Cybersecurity space is evolving as the attacks continue to advance. IAM, PAM, and IGA are three crucial concepts in modern security practices that people often confuse with each other.
Although they can be similar in ways, they are not the same. And it’s important to understand what they are and their significance to decide the best security for your organization based on your requirements.
This article aims to clear the confusion between these concepts.
Identity Access Management (IAM) is a set of technologies, programs, and policies to ensure only the right users can have the right access to data, resources, and systems in an organization. It’s also called identity management (IdM) and has now become an important concept in the cybersecurity, data management, and privacy field.
To ensure IT security, IAM identifies, authenticates, and controls access for people using IT resources. It also secures applications and hardware that employees access. This not only establishes secure resource access across an organization but also helps meet compliance requirements.
Identity and access management resolve issues concerning user identity, their roles in an organization, their permissions to access what resources, protecting their identity, and technologies (digital certificates, network protocols, passwords, etc.) enabling that protection.
If you want to implement IAM in your organization, many service providers offer IAM solutions. IAM systems, applications, platforms, and products manage and control the identities of every individual and computer software and hardware resources and how individuals access those resources. For this, they assign and change users’ roles, generate activity reports, track activities, and enforce security policies.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) consists of two main components:
IAM performs some of the primary functions, including:
For internal users, IAM offers access control to digital assets like servers, content, applications, products, devices, etc. For customers, organizations need services to control access and enable data privacy by gathering user information, such as email ids, contact numbers, preferences, etc.
IAM provides many benefits to organizations, such as:
Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a crucial security measure that allows organizations to define, manage, and monitor privileged access throughout their IT infrastructure, systems, and applications.
Now, the term “privileged access” means designating special entitlements or access to an individual or system beyond a standard user. So, if they are monitored and managed well, security loopholes might arise.
PAM solutions manage administrator and other privileged profiles and enforce least privilege access to ensure users get only the required amount of access to fulfill their job roles. This helps mitigate cybersecurity risks to protect assets and data while ensuring compliance.
There are three main components of PAM:
A PAM solution can perform these functions:
PAM offers these benefits:
Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) is a set of cybersecurity solutions and a security policy framework that allows organizations to mitigate identity-related risks effectively in their business.
IGA can automate the creation, certification, and management of user accounts, access rights, and roles in an organization. This way, it helps companies streamline policy management, user provisioning, access governance, password management, and monitoring user access. It not only provides security from inside and outside threats but enables compliance.
IGA offers deeper visibility into a company’s full identity landscape and security posture to help them take immediate steps towards maintaining security and compliance. It comprises two key components:
IGA lets you perform these functions:
Organizations need IGA to achieve a number of benefits, including:
The above information explains what IAM, PAM, and IGA are and their requirements in an organization to help you differentiate between them. Let’s summarize them quickly by comparing them against each other.
They are quite similar as they deal with users, roles, and access. Although IAM is essential, it doesn’t provide a complete security solution to modern environments.
IAM aims to manage standard users and their access level and experience with a system or application. On the other hand, PAM focuses on managing privileged and administrative users by controlling and defining their roles and access. While IAM allows users to enter through the front door (low-risk surface), PAM does it through the back door (high-risk surface).
So, if you want a complete security solution, enable both IAM and PAM to ensure the right people with the right access levels (using IAM) can use the right resources (governed by PAM).
IGA is an important part of the evolving IAM concept. It allows companies to define IAM policies and enforce them. In addition, it also connects IAM features and functions to ensure compliance and audit requirements.
It’s similar to the IAM vs IGA comparison. IGA offers an excellent way to mitigate identity-related risks by enforcing policies within an organization regarding access. But PAM is a concept that manages privileged users and how they access organizational resources.
When IGA is used with PAM, you can enable a broader security perimeter, strengthen it, and reap their maximum effectiveness together.
Enabling stronger security technologies and systems like IAM, PAM, and OGA can help organizations mitigate potential risks, reduce risk surfaces, and meet compliance requirements.