Identity and access management (IAM) is a crucial undertaking for any company. Gartner defines IAM as the “discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.”
IAM provides companies the ability to ensure appropriate access to resources across heterogeneous technology environments and to meet rigorous compliance requirements. Companies that develop mature IAM capabilities can reduce their costs and be more agile in supporting new business initiatives. Gartner projects that companies without a formal program will spend 40 percent more on IAM capabilities while achieving less than those with such programs.
Security teams responsible for IAM should work closely with stakeholders to ensure that implementation aligns with business goals and changes are phased promptly.
The Benefits of Implementing IAM
By unifying identity management efforts under a single IAM solution program, interactions can be regulated, and value can be provided to the business throughout the program lifecycle. This ensures that planned benefits align to business needs, resource requirements are understood and managed, competing priorities are addressed, benefits are delivered according to plan, the budget is used most efficiently, and rework and duplication of effort are minimized.
A robust IAM solution provides administrators with the tools to manage user access and roles, track user activities, create reports about those activities, and enforce user access policies. IAM tools include the following:
- Identity repositories
- Single sign-on
- Multi-factor authentication
- Lifecycle management (Provisioning and Deprovisioning)
- Security policy management
- Reporting and monitoring
Platforms must be flexible and robust to handle the complexities of the corporate computing environment, particularly as more companies move some or all their apps and systems to the cloud. As a result, IAM systems should enable administrators to manage access privileges for a variety of situations, such as the following:
- Various types of users, such as employees, contractors, students, and partners
- Hybrid computing environments, such as on-premise systems, cloud-based apps, and BYOD devices
- Different computing architectures, such as Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, iOS, Android, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Top 3 Tips for Successful IAM Implementation
Implementing an IAM program can be complicated and time-consuming if not done right. Here are three tips to keep in mind:
1. Move apps to secure single sign-on (SSO).
You need to ask yourself: What are my company’s top 10 applications? These apps are a priority and should be moved immediately to a single sign-on (SSO) requirement. This should secure the majority of your traffic. The rest of your company’s apps can be transferred to SSO over time.
2. Leverage multi-factor authentication (MFA).
You want to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for virtual private network (VPN) access and other remote connectivity technology right away. Your top 10 apps should have MFA enabled, as well. You want to apply MFA to areas you need security the most, such as administrator access, cloud applications, and other technology that is not within the network perimeter. Ideally, you should think about getting the most MFA coverage the fastest, and prioritize securing the most vulnerable systems that could impact your business.
3. Implement robust lifecycle management.
First, you should integrate business systems to gain visibility. Then, you want to discover identities and entitlements within those business systems. It’s important to automate provisioning and deprovisioning for entitlements that all users leverage, such as an Active Directory account, email, basic security groups, and distribution lists. Next, you should implement role-based access for the populations of people that generate the most value. These are often groups that are most alike, such as call center employees or sales office staff. You can layer in other users gradually.
Then, you should consider access reviews, segregation of duties, adding more systems, and reporting requirements. You’ll also want to tie the IAM platform into the security information and event management tool to correlate logs for security and response.
Identity Solutions Is Here to Help
Identity Solutions can assist in designing an IAM strategy that will stand the test of time. We begin with your company’s unique set of use cases to create customizable access control and lifecycle management solutions that scale to fit your specific needs.
We can assess your needs and choose the best-fit lifecycle management technology to help you with the following identity security processes:
- Automating provisioning and deprovisioning
- Reviewing and update roles and entitlements
- Implementing privileged access management
- Integrating systems that coordinate IAM throughout the employment lifecycle
A top-notch, comprehensive IAM solution reduces the risk of security breaches and data loss due to malicious actors and accidental data disclosures by employees. Identity Solutions can help you set up a customizable, scalable IAM strategy that maps out your access control and lifecycle management journey.