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Why Identity Access Management (IAM) Is So Important?


Anshul Chaudhary | January 3, 2023  I  5 min read

Why Identity and Access Management is So Important

In today’s quickly evolving cybersecurity landscape, Identity and Access Management platforms are no longer a nice-to-have – they are an absolute requirement for organizations.  

In this post, we’ll cover why IAM is so critical in today's cybersecurity landscape, touching on the top cybersecurity threats to organizations today and how IAM solutions help mitigate them.

Top cybersecurity threats to organizations today

Here are the top cybersecurity concerns that organizations are battling today:

  • Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware attacks occur when attackers breach an organization, stealing and/or encrypting sensitive company data and holding it for ransom.
  • Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks: Phishing, a form of social engineering, involves tricking individuals into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware on their device. This threat has become more sophisticated, with attackers using personalized and context-aware tactics (spear phishing) to target specific individuals or organizations.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: Supply chain attacks target less-secure elements in a supply network to compromise a larger organization. This can involve infiltrating a third-party vendor or software provider to gain access to the primary target's systems and data. The most famous example of this is the 2013 Target data breach in which hackers breached an HVAC vendor and an employee’s credentials to access Target’s systems.
  • Insider Threats: Insider threats, whether intentional or accidental, stem from individuals within the organization who have access to sensitive systems and data. Malicious insiders might steal data for personal gain or sabotage, while accidental threats often involve employees unknowingly engaging in risky behaviors, like clicking on a phishing link or mishandling data.
  • Cloud Security Vulnerabilities: For organizations that increasingly rely on cloud services, cloud security vulnerabilities have become a significant concern. Misconfigurations, inadequate access controls, and compromised cloud service accounts can lead to data breaches. Additionally, the shared responsibility model in cloud computing often leads to ambiguity about security responsibilities, leaving gaps in protection.

It's important to note that these threats are not static; they evolve rapidly as attackers develop new methods and as new technologies emerge. Organizations must continuously adapt their cybersecurity strategies to address the ever-changing threat landscape effectively.

Why Identity and Access Management (IAM) Is So Important?

The role of Identity and Access Management in mitigating cybersecurity risks

We outlined the top cybersecurity risks facing organizations above, now let’s walk through the role that IAM plays in helping mitigate these risks.

  • Ransomware: IAM solutions can limit the impact of ransomware by ensuring that users have access only to the data and systems necessary for their roles (principle of least privilege). Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an additional layer of security, making it harder for attackers to gain access using stolen credentials. Regularly reviewing and updating access rights also prevents accumulation of excess privileges that can be exploited.
  • Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks: By implementing strong authentication measures like MFA, IAM reduces the risk of compromised credentials leading to a breach. User training can also help in raising awareness about phishing tactics. Additionally, IAM's continuous monitoring of user activities can help in identifying and responding to unusual access patterns indicative of a compromised account.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: IAM solutions can extend security protocols to third-party vendors, requiring strict authentication and authorization for any external access to an organization's systems. This includes enforcing MFA and regularly auditing third-party access rights. IAM can also segment access, ensuring external parties can only reach the systems and data necessary for their specific tasks.
  • Insider Threats: IAM tools monitor and log user activities, creating an audit trail that helps in detecting suspicious behavior indicative of insider threats. By enforcing strict access controls and regularly reviewing user privileges, IAM limits the potential damage an insider can inflict. User behavior analytics (UBA) within IAM can also identify deviations from normal access patterns, signaling potential insider threats.
  • Cloud Security Vulnerabilities: IAM solutions address cloud security vulnerabilities by managing and monitoring user access to cloud services. This includes enforcing consistent security policies across on-premises and cloud environments, managing identities in multi-cloud environments, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. IAM tools can also help detect misconfigurations and unauthorized access attempts in cloud environments.

At a high level, IAM solutions mitigate cybersecurity threats by ensuring that only the right individuals have the right access to the right resources at the right times for the right reasons, thereby minimizing the attack surface and reducing the likelihood of a successful attack. These solutions also provide visibility and control over user activities, crucial for detecting and responding to potential security incidents.

Final Thoughts: The Importance of IAM

From ransomware to supply chain attacks and everything in between, Identity and Access Management platforms are vital in helping today's organizations manage cybersecurity threats. 

Anshul Chaudhary


Anshul Chaudhary, Principal Solution Advisor 

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