Imagine you’re in the middle of an important meeting. Both the board of directors and the company shareholders are present. The future of the organization is being discussed in hushed tones. Suddenly, the office janitor walks into the room, begins dusting the blinds, emptying the trashcan, wiping the windows and chairs while everyone looks on in amazement. Doesn’t the entire scenario feel wrong? The janitor should never have had access to the meeting room nor should he have continued with his chores when a vital conference was in session. When you’re running a business, you want the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. And this is the exact role that identity and access management (IAM) plays in the IT sector.
The management of access to applications and information scattered across external application systems becomes easier with IAM. As the number of identities, both outside and inside the organization, continues to grow, you need to offer this access in a way that doesn’t expose sensitive information or compromise security. IAM is essential to the process, making it an indispensable part of any business that wants to step into the next level of security. Let’s find out how it works.
Changing Times, Changing Measures
Technology is advancing rapidly, and it’s easy to get lost amidst the complexity of modern mobile systems, the cloud, and the panoply of new options available to users. A proper strategy enables you to handle any challenge that an evolving technology throws at you. However, for the strategy to work in future, three things need to be kept in mind:
Narrowing the Focus
You have to understand that the main function of IAM is to provide the necessary accessibility to users so that they can do their jobs properly. It covers every aspect, from setting up access to provisioning, from governance to ascertaining the validity of the access.
The question you should be asking is whether a solution is possible to grant a user access when he requires it, but restricts access when the organization demands it. Given the extensive range of features IAM has, this fundamental idea sometimes takes a backseat. It is your responsibility to ensure this basic question regarding identity and access is properly answered as it will act as the first line of defense when your systems move into the cloud.
Understanding Why Privileged Access Matters
Within the framework of an organization, not all identities and not all access privileges are equal. Earlier, on-premise vendors made it easy to distinguish between administrative user access and end user access easily. Each had its only mode of authentication and a unique interface. Of late, however, the influx of cloud-led applications has diminished those differences. These apps provide numerous options based on when you ask for application access and the identity you use.
When dealing with privileged access management you must understand that it is essentially different from regular user access where a person’s capability to get hold of data is typically guided by his/her role and company policies. A privileged user has an arguably ‘god level’ access within the organization macrocosm and hence demands extra caution. The regulations demand a focused practice for smooth management of the privileged IDs.
Limitations of Identity
Gone are the days of complete on-premises software, when you had to access proprietary apps from the confines of corporate firewall over computers supplied by the organization. The mix of social, mobile devices, and cloud provides unprecedented opportunities and visibility for your business and creates an environment with numerous disparate user identities across touch points that place extra barriers between your organization and the customers.
We are heading towards a future that will be completely ‘connected.’ In this kind of an environment, IAM plays a significant role in supporting secure businesses. The new architecture will feature identity as the security perimeter of the enterprise that defines modern-day access policies.
New Perspective Brings Greater Engagement
The IT industry is in the middle of a transformative phase. Existing technology has matured considerably and has given a fresh impetus to cyber security policies. Organizations and government agencies are currently saving tons of money, thanks to a seamless and secure unique user experience. In future, organizations are going to adopt an even more robust stance on entirely integrated access governance systems. It is important that organizations that wish to develop an access governance setup form a pulse within the company for doing so, a process that encompasses every single channel. When the use of this technology becomes more widespread, the password process will undergo significant improvements resulting in minimum friction and improved access capabilities.
IAM lets you know about the way customers and employees access your applications. You get details about who logged in and what data they accessed. Firms are capable of using this data for security purposes. However, in future, the scope of this information will extend to the understanding of interaction patterns – how employees do their job, how customers buy products and conduct transactions on the company’s mobile apps and website. Such understanding will prove integral to simplifying, improving, and optimizing customer and employee experiences, resulting in improved business agility as well as a greater competitive edge for any business.
Identity and access management has become synonymous with organizational security. When it comes to taking decisions, IAM works as a whole and security becomes a priority. However, the true functionality of IAM has a broader association with business agility. You need to try and implement a user identity and access management program that ensures proper and streamlined end-user access, sets limitations on privileged access, and treats IAM as the organization’s perimeter defense. Every other detail will automatically fall in place, granting your business a future-ready status. This rings true with Forrester’s definition of IAM as “the policies, processes, and technologies that digital businesses employ to establish identities and control access to their resources across dynamic ecosystems of value.”