Understanding Identity Access Management
As many employees are now logging into company resources from home, identity access management is more important than ever. You need to ensure that every individual accessing your organization’s data is who they say they are. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of identity access management and why your organization should be using IAM protocols.
What Is Identity Access Management?
Identity access management (IAM) is a secure process that identifies your organization’s users, verifies their credentials, and allows them access to the necessary resources. Think of it as a unique thumbprint made specifically for each user based on their username (email), password, and administrative permissions.
Today, many organizations are utilizing identity access management, single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). When used together, these solutions allow employees to access all of the resources they need easily and securely.
The Benefits of Identity Access Management
1. Enhanced User Experience
We all know the frustration of managing too many usernames and passwords for all of our applications and accounts. It gets overwhelming, and we either end up forgetting our credentials or using the same, weak passwords across the board.
With IAM, there is the ability to create one unique login process for your employees. You can accomplish this through the use of single sign-on (SSO) products. As a result of using SSO, your organization’s stakeholders can log in and access resources with a primary set of credentials. By creating a unified approach to user access, you can provide an environment free of multiple credentials and failed password attempts.
2. Varying Levels of Access
Every business stores information that ranges from public to increasingly sensitive. And some employees will need to access more private data than others. That’s why it’s important to restrict certain resources based on an individual’s role. You don’t want to give everyone at your company access to everything.
With identity access management, you’ll set permissions for the types of resources each individual can access. At first, this may seem extremely complicated. For example, each employee will need different permissions for each software platform and application at your organization. Thankfully, there is a solution.
IAM products that apply Security Assertion Markup Languages (SAML) 2.0 can use SSO with deeper security levels. For each application, you can authenticate users based on their privileges. This will then grant them access to resources pertinent to their role, department, work schedule, or geographic location.
3. Ease of Reporting
With IAM and SSO, it’s easier than ever to manage and identify users and their devices on your network. IT departments can quickly identify suspicious activity and immediately restrict access. With IAM solutions, you can also run detailed reports on users, applications, and logins to analyze and audit how users are accessing information. This straightforward process can be a huge relief for technicians, who can now spend more time working on projects and important tasks.
4. Control How Your Information is Shared
The sharing of data and files across employees and departments is a necessity in any organization. As users collaborate, we find ourselves creating documents, sending them to our peers for feedback, and printing them for the boss to review and approve. However, as we make and share copies, it’s increasingly hard to determine who has had access to that information.
With identity access management, you have more control over what information is allowed to be shared. You can restrict certain data from being copied or printed. You can prevent specific files from being emailed outside of the company. The ability to manage your data like this means you are decreasing the risk of your data getting into the wrong hands.
5. Device Agnostic
Today, many employees are accessing resources from a variety of devices. We have our office workstations, mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and more. And we all may be using different operating systems across our devices.
With IAM, MFA, and SSO, employees can easily access resources from anywhere on any device. It’s easy and efficient, and all of your information is still secure. Your employees can use their device of choice and have the ability to work from home or while traveling without causing your IT department major headaches.
6. Manage Costs Effectively
When companies began using SSO, the intention was to reduce the time IT staff had to spend on internal helpdesk tasks, therefore reducing costs. You see, employees had to create and remember credentials for numerous applications. As a result, a common problem was users forgetting their passwords and locking themselves out. The IT department then had to step in to solve the problem and give individuals access to their accounts. With SSO, employees now only had one set of credentials to worry about, and IT technicians could spend their time more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Identity access management has the power to reduce costs even further. By using cloud-based IAM products, organizations can save on expensive infrastructure costs. On top of that, employees are more productive because they don’t have to waste time managing various credentials or trying to login to several different platforms. The reduction in IT costs and the improvement in employee productivity are both significant when it comes to cost-effectiveness.
Identity access management is not just an IT strategy. It’s an entire business strategy that can benefit an organization in multiple ways. Organizing and deploying these tools will help to create collaborative tools that your employees can access from anywhere. Understanding the tools and resources that your employees and departments need, help you ensure they have the right applications to contribute to the business successfully. This will create a revolution in the way you do business and develop synergies to allow employees to collaborate freely without formality.
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