Main image of article The Four Keys to Identity and Access Management
IT departments are facing wave after wave of security challenges. This isn't just a series of little breakers, such as constant attacks and changing threat landscapes. They have tsunamis rising as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), cloud and social waves come their way. There is no way to build a single wall high enough to prevent the combined flooding, breaches and insider threats. The best hope is several moving parts that, working together, can ensure that information stays high and dry, secure from external and internal breaches. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is both a high-water warning system and series of walls, essential to keeping networks secured. Tying together different elements of security and compliance, IAM serves as the security gatekeeper—the flood prevention today's networks need. IAM can ensure that businesses have the right levels of protection while simultaneously keeping systems manageable for end users, administrators and executives. The security that comes from IAM reflects simple, common sense principles applied to everyday life. Below are the four elements of IAM that will keep your organization protected.

Privileged Account Management (PAM)

PAM ensures administrators are given only the rights they need and all their activity is tracked and audited, keeping users and their data safe. This approach to IAM enhances security and compliance while improving the efficiency of administering super-user access. Organizations are able to achieve compliance through access control and separation of duties for privileged access.

Identity Administration

Organizations must be able to securely manage the entire identity lifecycle. Identity Administration helps organizations get a better grasp on the day-to-day management of users’ accounts and identities across the network. Identity administration strengthens authentication for the entire organization, simplifies complex environments, and automates administrative tasks, giving IT managers the time to monitor activity.

User Activity Monitoring (UAM)

Security breaches remain an unfortunate reality for organizations, so it's essential to be able to effectively monitor user activity and proactively stop breaches before they happen. The ability to prevent breaches, find vulnerabilities, and quickly respond to crises shows the importance of IAM within an organization. Additionally, the ability to provide an in-depth report on breaches (who, what and how) gives the IT team immense credibility.

Access Governance

Providing employees with the right access to business-critical information is an essential element of IAM. Intricate provisioning, compliance and authorization measures are taken to ensure secure networks. Solutions empower organizations to govern the access necessary to operate in an agile and effective manner, while reducing the burden on IT by getting the end users and business stakeholders into the game, to request what they need and route approvals to the people who know the right answers. Security threats have always been a matter of plugging leaks. Like a good multi-approach flood management system, these four IAM elements play a large part in keeping organizations secure from breaches and running seamlessly. The elements that make up IAM are essential tools every business should deploy to ensure the safety of the organization and its employees. Common sense tells us no wall can stop a wave that's too high, but IAM is the simple solution to putting in place the controls that keep your most important data high and dry in any storm. Jonathan Sander has been a senior member of Quest’s team since 1999. Working with both the security and performance management product lines, he has designed, architected, and implemented solutions for Quest’s largest and smallest customers.   Image: John T Takai/