business and operating models. Certainly, the current times and the risks associated with cybercrime are a big challenge for companies, but with the right tools, it is possible to deal with these issues!