What is IAM? Identity and Access Management Guide

What Is IAM? A definitive guide to the best IAM tools. From IAM in AWS to authentication for physical security, learn everything you need to know

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Businesses are falling under more and more pressure to protect confidential assets. However, individuals have access to more online data than ever before. The solution to this conflict lies in IAM.

By implementing Identity and Access Management Systems, businesses can control individual access rights. They can restrict or grant these depending on the exact user, location, and even time.

The extensive management capabilities IAM unlocks are particularly useful for businesses that have to adhere to specific user policies and regulations. So, let’s explore what exactly IAM is and outline its tools.

What is Identity and Access Management?

You may be wondering: what is IAM? In simple terms, Identity and Access Management is about ensuring that the right people gain access to the right information at the right time.

It does this by creating a digital identity for each user. When a user wants to access a certain material, they have to prove their identity via a method chosen by the owner.

Businesses can then decide whether or not that individual should be granted access. This allows them to manage who accesses their assets and how.

Let’s take Amazon Web Services, for example. What is IAM in AWS?

IAM is offered by AWS to allow companies to control the accessibility of their services or supplies. Users have to prove their identity before they can access that company’s AWS services. This results in better security for both parties, as well as improved efficiency for the company.

IAM ensures that sensitive material is only available to authenticated individuals. Thus, it protects confidential assets.

IAM Tools

Creating an effective IAM environment is not a one-step process. The techniques it uses need to consider, and sometimes counter, the increasing accessibility on the growing web.

Despite this, several IAM tools make managing online identity and access not only possible but straightforward.

Read on to learn about the most popular and effective techniques used by businesses today.


As simple as it may sound, the most common way of verifying a user’s identity is with a unique, personal password. It is a straightforward and familiar way of managing access.

Businesses can manage their users more securely by prompting them to make their passwords more complicated. For example, some institutions require passwords to contain letters, numbers, and symbols. This increases the security for both the user and the business.

Using passwords is a rather traditional method of managing access provisioning. Although it is widely used, there are far more thorough and reliable IAM tools out there.

Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA is an increasingly popular feature of Identity and Access Management systems. It forces users to verify their identity with two or more factors. These include something only they know (a password), something only they have (a device), and something that only they are (facial recognition).

Users are only granted access when they have provided multiple pieces of evidence to prove their identity. This reduces the risk of fraudulent activity and unauthorized individuals gaining access to sensitive information or resources.

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Behavioral Authentication

This type of user verification relies on an analysis of how an individual interacts with their webpages and even devices. This ranges from typing speed to keystroke dynamics, from finger pressure to navigational habits.

This data-driven tool analyzes behavioral patterns to create a unique profile for users. This means that if they diverge from these patterns, businesses can block their access to confidential assets.

So, what is Identity and Access Management behavioral authentication? It is simply the use of this method of verification to manage online identities and grant or deny access rights accordingly.

Identity Analytics

Identity Analytics (IA) processes online analytics and big data to assess the risk of granting a particular user access to certain assets.

It uses this assessment to perform a risk-based authentication of people trying to access the site. High-risk individuals can then be prompted to verify their digital identities by completing multi-factor authentication (MFA). This improves security and minimizes threats.

Identity analytics is a crucial tool for shaping a rigorous and effective IAM environment. The process is automated, and so reduces the risk that human error poses in access provisioning.

Single Sign-On

When individuals authenticate their digital identity on one platform, SSO transfers this verification to other networks and devices.

This minimizes security risks and improves the overall experience for users. This is because they are granted secure access automatically. It also allows businesses to strengthen identity management and protection by using tools such as MFA.

One of the most widely-used IAM tools, single sign-on can also be integrated with physical security management. On- or offline, SSO is a key factor in managing identity.

Customer Identity Access Management

A subdivision of IAM, CIAM deals with the identities of buyers on virtual stores and company sites. CIAM solutions gather data on customers for a number of reasons.

Firstly, to identify users when they access the site. This provides better security for both parties by guarding them against fraud and privacy breaches.

Secondly, this data can be used to perform customer analysis. This allows businesses to control each customer’s access to particular pages and services. Based on individual preferences, businesses can draw users to relevant areas of their site to improve their unique experience.

For customer relationship management, CIAM gives a clear advantage. Companies use this to provide a better service for their customers, as well as improve their own security.


It may be the last in this list, but biometrics plays an important role in answering the question: what is IAM?

It is a modern field that results in incredibly accurate authentication, whether the user is low- or high-risk. This is done by creating a user profile based on one’s unique biometric traits. These include, but are not limited to, fingerprint sensors, voice recognition, and facial scanning.

By collecting this unique data about users, businesses can quickly identify users. Confident in this verification, they can then manage individual access rights.

In a Nutshell

Maintaining digital security is essential in today’s technology-driven economy. Web security is easily compromised, and Identity and Access Management protects against this.

Businesses worldwide use the tools listed above to provide better, safer web experiences. The benefits of these are felt by both company and customer.

By creating a sort of digital signature for users, IAM promotes accuracy, efficiency, and security. Whether it is building a positive customer relationship or a risk-aware online environment, IAM provides the means to do so.

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