Understanding Identity Access and Management (IAM) Security

Jun 20, 2023

Jun 20, 2023

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6 minutes

Protect your organization from security breaches with our guide to understanding Identity Access and Management (IAM). Learn how to secure your data today.

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Josh Mayfield
VP Product Marketing
Understanding Identity Access and Management (IAM) Security
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Understanding Identity Access and Management (IAM) Security 

A crucial component of protecting your organization, identity access and management (IAM) security has become a trusted cybersecurity best practice. It takes control of user access to systems, data, and resources within your company’s networks and manages digital identities, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your IT security process. At its core, the fabric of IAM security is consistent with the mesh security approach, which consists of a composable, scalable architecture centered on securing identities. Let’s explore IAM security and why it matters for identity and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) security

What Is IAM Security?

IAM plays an important role in protecting an organization’s data. Through programs, policies, and technological tools aimed at reducing identity security risk, it controls and restricts which users have access to sensitive data. In other words, administrators can determine which users are given specific privileges for accessing critical resources or performing certain tasks. 

Grip assists customers in a wide range of industries with IAM programs, not only increasing compliance but also improving the organization’s overall efficiency. Below, learn more about IAM cybersecurity, its best practices, and solutions to some common IAM challenges. 

IAM Security Fundamentals

When developing your IAM security framework, first consider the size and type of your organization. Day to day, are multiple devices always in use, or is there less technology to keep track of? Does your IAM strategy need to consider shadow SaaS, or outside tools permitted for internal use? Broadly, what are the biggest IT threats facing your industry? The answers to these questions will guide you to the right IAM security solutions. 

From managing digital identities to depriving the provision of identity, an effective IAM security framework consists of several fundamentals. These include:

  • Authentication and authorization: For successful identity security, the IAM framework must recognize employees or individuals, as well as authorize their access to your precious data. 
  • Role-based access control: An organization needs to establish methods for not only identifying personnel but also assigning role-based access to each employee or department. 
  • Multi-factor authentication: To protect data and network resources from malware or hacking attempts, IAM should include multi-factor authentication, which forces users to prove their identity before logging in. 
  • Privileged access management: Certain data shouldn’t be accessible by everyone with network access. An IAM security system helps administrators add or remove privileges so only specific, trusted users can access the most sensitive information.

These pillars of IAM contribute to the overall security efforts of your organization. While only the necessary users will have access to data, IAM also ensures compliance with all privacy laws. For example, a healthcare organization’s IAM security plan will be designed to adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

IAM Security Best Practices

Implementing IAM cybersecurity should involve several best practices, such as:

Establishing Strong Password Policies

The best passwords use a mix of at least eight numbers, letters, and characters, making it harder for intruders to guess them. For instance, it’s easy for employees to want to use personal information in their passwords, like their birthdays or child’s names. However, including personal information in passwords should be avoided at all costs. Additionally, old passwords should never be reused, and passwords should be updated on a routine basis (i.e. every 30 days). 

Performing Regular Access Reviews

Things can change quickly, and the roster you had at the beginning of the year could look very different by December. Ensure your administrators are performing regular access reviews and removing privileges from individuals who no longer require them. Limiting the number of users to only your current personnel is a crucial component of sound IAM security. 

Abiding by the Use-of-Least-Privilege Principle

Also known as least-privilege access, this principle exists to reduce insider threats like account takeovers. Users should only have access to the resources and data that they truly require to perform their jobs. This is also why routine access reviews are so necessary for IAM cloud security, as employee roles can vary at times. 

Conducting Employee Security Training

To further mitigate risk, all employees should be educated on commonplace security risks that exist in the world of business, from phishing attacks to malware traps. They should know more than what to avoid clicking on, though. Make employee security training a mandatory practice on a routine basis, as internet threats will continue to evolve in complexity. 

IAM Security Tools and Technologies

When it comes to implementing IAM security tools and technologies, the following items should be included in the overall framework:

  • Identity and access management software to enforce privileges, manage passwords and accounts, and ensure users only access what they need for their responsibilities 
  • Single-sign-on solutions to give users one set of credentials for all programs, data, and other resources, decreasing the chance of lost or compromised passwords
  • Multi-factor authentication software to verify user identities and keep track of unauthorized log-in attempts
  • Privileged access management tools, such as role-based access control, to regulate what users can access and the tasks they perform 
  • Password protection and management solutions to create, store, and encrypt secure passwords and safeguard systems and data from threats

IAM Security Challenges and Solutions

While any organization could benefit from enhanced security, better user visibility, and other IAM security advantages, there are some common challenges to overcome when implementing this new framework. These include:

  • Balancing security and convenience
  • Integrating with legacy systems
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations
  • Justifying complex IAM implementation
  • Dedicating ongoing maintenance resources

Luckily, these challenges can be overcome with proper planning and implementation, as well as the support of a trusted partner like Grip. 

Using Grip for IAM Security

The objectives of IAM security underscore the importance of implementing this vital strategy of protection. It is a means to stop unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information or data, as well as diminish IAM cybersecurity threats that could seriously disrupt your business. When it comes to SaaS risk management and fraud protection implementation, enlisting the assistance of an experienced partner could alleviate strains on your internal resources. 

Grip is standing by to modernize your IAM security protocols and provide the solutions needed to facilitate success. Remember: the strength of your organization’s cybersecurity comes down to how thorough and robust its IAM framework is. For more information about IAM security or to implement IAM security best practices at your business, request a demo or get your free SaaS identity security assessment today. 

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