IAM Definition & Meaning

An acronym for Identity and Access Management, IAM in enterprise IT defines and manages the roles and access privileges of individual network users and the circumstances in which users are granted or denied those privileges. IAM is used to control user access to critical information within an organization. Technologies for IAM include password management tools, two-factor and multi-factor authentication, provisioning software, and reporting and monitoring apps. For any enterprise, IAM is crucial in order to become significantly more agile in supporting business initiatives and meeting ever-changing compliance requirements.

Enterprises have traditionally deployed IAM systems on-premises, but most organizations have made the move towards a cloud-based subscription or hybrid model. A few features of IAM include biometrics, behavior analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Components of IAM

An IAM system should:

  • Capture and record user login information
  • Manage enterprise databases of user identities
  • Arrange assignment and removal of access privileges
  • Provide a central directory
  • Manage digital identities of devices and applications
  • Restrict access to subsets of data based on specific roles.

IAM benefits

  • IAM allows companies to extend access to its IT systems across multiple components without compromising security.
  • The number of help desk calls to IT support regarding password resets are decreased because they can be automated.
  • Internal and external breaches are reduced because control of user access is greater.
  • IAM systems strengthen compliance by providing tools to implement security, audit, and access policy.
  • IT management is streamlined and ROI is enhanced.

Before an IAM system is implemented, businesses should identify who will play a lead role in developing, enacting, and enforcing identity and access policies.

Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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