Identity Governance
Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

What Is the Difference Between Identity Governance and Identity Administration?

Discover the key differences between identity governance and administration for secure, compliant digital identity management in our latest blog.

In the sprawling universe of digital security, two heroes stand guard over our digital realms: identity governance and identity administration. Like Batman and Superman, each has its own role in the cybersecurity drama—but where do the responsibilities of each overlap? How do they differ, and why should you care? Let’s dive into the (hopefully not too seedy) underbelly of access management, exploring concepts like identity governance vs identity management and decoding the plethora of acronyms!

What Are Access Management Protocols and Why Do You Need Them?

Access management protocols are processes created to ensure that only authorized users can access the right digital information at the right time. These protocols are the guardians of data protection, determining who can enter your SaaS fortress. Access management ensures that only those with the right clearance level can get into certain data or applications.

This idea of limiting who can access what (and when they are allowed to access it) is the foundation of identity governance and identity administration. The framework of identity governance, properly executed through identity administration, helps you create a strong cybersecurity posture and make informed decisions to protect your digital universe.

What Is the Difference…

IGA, IAG, IAM, IdP, IdM…the acronyms are endless. Let’s decode some of these acronyms and dive into some of the key terms in the access management space through a quick Q&A format:

  • Q: What is the difference between identity governance and identity administration?

A: Identity governance is the practice of outlining the framework and governance policies for access management, especially around compliance. Identity administration encompasses the operational aspect of executing those policies within the IT infrastructure. These two terms are often rolled together and referred to as “identity governance and administration” (IGA).

  • Q: What is the difference between IAM and IGA?

A: IAM, or identity and access management, is a framework that includes tools and processes for managing digital identities and controlling user access to resources within an organization. IGA, or identity governance and administration, focuses specifically on governance, policy management, and compliance. Essentially, IAM addresses the nuts and bolts of managing user access while IGA makes sure every access event is compliant with internal policies and external regulations.

  • Q: What is the difference between IAM and IAG?

A: As explained above, IAM encompasses the technologies and workflows designed to manage and secure user identities and their access to various resources within an organization. IAG, or identity and access governance, is concerned with the overarching governance, enforcement, and compliance aspects of access management.

  • Q: What is the difference between IGA and IAG?

A: IGA and IAG are often used interchangeably, as these concepts are closely related. Sometimes IAG is referred to as the broader framework, with IGA can be seen as the specific set of practice under that umbrella. However, they essentially mean the same thing: a focus on governance, enforcement, and compliance across all identity and access management activities.

  • Q: What is the difference between IdP and IAM?

A: IdP, or identity provider, is a specific system that creates, maintains, and manages identity information for users, devices, and services—then provides authentication services to relying applications within a federated identity system. While an IdP is focused on verifying identity and providing authentication, IAM is a broad framework that includes a wider range of functions related to both identity verification and the management of access rights within an organization.

  • Q: What is the difference between IAM and IdM?

A: IAM and IdM, identity management, are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, although they can denote slightly different scopes within the field of digital identity security. IAM is typically a broader framework while IdM focuses more specifically on the management of user identities themselves—like the creation, storage, and removal of user records. IdM can be seen as a component of the larger IAM strategy.

So, how do you put together all these pieces and start protecting your company from cyberthreats? By implementing your IAM and IGA frameworks with the right identity governance tool.

What Is an Identity Governance Tool?

Identity governance tools, like Lumos, are sophisticated software solutions designed to manage, secure, and audit digital identities and their access within an organization. These tools play a critical role in ensuring that access rights are granted according to the IAM or IGA policies defined by your business. With the right solution, you can facilitate compliance with regulatory requirements and reduce the risk of data breaches through unauthorized access. Plus, by leveraging the automation capabilities of Lumos, you can streamline the process of provisioning, deprovisioning, and reviewing access rights, relieving your IT team of tedious, repetitive tasks (and reducing the risk of errors).

You Need the Right IGA Tool; You Need Lumos.

Here at Lumos, we built our platform to address the complex needs of modern enterprises. We know that identity governance is difficult to get right—and how vital it is to get it right. Our capabilities extend beyond a basic identity governance tool. You’ll have functionality like:  

  • Advanced reporting and analytics—including one-click audit reporting
  • Automated access reviews for SOX, SOC 2, or ISO 27001
  • Automated onboarding and offboarding
  • Self-service for access requests
  • Policy-based approval workflows

Basically everything you need to control and manage access to SaaS, cloud, and your internal tools. With Lumos, you can navigate the complex digital domain with the confidence of a superhero, knowing your systems are safe, secure, and well-governed.

Ready to enforce your digital defenses with identity governance and administration? Book a demo today or dive deeper into the nuances of IGA with our free guide—after all, knowledge is power!