Tracy Watson 20/08/2020 #Retail 8 min read Companies use all kinds of loyalty program solutions and other systems requiring clients to set up an account. This poses a significant challenge since it can be difficult to authenticate users without making the sign-in process too complicated. This is why identity access management systems are important since they give people peace of mind that their information will not be compromised. In this article, we will take a closer look at the benefits of identity and access management and why they are essential for companies. First, let’s get an identity management definition. What is IAM? Identity access management is an umbrella term that encompasses all of the processes involved in identifying people inside a system and restricts access to such information to only authorized users. This, first and foremost, includes determining the actions a user can take inside the network, with a particular phone or tablet. When our identities are digitized, they are represented in terms of attributes and entities inside a database. Online services usually collect these attributes to provide us with better services and customized experiences based on the data in our static and dynamic attributes. As soon as you sign up for a system, your online identity is created, and certain attributes will start being collected. This includes your phone number, email address, and even your social security number if you are registering with a government organization. Therefore, a good way to think about the IAM process is managing all of these attributes. This is very important since all of these factors are used to establish the user’s identity. A quality identity and access management solution will use rigorous security standards, but it will not make it more difficult for the user to log in. One of the most popular technologies used to accomplish this is Single Sign On (SSO). Basically, a user can use the same login credentials to access multiple accounts. For example, you will be able to log into your favorite customer loyalty program with your Facebook or Gmail credentials. Now that we understand what IAM is let’s take a look at the characteristics of identity management. Characteristics Your IAM Needs to HaveSince the IAM is entrusted with keeping user identities secure, it needs to be equipped to handle the latest security threats. This includes managing all of the devices people use to access the systems and the different ways they do so. Therefore the IAM solution will need to be very responsive and adaptable. Flexibility is also important since you will need the IAM to handle your current business needs and future ones. User access behaviors evolve all the time, and the IAM system needs to be flexible enough to adjust to the changing requirements yet remain sensitive to all of the threats to user identities. IAM Benefits One of the most significant benefits that IAM offers is that it provides the user with a better experience. If we think about how many login credentials a person has to remember for all of their accounts, it can be difficult for them to remember each one. Thanks to IAM, they can use their digital identity to gain access to different systems. We mentioned SSO a little earlier, and it has become one of the go-to technologies for speeding up access to various applications with the same credentials. By eliminating such access barriers, you are making it easier for users to access applications making it more likely that they will keep coming back. The security of your network will also be improved. All you will have to do is specify the access policies to determine who can view particular data resources and under what conditions. This will also give you more control over user access, which lowers the risk of a data breach. This includes protection from both internal and external threats since a lot of companies are worried about a hacking attack from the outside and not taking enough measures to protect against threats from within. IAMs can improve your regulatory compliance since you will have everything you need to implement rigorous security, audit, and access policies. The Challenges and Risks That Need to Be OvercomeThe biggest risk companies face – is protecting all of the data they have. IAM systems contain some of the most sensitive and valuable information to businesses if this information were to be compromised in some way, it would be very detrimental for the company as a whole. This includes everything from internal employees leaking user information or poor built-in security leading to hackers posting usernames and passwords on the dark web. Also, the customers themselves often reuse the passwords for multiple accounts, and very often, these passwords are easy to break. Therefore, the IAM system that you use will need to address all of these challenges. Start Using an IAM System to Protect Your CustomersBefore the rise of mobile devices and customers looking to access their accounts from virtually any point globally, companies did not understand why IAMs are needed. Now that they know what does IAM means and all of the benefits it offers, they will see that it is indispensable technology nowadays. It is a win-win for both companies and their customers since it helps keep all user data safe while reducing or even eliminating all of the hassles involved with logging into accounts.