Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a core part of any organisation’s security. It charts the entire lifecycle of every individual employee or customer (Identity Management) and their authentication and authorisation to access resources (Access Management).
But why are organisations so interested in IAM? What is it about the framework that means IAM is being increasingly investigated and deployed?
The three principle benefits of IAM
1. Security and compliance
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit as, after all, IAM is a cybersecurity initiative at its heart.
As organisations become more complex in their structure or their customer bases become more demanding, securing access and data and ensuring compliance will inevitably become more difficult.
However, IAM can simplify both security and compliance. The greatest risks usually come from an individual’s activities – often unintentionally. With robust IAM, businesses can prevent illicit or inappropriate access to data and establish an audit trail of how information is used. IAM also facilitates the implementation of common security and compliance techniques, such as the principle of least privilege and data usage oversight.
One of the advantages of IAM is being able to provide employees with the access to the tools and systems they require, prevent or remove access to those they do not need, and simultaneously make it easy for the employee to access all these tools through a single sign-on (SSO). This improved management of an individual’s access rights typically reduces the number of inbound IT support queries – whether from within an organisation or from individual customers – and therefore mitigates a considerable time drain.
IAM also increases internal productivity through SSO, a core part of the access management facet of IAM. SSO removes time spent accessing each system individually, or any lost productivity through log-ins being lost or out of date. For many organisations, the implementation of SSO has also formed a stepping stone to further productivity projects, such as document management, print management or ERP deployments.
Inherently, identity management groups every individual’s activity under a single profile, which creates a complete and granular dataset for the business to analyse.
For instance, HR teams can investigate an employee’s digital identity to chart an employee’s path reliably through the business, to spot training needs, or even to identify exemplary activity that the wider business can learn from.
Looking at IAM from the customer-centric point of view, marketing teams can drill into the customers’ digital identities to work out new ways to personalise communications, while customer contact teams can spot how customer journeys are being received and where bottlenecks are appearing.
4. The benefit that few appreciate: Securing IoT
It is well-reported that one of the threats of IoT is that each ‘thing’ (sensor, vehicle or robot) serves as an endpoint, and therefore a new network vulnerability. IAM allows enterprises to define specific categories of ‘thing’ and therefore limit how much access to the wider network each device needs according to its role. This limits the exposure of the network, while still allowing enterprises to take full advantage of the potentials of IoT.
As these benefits show, IAM is a useful, efficient, and, for many organisations, an essential framework of processes and technologies to deploy. However, it is also complicated.
KCOM will be exhibiting at the IDM UK event on 21st June in London, alongside side our long-standing partner ForgeRock, the multinational identity and access management software providers and a market leader in IAM . Registration for the event is still open, so register now and come along and speak to us about your IAM challenges. If you can't make the event but would like to talk, drop me line.
Keep an eye out for my next blog on IAM deployments!