What Is Identity Lifecycle Management?

What Is Identity Lifecycle Management?

In the world of enterprise IT, the term “identity lifecycle management” often comes up in discussion, especially with relevance to modern identity and access management (IAM) products and services. Referring to an assortment of business processes and technologies that are required to manage, regulate and authenticate the countless numbers of user accounts within an organisation, identity lifecycle management addresses the need for provisioning and deprovisioning whenever an employee joins, quits, or changes roles/departments within the company.

In recent times, automated identity lifecycle management has become a crucial part of modern IAM solutions. As employees need to access critical business data, tools and applications to carry out their work and meet corporate objectives, a majority of companies have made the decision to adopt IAM systems for automated identity lifecycle management. What identity lifecycle management ensures is that employees are able to access the necessary corporate resources and data at any time and from any location. At the same time, logins and access are closely monitored and tracked to prevent any compromise or breaching of security, protecting the organisation’s data and security networks.

Why is Identity Lifecycle Management Important?

Identities are assigned to applications and users so as to authorise and control their access privileges to certain resources that hold valuable and sensitive information. However, there are many sources for identities to come from.

A common source of identities for employees is the department overlooking and managing human resources within the organisation. Where employees are first registered upon their employment period with the company, each employee is given an identity number, with various business roles and job titles that allow them to access specific applications and software that is linked to their account role and privileges. In addition to HR, there may be alternative sources of identities within a company. For instance, some organisations rely on multiple directories to store identities and employee account data. There are also databases filled with customer information which also act as sources of identities. It is imperative that identities are managed properly and effectively within an organisation, and it is therefore crucial to understand where identities originate from and who controls their assignment.

Having a system in place to managing the identity lifecycle is quite important for the prevention of data loss, reducing regulatory risks and fewer business impacts.   Dealing with private information is extremely scary for businesses and adopting a good identity management plan will allow enterprises to allay their fears and worries of any leakage of confidential information. Furthermore, organisations must comply with regulations set in place by the government. Without having a solid IAM model, organisations are putting themselves at risk to data loss and in turn, being faced with penalties dealt by the government. Making sure to have a good identity lifecycle management will grant companies better system availability, which will lead to a decrease in business impact.

Identity lifecycle management and IAM can work hand-in-hand effectively to fulfil the security needs and policies of businesses. With good identity management, organisations can ensure that their productivity levels are held to high standards.

Challenges Of Identity Lifecycle Management

Identity lifecycle management (ILM) at a large scale can be a burdensome nightmare to handle if one does not have the appropriate tools and resources. Companies can experience obstacles such as having to swiftly on-board and off board employees so that they can carry out their jobs and leave the organisation respectively. While IT teams have to make sure that there are no threats or risks to the company’s security, it is also vital and helpful that the IT department is not dragged down with the burdens of administrative processes (such as changes made to employees who are switching roles, departments, and access privileges).

This is where modern identity and access management (IAM) services and systems come into the picture. Modern IAM systems take away the chances of human error that arises from the many identity-related processes that are manual, time consuming and extremely laborious. By streamlining the various administrative tasks and processes, ILM now becomes an automated process for all users. Continue to read this article to find out how organisations can overcome the challenges of ILM through modern IAM.

1. On-boarding Process

When an employee enters the company on their first day of work, it is common for them to have to wait before they can access the company’s resources and data. This wastes precious time that could be channelled into enhancing productivity levels at the workplace. With modern IAM solutions, real-time provisioning automatically creates user accounts for new employees, with the correct rights and privileges, enabling employees to ease into their workplace efficiently and quickly. With the recent times of cloud-based workplace environments, it is exceptionally useful to adopt modern IAM so that fresh employees can adapt to the cloud as soon as possible, without any delays or hiccups to their workflow.

2. Provisioning of Proper Permissions

It is very important to assign the appropriate privileges and rights to the accounts of new employees. Giving an employee too many permissions may raise threats of security and increase the chances of a data breach. On the other side of the coin, an employee with too few permissions may not be able to complete their work effectively, as they cannot access the organisation’s resources that are crucial to their job scope. Therefore, modern IAM is needed as organisations are able to adopt role and attribute based access controls. This allows them to add and delete account privileges in accordance to an employee’s role or attribute. IT departments can then easily assigns new employees the correct permissions, without making any mistakes.

3. Ad-Hoc Access Needs

For the usual scenarios of account permissions, the traditional models of role and attribute based access controls can be utilised to grant permissions to user accounts. However, there may be instances cropping up whereby users need one-off or temporary access to a specific application or system that is not needed for their regular day-to-day work. There are modern IAM services that allow users to gain temporary access to other systems and resources for predetermined lengths of time, so that employees can use those resources whenever necessary. Once the time period is over, the permissions will expire and the user account can no longer access the resources.

With the ability to automate ILM, IAM systems helps companies to improve user experience while reducing the challenges faced by IT teams.

Common Misconceptions About IDaaS

In recent times, there has been observed that several organisations are contemplating the possibility of migrating their legacy identity and access management (IAM) systems to the cloud, and adopting identity as a service (IDaaS) models among other cloud-based services. However, there are some misguided perceptions with regards to IDaaS. In this article, we will clear up the major misconceptions most of the uninformed public may have about IDaaS systems.

1. Single sign-on (SSO) portal and password reset system

The first misconception is that IDaaS is simply a cloud based, less secured version of IAM systems that comes with less features. Although IDaaS systems may include SSO capabilities, a private, fully fledged, cloud-based IAM system has functionalities that go beyond what a simple authentication system that is hosted and maintained by an external vendor has.

Today, most IDaaS services offer so much more than just SSO, providing full identity lifecycle management functionality, such as automated account provisioning and deprovisioning processes, user authentication, data classification, and authorisation supporting federation standards such as SAML, identity access log monitoring and reporting.

2. IDaaS requires minimal implementation, configuration or customisation support

Another huge misconception is that IDaaS is hardly any different from SaaS, so it therefore needs little to no effort in being deployed and installed. Many people picture IDaaS as a turnkey solution, when the truth is that it is beyond more than just a cloud-based SSO portal.

Modern IAM systems constantly require fine-tuning at a continuous and substantial rate, as cyber security and access management are not tasks but processes. IT security frameworks will have to evolve and adapt to the changes happening everyday across the world, for companies to remain secured in this ever-shifting digital era.

Misconceptions about how IDaaS technologies make cloud-based IAM systems sound much more limited in their scope and capabilities than they actually are. The critical capabilities and benefits of IDaaS cannot be reduced simply to an authentication software platform. An IAM product with fully-developed features serves as a robust platform that institutionalises the unique governing and business policies of any organisation utilising it. As IDaaS aims to offer full-featured IAM in the cloud, organisations can use implementation services to customise and configure their IAM systems as needed. Many enterprises can now migrate their IAM solutions seamlessly to the cloud. Apart from reaping the rewards of cost-effectiveness, scalability and flexibility, businesses can future-proof their workflows for process and compliance changes that will inevitably arrive down the road. The best IDaaS systems offer solutions for both cloud and on-premise infrastructures, allowing users to have the best of both worlds, without inconveniencing or disrupting work productivity levels. Furthermore, companies can stand to benefit from the affordable nature of cloud IAM as they cut down on many costs once they migrate to IDaaS. Organisations are also assured more reliable access to systems with cloud hosting.

With these misconceptions about identity as a service being clarified, you can now make a case for your organisation to update legacy systems to the cloud. Many businesses are now turning to cloud IAM adoption in order to remain competitive.