Guest author: Suvendu Chatterjee
Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls the access authorizations of users. Apps and data are the weakest points of any network. Cyber attacks and data breaches usually occur in networks. Monitoring and controlling access to these resources increase the security level of any network.
Enterprises adopt different security tools. These tools mostly avoid malware, phishing attacks, and viruses. Anti-virus software and on-premise physical safety tools are widespread in traditional companies. However, these legacy security solutions can not prevent recent cyber threats. IAM monitors and coordinates access permissions of users. So, unauthorized users can not reach specific resources and endanger security.
The majority of security issues today originate from access permissions. Access to the company resources raises the breach possibility. It is more challenging to create efficient access management in large-scale businesses. That is where Identity and Access Management show up. Companies can manage access permissions and limitations by benefitting from IAM. All they need to do is create a healthy IAM policy.
Create IAM Policy in your business
IAM policy refers to the documents that regulate user access to the resources. Every company should
have a unique and personalized IAM policy. The requirements of companies are different from each other. So, you must consider several parameters when creating your IAM policy.
Define your purpose and scope
The first component of IAM policy should be the purpose and scope determination. Although IAM aims to protect data resources, you can specialize your goals according to your business requirements. Scope refers to the implemented area of IAM. Headquarters and branch offices can be examples.
Manage user accounts
Users should create valid accounts to access company resources. These accounts facilitate your control over access permissions. Authorized employees from both administrative and technical departments should control new accounts. Authorities in your company must ask for specific documents from users who request a new profile. The team must be sure about the credentials of users who ask for a valid account.
Moreover, you should recognize your user profile. Employees, clients, and partners can demand accounts. Furthermore, you should allocate them accounts to grant them access to the company resources. The types of users can diversify from each other, so their controls are. You can set control and authentication rules according to the user profile.
Authentication is a vital part of IAM policy. A company must authenticate users who access the apps or data resources. Only authorized users can access the specific resources of the company. Controllers must be sure that users are who they claim to be. There are several tools to ensure authentication in enterprises. One of them is passwords. As a company manager, you should create policies regarding passwords. You should determine the minimum password length, expiries, and lock-out limits. All these implementations reinforce your authentication and security.
In any platform where you create an account, they ask for a password. However, passwords can not provide total security. Cybercriminals can capture passwords. Users can share their passwords.
Two-factor and multi-factor authentication methods enhance authentication security. As the name suggests, two and multi-factor authentication methods require two or more authentication steps. Correct password entry is a step. In addition to this, a user should prove her identity by biometrics, one-time codes, etc.
Companies can define job descriptions and access limitations. For instance, if a user does not need to access financial resources, managers should prevent him from accessing the financial resources. Unnecessary access to vulnerable resources enlarges the attack surface. Managers must control the access competencies of each user. Companies must diminish user privileges in terms of access permissions. You can avoid data breaches by limiting access authorizations to vulnerable data resources.
Tools to run Identity and Access management
Companies use several types of safety tools to provide secure access. On the other hand, there are different IAM types to ensure access security. Here, we will explain some of them briefly.
Single sign-on (SSO)
We explained how crucial user authentication is. The vitality of authentication is indisputable in terms of identity and access management. From the user’s point of view, authentication can be a burden. Authenticating their credentials in each step may be exhausting and distracting. Imagine that you enter passwords, biometrics, or codes at every phase of your work. All you want is to access company resources and run your daily operations. The authentication process can be an obstacle. Single sign-on fundamentally aims to avoid tons of validation processes.
How does SSO work?
SSO verifies user identities and login credentials by using independent establishment. This trusted construction authenticates and controls user credentials. It does not store any credentials of users. SSO controls and couples login credentials and other access information.
The prominent feature of SSO is that users can access several apps and related resources by one time logging in. In other words, logging in once is enough to access authorized resources. They can allow time for their daily operations instead of authentication processes.
As mentioned above, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an IAM tool. When creating an effective Identity and Access management policy in your company, you must determine IAM tools. MFA is an effective method to verify user credentials. One-time passcodes (OTPs) or biometric identifications add an extra layer of security to the authentication process.
Role-based access control (RBAC)
Role-based access control is another IAM tool. It controls user access to vulnerable resources by considering user roles. When companies determine the roles of their users, they can also decide who can access which data resources. So, they can limit access authorizations of users. Limiting access permissions diminishes threats and data leakages. Decreasing the privileges is a part of role-based access control. If a user does not need access, you should prevent them from accessing vulnerable data resources.
Creating an IAM policy in businesses is vital. Managers or IT teams can not protect today’s enterprises by using legacy security solutions. Risks and threats change all the time. User identities and access permissions are the vulnerable assets of company security now. Companies should embrace modern and new security solutions to fight against new challenges.
Identity and Access Management refers to a bunch of security solutions and tools. It is not a one-time product. To implement it, companies should create specific policies. This policy must include purposes, scope, actors, methods, and tools. Each of them should be unique because the requirements of companies are also unique. As a business owner, you must know, implement, and operate Identity and Access Management to pace up with the current security needs.