Identity and Access Management – A security domain project which is more a bane than a boon- Why? How to confront it?
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the IT security domain, Identity and Access Management is the weakest link. Today every business enterprise includes intricate and diverse information systems. Proliferation of personal computers and their networking has exponentially increased the number of systems that are accessed by various employees of the organization. Synchronizing the big chunk of user information with the several IT resources is the challenge faced by the entire heterogeneous environment. The fact that authentication, authorization, and administration must be controlled for every identity/user in the enterprise constitutes the core of Identity and Access Management.
What is Identity and Access Management: Whenever an employee or contractor joins a company, a unique user-id and password is assigned to this entity. All the information of this entity has to be fed into the network of packaged applications like HR, payroll, travel and others. Granting access to chosen systems like windows or UNIX, provisioning the user accounts in the respective platforms and revoking access of terminated employees are some of the key features to enhance security in the organization. Manual operation of the whole process retards the efficiency of the resources. Automation of the process ensures reduction in IT administration and help desk cost, improvises security and manifolds user productivity. This is where Identity and Access Management (IAM) Software comes as a saviour. It automates administrative tasks, such as resetting user passwords (password synchronization), approval tasks, such as generating a leave request via mail to the manager concerned, multiple application access authorization tasks and termination tasks such as annulling access rights off a resigned employee and much more. So no more cases of terminated employees having access to sensitive systems, no more burdening the employees by having them to remember multiple passwords ,write them on sticky notes and slip them under their keyboards. In an enterprise setting, identity management is used to reinforce security and maximize productivity, while shelving cost and redundant effort.Beyond this setting, Identity and Access Management technologies would also enable companies to trust the identities of suppliers, business partners and other outsiders who need secure access to their systems. Standards for global identity management are also being designed by the World Wide Web Consortium to link each user identity to their respective data.