Identity management (IAM) is a set of policies and technologies ensuring that only authorized people can access technology resources. These systems use various methods—including Role-Based Access Control, Attribute-Based Access Control, and zero trust policies—to automate and simplify the login process and protect user data.
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Reduce Security Risks
One of the primary reasons to invest in an IAM system is to reduce security risks. IAM tools can verify identities and access permissions to systems and applications to ensure users are who they say they are. They can also eliminate weak passwords by enforcing best practices and forcing users to change their passwords frequently. This dramatically decreases the risk of a breach caused by a compromised or shared password.
Another important feature of an identity management system is limiting insider threats. A growing number of breaches are caused by malicious insiders who use their existing access to gain entry into the network. IAM solutions can prevent these attacks by limiting employee access to systems to what they need for their jobs and preventing them from escalating privileges without supervision.
IAM also helps companies meet compliance standards, including those for Know Your Customer, Suspicious Activity Reporting, and Red Flags Rule. Adhering to these requirements with an IAM system is much easier than manual processes like e-mail messages and spreadsheets. Many IAM tools include:
- Directory integration.
- Support for wired and wireless devices.
- Automation features to speed up the provisioning and onboarding process.
This helps employees, partners, and customers get to work quickly while ensuring their security.
Boost Employee Engagement
A key component to boosting employee engagement is ensuring employees have access to the technology resources they need to do their jobs well. Identity management systems can help organizations achieve this goal by allowing administrators to automate many user account-related tasks and speeding up the time it takes for new employees to access the IT infrastructure they need to do their work — often from days to minutes.
IAM solutions check usernames and passwords against a database that contains information about an individual’s digital identity, such as their job title, manager, direct reports, personal e-mail address, and other attributes. This guarantees that only permitted users can access corporate systems. After that, the system verifies that the person attempting to log on is indeed who they say they are.
IAM helps businesses adopt best practices for password management, such as routine password changes and multi-factor authentication, in addition to granting employees access to the programs and systems they need to perform their jobs. Both increasing productivity and lowering security threats require these characteristics. Additionally, IAM systems can provide single sign-on (SSO), removing the need for staff to manually log into various resources and lowering the risk of lost or stolen passwords.
Identity management systems’ major objective is to provide each user who requires access to business data, applications, and network resources with a digital ID. The ID must be created, maintained, and tracked during the access life cycle.
When a login attempt occurs, the identity management system checks a user’s attributes—name, job title, managers, direct reports, mobile phone number, personal e-mail address—and compares them against a database to decide whether or not the individual should be granted access. These databases are constantly updated as employees join and leave, their roles change, or their scope evolves.
The most common ID management tools include:
- Directory integration.
- Support for both wired and wireless users.
- A flexible platform that can meet almost any security and operational policy requirement.
- Time-saving features like automated device status verification.
Many identity and access management solutions also enable users to verify their identities with an alternate verification method when logging in instead of requiring them to use a username and password.
This feature, sometimes called multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA), provides users an additional layer of security and helps prevent cyberattacks. Additionally, most modern identity management solutions offer automated and AI-driven security configurations, making authentication and identity management easier for everyone involved.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
For the teams charged with securing digital interactions and ensuring compliance, identity management can make all the difference in lowering risk and boosting user satisfaction. The right solution will provide the power and speed they need to meet security requirements quickly without slowing down time-to-market or increasing costs.
This is because these systems can verify users’ identities, automatically adjust their access privileges as their roles change, and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and assets. They also help businesses comply with industry standards and regulations such as Know Your Customer, transaction monitoring for Suspicious Activity Reporting, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, and the General Data Protection
Regulation in Europe.
Compared to traditional identity and access management (ITAM), primarily focused on internal use, customer identity, and access management (CIAM) is geared towards providing better customer experiences across all business channels. CIAM allows companies to gather the information needed to create more relevant, personalized experiences. As a result, it can be a powerful tool for driving conversions and building brand loyalty.