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Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a vital component of an organization's data security, acting as a centralized hub where an organization can define and manage who has access to which systems, data or resources at which time.
Identity and access management is a crucial part of minimizing data breaches and mitigating business risk. If a company doesn’t know who has access to which systems or data, or can’t manage that access reliably, the consequences can be enormous. Customer trust, regulatory compliance and financial performance can all be damaged by data breaches (and potentially even more once so the era of GDPR begins later this year).
But apart from the serious security implications, having a good IAM system can reduce IT, admin and helpdesk costs, not to mention enhancing employee productivity and making control and audit much easier.
It’s possible to build identity and access management into each individual application, requiring user authentication whenever a particular system is accessed. But this approach has several potential problems:
To overcome these issues, centralized identity and access management systems exist which provide a single platform from which to monitor and manage user permissions across an organization.
But implementing and managing these systems can sometimes create even more challenges. Not least among these is the challenge of integrating multiple different data sources into a single IAM system.
IAM systems can often be reliant on multiple other data sources for information. Take as just one example an organization’s HR system - you can imagine how the IAM system might need to know when an employee leaves, so their access credentials can be automatically revoked.
And when one change is made in one system, that change may result in updates to permissions in many, many (sometimes thousands of) other systems.
A further complicating factor is that these systems can be located anywhere - in the cloud (or multiple clouds), on-premise, or frequently a combination of all the above.
It’s critical that the IAM system can ingest data from any source - no matter where it is located - in the correct format, so that the system can respond to new data and adjust access permissions across every application accordingly.
The problems start when not all of the sources that feed data into the IAM system store that data in exactly the same format. The IAM system can be strict about what data it ingests, and it needs to understand exactly what data it is receiving, and what that means.
This has often meant a need for a large development team to prepare, clean and manage multiple data streams. Building in-house scripts to transform and integrate data into IAM is expensive (as it requires highly skilled developers), time-consuming (not only to build, but also to comprehensively test and deploy) and risky (with scripts becoming too complex and unwieldy over time, or one person with all the knowledge leaving the company).
Building in a data integration solution to your IAM architecture can avoid many of these problems.
A data integration tool can bring:
Using a data integration platform to integrate multiple data sources into an identity and access management system can bring all these benefits, and ensure your IAM system performs to the best of its capability.Case study: Integrating Data From Thousands of Systems into Identity and Access Management