Wednesday, May 24, 2023

IAM vs. PAM - What's the Difference?

By: Sentia   Categories:Security, Cyber Security, Data Security, Cyber Security

IAM vs. PAM - What's the Difference?

Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Identity Access Management (IAM) are two related but distinct concepts in the world of cybersecurity. While they both deal with regulating access to resources, they have inherently different objectives.

Let's look at both in more detail:

Identity Access Management (IAM):

IAM follows the principle of least privilege allowing the management of staff identities so that only authorized personnel can access and update files that are meant for them based on their roles and responsibilities. This type of access control involves conditional access security at the system, user, and directory level with insights into access policies, centralized identities, and more. It deals with the entire lifecycle of user identities, including user provisioning, authentication, authorization, and user deprovisioning. The main objectives of IAM is to enhance security, streamline user management processes, and enable user productivity.

Key features of IAM include:

  • User provisioning and deprovisioning: Automated processes to create, update, and remove user accounts across different systems and applications.
  • Single sign-on (SSO): A centralized authentication mechanism that allows users to access multiple applications with a single set of credentials.
  • Role-based access control (RBAC): Assigning permissions to users based on their roles and responsibilities.
  • User self-service: Empowering users to manage their own accounts, password resets, and access requests.

Privileged Access Management (PAM):

PAM, on the other hand, focuses on managing and securing privileged accounts and access to critical systems and resources. Privileged accounts are those with amplified privileges, such as administrator or root administrator accounts, which have extensive, all-encompassing control over IT infrastructure and sensitive data. The objective of PAM is to protect these accounts from misuse, unauthorized access, and potential security breaches.

Key features of PAM include:

  • Privileged account discovery: Identifying and cataloging privileged accounts across the IT infrastructure.
  • Just-in-time access: Granting temporary, time-limited access to privileged accounts only when needed.
  • Session monitoring and recording: Capturing and analyzing activities performed by privileged users for auditing and compliance purposes.
  • Password vaulting: Securely storing and managing privileged account credentials.
  • Privilege elevation and delegation: Controlling and auditing the escalation of privileges for specific tasks or roles.

Overall, IAM focuses on managing user access to systems and data based on their roles, while PAM focuses on securing and managing privileged accounts and their access to critical resources. Both IAM and PAM play important roles in an organization's overall cybersecurity strategy to ensure appropriate access controls and minimize the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

If you'd like to learn more about enhancing your current cybersecurity posture by integrating these concepts discussed, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation today.



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