How identity and access management can enhance cybersecurity

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The role of Identity and Access Management in cybersecurity has been on a steady rise. As of 2023, IAM is the second most popular topic discussed by security and risk management leaders who use Gartner’s client inquiry service.

In today’s age, where data breaches and cyberattacks are becoming increasingly predominant, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is important for individuals and organisations alike. Among the crucial elements of cybersecurity, Identity and access management stands out as a foundational pillar in safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining system integrity.

IAM encompasses strategies, policies, and technologies that facilitate the management of digital identities and their access to resources within an organisation’s information technology infrastructure. It revolves around controlling and securing users’ identities, authentication, authorisation, and privileges across various applications, systems, and networks. The core objective of IAM is to ensure that the right individuals access the right resources at the right time and for the right reasons. The following highlights the importance of IAM in cybersecurity.

IAM solutions help prevent unauthorised access to critical systems and sensitive data by enforcing strict authentication mechanisms such as multi-factor authentication, biometric authentication, and strong password policies. By implementing IAM practices, organisations can safeguard sensitive data from unauthorised disclosure, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation, Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

In terms of enhanced compliance and auditing, IAM solutions provide robust auditing capabilities, allowing organisations to track and monitor user access, generate compliance reports, and demonstrate adherence to regulatory standards during audits.

Some of the key components of Identity and Access Management include authentication which verifies the identity of users through credentials such as passwords, tokens, and biometrics. Another component is authorisation which determines the resources and services that authenticated users are permitted to access based on their roles, privileges and responsibilities.

User provisioning is another component of IAM and it involves creating, managing, and revoking user accounts and access rights throughout the user lifecycle. Single Sign-On allows users to access multiple applications and systems with a single set of credentials, enhancing user experience and reducing password fatigue.

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