What Is Identity Management?

September 29, 2017

By Sungard AS

Identity management (sometimes known as identity and access management) helps corporations manage and control user access to different systems on a network. This enterprise tool defines and manages the roles, authorizations, and privileges of an individual relating to their use of business resources.

Based on user rights and restrictions, identity management grants or denies access to particular enterprise assets. Users are assigned one unique digital identity that provides universal access to authorized systems and applications. IT administrators can monitor online activities using digital IDs to verify conformance to corporate policies and regulatory compliance.

Identity Management: Part of an Overall Information Security Strategy

Identity management is an integral component of an enterprise security solution that enforces user policies and guards against unauthorized access of enterprise assets. Identity and access management:

Blocks unauthorized access

Shuts down entry to programs by unauthorized users, protecting against unofficial log-ins and malware attacks, such as ransomware and phishing.

Guards against hackers

To avoid cyber security breaches recently experienced by such powerhouse institutions as the NSA, CIA and National Health Services hospitals in England 1, identity & access management builds a stronger security front to guard data against hackers.

Assists in compliance

An identity and access management system supports compliance with cybersecurity regulations, such as those dictated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Internationally, England just enacted the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that affects every company doing business in the country or has a European customer.2

Standardizes mobile accesss

Extending security to mobile devices, identity access management helps standardize company policies on the use and protection of different mobile technologies by providing automatic onboarding capabilities and device verification.

Supports hybrid IT

As more companies use virtual infrastructures to support operations, identity management extends capabilities beyond on-premise computing to address cloud and mobile applications operating across a mix of architectures.

The Identity and Access Management Process

  1. Integrates With Different Systems
    Identity management systems connect with different applications, operating systems, and devices across the corporate enterprise, enabling central management of digital identities.

  2. User Authorization And Authentication
    When users access system(s) using a single log-on, identity management authenticates their ID and grants (or denies) access to certain applications, data and other resources based on their role and corporate policies.

  3. Centralized Administration
    Designated administrators can make system modifications, change user profiles, track user activity and create reports to show compliance with regulatory rules compliance.

Once established, companies can scale identity and assess management solutions as business changes and grows.

Identity Management Benefits

In addition to providing an added layer of information security, identity access management simplifies user and administrative tasks. Here's how:

  • Multi-factor authentication validates multichannel access to enterprise resources
  • One log-in connects users to every authorized application through any device
  • Administrators can centrally manage digital identities across an organization, track activities and enforce authorizations
  • Ongoing verification of user access enforces corporate policies and regulatory compliance

New to the concept? An expert in identity management and enterprise security solutions can direct you in choosing the right solution that works alongside your current technology to improve your overall security.



  1. Ghirda, Vadim (2017 July 1) The Biggers Cybersecurity Disasters of 2017 So Far
  2. Martin, James and Waters, John (2017 August 9) The ABCs of Identity Management

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