Cyber security

What is Identity Management

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identity management

The digital transformation is accelerating rapidly and encompasses all aspects of our life. Businesses today use digital technology to do most of their work. Technology is largely integrated into people’s everyday lives. For example, people use the internet to learn, work, and socialize. To keep their accounts secure online, they must provide their credentials, usually in the form of a username and password. This brings about a need for a proper identity management system.

In the business world, an employee typically needs more than one digital account. For example, the average employee needs at least two of them, an email and another, to access the company’s information system. Most employees will need to use more, especially with the advent of cloud computing and the increasing shift of workload to the cloud.

The continued growth of users’ digital accounts requires more efforts to protect them from cyberattacks. According to NordPass, the average internet user has around 100 passwords. This number has increased since the COVID19 pandemic and the increased use of online services.

Protecting access to digital accounts requires some form of authentication to verify the identity of the user. The best-known method of identity management is the identification of a user name and a password.

However, as technology advances, more sophisticated authentication schemes such as biometric and 2FA are being used to protect against cyberattacks such as social engineering and brute force attacks.

A special framework or solution has been proposed for managing the digital identities of users called Identity and Access Management (IAM). This article highlights the term IAM and names the three most popular IAM software solutions.

Defining IAM and its Benefits

Identity Management (IDM), also known as Identity and Access Management (IAM), is a solution for controlling access to corporate networks and other digital assets such as data, files, systems, and applications. It stores the credentials of all members and ensures authorized and verified users, systems, devices, or applications can access protected resources. 

It also ensures that authenticated entities have the necessary privilege to access the correct resources. IAM is a framework made up of corporate policies, best business processes, and other security technologies. IT administrators use IAM to validate user identities and control their access to, and large-scale administration of, protected corporate resources. 

The range of IT technologies used in the IAM area is broad. For example, it mainly contains:

  1. Password Manager: to securely store user credentials.
  2. Single sign-on (SSO): Allows access to all accounts and applications of the organization with a single login. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – Most IMA solutions offer 2FA and MFA to strengthen user authentication. A user must provide two or more factors of authentication in order to access protected resources and biometric information such as a fingerprint or a unique password and a typical password.
  3. Privileged Access Management: It is a set of tools used to manage user access permissions on the organization’s networks and systems.

IAM solutions can be deployed in one of the following configurations:

On-Premise

As a cloud-based service via a trusted third-party provider (also known as Identity as a Service (IDaaS) or as a hybrid model. Implementing an IAM solution that provides Your business can benefit from the following

  1. Countering Insider Threats: There has been an increased number of data breaches in recent years. According to id watchdog, 60% of data breaches are caused by insider threats.
  2. Eliminate the use of default passwords: IAM solutions can be designed to force users to use complex level passwords and renew them regularly, however, according to Verizon Data Breach Investigations. A majority of all data breaches are caused by weak passwords. 
  3. Enforcing MFA Implementation: By employing an IAM solution, organizations can initiate MFA authentication and strengthen their authentication scheme.

Top Three IAM Solutions

JumpCloud

JumpCloud is a cloud-based solution for managing user, device, and access identities via a single platform JumpCloud offer the following main functions:

  1. Unified identity – you can connect all of the company’s resources such as server devices, endpoint devices, applications, networks, and any IT infrastructure in the cloud in a single panel. It can be integrated with other directory services such as G Suite, HR systems.
  2. User Management – Provides a single sign-on function for access to all protected resources with a single identity
  3. MFA – A user can use more than two factors of authentication to increase security when accessing protected networks, applications, and other resources.
  4. OS support: You can manage devices with different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
  5. Policy Enforcement: Automate policy enforcement and report on a large scale across all devices.
  6. Apply Zero Trust Security – Only trusted devices can access the protected area.

Okta Single SignOn

Okta is another cloud-based single sign-on solution that integrates with a company’s current directory and other identity systems.It has the following functions:

  1. User Audit: Okta monitors all users who access its IT systems, either on-site or in the cloud, and creates automatic reports on the activities of all users in your environment. SIEM solution to get a comprehensive overview of all user activities and reduce your time with audit reports for regulatory compliance.
  2. Unique authorization – Used to access all systems in your IT environment.
  3. Universal Directory: Most organizations have more than one source of identity; Hence, there are identities for employees, contractors, subcontractors, and other third parties. Okta enables you to integrate all of these sources and manage them from a single solution, which minimizes IT administration time, makes them more efficient, and improves security.
  4. Centralized User Management: It facilitates user identity management on a large scale.
  5. Increase security: By providing a centralized policy engine, each user is assigned a specific policy based on the current context. These can be user location, IP, device, and more.

OpenIAM

The third IAM we’ll talk about is an inexpensive IAM solution. OpenIAM is a popular IAM solution with advanced features: And it can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud.

OpenIAM is easy to install and ready to use in minutes. As a mature solution, OpenIAM has long been running in leading companies around the world with excellent performance.

OpenIAM has low ownership costs as it uses widely used components such as Groovy Script, GRAILS, Activiti, and PowerShell.The OpenIAM solution makes it easy to hire technicians compared to other commercial tools.

IAM is also easy to use and manage with a single console. Additionally, it has low license costs compared to other IAM solutions.

Conclusion

IMA solutions are now slowly becoming an integrated component for any organization that uses digital technology and wants to securely manage the identities of its users. For example, having a central place to manage them and track your login is critical to preventing most data breaches.

 

Some CIOs still think IAM solutions are designed for large businesses. However, this is inaccurate. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries can use an IAM solution. While hosting an on-premises IAM solution is not an option, using an IDaaS service from a trusted provider is still a cost-effective solution.

 

 

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