Identity and Access Management

What is Identity and Access Management?
Identity and Access Management (IAM) covers people, processes and products to identify and manage the data used in an information system to validate users and grant, deny or restrict access rights to data, systems, applications or resources. The aim of Identity and access management is to provide appropriate access to enterprise resources.

The ability of a company to quickly search, identify and verify who is accessing the systems is a critical aspect of many security and compliance requirements for the company. Implementing identity and access management models for a small business area and incrementally covering every part of the company can reap benefits monetarily and security wise.

Identity and access management (IAM) comprises four main components namely, Authentication, Authorization, User Management and Central User Repository. Its aim is to provide the right access to the right people in order to protect information sources.

Authentication
This section covers authentication and session management for user applications. Authentication via a user id and password combination is the most commonly used method to providing access control to business information and systems.

Authorisation
This section covers authorisation, this determines whether the user has the required access rights or permissions to an application resource. Identity and access management checks the users access requests against the access permissions of an application or policy. Businesses can at this stage implement role based access controls. Authorisation include permissions of the individual user, permissions of the group to which the user is a member of or business application specific policies that determine dynamic permissions granted to a user, such as time based access, location controls

User management activities
Identity and access management defines rules for the user administrative tasks and functions lifecycle like user creation, user profile amendments and user deletions, including resetting of passwords. To assist with this module it is necessary to implement a workflow provisioning system to assist with user management activities including privileged access management

Central user repositories

The implementation of identity and access management systems allows companies to obtain identity information from a central source.  Central user repositories can provide details authoritative information on existing user identities and access to IT systems.  This identity vault can be stored in several ways either by physical or virtual methods depending the volume of identities to be stored

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