What is identity and access management?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) encompasses the strategies used to ensure that only authorized individuals can enter an organization’s cloud and digital assets at the appropriate times and for valid purposes. IAM is like the vigilant gatekeeper of the digital world, ensuring that only those with the correct credentials and roles can access vital information and resources in the organization’s possession.

Let’s explore the importance of IAM, how it works, and why every organization – big or small – needs to implement effective IAM strategies. 

IAM components

IAM is made up of several integral components, each serving a distinct purpose in the security ecosystem:

  • Authentication: This is the process of verifying an individual’s identity. It involves enlisting user names, passwords, biometrics, or multi-factor authentication techniques.
  • Authorization: Once a user’s identity is confirmed, authorization comes into play. It dictates what actions or resources a specific user can access. This is often based on predefined roles or permissions.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO): Streamlines user access by allowing them to authenticate once and then use that validation across multiple systems or applications. This enhances user convenience while safeguarding security.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Allocates permissions based on specific organizational job roles or functions. These identity and access management policies guarantee that users are only granted access necessary for their designated tasks. 

Why is IAM important?

IAM plays a critical role in modern cybersecurity for several reasons:

  • Security: IAM is a robust defense against unauthorized entry to sensitive information, mitigating potential data breaches. It assures that only duly authorized individuals can access particular resources.
  • Compliance: Many industries have regulations that require companies to control who has access to certain information. IAM helps companies meet these requirements.
  • Efficiency:  IAM systems can streamline access management, automating the assignment and removal of privileges. This not only cuts down on administrative expenses but also boosts overall productivity.
  • User Experience: Through the adoption of SSO, individuals authenticate just once and gain entry to all requisite systems. This significantly elevates their interaction with the platform.
  • Insights: IAM systems can provide valuable insights into user behavior, which can be used to enhance security and efficiency further.

IAM technologies and tools

Here are some of the IAM tools and technologies:

  1. Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML): With SAML, once a user successfully authenticates, SAML notifies other applications, confirming the user’s verified identity. This is particularly important because SAML operates seamlessly across various operating systems and devices, facilitating secure access in diverse contexts.
  2. OpenID Connect (OIDC): OIDC enhances OAuth 2.0 by adding an identity layer to the authorization framework. These tokens can be encrypted and include details like the user’s name, email address, birthday, or photo. OIDC is especially valuable for authenticating users in mobile games, social media platforms, and various applications.
  3. System for Cross-Domain Identity Management (SCIM): SCIM is instrumental in standardizing user identity management across many applications and solutions. It addresses the challenge of varying requirements for user identity information among different providers. 
  4. Unique Passwords: Organizations can enforce longer or more complex password requirements, including combinations of letters, symbols, and numbers. However, managing multiple unique passwords can be burdensome for users without access to a centralized Single Sign-On (SSO) system.
  5. Biometrics: Modern IAM systems leverage biometrics for highly accurate authentication. Biometrics capture a range of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, irises, faces, palms, gaits, voices, and sometimes DNA. Implementing biometrics at scale can also entail significant software, hardware, and training costs.


Entro offers a comprehensive solution for detecting, safeguarding, and enriching secrets across various platforms, including vaults, code repositories, and collaboration tools. Unlike traditional secrets management tools, Entro provides total visibility over secrets no matter where they reside in your cloud estate. Entro alerts you to IAM violations and suspicious activity, so you’re never caught by surprise when secrets misuse does inevitably occur.

In an era where secrets-based cyber attacks pose a significant threat, organizations must prioritize secrets management and security. With Entro, organizations can reclaim control over their secrets by leveraging a holistic secrets security platform that provides total visibility over secrets. By implementing effective IAM practices and leveraging a purpose-built secrets security solution, organizations can significantly enhance their security posture and mitigate the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

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