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IAM AND ZERO-TRUST SECURITY: HOW TO INTEGRATE IAM WITH ZERO-TRUST SECURITY MODEL

The cybersecurity solution, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is characterized by varying policies across organizations but consistently offers management of user identities and permissions. Every organization’s hierarchy of data access and availability determines the confidentiality level. Identity and Access Management (IAM) guarantees that authorized users are granted access only to what is necessary and nothing beyond that. This means that data restricted to higher-level managers will not be accessible to lower-level staff who log into the organization’s system. To enforce this, IAM employs the following measures:

Identity Management

The process involves establishing a digital identity for all entities within the network, whether human or non-human. This identity assists in identifying the data accessible to users.

Access Control

Every digital identity is assigned a specific level of authority that governs access approval and denial to achieve optimal data protection. An ideal illustration of this concept is when a service user and an employee of a service provider are involved. With Identity and Access Management (IAM), the service user is only granted access to their personal information, while the employee is granted additional privileges, such as database access.

Authentication And Authorization

Once digital identities have been established and appropriate permissions assigned, IAM verifies users’ authentication by examining their access credentials prior to granting access to an organization’s data or resources.

What Is Zero Trust

Zero trust is a security framework that ensures security by continuously authenticating, authorizing, and validating security credentials, and configuration, regardless of a user’s location. This solution is highly effective for securing infrastructure and data, whether managed on-prem or in the cloud.

Unlike traditional network security, Zero trust embraces a more sophisticated approach, combining advanced technologies such as identity protection, endpoint security, and multi-factor authentication to authenticate systems or users, assess access privileges, and maintain security. To enforce security, the Zero trust architecture requires organizations to monitor and validate user and device access to data regularly rather than relying on one-time validations.

As part of the requirement, organizations must identify all their services and privileged accounts and exercise solid control over what and where they can connect. Zero trust’s primary benefits include context collection and response automation, limiting the blast radius in the event of a security breach, and ongoing identity verification.

 Integrating IAM With Zero Trust Principle

Following best practices to ensure maximum security goals are met when integrating IAM with Zero Trust principles is important. One of these practices is adopting the least-privilege approach, which grants the minimum level of access necessary to perform a task and revokes access when no longer needed. Additionally, multi-factor authentication should be implemented to verify all users and devices before granting access. Single sign-on can manage identities and access across different applications and domains to simplify access.

Attribute-based access control is another important consideration when integrating IAM with the Zero Trust principle. This type of access control permits structuring access rules based on each request’s context and risk level. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be leveraged to detect anomalies, automate processes, and analyze user and device behaviour.

The current IAM maturity and Zero Trust readiness should be assessed, followed by planning and executing an integration strategy to begin the integration process. Progress should be monitored and measured, and quick wins should be prioritized alongside long-term goals. Engaging stakeholders and allocating resources are crucial for success. Risks should be managed, and integration actions should be implemented. Finally, feedback and data collection should be used to evaluate integration success and drive improvement.

Integrating IAM with Zero Trust principles has several advantages, including but not limited to strengthening security by minimizing unauthorized access, identity theft, and data breaches. Improving compliance and accountability in network activities and streamlining process handling through automation.

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