Identity Access and Identity Governance are often used in cyber security business. From clients’ side the terms are often confusing and difficult to comprehend, but from experts’ side they both are the two aspects of IAM, but concepts of each of them are totally different. This article will explain in details about the differences between the IAM and IG.

For the better understanding, it could be said in a few words, that IAG refers to a process that allows organizations to monitor and ensure that identities and security rights are correct, as well as managed effectively and securely. It includes everything from business, technical, legal and regulatory issues for organizations. Identity and access management (IAM) is just a component of IAG. IAM is the technology for managing the user identities and their access privileges to different systems and platforms. But let’s now analyse each of the two technologies, so that it would be clear what functions and capabilities possess each of them.

  • Identity and Access Management

First: What Do We Mean By “Identity”?

In the cyber space, we all have identities. Our identities display themselves in the form of attributes, entries in the database. A unique attribute differentiates one online user from another one. For example – an attribute could be an email address, phone number, or a social security number. Attributes referring to our private and working life are different and change over the time, as we change jobs, place of living, get married, etc.

Your online identity is established when you register. During registration, some attributes are collected and stored in a database. And here we come to the term – Identity management, which literally means – managing the attributes. You, your supervisor, your company HR person, the IT admin, the eCommerce site service desk person could be responsible for creating, updating, or even deleting attributes related to you.

As mentioned above, Access Management is a process of managing users’ identities, tracks, and at the same time managing their access to certain systems and applications. The process of access management is related to users and customers, whose profiles have to be created, managed, controlled and granted the proper role and access. When it comes to performing access management and keeping sensitive data and information secure, giving the right access to the right people is imperative.

  • Identity Governance

Identity governance (IG) is a subcategory of Identity and Access Management (IAM). IG provides organizations with better visibility to identities and access privileges, and better controls to detect and prevent inappropriate access. IG solutions are designed to link people, applications, data and devices to allow customers to determine who has access to what, what kind of risk that represents, and take action in situations when any violations are identified.

Identity Governance in action:

If someone is trying to access the systems who is not authorized, the identity governance solution can determine the access as suspicious and notify about it to the system administrator. The identity governance systems also help in automating the process of cleaning user access right by analysing whether the users were granted the similar access in the past or not.

Identity Governance offers a holistic approach driven by risk analytics and focused on improving security and compliance. Identity Governance has several techniques to provide preventive or detective controls, reporting, and dashboards, data access governance, improved user experience and contribute towards limited threats to acceptable level.
Moreover, Identity Governance tools enable organizations to enforce, review and audit IAM policies, map governance functions to compliance requirements and support compliance reporting. Specific identity governance product features include user administration, privileged identity management, identity intelligence, role-based identity administration, and analytics.

In general these are the differences in the functioning of the two solutions, but both are used to protect sensitive information and data from getting access without permission and proper privileges. Thanks to IAM and IG, an organization’s data could be better secured from unauthorized access, malicious threats and cyber attacks.