Enterprise and Customer Identity Management

As businesses have moved toward cloud, mobile, social, and IoT-enabled environments, the IT landscape needed for business growth and efficiency has become more complicated.

The IAM (Identity Access Management)

The IAM equation is less of a separate, stand-alone question.

It now combines different parts of access management that have always been important into a single, synchronized system that works toward a goal.

The landscape has changed a lot, and now it has things like:

Modern architecture for identity

Governance and management of identity

Analysis of identity

Authenticating identity and giving permission

Concerns about identity in the cloud Identity for third parties

APIs can be kept safe by using identity (and vice versa)

Next-Generation Adaptive Access Services

One of the most pronounced trends in IAM today is the ubiquitous use of analytics.

“Whereas traditional adaptive authentication was rule-based, the next generation of adaptive access services combines rules with machine learning and advanced analytics,” says Paul Rabinovich, senior director at Gartner. “Rules are useful but limiting. You may not have thought of all possible scenarios.”

For example, unsupervised learning is good at anomaly detection. An organization can establish a baseline for a user or a group of “similar” users, and it can detect that today the user is behaving differently and take corrective action.

Evolving IAM Systems

The move to the cloud, the adoption of microservices architectures, the digitalization of the modern world and the resulting growth in cyberthreats continue to expand the use cases for IAM.

“To meet these new challenges, IT leaders must evolve their IAM systems,”
says Mary Ruddy, research vice president at Gartner. She offers four ways to do so.

Integrate more closely with security and fraud systems.

Compromised identity credentials continue to be a major element in data breaches. The number of these breaches, including identity-related fraud (such as account takeovers), is growing.

Incorporate a development security operations (DevSecOps) approach.

This requires a change in organizational mindset, and is especially important for organizations developing their own applications and services.

Support higher levels of automation and communication between IAM modules.

This includes access management, identity governance and administration, and privileged access management.

Implement customer data management policies that are more respectful of customer consent and preferences.

This is necessary to meet new and expanding privacy regulations and evolving customer expectations.

Why Implement IAM?

Identity and access management (IAM) is the process of ensuring every user on the network has the correct level of verification for using resources, secure data access, and additional information they need — nothing more. There are three core benefits of IAM.

Protect Your Business

Monitoring and verifying user access continuously allows businesses to understand who is inside the enterprise network and where they are attempting to access. Modern security solutions help identify anomalies and make managing permissions simple.

Enable Digital Transformation

Quickly enabling trusted user access to data resources, and applications is made possible for IT admins. Whoever you’re giving access to - enterprise users, third-party administrators, or consumers - the experience should be efficient and seamless.

Establish Full Compliance

The compliance landscape shifts frequently and businesses must be vigilant in their efforts to keep up — GDPR and PSD2 compliance caught many company owners off-guard in recent years. Manage access certifications and stay prepared to meet new compliance standards.


Traditional security often has one point of failure - the password. If a user's password is breached - or worse yet, the email address for their password recoveries - your organization becomes vulnerable to attack. IAM services narrow the points of failure and backstops them with tools to catch mistakes when they're made.


Once you log on to your main IAM portal, your employee no longer has to worry about having the right password or right access level to perform their duties. Not only does every employee get access to the perfect suite of tools for their job, their access can be managed as a group or role instead of individually, reducing the workload on your IT professionals.

"Companies need IAM to provide online security and to increase employee productivity."

What Does an IAM Implementation Strategy Include?

As a cornerstone of a zero-trust architecture, an IAM solution should be implemented using zero-trust principles such as least privilege access and identity-based security policies.

A key principle of zero trust is managing access to resources at the identity level, therefore having centralized management of those identities can make this approach much simpler. This could mean migrating users from other systems or at least synchronizing your IAM with other user directories within your environment such as a Human Resources directory.

Since securing at the identity level is key, an IAM should make sure that it is confirming the identities of those who are logging in. This could mean implementing MFA or a combination of MFA and adaptive authentication to be able to take into consideration the context of the login attempt: location, time, device, etc.

Users should only be given authorization to perform their required tasks and no more privilege than is necessary. An IAM should be designed to give users access to resources based upon their job role, their department or any other attributes that seem appropriate. As part of the centrally managed identity solution these policies can then ensure that resources are secure no matter where they are being accessed from.

A zero trust policy means that an organization’s IAM solution is constantly monitoring and securing its users identity and access points. In the past, organizations operated on a “once you’re in, you have access” policy, but zero-trust policies ensure that each member of the organization is constantly being identified and their access managed.

Not all accounts in an access management system are created equal. Accounts with special tools or privileged access to sensitive information can be provided a tier of security and support that suits their status as a gatekeeper for the organization.

IAM providers provide training for the users who will be most engaged with the product – including users and administrators – and often provide customer service for the long-term health of your IAM installation and its users.

IAM Technologies

Identity and access management (IAM) is the process of ensuring every user on the network has the correct level of verification for using resources, secure data access, and additional information they need — nothing more.

IAM system

An IAM system is expected to be able to integrate with many different systems. Because of this, there are certain standards or technologies that all IAM systems are expected to support: Security Access Markup Language, OpenID Connect, and System for Cross-domain Identity Management.

Security Access Markup Language (SAML)

SAML is an open standard used to exchange authentication and authorization information between an identity provider system such as an IAM and a service or application. This is the most commonly used method for an IAM to provide a user with the ability to log in to an application that has been integrated with the IAM platform

OpenID Connect (OIDC)

OIDC is a newer open standard that also enables users to log in to their application from an identity provider. It is very similar to SAML, but is built on the OAuth 2.0 standards and uses JSON to transmit the data instead of XML which is what SAML uses.

System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM)

SCIM is standard used to automatically exchange identity information between two systems. Though both SAML and OIDC can pass identity information to an application during the authentication process, SCIM is used to keep the user information up to date whenever new users are assigned to the service or application, user data is updated, or users are deleted. SCIM is a key component of user provisioning in the IAM space.


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