With organizations increasingly adopting mobile applications and cloud services, the need for user identity and access management has never been more urgent. Software products for managing user identity cater to this need by allowing the right individual access to the right information at the right time. Products in this category not only help improve your security profile, but simplify reporting and auditing, reduces IT costs, and make accessing applications easier for authorized users. Key features of these products include multi-factor authentication, dynamic password management, access control, single sign-on, and the ability to instantly disable access. Read the full software guide...
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a foundation of guidelines used by IT teams and system administrators to make sure users have role-based access to applications, systems, networks, databases, and services. It involves a process that allows organizations to manage identities and assign the right personnel to the appropriate access privileges. As such, IAM plays a crucial role in the company’s or enterprise’s IT security strategy.
As businesses and organizations continue to expand, so do the databases, servers, and the number of applications they are using. With that growth, managing access to those resources becomes more and more important to ensure efficiency and security.
Access to an organization’s resources, whether they are applications, servers, files, databases, networks, or whatnot, is typically managed through IAM or IdM (Identity Management) solutions. These types of software solutions offer certain capabilities such as single sign-on, user management access control, provisioning, and governance to facilitate and streamline the entire identity and access management process.
Identity and access management software solutions employ a wide range of technologies, which normally include password management tools, security policy enforcement apps, provisioning software, reporting and analytics tools, monitoring solutions, and identity databases.
IAM (and/or IdM) solutions are available for cloud-based systems, as well as on-premise platforms. There are four distinct types of IAM/IdM solutions: manual IAM, homemade or in-house solutions, readymade or off-the-shelf solutions, and cloud-based solutions.
Manual Identity and Access Management Solutions:
Manual IAM solutions are still one of the most common methods of identity and access management practiced by the majority of businesses today, even though it is no longer the most effective or practical means of managing personnel access to company resources.
Manual solutions are appropriately named since they often involve requiring the individual within the company to manually perform IAM tasks. This could mean many things, including the need to contact a help desk in order to reset a password or acquire a new one, as well as obtain a different level of access.
This process generally requires paperwork and time-consuming reviews of user access permissions, which is detrimental to personnel workflows in today’s business landscape. A more streamlined approach to IAM is, therefore, what’s ideal in today’s environment.
In-House Identity and Access Management Solutions:
In-house IAM solutions, also known as homemade or on-premise IAM, generally refers to solutions that are designed and developed by the organization itself for their own use. This particular approach can be advantageous since companies can custom-fit the system to match their needs.
However, in-house solutions often burn through considerable man-hours and financial resources during the development process and all the way through the maintenance and future updates. In-house or on-premise solutions, as beneficial as they might be, can be a time and money pit if you’re not careful.
Most organizations that follow the in-house IAM approach typically are bigger companies with dedicated IT development teams whose job it is to develop custom software solutions. They have the time, manpower, and financial resources to support their IT projects. This is an unwieldy solution for small and medium-sized businesses, however.
Off-the-Shelf Identity and Access Management Solutions:
While in-house IAM solutions are custom-made to match the organization’s needs and preferences, commercial systems or off-the-shelf solutions are designed to cater to a wider range of consumers, from SMBs to small startups across multiple industries.
The commercial IAM approach can be a great way to automate the identity and access management process, especially for organizations with limited manpower and financial resources. The downside of this particular IAM solution, however, is the long-term contracts normally associated with the service.
When you consider the fact that infrastructure costs may increase quite often, it becomes more expensive to replace as your business grows dramatically. For this reason, it is vital to find the right commercial solution that suits not only the company’s current needs but its future endeavors as well.
Cloud-Based Identity and Access Management Solutions:
The cloud-based approach to identity and access management is the newest of all the IAM solutions available. It quickly grew to prominence due to a few simple factors: affordability, versatility, adaptability, and efficiency.
Cloud-based IAMs have great potential in terms of cost-efficiency and return on investment (ROI). By finding the right cloud-based solution, businesses and organizations can effectively reduce operation and personnel costs just by having a fully integrated and automated IAM solution, delivered via cloud services.
One of the main reasons why cloud-based solutions are so cost-effective is the fact that they often require low maintenance and, as a result, labor costs. More often than not, maintenance and labor expenses are already incorporated into the subscription cost of the service, which is nominal.
Thanks to the flexibility of cloud-based solutions, organizations won’t have to worry about employing dedicated IT teams to handle maintenance and updates since the service provider handles all of those on top of their other responsibilities. There are plenty of IAM products available on the market. The key is finding the right one to suit your individual needs.
Okta – This is an identity management-as-a-service solution, otherwise known as an IDaaS solution, which offers a wide range of functions and capabilities in the right organization.
OneLogin – A web-based service, OneLogin offers single sign-on and identity management solutions for businesses with cloud-based applications.
Centrify – Centrify serves as both an identity management (IdM) solution and an IT security platform, offering the ability to improve user productivity and secure access to a variety of applications.
Keeper – Keeper is an IAM product that aims to transform the way businesses, individuals, and organizations protect their digital assets, passwords, and access portals. With its various features and capabilities, users can significantly increase security and reduce cyber theft.
Gigya – Unlike many other IAM solutions, Gigya is designed for customer identification. It is an identity management platform best suited for businesses so they can identify and provide special privileges to their customers.
When it comes to software solutions, the cost of investment is always the main concern for the majority of businesses. How much is the software going to cost the company? Is the software solution worth the price? Although these questions are definitely valid, the cost is not the only deciding factor an organization has to consider when choosing a software product.
Looking at the product’s built-in functions, capabilities, and features are just as important as the price tag the service provider is asking. Consider the features and whether or not they meet your needs as a company or an individual user. Think about the software solution’s capabilities. Does it match the scope of your operation or the scale of your infrastructure?
At this point, most of the IAM products in the market are capable of providing access management, provisioning, administrative tools, reporting, and analytics.
What you need to be figuring out, however, is if the product supports multiple types of directories, such as Linux, Microsoft Active Directory, and LDAP, with full bi-directional synchronization. You need to make sure your application servers, line-of-business applications, and databases are indeed supported by the solution.
You should also consider the scalability and versatility of the IAM solution. As your business grows, your needs and preferences in terms of identity and access management are going to change. You need to make sure your IAM solution can be scaled to fit your growing needs.
Why are IAM or IdM software solutions important? That is the real question here, right? If you think about it, mobile, cloud, and IoT (internet of things) technologies are providing businesses the ability to become more efficient, agile, and scalable. But, with these capabilities comes the need for enhanced security and protection, especially for your customers and your company’s digital assets.
Security and protection have moved beyond your typical firewalls and physical barriers when conducting business, especially when you take into account the way people are doing business nowadays, using their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
To maintain the agility, efficiency, and scalability that cloud, mobile, and IoT technologies offer, you need a solution that can keep up with the demands required in today’s business environment. This is where IAM solutions play a crucial role.
Identity and access management software solutions provide organizations with a reliable platform to effectively manage personnel and customers’ access to various digital resources, applications, servers, databases, networks, and other services based on security policies and permissions.
|2-Factor Authentication||Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Batch Permissions & Access||Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Email Integration||Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Google Apps Integration||Integration with the G Suite, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, etc.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Password & Access Management||Manage passwords or access to systems for yourself or your organisation.|
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