What is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and access management (IAM) tools have come a long way over the past decade. Unfortunately, as security capabilities and functionalities have evolved, so have the strategies hackers use to break through them. Data breaches are on the rise, and the average global cost of a breach in 2023 is $4.45 million. That’s an increase of 15% over the last three years. 

This isn’t just a financial burden; it can also result in reputational damage that’s challenging to overcome. That’s why it’s critical to implement robust IAM solutions that ensure only the right people have access to your systems, data, and resources, as well as those of your clients. 

How Identity and Access Management Keeps Your Data Safe

A staggering 74% of data breaches are caused by human elements such as poor password practices, misuse of privilege, or stolen credentials. Identity and access management mitigates these risks using both identity verification (strengthening and protecting user credentials) and privileged access management (preventing unauthorized access to privileged information). 

Here are five ways IAM solutions help you reduce risk, protect sensitive data, and minimize the cost of a breach.

1. Protect Sensitive Data

IAM is the linchpin of modern cybersecurity strategies, implementing a range of robust access controls and authentication mechanisms to keep sensitive data safe. Here are three ways this is accomplished:

  • Managing Access with Least Privilege
    The principle of least privilege ensures that users have access only to the data and resources necessary for their roles. Even if an unauthorized user gains access to the system, they are limited in what they can do, reducing the risk of data exposure.
  • Authenticating User Credentials
    IAM solutions incorporate robust authentication methods such as password management and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to verify the identity of users. These tools add extra layers of security by ensuring strong passwords, enforcing password best practices, and implementing multiple verification factors.
  • Logging and Auditing
    By maintaining detailed logs of user activities, IAM solutions make it possible to track who accessed sensitive data and when. This audit trail is invaluable in identifying and investigating any suspicious activities.

2. Reduce Human Error

In addition to enhancing security, IAM also addresses the human error aspect by automating and simplifying access management. Privileged access management and password management are two of the most important tools you can implement to accomplish this goal. 

  • Privileged Access Management
    Privileged access management (PAM) tools automate the process of granting access to privileged information and ensure that only authorized people receive appropriate access without manual intervention. IT managers can define roles and access permissions based on specific user roles and job responsibilities to easily manage and secure admin rights.
  • Password Management:
    Password management tools enforce strong password policies, including regular password changes and complexity requirements. They encrypt and store passwords, create strong unique passwords for each account or application, and reduce the likelihood of weak passwords leading to breaches. Many password managers also monitor password activity online so you’ll know immediately if those passwords show up in a data breach or on the dark web. 

3. Streamline IT Workload

PAM solutions reduce the burden of access management for your IT staff by automating the process of granting and revoking access. Using whitelisted rules and lifecycle events (e.g., when an employee leaves the company), IT managers can set up policies that govern access changes and ensure that access aligns with user status. In addition, many IAM systems enable users to request and manage their access rights through self-service portals. These requests can be granted with the touch of a button in real-time, with no need for submitting a formal ticket. 

Password managers can also reduce the workload for your IT staff by monitoring and auditing password use and making it easy to enforce password policies. 

4. Reduce Costs 

IAM solutions dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing a data breach. By preventing breaches and limiting their scope if they do occur, you can avoid the high costs associated with these security events which may include legal fees, recovery costs, forensics, and more. In addition, IAM systems help you meet regulatory requirements and avoid the fines and penalties associated with non-compliance.

5. Reduce Impact if a Breach Occurs

IAM plays a crucial role in containing the impact of security incidents if and when they do occur. The right tools can swiftly revoke access for compromised accounts, isolate the breach and prevent further unauthorized access, and minimize damage by limiting the  attacker’s ability to move laterally within the network. Systems can also trigger alerts in response to suspicious activities so that  IT teams can respond quickly to mitigate the breach’s impact before the incident escalates.

Securing Your Future with Identity and Access Management

By reducing password breaches and restricting access to critical systems and data, identity and access management solutions limit the potential damage caused by malicious insiders or external attackers. As part of a well-rounded cybersecurity strategy, these solutions significantly reduce your risk and help you protect your clients. 

At CyberFOX, we offer cutting edge password management and privileged access management solutions to elevate your cybersecurity strategy and keep your data safe. Contact us today to start a free trial!