Why IAM Is Important In Finance

What is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the element of any IT security system that ensures that only authorised individuals are enabled access to the correct resources at the appropriate times for the appropriate reasons. IAM addresses the highly crucial need to ensure appropriate access to resources across technology environments that are heterogenous and complex. In this day and age, more enterprises are moving towards the increasing usage of cloud services into the work environments, which results in the process of identity management becoming more and more complex. As a logical response, financial services organisations are starting to adopt cloud IAM solutions and cloud-based identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) solutions.

Why is IAM a need in the financial services industry?

The prevalence and need for IAM has been surging in the recent years as regulatory requirements and compliance have become more rigorous and increasingly complex. Bearing in mind that the financial services industry is one of the major sectors dealing with mass amounts of information, it is imperative for the industry to have tight and demanding standards to minimise the risk of data and security breaches. 

These days, modern authentication extends beyond usernames and passwords and a framework for the managing of identities is usually provided by modern IAM systems. In the financial services sector, every minute counts and security is thus very critical. Adopting a modern IAM system means being able to add additional security measurements such as multifactor authentication and the detection of breached passwords. In addition, single sign on (SSO) capabilities allows users to enjoy an authentication experience that is seamless and convenient, without having to remember every set of login credentials for all the different applications and services they wish to access. By creating a single source of truth for user identity, users are only required to remember a single set of login credentials in order for them to login to multiple services. Authentication hence only needs to happen once. SSO also prevents logistical nightmares from arising out of the need to manage access to web-based services, as governance of the user store is conferred to the organisation’s IT team, instead of third party vendors.

Modern authentication, however, does not stop just at the login screen. With SSO, the IT team will be able to have a peace of mind as the provisioning and deprovisioning of user accounts are made easy through automated processing. With the modern authentication systems offered by modern IAM, financial services firms are empowered in the auditing, monitoring and enforcing of security policies. Financial services firms are also able to manage and add extra layers of security features and authentication systems according to however they see fit. In terms of authorisation, organisations can decide what type of granular authorisation they wish to employ. Authorisation policies determine who can login and access specific resources, at specific periods of times. These factors can include: from which devices and locations, how long they are allowed to remain logged in, and so on. With IAM, financial institutions can resolve many of their security issues.