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  • Identity and access management (IAM)

    Make your Identity and access management strategy dynamic

Identity and Access Management Framework

How does IAM work and why is it important?

Identity and Access Management, IAM, is a framework designed to ensure only the right users get access to the resources they are permitted to access. It is a vital cyber-security capability, business facilitator, R&D instigator, and regulatory compliance tool. Why? Because providing secure access not only stops critical assets reaching the wrong audience, but also facilitates improved sharing of sensitive data among staff and partners.

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An IAM framework consists of components that together deliver effective Identity Access Management. Much more can be read about this on The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) IAM page.

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The IAM challenges and benefits

There are multiple challenges that can lead to the need for implementing an IAM framework. Here we take a look at some of the main ones. If you can’t find your reason for identifying a requirement for IAM here, it is still very real and should be investigated further. You can also contact us directly to discuss it.

Poor security

If you can’t control who can access what in your organization you have a serious security issue which could be solved with an Identity and Access Management Framework. Personal data could be at risk, IP may not be fully protected, and regulations are undoubtedly not being met. Insider attacks form a large part of data fraud, so protecting your assets from within through an effective IAM governance framework can put you in control of your assets and ensure they are protected effectively.

Poor protection

If passwords are one of your main sources of protection, then sensitive data is at risk. Users have a bad habit of repeat password use, so if one account is hacked, multiple systems are put at risk. Cybercriminals have extremely sophisticated methods for entering systems and stealing assets. Relying on passwords is like leaving the door off the latch. If you have highly sensitive assets, it’s time to upgrade to an IAM framework.

Abundant critical assets

Do you have assets in the cloud and on prem, in new and legacy systems? An abundance of data and an abundance of access points can make it difficult to keep track of everything and who has access to what. If you then have to hard code security into individual applications and databases, by the time you’re done with an update it could be time to start again. An IAM framework will help resolve this thanks to its central identity and access management repository.

Costly security

Doing things once effectively, is much cheaper than doing things many times ineffectively. This is where centralization is your friend. Hard coding applications is time-consuming, costly and ineffective. Central identity and access management reduces security costs, considerably– particularly when using attribute based access control (ABAC) to dynamically authorize who can access what, when, from where and for what purpose.

Auditing

If you are being audited and you can’t prove that your critical assets are secure and meet regulations, then you are in trouble. You could be subject to penalties and will certainly have to tighten access to sensitive data. With the right identity and access management framework, auditing issues can be resolved. Identity Based Access Control using ABAC from Axiomatics, for instance, comes with automated access control audit reporting.

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Basic components and IAM

There are four basic components in the IAM framework, each one impacts the others. Therefore, interoperability is key to achieving an effective Identity And Access Management Framework. Inhouse or closed systems can leave gaps that are difficult to identify but easy to expose by experienced hackers. The four basic areas of an IAM framework are:

User management

User management involves the creation of roles and provisioning, i.e. what can be accessed by the user. The joiner/mover/leaver process is key to this component as roles and provisioning must be mapped when an employee joins the company, edited when they change position, and deleted when they leave. In large organizations with a lot of sensitive data and assets, using a more fine-grained level of access control becomes necessary.

Central user repository

The central user is the source of resources for user identification. Changes in user provisioning are stored here along with other information that supports such things as single-sign-on. Having this data in a single central location makes it much more effective to manage.

Authentication

Authentication confirms that the user is who they say they are. It can be done using simple tools such as standard passwords (although not recommended as discussed above) through to token-based entry and multi-factor authentication.

Authorization

With authentication approved, access control takes over. This can be static, in the form of role based access control (RBAC) or dynamic using ABAC, which enforce business policies and regulations to ensure only the right people can access critical assets under the right conditions.

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Company Skyscraper | IAM Framework

Implementing IAM in your organization

As with most IT systems, it’s rarely a good idea to rip out your existing system and introduce something completely new. Running an Identity and Access Management framework in parallel with your existing systems makes more sense. Start small with applications that have highly sensitive assets to protect. If these have to be shared securely in order to generate value, dynamic runtime authorization should be utilized to support this. By starting small, your transition team will gain experience and confidence for further deployments. Being able to prove how effective the IAM framework is to senior management will also support budget discussions further down the line.

Choosing the ideal IAM system for your enterprise

If you’re unsure about how to proceed we partner with a number of other IAM providers and can help you create the optimal IAM system for your needs. It will incorporate dynamic, run-time authorization as standard in a tailored, highly interoperable solution.

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How to choose the right access control solution

No matter where your sensitive data is stored or how complex or distributed your architecture is, we can help you safeguard and securely share sensitive data. Our experts can define requirements and tailor the Attribute Based Access Control solutions from our dynamic authorization suite to meet your needs.

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Regulations are getting stricter and competitors are getting more aggressive. Don’t spend time on authorization, focus on your core activities and we will ensure data is secured and regulations are met.

Customer support

Do you have a question for an Axiomatics engineer? Our support team are ready to help you.