Computer proficiency is required for over 75% of all jobs in the United States. From employees sitting at desks working on computers or those using a cash register to check out purchases for clients, most employees must log in to computerized systems to perform some of their tasks.
One of the challenges employers face is ensuring their employees have access to the resources they need, without the ability to access information and resources that aren’t required to do their job. This need prompted the development of identity and access management (IAM) tools.
Cybersecurity is crucial for businesses. Companies, banks, and medical offices collect sensitive data about their clients. This data can include their address, credit card number, and social security number. This information can be used to steal someone’s identity. Thieves commit identity theft to apply for credit cards in the victims’ names. The thieves use the credit to purchase items and leave the victim with the debt.
Hackers can also gain control of social media accounts and use them to solicit funds via donations.
Identity and Access Management
What is identity and access management, and how can it help protect your business? OneLogin’s IAM tool authenticates and authorizes access to systems and data. First, the tool confirms the identity of the employee. Employees must input specific information to log onto the network. The information required may be a username and password. Some computers are also equipped with fingerprint scanners that can be used to log on.
Once an employee has logged in, they will have access to some systems and data. Their account will be assigned a role and specific privileges when created; authorized personnel can also update a user’s privileges and role if required. The authorization for the account will determine what functions they can perform and what resources they can access.
How IAM Works
Human resources or IT staff determine what resources each employee needs access to and create their accounts. They authorize the user’s account to access the appropriate programs and data and assign the account a role and permissions. For example, some employees may be authorized to change their password or change the level of system access other employees have. Other employees may only be able to access the data they’re authorized to view.
When an employee enters their username and password, the system checks to verify the username exists and that the password matches the information on record. Once this information is confirmed, the user is logged in.
If a person enters incorrect information, they may be locked out of the system or given another chance to correct their information. Some systems allow users to enter alternate information, such as a phone number or email address that can be used to reset their password.
IAM tools can also work in conjunction with other tools to increase security. Human resource departments can use security protocols that determine employee access. They can also unauthorize access via stolen laptops, so thieves cannot use stolen equipment to acquire their data.
IAM tools may use single sign-in or two-factor authentication when staff logs on.
Benefits of IAM
Accessing data and resources on a computer saves employees time, which reduces costs to employers. It can take hours to review printed documents in files to locate specific information about a client or purchase. The same information can be accessed within minutes using software designed to allow staff to search for specific clients or services.
IAM tools can also generate reports for human resource departments so employee access can be monitored and reviewed. These reports can be used to ensure employees aren’t accessing information that should be classified. The reports can also be used to determine which data is vulnerable if a staff loses a work laptop.
Other Cybersecurity Measures
Ensure your IT team has sufficient staff and resources to ensure vulnerable software is patched. Many companies hire white-hat hackers. Also known as ethical hackers or penetration testers, these hackers are employed to gain unauthorized access to your data. Their attempts are used to identify vulnerabilities in your systems. Information security analysts use that information to determine how to improve system security and prevent data breaches.
These security measures supplement the security provided by an IAM tool but do not replace the critical role IAM tools perform to protect your data.