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Identity Access Management (IAM): What to Consider for a Modern IAM Infrastructure

What to Consider for a Modern IAM Infrastructure

It’s 2022; hybrid working models are now the norm and people have the freedom to work wherever they choose. This is a testament to our technological advancements and adaptability, but has raised new challenges for IT technicians to overcome. In particular, ensuring that businesses have an up-to-date Identity and Access Management (IAM) infrastructure has never been more important. 

The size and scope of digital offerings, with 50% of British workers still working from home at least some of the time, have left networks increasingly vulnerable. Multiple devices and networks, like homes and cafés, are unsuited for sensitive business information but are now required to meet the needs of flexible workers. Moreover, pressures like business growth, corporate initiatives, and the increasing prevalence of cyber attacks present a whole host of different challenges for companies to tackle. 

But it’s not just about minimizing security risks. Outdated IAM slows down organizational performance and efficiency, as old infrastructure results in poorer user experiences and increased time and costs. 

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The benefits of updating IAM systems and processes are clear, but there are a number of factors organizations need to take into account when upgrading their IAM.

Speed Is the Essence

When it comes to IAM infrastructure, speed is of the essence. Teams should be able to simply and easily access the networks and resources they need so they can spend their time completing tasks not grappling with slow or glitchy verification systems. In short, the ability of an organization to quickly react to issues, adapt to changes and manage IAM infrastructure has a direct impact on their competitiveness and success. 

Another factor to consider, linking to speed, is scalability.

Can your new IAM infrastructure be easily scaled as you hire new team members and your business grows?

It’s crucial organizations are able to customize and configure their IAM platform, rather than writing code outside of it, to allow them to solve a broader range of use-cases as well as quickly scale it across the company.

A good identity system will be able to handle even the most intricate use-cases and scenarios and give organizations the ability to centralize identity management, provide common APIs and share security policies. These qualities will mean companies can more quickly and easily deliver new apps and services to their users. 

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AP(I)AM integration

Our reliance on APIs has grown exponentially over the years. Legacy IAMs cannot solve the task of managing access to microservices, meaning that a new IAM solution is needed. 

A modern Identity Management System needs to have complete architectural coverage of use-cases across large-scale mobile, web, and API-driven applications and should cover both external and internal use. 

A large number of identity and API management systems on the market were originally conceived ten or twenty years ago, and created to cater to XML and SOA-oriented environments. This means that even with retroactively added OAuth capabilities, they struggle to provide the flexibility required by organizations to integrate with a large number of API- and cloud-based services

Therefore a modern IAM solution, with this level of flexibility embedded from the start, is needed to allow organisations to properly protect and manage their API integrations. App developers shouldn’t be blocked from building user-friendly apps by an outdated IAM system.

Don’t Cloud Your Judgement 

On-premise vs. cloud is the big question for many IT solutions and this includes IAM infrastructure. There are benefits on both sides. On-premise may be preferable – or even non-negotiable – if an organization requires tighter control of resiliency and it allows for better protection of data and some time savings. However, deploying IAM infrastructure via a cloud environment allows for quick, often very economical, deployment which enhances the scalability of the solution.

There isn’t a ‘right’ option of the two: each business will need to weigh up the benefits and challenges of each approach and work out which deployment better suits their business. But it’s imperative that businesses have full control over the data of their users, employees, customers and partners.

The Best IAM for Your Needs

Considering these factors is crucial when businesses modernize their IAM infrastructure. They should be viewed to support  individual business goals and vision for growth. In doing so, it can help companies drastically improve the quality and availability of their services, speed up time-to-market, and reduce maintenance costs.

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Moreover, an IAM that complies with industry standards such as OAuth and OpenID Connect, and industry regulations like PSD2, GDPR, FAPI, Open Banking and more, is paramount to its success.

As business processes become more digitalized, the case for a modern IAM only seems to become more significant. Whilst the management of modern IAM solely concerns IT security teams, there are far reaching implications that can affect a whole business, and impacts the productivity of the entire workforce. If any organization wants a secure and fluid digital future, upscaling their IAM solutions would be an important place to start. 

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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