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Identity and access management (IAM) is the IT discipline that enables the right users or device to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. Resources include applications, networks, infrastructure, and data. Moreover, IAM is a framework of policies and technologies that protect your organization from internal and external threats. In other words, IAM simplifies user access while preventing data breaches.

Identity and Access Management is based on the premise of establishing and maintaining trusted digital identities. An IAM solution simplifies identity management and puts in robust monitoring controls to safeguard assets and apps. Trust is maintained over time with adaptive risk-based authentication, which provides a step-up challenge when conditions warrant.

Authentication Vs. Authorization

Authentication is the IT process of verifying that a user is who they claim to be. A traditional means of authentication is username and password, but this method can be easily circumvented by hackers and bad actors. Alternatively, two-factor authentication (2FA) uses two distinct things — usually something you know, such as a password or pin code, and something you have, like a smartphone or physical card.

Authorization, on the other hand, is the process of verifying what specific applications, files and data a specific user has access to. Authorization works through rules and settings that are defined by the organization. It always takes place following authentication.

Explore our detailed analysis of authentication versus authorization.

Identifying Roles and Risk

An effective Identity and Access Management strategy involves not only how access for individuals is managed within a system, but also how roles are identified and assigned within a system. This ensures that users have the least access necessary to still perform their roles—which is referred to as role-based access control. Adaptive risk-based authentication evaluates the likelihood that a user’s account has been compromised at every login attempt. If a login request seems unusual or suspect, a risk-based authentication model can return a request for additional authentication. A zero-trust framework employs the concept of granting users the least-privileged access necessary to complete a task. This model is based on the philosophy of “Never trust, always verify.” A zero-trust framework can help your organization tie together adaptive risk-based authentication, least privileged access, and other Identity and Access Management best practices in a frictionless way.

What is Zero Trust?

Based on the philosophy of "never trust, always verify," Zero Trust is an approach to IT security that employs the concept of least privileged access — giving an entity only the necessary permissions required to fulfill their role or function. As well, adaptive risk-based authentication is central to realizing a Zero Trust framework by providing continual contextual awareness of user and device behavior.

Why is IAM important?

We live in a digital-first world. Be it securing the hybrid workforce, preventing fraud. or ensuring the integrity of devices, IAM provides the solutions and tools needed to secure this digital world.

What are the different capabilities offered as part of IAM?

There are several IAM providers that either specialize in a specific aspect of the IAM solution spectrum, or provide a full range of services.

The most common IAM services/capabilities are summarized below:

What makes Entrust IAM solutions different?

Protecting the identities of workers, consumers, and citizens is key to preventing uncontrolled access, data breaches, and fraudulent transactions. Entrust Identity is the IAM portfolio that provides the strong foundation you need to realize a Zero Trust framework. As one unified IAM portfolio, Entrust Identity supports an unparalleled number of use cases and deployment options.

Entrust Authentication Suite infographic

Trends in Identity and Access Management

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently shifted where and how people work—making physical boundaries largely irrelevant. That shift in workforce habits has made Identity and Access Management increasingly important. Organizations need methods to simplify user access to mission-critical applications and systems while taking increased steps to verify user identities.

Identity Access Management for Consumers

Identity Access Management is used to authenticate consumers, a workforce and citizens. For consumers, it’s all about creating a digital onboarding experience that they will love by authenticating identity through an app. Anywhere-anytime onboarding enhances app engagement and helps reduce the probability that a consumer will abandon the app. When a consumer wants to access the app or make a purchase, an Identity Access Management solution verifies the consumer’s identity and trustworthiness of the device the consumer is using. Digital onboarding can also be more cost-efficient than onboarding a customer in-store. It is also secure as it authenticates a customer’s ID through cloud-based AI—encrypting and storing the digital ID only on the customer’s device.

Identity Access Management for Workplaces

For authenticating workplaces, Identity Access Management solutions provide physical/logical access to buildings, provides access to virtual private networks (VPNs) and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, protects privileged workers, provides security for contractors and enables personal identity verification (PIV) compliant government mobility. The Identity Access Management solution can be deployed in the cloud, on-premises, as a virtual appliance or delivered as a managed service.

Identity Access Management for Citizens

Identity Access Management solutions can also be used for digital citizen authentication. It can secure and manage passports, national ID’s and driver’s licenses. Digital citizen identities enable secure access of government services to digital platforms such as education, healthcare and government benefit programs. It can facilitate border crossing through mobile identity credentials and self-service kiosk. A digital citizen identity can also be used to conduct transactions, binding digital identities to the citizen through secure, public key infrastructure (PKI) based certificates. Identity Access Management solutions can be in form of an on-premises solution for larger enterprises or identity as a service through the cloud.

Benefits of On-Premises Identity and Access Management

Enterprise organizations that want on-premises Identity and Access Management can work with Entrust to create strong digital security, taking advantage of:

  • Secure, frictionless authentication
  • Adaptive authentication
  • High assurance coverage
  • Zero Trust framework
  • Credential-based access
  • Adaptive risk-based access and authentication
  • Best-in-class MFA

Benefits of Identity and Access Management as a Service

Working with Entrust for your Identity and Access Management needs poses distinct advantages for your organization, including:

  • Eliminate weak passwords
  • Mitigate insider threats
  • Advanced tracking of authentication anomalies
  • Reduced IT costs
  • Improved reporting and monitoring
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