Identity Access Management: An Overview 

What is Identity Access Management? 

Identity Access Management (IAM) is a security framework that focuses on ensuring that the right people have access to the right resources at the right time. IAM systems are designed to help organizations manage user access to applications, systems, and data. 

The core components of an IAM system typically include user provisioning, identity authentication, access control, and audit and reporting capabilities. User provisioning involves creating and managing user accounts, defining user roles and permissions, and assigning access rights to specific resources. 

Identity authentication involves verifying the identity of users and ensuring that they are who they claim to be. This can involve multiple factors such as passwords, biometrics, smart cards, and security tokens. 

Access control involves defining and enforcing policies that determine what resources users can access and what actions they can perform with those resources. Access control policies can be based on user roles, group membership, job functions, or other criteria. 

Finally, IAM systems typically include audit and reporting capabilities that enable organizations to track user activity, identify potential security threats, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Overall, IAM plays a critical role in ensuring the security and integrity of an organization’s IT environment, by helping to minimize the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security incidents. 

How does Identity Access Management benefit SMBs in ‘high trust’ sectors?  

Improved security: IAM helps SMBs to implement a strong security framework by controlling user access to resources, monitoring user activity, and enforcing access policies. This can help to prevent data breaches, identity theft, and other security incidents. 

Increased productivity: By automating the process of user provisioning and access management, IAM can help SMBs to reduce the time and effort required to manage user access to resources. This can lead to increased productivity and efficiency. 

Compliance with regulations: Many high trust sectors are subject to strict regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA in healthcare and PCI DSS in finance. IAM can help SMBs to ensure compliance with these regulations by providing audit trails, access controls, and other security measures. 

Simplified management: IAM can help SMBs to centralize user access management across multiple applications and systems. This can simplify the management of user accounts, reduce the risk of errors, and provide a consistent user experience. 

Cost savings: By automating user provisioning and access management, SMBs can reduce the cost of managing user accounts and access permissions. This can lead to significant cost savings over time. 

What are some trends in Identity Access Management? 

Identity as a Service (IDaaS): IDaaS is a cloud-based IAM solution that enables organizations to manage user identities and access from a central location, without the need for on-premises hardware or software. IDaaS offers several benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and ease of use. 

Zero Trust: The Zero Trust model is a security approach that assumes that all users and devices, both inside and outside the organization’s network, are untrusted. IAM solutions are playing a critical role in implementing Zero Trust, by providing identity-based access control, multifactor authentication, and continuous monitoring. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML are being used to improve IAM by enhancing authentication methods, detecting anomalies, and automating access requests. AI and ML can also help to identify and mitigate potential security threats in real-time. 

Passwordless Authentication: Passwordless authentication methods, such as biometrics and security keys, are becoming increasingly popular as a way to enhance security and convenience. Passwordless authentication can also help to reduce the risk of password-related attacks. 

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC): GRC is an essential component of IAM, as it helps organizations to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and minimize the risk of security breaches. IAM solutions are increasingly incorporating GRC features, such as risk analysis and compliance reporting. 

What are some best practices in Identity Access Management? 

Develop a comprehensive IAM strategy: Before implementing an IAM solution, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive strategy that outlines your organization’s IAM goals, objectives, and requirements. The strategy should also include a roadmap for implementing IAM and metrics for measuring success. 

Follow the principle of least privilege: The principle of least privilege means that users should be granted only the access permissions necessary to perform their job functions. This can help to reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. 

Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA is an essential component of IAM, as it provides an additional layer of security beyond passwords. MFA should be implemented for all users, including employees, contractors, and third-party partners. 

Regularly review access permissions: Access permissions should be regularly reviewed to ensure that users have only the access they need to perform their job functions. Access reviews should be conducted on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually. 

Implement identity governance: Identity governance involves managing the lifecycle of user identities, including creating, updating, and deleting user accounts. It also includes managing access requests, approvals, and revocations. Implementing identity governance can help to ensure that user access is managed in a consistent and compliant manner. 

Regularly monitor user activity: Monitoring user activity can help to detect potential security threats and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. User activity should be monitored in real-time, and alerts should be triggered for suspicious activity. 

Train employees on IAM best practices: Employees should be trained on IAM best practices, including password security, MFA, and the importance of reporting suspicious activity. 


Altourage is a client-obsessed managed service provider, offering IT and Cybersecurity services to clients in ‘high-trust’ sectors, including Financial Services, Professional Services and Nonprofit Organizations.  

We offer both fully managed and co-managed services – customizing our services or integrating with our clients’ existing teams to build successful long-term partnerships.