What Is the Role of IAM?

Explore how implementing IAM can secure your digital assets and discover how Lumos can help you elevate your security posture and IT efficiency.

by Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

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Running a business already presents its fair share of challenges—now add a SaaS environment and a remote workforce, and you’re looking at an even more complex operation. That’s why security measures like identity governance and identity management are not just beneficial, but essential. These fundamental frameworks are the linchpins for safeguarding your company’s most sensitive data from unauthorized access.

Through this blog series, we’re highlighting identity governance vs identity management, offering you clear insights into effective access control. In this particular blog, we’ll explore IAM, a critical component of your security posture when running a SaaS company.

What Is IAM?

IAM, meaning identity and access management, includes the processes, policies, and technology that your company uses to control user access to critical information and applications. This framework should be the backbone of your security strategy, ensuring that your employees can only access the resources (and level of information) that they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

What Is IAM Responsible For?

IAM covers a wide range of responsibilities, from setting policies about how users can interface with systems to authenticating user identities to defining specific roles to managing permissions throughout the user lifecycle. It can be easy to think of concepts like IAM as erecting hard barriers—simply focused on keeping people out. While that is part of IAM, you should also view it as a way to enable smooth and efficient access to resources, ultimately fostering productivity.

What Is an IAM Role?

An IAM role is a set of permissions that define what actions are allowed or forbidden by an entity (such as a user, group, or service) within a system, without being directly tied to a single user’s identity. When creating IAM roles, it’s important to keep in mind the principles of least-privilege and zero-trust: only granting the permissions that are absolutely needed to perform the tasks. For added security, you should also consider using conditions—like time-based or IP-restricted access—to further control and refine the circumstances under which the permissions apply. Regular reviews and adjustments of roles should be baked into your process as well, in order to minimize potential security risks.

What Is the Purpose of IAM Roles?

The purpose of IAM roles is to make your IT team’s job more efficient and to increase your security posture. By defining roles based on job functions rather than individual users, your team can manage permissioning quickly, as well as reducing potential errors when selecting permissions manually.

What Are the Three Types of IAM Roles?

The three types of IAM roles are typical user, system, and shared. Let’s take a look at each:

  1. User roles are designed for individuals based on their job responsibilities.
  2. System roles are created for services and applications that require access to other resources.
  3. Shared roles are utilized by multiple users or systems for specific tasks that do not require unique permissions.

What Is an IAM Tool?

IAM tools, like Lumos, are software solutions or platforms that help your company implement and manage IAM policies and procedures. For example, you could use Lumos to implement:

  • Role-based access control so you can minimize unnecessary access and simplify your administrative processes, enhancing your security posture and IT efficiency.
  • Automated user provisioning and deprovisioning to quickly manage your employee lifecycle and reduce the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Multi-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to your resources.
  • Privileged access management that enforces the principle of least-privilege.

And that’s just the start of Lumos’ capabilities—but more on that in a moment. Ultimately, IAM tools are integral to maintaining a secure and efficient IT environment, particularly in dynamic environments like a SaaS company where scaling and growth can happen quickly.

Lumos: Secure the Present; Prepare for the Future

As we look ahead, one thing is certain: the need for identity management isn’t going away. So why wait to make your IT and security posture more effective and efficient? Here at Lumos, we’re here to help you secure the present and prepare for the future with our comprehensive suite of IAM tools. You can leverage functionality like:

  • SaaS management capabilities that help you reduce your software spend, uncover shadow IT, and maximize the value of every SaaS contract.
  • Streamlined, audit-ready access reviews and reporting that meets SOX, SOC2, and ISO27001 standards, enhancing your compliance processes.
  • Efficient on-and off-boarding workflows powered by automation.
  • Advanced identity governance tools that offer precise control over access to your digital assets.
  • Self-service access options that allow your employees to request and receive access to resources they need without burdening your IT team.

To explore how Lumos can transform your approach to identity and access management, book a demo today. Wondering what the impact of Lumos could be for your company? Try our impact calculator to find out.