Identity and access management: a complex but essential piece of your security puzzle

Identity and access management is a core discipline in managing online security in the workplace. When you login to Gmail or enter your PIN at an ATM, systems immediately spring into action – verifying your identity and deciding on your degree of access.

And accessing Torus is no different.

So what is identity and access management? Why is it so important for your workplace’s security? And how does Torus fit into the picture?

Tech speak can be a mouthful – so we’re going to break it down for you.

What is identity and access management?

Identity and access management (IAM) is an umbrella term. It refers to the management of users’ ‘identities’ in an online system (or across multiple systems) – and the level and type of access they’re permitted.

So what is an ‘identity’? In this context, it refers to how users appear online.

When you create an online account – say, with Gmail, Facebook or Apple– your login credentials and profile become part of your identity.

After you sign up, your identity and accompanying information are stored in IAM databases like Microsoft Active Directory or Okta.

In the workplace, modern IAM databases like these authenticate users’ identities before giving people access to an organisation’s systems, data and information.

Under the IAM umbrella

There are two more key terms to be aware of within IAM:

  • Authentication. This refers to the proof of identity users need to supply – along with their username and password – when they log in to an application.
  • Access control. Security solutions like Gallagher, Integriti or Genetec fall under this heading. They allow administrators and facilities managers to decide the level of access certain users have to resources and information within online systems.

Why is IAM important?

In business settings, employees often need to create multiple accounts to access different platforms. And with those accounts come more passwords, more usernames, and more identities for IT admin to manage.

And let’s be honest, most people don’t heed advice when it comes to their own password strength, storage and management.

We already know that IAM makes IT administrators’ jobs simpler. But it’s not purely a matter of convenience.

IAM also allows IT admin to add custom methods of authentication to their systems and processes, such as single sign-on.

Single sign-on is exactly what it sounds like: users need only one username and password combination to access multiple applications.

But wouldn’t this approach pose an even greater security risk given that just one combination (in the wrong hands) could give someone access to everything that user has access to?

Well, that would be true – if it weren’t most often paired with multi-factor authentication.

With multi-factor authentication, users are asked for extra information to verify their identity. Biometric authentication, like a fingerprint or Face ID, in combination with a PIN or swipe card is a common choice.

Together, single sign-on and multi-factor authentication make IAM a boon for convenience and security – particularly in an age where cybercrime is an increasingly real threat.

Where does Torus fit into all this?

Simplicity is a key feature of the Torus solution. Torus’s cabinets are easy to install and easy to maintain.

That’s largely due to how seamlessly Torus integrates with a range of technology integrators – including:

When you integrate Torus with any of these access control solutions, administrators can assign, remove and update permissions on different user identities from one central platform.

This means that administrators don’t have to create a new suite of identities when their workplace installs Torus. Nor do they need to adopt an entirely new software to manage those identities. Instead, users can login using their existing credentials.

Via the Torus dashboard, administrators can also enforce different methods of authentication (like multi-factor authentication) and assign permissions to individual keys (like which users have access to them, when, and for how long).

Basically, that means they can control users’ access to real-world resources – buildings, vehicles, facilities – via their online identities.

When it comes to online security measures, Torus is the final step towards giving your workplace the tightest security possible.

Want to learn more about Torus – or our integration partners?

Get in touch with Torus