How to Create an IAM Strategy

It is very common for employees to connect to a company’s network using their own devices. On the positive side, this enables employees to work from anywhere, but these devices are often unsecured. Hackers can easily compromise these devices, steal user identities and passwords, and break into company networks. Ensuring network users are who they say they are is vital to preventing cyber attacks.

One effective strategy that organizations use to better protect their networks is known as an identity and access management (IAM) strategy.

What is an IAM Strategy?

An identity and access management strategy is a framework of processes, policies, and technologies that enable organizations to manage and verify user identities. IT teams are able to control user access to networks and systems within an organization.

Some common tools and technologies that are used in IAM strategies are two-factor authentication, single sign-on systems, and privileged access management. A successful IAM strategy ensures that the right employees have access to the right IT tools at the right time.

How to Create an IAM Strategy

Every organization will likely take a slightly different approach to develop its IAM strategy. There are some general steps and guidelines that any organization can follow to ensure that its IAM strategy and implementation are successful.

1) Outline Organizational Needs

A company needs to be clear about what the IAM strategy will accomplish. Organizations have to understand the current state of the IT environment and infrastructure. A mom-and-pop donut shop has a much different IT environment than a construction company with 800 employees.

Cybersecurity teams should identify what users will be authenticated and why; what applications the organization uses; and where users and networks are located. Understanding the current state of an organization helps dictate what an IAM strategy can accomplish. IT teams should consider identifying credible stakeholders throughout the organization to ensure all user needs are met.

2) Develop Processes and Governance

Assigning responsibility for the operation and governance of the IAM strategy helps ensure that the initiative is successful. It is vital that an organization has the right talent to manage the IAM strategy, to be able to develop comprehensive processes and procedures to protect the company’s valuable data. Organizations need to ensure that their employees fully understand their roles and responsibilities within the IAM framework.

3) Build IAM Architecture

There are many IAM architectures that can be built out for an organization’s different needs. When designing the architecture, cybersecurity teams should consider everything that a user interacts with when performing their daily duties. Organizations need to also consider interactions with networks that are outside of their control. This helps cybersecurity teams choose the right tools and technologies when purchasing products.

Creating and implementing an identity and access management strategy is a difficult, but worthwhile initiative. An effective IAM strategy will help an organization reduce the number of cyber incidents it faces each year.