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Identity And Access Management

Identity and Access Management (IAM) Standards

February 16, 2023

5 minutes

Identity and Access Management (IAM) Standards | DOT Security

Identity and access management (IAM) is a set of business processes and policies designed to manage access to information and systems.

In other words, IAM standards allow only authorized users to access the data they need to do their job. Inversely, unauthorized users will not have access to data protected by these standards.

If you’d first like to learn about DOT Security’s identity and access management solutions, visit our IAM offerings page to protect your company accounts and data.

Current businesses have many employees sharing data or accessing it from within or from outside the network. They also face numerous external threats to their network environment. IAM standards ensure that the data is protected and only access by authorized individuals.

Identity and Access Management Framework

The Identity Management Institute recommends all organizations follow the AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) identity and access management framework in order to manage user access to assets and to maintain account security.


Here is a rundown detailing how each of its components help protect your data:

1. Authentication

Authentication is the process of ensuring each user is who they say they are. For example, to enter a place that serves alcohol, people produce drivers’ licenses or photo IDs that can prove they are of age. Using someone else’s ID would not allow you entry into the establishment.

Similarly, for your company accounts, no two employees should share the same credentials. This allows administrators to clearly audit user data if the need arises and to help users solve troubleshooting problems with their own accounts.

User authentication can be verified with the following methods:

  • Something you know: A user name or a password
  • Something you have: A device or an authenticator app
  • Something you are: A biometric such as a fingerprint or voice

We recommend users in your organization use MFA (multi-factor authentication) which is a combination of at least two of the methods mentioned above. For instance, a user would use their login name and password then authenticate their identity by using an authenticator app or a code sent to their device.

Strong passwords can be a sturdy shield to protect your organization. In fact, MFA can prevent over 99% of cyberattacks compromising accounts according to Microsoft.

2. Authorization

Authorization is the second A of the AAA framework. In simple terms, it means giving users authorization to only the accounts and data they need to perform their jobs.

In other words, not all users should have access to all data and resources. This means your organization should have a hierarchy of users with administrators, managers, users, viewers, etc.

About 20% of confirmed data breaches were caused by internal actors. Having a hierarchy of user access will help prevent accidental or intentional cybersecurity violations such as sharing of data to unauthorized people or deleting important information.

As a rule, organizations should follow the Principle of Least Privilege which states that users, devices, processes, and programs should only have access to what is required to do their jobs. In other words, not all your employees should have admin access to company accounts.

Related Blog: 5 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes

3. Accounting

The last A of the AAA framework stands for accounting or auditing. Accounting means monitoring user activity within the network. Having regular audits of different user accounts will prevent suspicious activity and allow an organization to determine whether users have the correct level of access.

Accounting should also cover the provision and de-provision of accounts. For instance, whenever employees are onboarded, the company would have a protocol to give them the necessary account access. When an employee leaves, the offboarding process should include removing account access.

Auditing accounts is important to prevent data extraction from disgruntled employees or other malicious activities.

These three components will ensure your business protects the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data. Also known as the CIA triad, this framework for safeguarding data is one of the most basic cybersecurity standards.


Related Blog: What is Passwordless Authentication?

IAM Standards and Compliance

Depending on your industry, your business will be required to adhere to different compliance laws and regulations. Privacy laws such as the GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and others require your business to protect consumer data and privacy.

For example, the HIPAA Privacy Rulerequires organizations to block employee access to PHI (Protected Health Information) as soon as the employee leaves the organization or is terminated.

Similarly, the GDPR and CCPA laws require businesses to maintain access management and strong authentication methods to protect data related to their customers.

Therefore, an IAM standard such as the AAA framework detailed above will ensure customer data is protected and confidential.

Following compliance regulations will not only prevent fines and legal penalties, but also ensure your business benefits from long-term customer trust, which directly affects your business longevity.

Bottom Line

Companies that implement IAM controls will meet the required compliance standards and reduce the risk of a data breach or cyberattack.

In today’s cybersecurity environment, where SMBs are being targeted just as frequently as larger enterprises, and where those same SMBs often lack the necessary security protocols, these standards will ensure their network and systems are adequately protected.

Don’t leave access security up to error-prone, manual processes. Use standards like those found in an IAM framework to get your access control measures up to speed and put your strategy for data protection on the right track.

DOT Security’s goal is to bring enterprise-level cybersecurity to small and midsized businesses. Learn about our identity and access management (IAM) solutions to protect your company accounts and data.