Best Practices for Effective ‘Identity and Access Management (IAM)’ Implementation

By Veritis

Best IAM Practices

Many organizations’ security plans now must include (IAM) as a crucial component. As a result, businesses must ensure that their IAM tools and processes are properly configured to gain the most significant security benefits.

Every organization has different needs and risk tolerances, making it challenging to implement an effective IAM program. However, there are a few fundamental steps that IAM security teams can take at organizations of all sizes and in all sectors to master IAM.

By enforcing best practices for identity and access management framework, you can determine who has access to sensitive information and under what circumstances. To keep track of all of your components for potential threats both now and in the future, you will need a comprehensive overview of your company’s IT infrastructure.

Identity and access are the two main entry points for any cyber threat incident. With the growth of digital adoption and the expansion of cloud storage, this risk vulnerability has grown even more. That’s when the Identity and Access Management solutions extends the helping hand!

From fulfilling the requirements of leading compliance regulations through successful audits to addressing many emerging IT security risks, IAM solutions help you in many ways.

But the results in IAM are purely dependent on how you implement your IAM program as part of your IT security policy.

Before delving deep into the 12 identity and access management best practices that serve as the guide for successful Identity and Access Management (IAM) implementation, let’s have a look at What is Identity and Access management.

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What is IAM?

Identity and access management, also known as IAM, is a framework of business procedures, laws, and technological advancements that makes managing digital or electronic identities easier. IAM frameworks allow information technology (IT) managers to manage user access to sensitive data within their organizations.

Single sign-on systems, two-factor authentication, multifactor authentication, and privileged access management are examples of the systems used for IAM technology. Furthermore, these technologies provide the capability of safely storing identity and profile data and data governance features to ensure that only information that is required and pertinent is shared.

IAM systems may be set up on-premises, made available by a third-party vendor under a subscription-based cloud model, or set up in a hybrid model.

IAM configuration fundamentally consists of the following elements:

  • Understanding the distinction between identity management and authentication can help you better comprehend how people are identified in a system.
  • How roles are defined in a system, and how people are given those roles.
  • Updating, deleting, and adding people’s roles in a system.
  • Granting different levels of access to specific people or groups of people; and
  • Both safeguarding the system’s sensitive data and maintaining system security.

The Importance of IAM

There is more organizational and governmental pressure on business executives and IT departments to protect access to corporate resources. As a result, they can no longer manually assign and track user privileges and are prone to error processes. These tasks are automated by IAM services, making it possible to audit and control granular access to all corporate assets on-site and in the cloud.

IAM, which has a long list of features that keeps growing and includes biometrics, behavior analytics, and AI, is well suited to the challenges of the new IAM security environment. For instance, IAM’s strict control over resource access in highly dispersed and dynamic environments is in line with the industry’s shift from firewalls to zero-trust models and with the IoT’s security requirements. For more details on the future of IoT security, check out this video.

IAM is a technology that businesses of all sizes can use, despite the misconception among IT experts that it is only appropriate for larger firms with higher budgets.

Identity and Access Management Best Practices

Identity and Access Management (IAM) Best Practices

1) Clearly Define IAM Vision

The critical fundamental for successful Identity and Access Management (IAM) implementation is understanding it as a combination of technology solutions and business processes to manage identities and access corporate data and applications.

  • Start to tie in business processes with your IAM program from the concept stage itself.
  • Build your current and future IT capabilities, such as cloud-based implementations based on the current IT and network infrastructure.
  • Engineer the roles between users and applications regarding privileges, rules, policies, and constraints.
  • Map access privileges to business roles, identify excessive privileges, accounts, and redundant/dead groups.
  • Make sure to fulfill all auditing requirements to be in line with compliance regulations, privacy, and data governance policies. This will help the teams make informed decisions.
  • Take the enterprise-wide approach in implementing authorization procedures, security, and management, integration across domains part of your IAM architecture.

2) Develop A Strong Foundation

This requires a comprehensive evaluation of IAM product capabilities and its sync with organizational IT. This should be followed by an effective risk assessment of all organizational applications and platforms.

The assessment should ideally cover:  

  • Comparison between standard and in-house, and their versions
  • Identification of OS, third-party apps currently in use and mapping with the functionalities offered by the IAM program
  • Customizations made to fulfill new requirements
  • Technological capabilities and limitations

Don’t forget to involve IAM Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in standardizing and enforcement of the IAM policy.

3) Stage-wise Implementation

Based on the first two practices, the IAM program should be implemented. A stage-wise procedure is recommended to avoid complexities in the IAM implementation process.

Useful Link: Identity and Access Management Solution Implementation: A Stepwise Process

4) Stakeholder Awareness

Unlike usual training sessions, the IAM program-related stakeholder awareness program should cover detailed training on the underlying technology, product abilities, and scalability factors.

Each IAM solution implementation awareness program should have an approach tailored to the requirements of different user communities.

More than anyone, IT teams require detailed know-how of the IAM program and its core activities. Even the Operations team should be aware of the capabilities across different stages of the IAM lifecycle.

The training process should be a continuous activity and should happen in tandem with the changing processes or emerging capabilities.

5) Consider Identity as Primary Security Perimeter

Organizations should shift from the traditional focus on network security to considering identity as the primary security perimeter. With the explosion of cloud and remote working culture, network perimeter is becoming increasingly porous, and perimeter defense can’t be effective. Centralize security controls around user and service identities.

6) Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all your users, including administrators and C-suite executives. It checks multiple aspects of a user’s identity before allowing access to an application or database, instead of regular sign-in aspects. MFA is an integral part of identity and access management.

7) Establish Single Sign-On

Organizations must establish Single Sign-On (SSO) for their devices, apps, and services so users can use the same set of credentials to access the resources they need, wherever and whenever. You can achieve SSO by using the same identity solution for all your apps and resources, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

8) Implement Zero-Trust Policy

The zero-trust model assumes every access request as a threat until verified. Access requests from both inside and outside of the network are thoroughly authenticated, authorized, and scrutinized for anomalies before granting permission.

9) Enforce a Strong Password Policy

Implement an organization-wide password policy to ensure users set strong passwords for access. Make sure that employees update their passwords regularly and avoid using sequential and repetitive characters.

10) Secure Privileged Accounts

Securing privileged accounts is imperative to protect critical business assets. Limiting the number of users having privileged access to the organization’s critical assets reduces the chance of unauthorized access to a sensitive resource. You must isolate the privileged accounts from the risk of being exposed to cybercriminals.

11) Conduct Regular Access Audits

Organizations must regularly conduct access audits to review all the granted accesses and check if they are still required. As users often request additional access or want to revoke their access, these audits help you manage such requests accordingly.

12) Implement Passwordless Login

Passwordless login is the process of authenticating users without the need for a password. It prevents scenarios where cybercriminals leverage weak and repetitive passwords to gain access to the network. Passwordless login can be implemented through various approaches, including email-based login, SMS-based login, and biometrics-based login.

These 12 best practices help in the smooth and seamless implementation of an IAM program.

Useful Link: | Effective Identity Access Management Audit Checklist

A cost-effective IAM program can also be achieved through: 

  • In-depth requirement analysis as a combination of information gathering and perfect scope definition
  • Effective design backed by a perfectly planned architecture and solution design
  • Robust development through perfect process setup and effective integration
  • Streamlined production roll-out with seamless migration from User Acceptance Testing to live release
  • Effective support and maintenance through proper training, post-production, and enhancements

Most IAM programs fail due to ineffective management in either single or all stages of implementation. This is where the above listed IAM best practices help in the smooth implementation of an IAM program.

Looking for Identity and Access Management Implementation Support in US?

Looking for Identity and Access Management Implementation Support in US

Although the identity and access management sector is constantly evolving, some core IAM best practices can help your business develop its IAM strategy. Expand your IAM architecture and fortify your security posture using these best practices.

Security experts may restrict access to endpoints and minimize the attack surface on corporate networks with the appropriate Identity and Access Management systems. As a result, they can simplify life for legitimate users while monitoring user privileges, preventing unwanted access, and reducing the danger of damaging data breaches. This is where Veritis comes in place.

Choosing Veritis for IAM Solutions implementation is a good option for the following reasons:  

  • IAM Subject Matter Expertise support
  • Strategic IAM roadmap and design
  • Minimized risk scope in modifying IAM architecture designs
  • Quicker product evaluation
  • Expected ROI and enhanced user experience
  • Tailored solutions for smooth roll-out
  • Effective application on-boarding
  • Easy and effective migration
  • Seamless deployment of environments

Veritis, the Stevie Award Winner, can assist your business with the immediate implementation of identity and access management through our extensive infrastructure access platform.

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FAQ’s About Identity and Access Management Implementation

IAM solutions are necessary because it stops data breaches and keep hackers away from stealing users’ credentials. It provides assurances and can help to track the employee activity.

Five things to consider when picking an identity management solution and they are:

  1. Industry
  2. Company size and user base
  3. Priority abilities
  4. Identify the current and future environment
  5. Identify and document all applications

There are multiple benefits of using IAM in companies, and some are:

  1. Easily accessible anywhere
  2. It optimizes user experience
  3. It secures your brand at all levels
  4. It allows connection between different paths
  5. Reduced IT costs
The role of IoT in access and identity management is to focus on identifying users and managing access to different data types like device data, sensitive data, or non-sensitive data.
Identity as a Service (IDaaS) is a cloud-hosted services approach built and operated by a third-party provider for identity and access management (IAM). An application delivery model permits users to connect IAM services from the cloud.
There are numerous positives to IDaaS. Some are accelerated time to value, Single Sign-on (SSO) allows users to prefer strong passwords to access their everyday IT services , shift the cost and decrease complexity, provide flexibility, cut risks, and foster hybrid environments.

There are some best IAM solutions to help you identify the right platform for your business, and a few are Duo Beyond, Thales, Ping Identity SSO, JumpCLoud, and Tenfold.

But, it is tough to select the right IAM solution without acknowledging the nuances of the existing tools. It is wise to rope in Veritis to advise you on which IAM solution is right for you.

There are five best practices for implementing identity and access management

  1. Clearly define the IAM vision
  2. Implement a zero-trust policy
  3. Secure privileged accounts
  4. Enforce a firm password policy
  5. Implement password less login

The primary goal of customer identity and access management (CIAM) is to guide companies to deliver a great experience to clients and protect their users’ data.

In addition, it is built to manage and protect external identities such as partners, citizens, customers, contractors, and APIs.

Identity and access management (IAM) and CIAM are two basic models to manage digital identities, ensuring secure transactions, authenticating users, and controlling users.

The major difference between IAM and CIAM is that the former manages internal security, and the latter manages external identities for IT services.

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