What is Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) defined

Identity and access management (IAM) manages the end-to-end lifecycle of user identities and entitlements across all enterprise resources, both in data centers and in the cloud. It is a foundational control of cloud security as it authenticates users and regulates access to systems, networks and data. Cloud identity manager grants users’ access and entitlements across a wide range of cloud and on-premises applications and services. Organizations can also enable a zero trust strategy to establish user identity. Cloud identity management services utilize open standards integration for reduced overhead and maintenance. The process involves validating user identities and their associated access rights to a particular system. IAM solutions provide tools to manage the digital identities of users and ensure appropriate access to company resources. The solutions enable administrators to track user activities, create reports on those activities, and enforce policies to ensure compliance.

What is identity management?

Identity management provides solutions for identity governance, access management, and directory services. Identity management helps organizations strengthen security, simplify compliance, and capture business opportunities around mobile and social access.

What is identity governance?

Identity governance manages users provisioning and deprovisioning, and provides actionable identity intelligence that enables rapid remediation of high-risk user entitlements. Self-service features allow users to initiate application onboarding for on-premises and cloud applications using Rest APIs and various connectors. Identity governance allows users to flexibly collect existing identities and their associated entitlements and roles for faster onboarding. Compliance processes are accelerated with certifications based on time, event, or organization. Assessments focus on high-risk entitlements or compliance-driven objectives (for example, SOX, and GDPR). Identity governance continuously scans the business to identify and remediate policies that impact the segregation of duties.

identity governance

What is access management?

Access Management delivers risk-aware, end-to-end multifactor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO) that integrates identities and systems across the cloud and on-premises. With access management, organizations gain flexibility to control access for existing enterprise platforms and support migration to cloud. Access management ensures policies follow the user regardless of the device and location to secure access to data anywhere, anytime, from any device. Access management features provide adaptive authentication reducing the risk by increasing login requirements for users based on device, location, and behavior when access is deemed high-risk. These context-aware policies and authorization capabilities are designed to address security threats to business-critical data.

access management

What are directory services?

Directory Services provide multiple deployment options and allow ISVs to bundle the directory into their applications. A unified directory provides elastic scalability to support growth without unnecessary over-provisioning, and easily expands without impacting the existing service. Directory services provide architectural flexibility and optimization, accelerate identity management projects and applications deployments and reduce total cost of ownership.

Why is IAM important?

IAM is a critical tool for protecting enterprise resources against cybersecurity threats. IAM systems ensure consistency of user access rules and policies across an organization, while also ensuring entitlements to resources are accurately applied as users change roles within the organization. Without automated monitoring of resources and activity, organizations become vulnerable to compromised users and data breaches. This is often at risk due to challenges of over-privileged access rights that have not been effectively managed. It is an essential tool for cloud environments to help manage the consistency of access between on-premises data centers and numerous cloud services. To prevent against identity-based attacks, organizations need an IAM strategy to enable greater visibility into company users and activity.

Key functions of IAM

IAM solutions provide role-based access control, enabling administrators to regulate access to systems or networks for individual users. Its core purpose involves capturing user information, managing user identities, and orchestrating access privileges with an eye on managing the lifecycle of the identity. Key functions include:

  • Identity governance: Manages the user account lifecycle including entitlements and provisioning.
  • Access management: Controls unified access policies often with single sign-on (SSO) and Multifactor authentication (MFA) enablement.
  • Directory services: Centralized and consolidated credential management and synchronization.
  • User provisioning: Automates creation and assignment of new user accounts.
  • Identity analytics: Detects and prevents suspicious identity activities through machine learning.
  • Single sign-on (SSO): Provides the consolidation of user password and credentials behind a single account with strong password enablement to simplify access to services.
  • Multifactor authentication (MFA): Steps up authentication in the form of secondary authentication controls to ensure the authenticity of users and reduce exposure from stolen credentials.
  • Risk-based authentication: Uses algorithms to calculate risks of user actions. Blocks and reports actions with high risk scores.
  • Identity governance and administration (IGA): Reduces the risk that is associated with excessive access and privileges by controlling entitlements.

See an overview of Oracle Identity Management.

See an overview of Oracle Identity Management video

Advantages of IAM

The main benefits of IAM are centered on automation, security, and governance. Together, these capabilities can enhance a company’s competitive advantage and business agility. Automating IAM systems enables greater operational efficiency by reducing the time and resources required to manually manage user access, while reducing risk of human error. By having a simple cloud identity management process, IAM also encourages the integration of consistent data access controls for organizations to extend across a variety of on-premises, mobile and cloud services. This drives stronger collaboration and elevated insights across the business. With well-managed identities, IAM also enables greater control over user access, which reduces risks of data breaches.

Today’s companies are increasingly adopting remote work practices, which puts IT resources at risk when not properly regulated. IAM systems allow organizations to remain secure and compliant within shifting business models for greater agility.

How does Oracle assist with IAM and the cloud?

Oracle Identity Management enables organizations to effectively manage the end-to-end lifecycle of user identities and access across all enterprise resources, both on-premises and in the cloud. Identity tasks are streamlined reducing the need for repetitive user, role, and group changes across multiple environments. The Oracle Identity and Access Management platform delivers scalable solutions for identity governance, access management and directory services. Oracle’s platform helps organizations strengthen security, simplify compliance, and capture business opportunities around cloud and enterprise systems. Oracle provides identity and access solutions that are designed to help businesses on their cloud journey whether they’re cloud-focused, or maintaining a diverse ecosystem of services in their own data center.