Identity Management Systems

What are Identity Management Systems, and Why Are They Important?

As organizations store more data online, the need for robust identity management systems becomes increasingly important. 

These systems ensure that only authorized users can access data, which helps to protect against catastrophic and irreversible cyberattacks. Cybersecurity executives are responsible for making sure their organization’s identity management system is effective and up-to-date. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key considerations when choosing an identity management system.

Identity management systems are designed to give organizations a way to manage user identities across multiple applications and devices. They provide a central repository for storing and managing user data, as well as a means of authenticating and authorizing users to access specific resources. Identity management systems track and control access to physical and digital resources. They also monitor and report on user activity.

Why is identity management important?

Identity management is important because it helps ensure that only authorized users can access the information and resources they need. It helps protect organizations from potential security threats by limiting access only to authorized users.

Additionally, identity management can help improve efficiency within an organization by streamlining the process of provisioning and managing user accounts. By automating these processes, organizations can save time and money that would otherwise be spent on manual tasks.

Identity management systems can provide organizations with a central repository for all user information. This makes it easier for users to access the information and resources they need since they only need to remember a single set of credentials.

Benefits of identity management

There are many benefits associated with identity management. By using an identity management system, organizations can: 

  • Improve security by reducing the risk of unauthorized access to resources
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations governing the use of data
  • Increase efficiency by automating the process of managing user identities
  • Reduce costs by eliminating the need for multiple systems to manage user data

What are the challenges of identity management?

Despite the many benefits associated with identity management, there are also many challenges that organizations should consider, including: 

  • Ensuring that data and credentials are accurate and up-to-date
  • Maintaining the security of user data
  • Managing user permissions and access levels
  • Accommodating different types of devices and applications

Identity management systems in enterprises

Identity management systems are often used by enterprises to manage large numbers of users and to automate many of the processes associated with user provisioning and access control. 

Enterprises typically use identity management systems to store data about employees, customers, and partners. Identity management systems can be used to create and manage user accounts. Organizations can also use them to assign permissions and privileges to users.

How identity management systems work

An Identity management system typically consists of three components:

  1. A repository for storing user data
  2. A means of authenticating and authorizing users
  3. A way to track and monitor user activity

The repository stores user information, such as their name, contact information, and login credentials. This information is used to authenticate and authorize users to access the system. The identity management system will also track and monitor user activity to detect and prevent unauthorized access.

The identity management system typically uses one of two methods for authenticating and authorizing users:

1. Role-based access control (RBAC)

RBAC is a method of authenticating and authorizing users based on their assigned roles. Roles are used to group users who have similar permissions and privileges. 

For example, all members of the “Administrators” role might have the same permissions, while members of the “Sales” role have different permissions.

2. Attribute-based access control (ABAC) 

On the other hand, ABAC uses attributes to authenticate and authorize users. Attributes describe the user, such as their name, position, or department. This information helps organizations determine the permissions and privileges the user should have. 

For example, a user with the “Manager” attribute might have different permissions than a user with the “Employee” attribute.

Which resources does IAM manage?

Identity management or identity and access management (IAM) systems can manage both physical and digital resources. Physical resources, such as buildings or equipment, can be controlled by using access control lists (ACLs). Digital resources, such as files or applications, can be controlled by using IAM systems.

Could my resources be in danger with the wrong identity management systems?

The short answer is yes—if not used correctly, your resources could be compromised. 

It is important to remember that identity management systems are only as secure as those who use them. Identity compromises are still possible, even with an identity management system.

Components of identity management systems

Identity management systems typically consist of the following components:

User data storage

This data can include usernames, passwords, email addresses, and phone numbers. Identity management systems can help to automate the process of storing this data, making it easier for organizations to manage their user information.

Authentication

Authentication is verifying that a user is who they claim to be. Identity management systems can help organizations verify the identities of their users.

Authorization

Authorization is the process of granting users access to the resources they need. Identity management systems can help organizations control which users have access to which resources.

Audit

An audit is the process of tracking and logging user activity. Identity management systems offer streamlined, automated auditing processes that help organizations see what their users are up to. 

How threat actors target identity management systems

Malicious cybercriminals can target identity management systems in many ways, including: 

Stealing user data

Threat actors can steal user data from identity management systems. This data can include sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Compromising authentication

Cybercriminals can compromise the authentication process of an identity management system, which allows them to gain access to resources that they should not have access to.

Disrupting authorization

Malicious actors can disrupt the authorization process of an identity management system. This can prevent users from accessing the resources they need.

Sabotaging audits

By sabotaging the audit process, threat actors can limit the visibility organizations have into the activity of their compromised users. This makes it easier for threat actors to evade detection and prosecution. 

Identity management systems can be a valuable tool for organizations. However, they can also be a target for cybercriminals. Organizations should be aware of the risks and take steps to protect their systems.

How organizations can protect their identity management systems from hackers

There are many steps organizations can take to protect their identity management systems from hackers, including:

Implementing security controls

Organizations should implement security controls such as authentication and authorization. Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) are two free solutions that can help organizations improve their security immediately.

Encrypting data

Organizations should encrypt sensitive data such as passwords and personal information. Encryption makes it difficult for threat actors to access valuable data.

Monitoring activity

Organizations should monitor activity on their identity management system and look for signs of tampering or unauthorized access.

By following these steps, organizations can improve their security and reduce the risks posed by bad actors.

The difference between identity management systems and identity management platforms

Identity management platforms are a type of identity management system that provides Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS). Whereas many software-as-a-service technologies have a built in identity management system for their own user authentication and authorization, identity management platforms are purpose-built to provide identity management as a single service across multiple technologies. 

Identity management platforms offer a cloud-based solution for managing user identities and resource access. They provide users with a single sign-on (SSO) experience, and they can be used to manage access to on-premises and cloud-based resources. 

Identity management platforms can also be used to provide users with a self-service experience, allowing them to reset their passwords or update their personal information.

There are many different identity management platforms available on the market, each with its unique features and pricing model.

Identity management systems and identity management platforms can be used to solve a variety of different problems, but not all systems are created equal. It is important to select an Identity Management Platform that is best suited for the specific needs of your organization.

Common Identity Management Platforms

Although there are many different identity providers (IdP) to choose from, there are a few that stand out as the most popular choices for organizations. Here are the most common identity management platforms:

Okta

Okta is an independent provider that serves enterprise-level organizations. Okta Identity Cloud helps some of the largest companies in the world stay connected and protected. It also provides secure access to apps, devices, and data for millions of people.

OneLogin

OneLogin is the identity management platform for secure, unified access to apps and data. The company provides IT professionals with a single, secure solution to control user access and manage identities, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Ping Identity

Ping Identity is the leading provider of identity and access management solutions. The company’s PingFederate and PingOne products enable single sign-on, identity federation, and identity as a service for enterprises and government organizations.

Microsoft Azure Active Directory

Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) is a cloud-based identity and access management service that provides a single sign-on experience for users of Microsoft Office 365 and other Microsoft online services. Azure AD also helps secure access to on-premises applications and resources.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is an online service that helps you securely control access to AWS resources. IAM lets you grant and revoke permissions for users to access AWS resources.

Google Cloud Identity Platform

Google Cloud Identity Platform is a set of tools and services that helps you manage user identities and access to your Google Cloud resources. It includes products such as Google Cloud Identity, Google Cloud Identity Aware Proxy, and Google Cloud Security Key Enforcement.

How do I know whether my business needs an identity management system?

Organizations should consider implementing an identity management system if they need to improve their security posture, increase their efficiency, or reduce their costs.

Characteristics of businesses without identity management systems

Organizations that do not invest in identity management often face the following challenges:

  • They lack a centralized repository for storing and managing user data.
  • They rely on a manual process for provisioning users and assigning permissions.
  • Data entry and tracking are manual.

How identity management systems can help

On the other hand, businesses with identity management systems have:

  • A centralized repository for storing and managing user data.
  • An automated process for provisioning users and assigning permissions.
  • An automated system for data entry and tracking.

The mechanisms identity management systems use

Identity management systems typically use one or more of the following mechanisms to manage user identities and access:

User provisioning

User provisioning is the process of creating and maintaining user accounts. Identity management systems leverage automation to make provisioning more streamlined and cost-effective at the enterprise level. 

When a team member joins or exits a company, provisioning rules can automatically open, close, or change the corresponding user account.

Access control

Access control is the process of managing who has access to what resources. Access control can pertain to a physical location, or it could mean controlling access to a specific resource.

Single sign-on (SSO)

SSO is a mechanism that allows users to authenticate once and gain access to multiple resources. Identity management systems can help to provide a seamless SSO experience for users so they can access the resources they need.

Identity federation

Identity federation is a mechanism that allows organizations to share user identities between different systems. Identity management systems can help to automate the identity federation process, making it easier for organizations to share user data between different systems.

These are just some of the ways that identity management systems can help to improve the security and efficiency of an organization. As we mentioned earlier, when selecting an identity management system, it is crucial to consider the needs of your organization and choose a system that is best suited for those needs.

Digital authentication tools

Digital authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or device. This is another process that identity management systems can automate. 

There are a variety of different digital authentication methods that organizations can use, including:

Credentials

The most common form of digital credentials is username and password. However, we have seen email addresses and phone numbers used more frequently for authentication in recent years.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication is a method of authenticating a user using two factors, such as a username and password, and a second factor, such as a fingerprint or token. 

The second factor blocks cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access to accounts. Even if they have lists of stolen credentials, it will be much harder for the criminals to hack into accounts with 2FA enabled because they don’t have the second factor.

Identity verification

Identity verification is a method of authenticating a user using information about their identities, such as their name, address, or date of birth. Security questions can also be used for identity verification.

Digital authentication is an important part of identity management and should be considered when selecting an identity management system.

Identity management systems and biometric authentication

Biometric authentication is a method of authenticating a user using their physical or behavioral characteristics. Organizations can use biometric authentication methods like:

Fingerprint recognition

Fingerprint recognition technology works by scanning an individual’s fingerprint and converting it into a digital template. This template can then be stored in a database and used for comparison purposes. When an individual wants to authenticate themselves, they will need to provide their fingerprint again. The system will then compare the two fingerprints and determine whether or not they match.

Identity Management Systems

 

Facial recognition

Facial recognition is a method of authenticating a user using their face. It is a technology that can identify individuals from images or videos. This technology is often used for security purposes, such as identifying people who are not authorized to enter a certain area. Facial recognition can also be used for marketing purposes, such as identifying potential customers in a crowd. 

Voice recognition

Voice recognition is a technology that can be used to verify the identity of an individual. This is achieved by recording the person’s voice and then using special software to compare the recorded voice with a known reference sample. If the two match, then the person’s identity can be confirmed.

Integration with other systems

Identity management systems typically need to be integrated with other systems, such as payroll, human resources, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Integration factors to consider

Identity management systems that can integrate with a variety of different systems are typically more flexible and can be adapted to the specific needs of an organization.

When selecting an identity management system, it is important to consider the other systems that it will need to be integrated with. Here are a few factors that will affect the success or failure of the integration:

Scalability

When selecting an identity management system, it is important to consider its scalability. Identity management systems that are able to scale easily can be adapted to the changing needs of an organization. 

Security

Security is an important consideration when selecting an identity management system. Identity management systems that have robust security features can help to protect the data of an organization and its users.

Price

The price of identity management systems can vary depending on the features and functionality you need. However, basic identity management systems can start as low as $500 per year. For more robust systems with more features, the price can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per year—or even more at the enterprise level.

Features

There are a few key features to look for when choosing an identity management system. These include the ability to:

  • Create and manage user accounts easily and efficiently
  • Control access to resources and applications based on user roles and permissions
  • Track and audit user activity
  • Integrate with other systems and applications
  • Provide a self-service portal for users to manage their own accounts
  • Support multiple user types, such as employees, contractors, partners, and customers

The identity management system you choose should be able to meet your organization’s needs. It should be scalable and flexible to grow with your business. It should also be easy to administer and update so you can get the most out of it.

How can I implement identity management systems in my enterprise?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because the implementation of identity management systems will vary depending on the specific needs of your organization. However, there are some general steps that you can take to implement identity management systems in your enterprise: 

1. Define your organizational needs

The first step is to define the needs of your organization. 

  • What are you trying to achieve with identity management? 
  • What systems need to be integrated? 
  • What are your scalability requirements? 

2. Select an identity management system

Once you have defined your organizational needs, you can begin selecting an identity management system. There are a variety of different options available, so it is important to select an identity management system that is right for your organization. 

3. Integrate the identity management system

Once you have selected an identity management system, you will need to integrate it with other systems in your organization. Identity management systems typically need to be integrated with payroll, human resources, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. 

4. Train your employees

After you have implemented an identity management system, you will need to train your employees on how to use it. Identity management systems can be complex, so it is important that your employees are properly trained on how to use them.

How fast can an employee learn an identity management system?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the specific identity management system that you are using. 

However, most employees should be able to learn the basics of an identity management system within a few days. more complex features of an identity management system may take longer for employees to learn. 

It is important to provide adequate employee training when implementing an identity management system.

Identity Management Systems

 

5. Monitor and adjust

After implementing an identity management system, you should monitor it closely and make adjustments. Identity management systems are not static; they must be adjusted as your organization grows and changes.

Identity management systems can be very complex. They need to be able to integrate with a variety of different systems, and they need to be able to scale as your organization grows. Implementing an identity management system can be a challenge, but it is a necessary part of any modern enterprise.

It is important to find an identity management system that strikes the right balance between complexity and simplicity. The best way to do this is to work with a vendor that specializes in identity management systems. They will be able to help you select the best system for your organization.

And what about the risks?

There are some risks associated with Identity Management Systems. These systems can be complex, and if they are not properly implemented, they can pose a security risk to an organization. Identity management systems can also be expensive, and they may require ongoing maintenance and support. However, if these risks are properly managed, identity management systems can help to improve the efficiency of an organization and keep its data safe.

How identity management systems help with compliance 

Organizations that use identity management systems can be sure that their data is accurate and up-to-date. Identity management systems can also help to prevent unauthorized access to data. By using these systems, organizations can help to protect their data and ensure that it is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.

How much does an identity management system cost?

The cost of an identity management system depends on many factors, including the size of the organization, the complexity of the system, and the features and functionality that are required. However, identity management systems can be expensive, and they may require ongoing maintenance and support.

Organizations should work with a vendor that specializes in identity management systems to get a system that is right for their needs. The vendor will be able to help organizations select an identity management system that is within their budget.

The dangers of choosing the wrong identity management system

When it comes to identity management, you get what you pay for. Cheap identity management systems might seem like a good deal, but they can often cause more problems than they solve. 

Here are some dangers of using the wrong identity management system:

Inadequate security

Cheap identity management systems might not provide adequate security for your organization. They might not offer features such as two-factor authentication or encryption. As a result, your organization could be at risk of data breaches and other security problems.

Poor performance

Cheap identity management systems might not perform well. They might be slow and unreliable. This could lead to disruptions in service and frustration for users.

Limited functionality

Cheap identity management systems might have limited functionality. They might not offer all of the features you need. You might have to purchase additional software to make up for the deficiencies of the identity management system.

High costs

A quality identity management system is well worth the investment. Before purchasing an identity management system, research its features and compare it to other options. Make sure that it offers the security, performance, and functionality that your organization needs. Also, be sure to consider the long-term costs of the system. Cheap identity management systems often cost more in the long run.

Vendors for identity management systems

Many vendors offer identity management systems. Some of these vendors include:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • SailPoint
  • RSA Security

Common identity management products

Many products are available for identity management systems. These products can build, manage, and monitor identity management systems. Some of these products include: 

  • IBM Identity Manager
  • Microsoft Identity Manager
  • Oracle Identity Manager
  • SailPoint IdentityIQ
  • RSA Security Access Manager

How the future looks for identity management systems

The future of identity management appears promising. As the world becomes more digital, the need for identity management systems will continue to grow. Identity management systems can help organizations to improve their efficiency and compliance. Additionally, they help organizations keep data safe and secure.

As the world increasingly goes digital, organizations will need to find ways to manage their digital identities. There are many different ways to do this, but all of them share one goal: to keep your data safe and secure.

Identity Management Systems

 

 

One way to improve identity security is through two-factor authentication (2FA). This is when you use two different methods to verify your identity, such as a password and a fingerprint. 2FA can help prevent criminals from accessing your data, even if they have your password.

Another way to improve security is by using encryption. Data is converted into a code so that only authorized people can read it. Encryption can make it much harder for criminals to access your data.

Finally, you can improve security by staying up-to-date on the latest security threats. By understanding how criminals might try to access your data, you can make it much harder for them to succeed.

How you can get started with identity management

If you are interested in implementing an identity management system, there are a few steps you need to take to get started. 

First, you need to identify the specific needs of your organization and then select an identity management system that meets those needs. 

Once you have selected a system, you need to deploy it and train your staff on how to use it. 

Finally, you must monitor and evaluate the system’s performance to ensure it meets your expectations. 

Oort will empower your team with real-time analytics and unmatched security

Oort is the most comprehensive identity management platform that combines security, compliance, and productivity in one easy-to-use solution. It is the only platform that offers a complete picture of your user identities, their activity, and the risk they pose to your organization.

With Oort, you can: 

  • Get real-time insights into the health of your user identities
  • Prevent identity-related attacks with our industry-leading security
  • Increase productivity with our easy-to-use compliance tools

Contact us to schedule a demo today.