What is IAM

By | June 13, 2022
What is IAM

What is IAM

We can describe Identity and Access Management as the discipline in security that allows those with the appropriate credentials to have access to the right resources at the proper time for the right reasons. And this sounds straightforward enough, but what’s in there is quite a bit. We have to control the user’s lifecycle. We have to ensure the user is who they claim to be. It is vital to think about the accessibility of the management of access for our users. It isn’t a requirement. It doesn’t mean that it has to be challenging to access the information. It’s just that the access has to meet our security guidelines.

Security and IT organizations utilize Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions to manage users’ identities and manage access to corporate resources. IAM solutions ensure that the appropriate users have access to proper IT resources at the right time, with the right reason, and at the right moment. They are an essential part of a security strategy that is defense-in-depth and are crucial to defending IT systems from cyberattacks and data loss.

IAM Features

Let’s look at the various components that make up an Enterprise Identity and Access Management solution. First, you must set up an online store for users. And this is usually built on Active Directory but doesn’t have to be secondarily very initially, businesses invested in single sign-on or SSO capabilities. They were generally focused on internal applications and utilized non-standard methods for getting single sign-on. When the company began to connect with other external parties, like companies and partners, software as a service SaaS required software Federation. These solutions are built upon standards and can click products from various companies because they are very close. The two SSO and Federation are the requirements for multi-factor authentication(MFA). using MFA, we can establish greater trust levels in the user’s Identity with an ever-growing list of applications directories and partners SaaS applications. We require something to help us manage the user’s lifecycle. Numerous companies have linked their user’s lifecycles in their human reasoning management system. And the final requirement is to track and audit our access and identity management solution to ensure users have the appropriate access at the right time and for the proper motives.

What is Identity and Access Management?

Identification and Access Management is the process of managing the user’s accounts in accessing IT resources, such as applications, systems, and networks, files, and. IAM products have become an integral part of IT infrastructure for years in the present, as they ensure that work gets done. However, many IT administrators have realized that the traditional IAM solutions cannot deal with the complexity of modern network infrastructures. And this is why IT companies are looking for innovative ways to manage Identity and Access Management. In the past, the most well-known IAM platform was Microsoft Active Directory (AD). Active Directory is an on-prem IAM platform designed explicitly for Windows-based on-prem environments. When AD was launched in 1999, the majority of IT networks were pre-owned and Windows-based. Windows has been the most used enterprise operating system since. It’s not a surprise that advertising is now everywhere. However, IT networks started to evolve when Mac platforms, Linux servers, web applications alternatives to storage, Google Apps, AWS, and its started to introduce the Cloud around the middle of the 2000s. Solutions like these weren’t Windows-based, nor were they available on-prem.

As a result, Active Directory implementations began to fail and have been since. Of course, IT organizations could patch Active Directory with third-party add-ons such as identity bridges, web-based applications that use single sign-on, privilege-based identity Management, and other options to alleviate typical issues. The problem with this method is that it can add high cost and complexity and is not even because today’s IT companies would instead move their identity management infrastructure into the Cloud. The positive side is that a new cloud IAM platform is now on the market that’s Active Directory reimagined for modern networks. It’s called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, and it has the power to manage virtually any IT resource without the help of costly third-party add-ons and anything on-prem.

How IAM Works

IAM systems are created to accomplish three essential tasks that are: identify, authenticate and authorize. This means that only authorized individuals are allowed to access computer software, hardware the IT infrastructure, and to perform specific tasks. The most critical IAM components that make up an IAM framework are:

A database that stores the identities of users and access rights,

IAM tools to create, monitor changing, deleting, and creating access rights,

An auditing system for access and login history

As new users or the shifting of roles for current users, The list of privileges and access must keep the access up-to-date. IAM tasks usually fall within IT departments or divisions that deal with the security and management of data.

The Evolution Of IAM

Of course, for a complete background of IAM, we can look back to the early days of identification before computers became a crucial element of business operations. We’ll, however, focus on the digital world. As you might expect, the first ancestors for IAM in digital IAM included passwords. The 1960s were when Fernando Corbato introduced the first use of passwords and Identity to protect computer files. And this was the basis for the first IAM solutions that companies introduced on their corporate networks during the 1980s. Since the introduction of the Internet around 1984, businesses have relied upon their passwords to protect their databases on-premises. It was followed by an era of commercial Internet period that began in the late 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. Companies discovered that their web applications could be accessible to outside users and required greater oversight of their online assets.

In the end, numerous enterprises started to develop identity solutions that could meet the specific needs of access management. Small businesses could use emails and spreadsheets to manage permissions.

However, larger organizations already recognized the benefits of automation of their first identity rights. But even these more advanced solutions could not handle the process of offboarding for employees and the lateral movement of employees.

In 2002 Congress approved 2002 the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The law of compliance will not just shield people and shareholders from fraud ways of doing business. However, it also holds public corporations accountable for employee access control. The initial generation of reliable IAM solutions quickly adopted this important compliance law. And this included smaller companies such as Access360 and BMC and larger companies like CA Technologies, IBM, SailPoint, and Oracle. Not too soon, since within a couple of years, were the first publicly disclosed cyber-security breaches. AOL In 2004, CardSystems Solutions, Bank of America, and Citigroup in 2005 were some of the first significant data breaches in the current security time. Before these breaches, they have manually triggered the most critical TRW Information Systems (now Experian) breach because it was possible to steal passwords by stealing a paper note from the physical office.

Since then, identity management has changed to meet the growing number of users who use the Web and the new enterprise environment.

The initial managed ID service began in 2006, and the first launch of cloud-based Identity as a Service was in the year 2010. As the digital boundary becomes more brittle and more companies move to cloud computing, these services will be more crucial than ever.

Introduction to Google Cloud IAM

Cloud IAM is Google Cloud Platform’s unifying system that manages access to resources and granting access rights for services and users to access these resources. They explicitly designed the Cloud IAM for companies with multiple individual projects and users. The goal is to bring together access control for the various projects and resources into one location, making it easier for one company to track everything they’re working on with Google Cloud Platform. The developers built the IAM upon a concept known as the policy. They are composed of permissions that allow access to the resources, then grouped into roles assigned to identities.

The interaction between Identity, roles permission and resource determine the extent to which IAM permits an act. To better understand IAM, we must deeply examine the identities, resources, permissions, and roles.


Identity is all about defining IAM’s “who” part of an IAM policy. Individuals can have Google accounts that they can use as identification within IAM. Services accounts, which they can use to connect to another account with no human intervention, are a different kind of Identity. Both of these kinds of accounts come with an account name and a few credentials. They can add both accounts in Google Groups, simplifying assigning the rights to resources. It is also possible to use the Google App Domain as you would a group to allow access to a resource for every user in an organization. Resources are all the elements that comprise the Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Platform to which you control access. They include things like Cloud Platform projects, Cloud Storage Buckets, and Pub/Subtopics. Review the documentation to determine what resources are available to use in conjunction with IAM at present.


In IAM permissions, permissions take on the form of resource, service verb. Therefore, if I wanted to allow an identity to listen to topics in Pub/Sub, then the appropriate permission is pubsub.topic.list. If instead, I wanted to grant the ability to write a file to a bucket in Cloud Storage, I would apply storage.bucket.create. Review the service documentation that you are interested in for details on what the different permissions are.


Roles are an element of approvals, just like groups utilized to establish. They let you bundle together a set of logically linked permissions in a standard way and then apply them to the policy. If you’re a Google Cloud Platform veteran, you’re aware of what is now called essential roles: owner, editor, and viewers. They function precisely in the same manner they always have done, but in many instances, they could make you more permissive than you’d like to be. For example, editors in an individual project could include VMs into Compute Engine and delete storage buckets from Cloud Storage using this model. It could not be a good idea for your needs.

They’ve also added the curated roles and carefully crafted them to tie to resources and allow access rates. For instance, someone who has appengine.admin as a part of appengine has an array of permissions to oversee a project’s App Engine configuration. But, those who have appengine.deployer cannot create code and then send that code into production. They are not able to alter the daily quotes for the application engine.

Additionally, both of them could alter anything that has to do with the Compute Engine. It is not unless somebody had granted the access rights to Compute Engine separately with Compute Engine roles. As you will see, policies are composed of components that comprise permissions granted to resources. They can add users, groups, or groups to the procedure, and by implementing that policy, they have access to specific resources that their roles grant them.


Another thing to consider is the order of things. They formulated policies from the top of the company to projects and ultimately to aid by assisting. And this means you can set the policies across the entire organization. Policies on resources can enhance the guidelines you establish for a specific project can further supplement. You can also assign access to particular resources or go even further by applying them to the entire project or more and assigning them to the whole company. It is possible to use to all projects within the company. The policies will then be applied to the resources of the respective tasks so that you can be as open or as strict as you want. And this is the basic idea behind Cloud IAM.

Introduction to AWS IAM

We can describe Identity and Access Management (IAM) in AWS as an online service that lets users securely manage AWS resources. IAM uses it to address the authorized person (signed to) and legally authorized (has authorization) to access resources.

When you create your first AWS account for the first time, you start with a single sign-in ID that has full access to the entire range of AWS services and resources within the account. This is also known as”the AWS accounts root user. It is accessible by using the email address as well as the password you have created to establish your account. We strongly advise not to use the root user to perform routine tasks, including those that require administrative assistance. Instead, follow the best method for using your root user to establish your very first IAM user. Then, securely block the root user’s credentials and use them to complete just a handful of services and account management tasks.

Final Thought

Be aware that regardless of how secure identity management tools are, they’re still susceptible to be hacked by simple errors, for example, such as when it comes to unsafe employee behavior. It’s why basic cybersecurity principles such as using devices that are authorized for sensitive data, securely using passwords, and not sharing them with others, or using secure networks – are as relevant for as long as.

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