Frequently Asked Questions
What is Enterprise Identity Management?
Identity management solutions aim to help administrators manage a network’s vast number of users using a single centralized control panel. It does this by setting up access policies to determine which data and directories the user is authorized to access.
Identity management is vital — not having identity management in place introduces a critical cybersecurity risk. Without it, it will be hard to keep track of all the users in the network. This increases the chances of bad actors successfully breaching your network.
At the same time, excessive authentication can slow operations because the system needs to verify a user whenever they want to access a system resource. Identity management solutions offer a balance between robust control and quick access.
It’s especially crucial for large organizations that consistently onboard new users rapidly or hybrid network infrastructures. Managing and setting up permissions manually can be tedious and time-consuming.
At the heart of all identity management solutions is the user directory. This is a database of all the network user accounts, along with roles, privileges, and login credentials.
What’s the difference between identity management and access management?
An enterprise IAM (identity & access management software) consists of two elements – identity and access. So, what’s the difference between each? It all boils down to their specific responsibilities.
Identity management is all about authenticating users. It helps system administrators determine which network resources a user can access based on their role. For instance, a new employee might only be able to view documents in a network folder. Contrast this to the team manager, who has the right to edit or delete files.
On the other hand, access management is about authorizing users. Its purpose is to automate user authentication, authorization, and logging in based on account privileges. It then points users to the correct resource based on access policies. When a user logs into the system using a password or a single sign-on link, the task of verifying them falls under access management.
As you can see, these two elements form the fundamental building blocks of any enterprise identity and access management technology.
How does an Enterprise Identity Management System Work?
The job of identity management solutions starts when a user tries to log into the system. At this point, it relies on an access management module to verify the user’s credentials if they are authorized to access the system.
If verification is successful, the identity management system checks which application, directory, or file the user is allowed to access. They are also given roles, which further limits the action they can do on authorized assets.
For example, an administrator might set a “Viewer” role. This means that the user can only view data but not edit or delete them. On the other hand, an “Admin” role often has full capabilities to add, edit, and delete files.
Identity management tools also allow administrators to track users while they’re logged in. This ensures they’re not violating access policies or going beyond their set privileges. Admins can edit an account’s access policies accordingly when this happens to help contain the breach.
Why do I need Identity Access Management Systems?
An identity access management solution should be the foundation of any network’s cybersecurity efforts, especially for cloud-based enterprises with thousands of users. Why? Because most hacks and data breaches involve social engineering attacks like phishing. Fake emails or calls trick users into giving up their login credentials to cybercriminals.
If a stolen password is the only thing a hacker needs to breach your system, that poses a tremendous cybersecurity risk. Just consider that there were more than 1 million phishing attacks in the first quarter of 2022 alone, according to the Phishing Activity Trends Report.
Identity access management tools can make it difficult for hackers to steal and log in with stolen credentials. Even if they do, policies and access privileges can help stop them before they get into the more sensitive areas of your network.
That’s because most platforms track users and alert admins of access policy violations. Once detected, they can change the privileges of the affected account or freeze it entirely.
What are the benefits of implementing Identity Management Solutions?
Aside from keeping your network safe at every level, identity management solutions also deliver other robust benefits for your business.
The first benefit is accessibility. An IAM platform allows users to log in from anywhere in the world, using any device. This gives employees and businesses the utmost flexibility to maintain remote teams – a requirement in today’s virtual workplace.
Identity management solutions also support secure interconnectivity between multiple networks. This is crucial because nowadays, many organizations use software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms instead of on-premise applications. Thus, admins need a way to maintain security between the enterprise and third-party SaaS networks.
Using identity management tools also helps bolster productivity. Admins can now easily onboard dozens of new users automatically, giving them access to needed resources to do their work immediately. Automation can also free up IT personnel for more value-added tasks.
Identity management solutions provide a safe and smooth experience for everyone. Instead of keeping track of dozens of passwords, employees can access multiple applications or networks using single sign-on (SSO) or biometrics. Aside from convenience, this also reduces the risk of people losing passwords to thieves.