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24 August 2017

Identity management tools: Key software for modern IAM

Joe Liptrot

Identity and access management (IAM) is becoming increasingly important in today's mobile-first, cloud-first world.

It’s crucial you choose the right identity management tools to meet the growing demands on your business.

With new regulations and evolving cyber threats, an out of date IAM strategy and inadequate systems can put your business at risk. With 83% of organisations failing to evolve their IAM strategy, it’s time to understand the key new technologies and adapt to the dynamic business landscape.


Microsoft’s key IDM tools

Here, we’ll provide an overview of some of the latest Microsoft innovations, discussing how they’re influencing key IAM decisions.

Microsoft Identity Manager 2016

With poor IAM systems costing businesses an average of $5 million, it is important that you invest in robust, future-proof technologies. Finding an intelligent identity management system to securely manage today’s hybrid world is a vital part of a modern IAM strategy.

What does MIM offer and why does it matter?

Microsoft Identity Manager is the successor to the established Forefront Identity Manager solution and is one of the market’s leading technologies for on-premises identity management. It works with Windows Server Active Directory to manage the provisioning of your users, credentials and policies, as well as working in conjunction with your cloud directories to enable a cohesive hybrid experience.

“Microsoft’s latest creation isn’t just a run-of-the-mill update.”

If you’re already a FIM enthusiast, then you may consider MIM to be an unnecessary business investment. However, Microsoft’s latest creation isn’t just a run-of-the-mill update. There’s the new security feature, Privileged Access Management, along with enhanced integration with Azure Active Directory Premium. These can offer real strategic benefits for today’s cloud-first businesses, helping to protect against devastating data breaches whilst enhancing user access.

Microsoft’s recent decision to end mainstream support for FIM, has also made FIM to MIM migration a new identity hot topic. By failing to migrate, businesses won’t only miss out on MIM’s improved functionality, but they could also be faced with long-term security risks.

Azure AD & Azure AD Connect

With today’s anytime, anywhere access model, managing cloud apps and mobile working securely is a crucial part of modern business. With 80% of organisations now citing digital transformation as a key success factor (Microsoft), failing to make cloud identity a priority could be a make or break decision.

So what do they offer and should you take notice?

Azure AD is a cloud-based directory that offers a cohesive identity management solution for cloud-based operations. As well as offering, single sign-on access to thousands of existing and in-house cloud applications, it can also enable businesses to benefit from a wealth of identity management features. Deploy multi-factor authentication and self-service password reset, along with user device registration and security monitoring and alerting.

Azure AD Connect works in conjunction with Azure AD and syncs cloud identity credentials with an on-premises AD. Replacing its earlier DirSync and Azure AD Sync counterparts, it allows for seamless SSO between on-premises and cloud services. Using password sync, password write-back and pass-through authentication, you can give your users easy access whilst keeping your corporate data secure. With its enhanced security features, your on-premises passwords never need to be stored in the cloud, hitting key compliance requirements and removing the need for additional AD FS servers.

By working seamlessly in-line with your on-premises identity solutions, Azure AD and Azure AD Connect can allow for significant operational efficiencies and productivity gains. Managing one common identity can streamline your IT processes, as well as reducing cyber risks and enhancing user access.

Azure AD Identity Protection

As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, it’s no longer enough to just manage your identities. Research suggests that cyber criminals spend 146 days in an IT system before making an attack, and that’s why it’s crucial that we integrate our identity intelligence with the cyber security fight.

How does it work and does it really make a difference?

Azure AD Identity Protection takes identity and access management to the next level. Available as part of the Azure AD Premium P2 edition, it uses sophisticated machine learning capabilities to proactively monitor, investigate and report on the behaviours of your users. Changes in behaviour can often be a key indication of a comprised identity, and are an early warning sign of a possible cyber breach.

As well as monitoring and reporting on your user behaviours, Azure AD Identity Protection, also offers significant remediation capabilities. It allows organisations to automate policies and controls alongside their existing Azure AD, implementing appropriate mitigation action when a breach is detected.

It is this combination of monitoring, detecting and remediation that can make Azure AD Identity Protection a vital part of a modern IAM strategy. Integrating with your wider cyber-security programme and adapting to key trends in the cyber landscape, it is a cohesive solution that can help keep your identities protected.


Next step: The business case

While the worth of new technologies is plain to see, building a business case for implementing new IAM solutions can be more difficult than it seems. To help understand the cost-benefit trade-off and to secure investment for your IAM plans, it’s necessary to create a strategic plan which details clear business gains.

Next, download ‘The business case for IAM’ e-Guide and become the driving force behind modernisation, cyber security and operational efficiency in your organisation.

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Joe Liptrot
Head of Identity
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