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IAM - what, why and how

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The security landscape is a true challenge for companies these days. One of the reasons is the digital transformation that has put pressure on organizations to adjust their core business. 2020 and its global pandemic only added more complexity. Mitigating identity fraud, handling access risk and securing customer data are all essential factors to secure a company’s business with threats and attacks becoming a daily matter for companies. One key function in the security landscape is to handle access of users, lifecycle of digital identities and securing those valuable privileged accounts. Or as we say, creating a digital trust.


To give an understanding about how we at Enfo work with our customers and help them to create a digital trust, empower their core business, we have decided to share our insights in a series of articles. The world of Identity and Access Management is full with synonyms and buzzwords. So let us start from the very beginning. What is Identity and Access Management, or IAM as it is also commonly known?

What is IAM? 

IAM or Identity and Access Management is the overall definition of the strategy, policies, program and technology that manages digital identities and their access to applications and data in an organization. Gartner defines it as: “the discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right time for the right reason”. As well as: “Enterprises that develop mature IAM capabilities can reduce their identity management costs and, more importantly, become significantly more agile in supporting new business initiatives”.  Here is one successful secret in the IAM programs: we often start the dialogue around IAM from a security perspective but the possibility to engage with and empower the company’s business initiatives should not be missed out. 

Create digital trust

In fact, the need to have control over a company’s digital identities, regardless if we are looking at employees, partners, citizens or customers is essential in a digital transformation. The trust to handle data and ensure privacy and at the same time offer a smooth access for users to applications and resources are vital for every organization. But users don´t have to be just humans. It could also be devices.  

Secure the devices

The emerging trend of internet of things, or IoT, will make its mark in the architecture of the digital identity. Many of these connected devices will, just like a human user, access systems, create data and the need to elevate their rights as new functions are added. Users could also be system accounts and software routines in your infrastructure that you need to have control of, just like the routine for employees and customers. In fact, these accounts system accounts are more likely to be used in a breach since they often have a static password and high privileges.  

Keep up with the pace

When we begin our work with our customers around Identity and Access Management, we look at the case as a continuous journey, or a program. We often see cases where IAM is built around a project or a pure technology investment. Instead, we need to set up a strategic plan, secure it with stakeholders, execute it and then adjust the framework to the company’s growth and development. The speed of change is rapid and it won´t slow down in the future. In fact, today might be the slowest day for the rest of your life. There is always a new development taking place, a new product launch, an acquisition of a new division or a new application in the public cloud being bought. Just to give a couple of examples: It is challenging to secure the world of digital identities. Therefore, we need to make sure that we can support and secure the digital transformation with  IAM architecture. In our upcoming posts we will continue with the different areas of the world of IAM. Starting with users provisioning and how to set up the digital identity.

If you want to learn more about what IAM is, go to our service page

Patrik Duckert
VP Identity Access Management at Enfo