Getting started with Identity and Access Management (IAM)

By Chad Stigant|16 April 2019

Identity and Access Management (IAM) should be a fundamental part of your organisation’s security. Yet, many companies invest heavily in protecting their systems and data with other cyber security solutions, without considering how their users with direct access to critical systems can be a threat.

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Whether insider breaches are deliberate or accidental, many can be prevented with IAM tools. However, it’s a complex field with over 20 sub-disciplines, which can make it a daunting task to implement from scratch.

That said, core IAM concepts such as only giving users access to the systems or data they need to do their job; revoking access when any employee leaves your company (or when they hand in their notice); and downgrading access privileges for individuals who no longer need certain resources, can all be managed without a significant investment in technology.

Identify and Access Management Services

Of course, there are many tools available that can give you scalable controls and protection as your IT estate evolves and as your organisation grows or contracts. Some, like Microsoft Azure Active Directory (see the video below), provides an out-of-the-box cloud solution that can be integrated with on-premise IAM tools too.

As with other cloud solutions there are no upfront costs and you only pay for what you need. It allows your security team to apply conditional access based on risk factors, monitors for suspicious or unusual activity, has self-service capabilities and also integrates with thousands of apps including Office 365, Box and Salesforce.

It also provides secure remote access to your on-premises web application, eliminating the need to use VPN or other legacy publishing solutions.

If you would like to explore Azure AD in more detail scroll to the video below or get in touch if you want to discuss this and other possible IAM solutions for your organisation.

5 steps for a successful IAM implementation

Out-of-the-box solutions certainly make it a lot easier to implement an IAM programme, but there are still important steps to take to ensure implementation is successful. The 5 steps below will help:

#1: Planning – the first step is to understand what IAM can and can't do for your organisation. Plan out what you need, desired features and functions, and how it will impact users. IAM can be a culture shock as it may require some user behaviours to change, so you need to ensure that this is factored in too.

#2: Roll it out gradually – develop a strategy for rolling out your IAM programme, prioritising critical systems and functions. By starting small you can focus on a successful adoption in key areas of the organisation, before a system / function wide integration.

#3: Get organisational buy-in – make sure that you get buy-in from all stakeholders effected by the IAM programme. Education helps overcome resistance and also helps users change behaviours and embrace the functionality of your IAM tools.

#4: Future proof your IAM strategy – cloud solutions like Azure AD can help your organisation plan for the future and scale. Whatever your strategy and the solutions you adopt, make sure you’ve addressed how your IT will change in the future factoring new apps and increases in users.

#5: Metrics and reporting – at some point you’ll be asked what the ROI of your Identity and Access Management programme is, so start identify the metrics that make sense to your organisation from the start and put in place reporting processes to demonstrate value over time.

For more on Identity and Access Management solutions click here.



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