SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking is on the rise to steal authentication codes and access digital wallets or other accounts. While criminals often take advantage of advancements in technology, SIM card fraud is not a hi-tech crime committed by rogue players who manipulate existing holes in how SIM cards are managed.

SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking - device identity theft

Cases of SIM card theft are at an all-time high, especially with the abundance of personal messages sent to smartphones such as authentication codes sent via SMS texts. Regardless of how much effort is made to curb smartphone identity theft, this type of crime continues to rise as it provides opportunities to access accounts.

What Is SIM Card Swapping?

SIM card swapping and cell phone hijacking goes by many names and has been around for quite a while, wreaking havoc on people’s lives all over the world.

Port-out scamming, SIM splitting, SIM hijacking or SIM-card swapping is a form of fraud focused on replacing someone’s SIM card with one that’s owned and controlled by the fraudster to take over the smartphone messaging system. This change-over tactic is made possible because there are existing loopholes in how telecom companies manage the identities of their customers.

The scale with which most telecom companies operate is probably one of the contributing factors to SIM splitting. Most telecoms are just too big and serve millions of customers which may be the reason for the lack of sufficient controls and resources to prevent SIM card fraud.

However, mobile phone and telecom technology companies have developed technical solutions to curb cell phone related fraud. One of the common solutions developed over the years is allowing mobile phone users to flag suspected scams and spam phone numbers. These numbers are then added to an ever-growing list which is used to alert future phone users.

This type of fraud is yet another indication that smartphone users need additional awareness to protect themselves from SIM card fraud.

How Does SIM Swapping Fraud Work?

Like every other form of identity theft, cell phone hijacking made possible by SIM swapping requires the criminal to have access to important bits of key information about the potential victim. Getting access to this information can be done in two ways, searching the web for publicly available information about the potential victim or subtly social engineering the victim into unknowingly giving away the information. The social engineering route is one commonly taken by most SIM card scammers, who usually pose as representatives from the victim’s telecom company.

The scammers aim to obtain from the potential victim their SIM PIN, their social security number, numbers they last contacted, their last recharge amount, and their account security question.

Once this information is obtained, the scammer contacts the victim’s service provider, impersonating the victim and requesting them to reassign the subscription to another SIM card. Telecom companies make the swapping mechanisms this easy since they want to provide convenient service to their legitimate customers.

The telecom representative will question the victim impersonator regarding information that the real SIM card owner would only know. Once the information is confirmed, the SIM will be reassigned to another card just as the scammer had intended. This leaves the victim’s card disconnected from the network, and with it goes all the access the victim had to other resources through the SIM card.

What’s So Dangerous about SIM Swapping?

Receiving the victim’s calls and text messages is one of the basic benefits that the scammer will get with the SIM card hijacking; through SIM swapping, the scammer can gain access to most if not all the victim’s online accounts that are linked to the SIM card.

To gain access to a victim’s online accounts, the scammer works on the assumption that the victim has subscribed to two-factor authentication on their online accounts. If this is the case, as is most of the time, the scammer gains full access to victim’s accounts.

In extreme instances of identity theft through SIM swapping, an attacker can gain access to the victim’s online financial resources linked to the SIM card through two-factor authentication. With this access, the attacker is also able to take over digital wallets.

Some Incidents of People Getting SIM Card Swapped

One of the most high-profile incidents of SIM-card swapping is that of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The endgame in the SIM swap of the Twitter CEO was to gain access to his Twitter account. Access to this high-profile Twitter account gave the scammers access to a broader audience on the social media platform. For about half an hour, Twitter experienced a barrage of tweets and retweets from its CEO’s account, a series of racial profanities.

Another recent SIM swapping case includes a couple that lost $75000 of their cryptocurrency deposits. This digital wallet theft was the intended purpose of what started as a SIM swap performed on the couple. The couple narrated to investigators how they helplessly watched the cryptocurrency deposit of their two sons’ college fund savings being emptied. Upon contacting their mobile service provider, they were notified that indeed a SIM swap was conducted on the SIM registered with two-factor authentication to the digital wallet.

Unfortunately, sometimes unsecured SIM cards are used by cell phone owners which places them at risk. For example, after the 3G communication tower in Ukraine was destroyed by the Russian soldiers, they switched off their encrypted phone system and started using normal phones with local SIM cards which led to the interception of conversations revealing the death of Major General Vitaly Gerasimov by Ukrainian intelligence.

What You Can Do If You Have Been SIM Swapped?

Once you realize that you’ve been a victim of SIM swapping, it’s paramount that you move quickly and swiftly to contain the situation.

When you’ve been SIM swapped, the first thing you should do is to contact your phone service provider from a secondary valid phone, and notify them of what has happened. This will enable the service provider to lock down any activity on the SIM, which may help in preventing further damage to your now stolen digital identity.

Secondly, and equally important as the first step, you should immediately change the password and phone number used for dual-factor authentication on your accounts. While the importance of different accounts varies from one person to another, you should list all accounts and only start with the most critical ones. Also consider contacting the financial institution to inform them and take any additional steps as they recommend.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself Against SIM Card Swapping and Cell Phone Hijacking

When high profile individuals are victims of SIM swapping and families lose their savings through the scam, this goes a long way to show that no one is beyond reach and nothing is sacred to SIM fraudsters. While the Telecom service providers do all that they can to prevent SIM fraud, it is upon you and those around you to stay safe from SIM-card swapping scammers. Here are some tips on how to stay a step ahead of scammers:

  1. Minimize the amount of personal information that you make publicly available or post online.
  2. Where possible, use stronger authentication procedures on your accounts such as using a Google or Microsoft authenticator app instead of SMS two-factor authentication.
  3. Ignore and report any suspected numbers or emails that you receive requesting personal information.
  4. Secure your cellular accounts with a PIN or password.

Things That Can Happen When a Phone Is Accessed by Unauthorized People

When unauthorized people access a phone or its resources, this can lead to several consequences for the phone’s owner. Here are some of the common things that can happen with unauthorized phone access.

  1. The scammer can perform unintended financial transactions through the phone’s accounts.
  2. Damaging communications can be made through the phone, which can at times have irreversible consequences.
  3. Implanting of malware or harmful software on the phone.
Identity and access management certifications

Understanding smart contract access controls is important to ensure the security and integrity of automated contracts. When Bitcoin emerged as the first cryptocurrency in 2009, very few people recognized the potential of blockchain technology. As more decentralized currencies have come online and the NFT market has grown, the world has come to realize that blockchain will shape the online world for years to come. Each day, new companies introduce blockchain-based applications in the financial, medical, and supply chain management industries.

Understanding smart contract access controls is important to ensure the security and integrity of automated contracts.

What is a smart contract?


In 1996, computer scientist Nick Szabo coined the term “smart contract.” He did not base his definition on the contract being artificially intelligent. Instead, he imagined how parties could execute a digital contract more safely and intelligently than a written one. He likened smart contracts to vending machines. Only after the purchaser makes a selection and pays a fee will the vending machine make the product available. A smart contract would be a program that could only execute after certain conditions were met.

Incorporating smart contracts into a blockchain architecture would change the culture of the internet. Subscriptions, in-app purchases and many other transactions could happen in a decentralized manner that would increase security and decrease the influence of large technology companies.

How Smart Contract Access Controls Increase Security


As with any online platform or software product, security concerns are paramount. Most transactions on blockchain involve finances, and many include private data. Although the nature of blockchain technology makes attacks more difficult, it is not invulnerable. For example, a hacker stole more than $600 million from Poly Network, a cryptocurrency platform, in August of 2021. The hacker has since returned the funds explaining that he wanted to demonstrate the security flaw.

Access controls are a primary means of improving security for smart contracts. Properly executed controls determine who can manipulate the data within the contract and handle other administrative functions. Access controls may even limit who can interact with the contract at all. A company that uses smart contracts for shareholder votes will only grant access to an approved list of members.

Two Types of Smart Contract Access Controls


The extent of access controls needed for a smart contract depends on its complexity and purpose. There are two main models of access control: ownership and role-based access.

Ownership


Small organizations or contracts with a small scope may only need management by a single account. This manager has ownership of the contract and administrative access by default. Typically, the account with ownership is the same one that put the contract online. However, there are some practical considerations in accounts with a single administrator.

  • Transferring ownership: A replacement protocol must be in place if the current administrator steps down to avoid getting locked out of the smart contract.
  • Removal: If the person who set up the contract is not going to be the administrator, a removal option is necessary to prevent a backdoor vulnerability.
  • Increasing complexity: An automated smart contract can serve as the owner of another contract. This nested approach can serve to protect sensitive data.

Role-Based Access


A smart contract launched by a larger organization will often have broader access requirements. However, the sponsoring group will not want every member to have full administrative access. Role-based access involves giving layers of permission to different members of the organization. At the top level, one or two accounts will have full administrative roles. Other members may be able to interact with individual parts of the contract.

In the shareholder voting model, administrators could launch the voting app in a smart contract and grant voting privileges. Those users with mid-level access might have the authority to input names on the ballot. At the lowest level are the shareholders who can only access the contract to register a vote.

A role-based approach adds an extra level of data security. The sponsoring organization still must have other safety protocols to prevent illicit access.

  • Clear role assignment: Assigning or revoking roles should belong only to those with high-level administrative access.
  • Protective time delays: An unfaithful administrator is a security nightmare with limited solutions. One preventive step is to build the contract with alerts and time delays for unexpected actions. For a financial contract, the program could notify the organization and delay the authorization of a transaction above a certain size.

Other Preventative Steps for Access-Based Security


In addition to access controls, other security steps can prevent unauthorized activity around smart contracts.

Modular Smart Contract Design


Using a modular contract architecture is a protective model for sensitive data or transactions. Dividing data among several contracts limits the amount that an unauthorized user can access.

Regular Smart Contract Monitoring


As an organization goes live with its contracts, it should have some sense of expected behavior. Developers can build failsafe protections into the program to shut things down if conditions vary too far from the norm. For example, unexpectedly high access may point to a security vulnerability.

Smart contracts will continue to grow as a popular way to automate secure transactions. Sensible access controls and other security measures will protect organizations as they embrace blockchain technology.

Identity and access management certifications

Reusable identity is an innovative approach in digital identity management that helps streamline the user onboarding process. Reusable identity can replace the existing complicated identity management process to grant users access without the need to manage and secure identity components while eliminating repetitive processes in identity and access management.  

In the existing setup, online users complete a unique personal profile every time they register themselves on a new website that system owners must manage. While the signup process may be short, it can become extremely frustrating to verify identity, create new credentials, and fill countless individual profiles on multiple online platforms.

Portable and reusable identity helps streamline the user onboarding process.

Considering that an average business user uses almost 200 different online accounts, verifying identity and sharing personal data can take its toll. Sharing personal information has additional caveats, which are often manifested in the form of data leakage and identity theft. Every time someone shares information, the data is prone to hacking attempts. The use of many systems, complicated and repetitive onboarding process, and security concerns are making reusable identity the foundation of our new digital economy.

To safeguard customer loyalty and trust, businesses are turning to privacy-protecting reusable digital identities that can give people more control, security, and shorter signup time. A reusable identity gives people access to online services from a single unified platform. As a result, there is no need to collect and maintain identity information.

This digital identification technology is already helping consumers sign up for multiple platforms without the need to verify their credentials more than once. Using a single identity management platform, anyone can easily verify and share personal information on government websites, register with doctors, take out insurance, collect prescriptions, open a bank account, get a mobile phone, buy travel tickets, and use almost any type of online platform that requires personal identification. The scalability, security, improved customer experience, and ease of identity management offered by portable identity offer an opportunity to benefit from this new approach in digital identity management.

A reusable ID app can securely store personal information, which is easily federated when transacting with a new entity enabling many-to-many relationships between consumers and businesses. The research also predicts that the market for reusable ID apps will grow from $32.8 billion in 2022 to $266.5 billion by 2027.

Why We Need Reusable Identity

The concept of reusable identity has emerged from the need to provide a solution that brings the digital world something, which is comparable to an identity card in the physical world. For instance, in the physical world, the ID card, Driving License, and Passport are the three main types of IDs that are used to prove identity. A typical user can use these IDs almost anywhere because they’re universally accepted forms of verification.

Unlike the physical world, the digital sphere operates on different principles. In it, the user has unique credentials for almost every online platform. Besides usernames and passwords, different types of websites require different information. This is precisely where a reusable ID makes sense because it allows online users to use a single credential to prove that they are who they say they are.

Digital Identity Management: The Customer Journey

As we inch towards Web 3.0, almost 88% of consumers acknowledge that the security of their data is the most important factor during the onboarding process. However, the existing multi-step onboarding flows don’t address the issue because personal data is vulnerable every time a user creates a new account. After the registration, insecure password-based authentication continues to hamper the boarding process by creating additional security loopholes.

To deal with the issue, governments, personal data stores, big tech, consumer digital identity companies have already started offering solutions to businesses. These solutions streamline the customer journey by providing a unified digital identity management platform. Here are just a few examples of such initiatives:

Government: There are more than 40 eID schemes introduced by the governments of various countries. After creating and verifying the identity, users can access public services without creating additional profiles. E-estonia and singpass are just two of the popular examples.

Personal Data Stores: Online platforms such as Digi.me and Dataswift allow individuals to share their data with multiple organizations around the world.

Big Tech: Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung are companies that are actively collaborating to create a unified consumer-facing identity solution. Today, users can use a single online social profile to access online solutions from these vendors and their partners.

Consumer Digital ID: 1Password and LastPass are examples of popular digital identity wallets that let users store their IDs, passwords, and documents in the cloud.

Backend Identity Solutions: Jumio and ID.me offer retail-centric solutions to customers so they don’t have to input credit card and ID details every time they shop on a particular website.

How Businesses Can Benefit From Customer Identity Management

A robust customer identity management portal allow businesses to streamline the onboarding process and provide better customer services. It helps by:

  • Improving login process using pre-verified credentials.
  • Enhancing customer privacy by limiting the amount of data transfer containing personal information.
  • Ensuring compliance with the latest local and international laws.
  • Allowing the customer additional freedom to share only the information required to verify the identity.
  • Consolidating identity management across different devices and platforms.
  • Restricting access to unwanted third-party marketing channels.

Of course, these are not the only benefits. Depending on the needs of customers, businesses can develop unique interoperable networks, public-private partnerships, and digital ID ecosystems. Perhaps, it is one of the best ways to prevent fraud, improve loyalty, and ensure access to correct data for every customer.

Identity and access management certifications

Improving the digital identity verification process is becoming essential as identity theft and fraud are more common by the day which is why the U.S. Congress is doing something about it with the Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021.

The internet, which was originally developed to let government researchers share data more efficiently, has ballooned into something much bigger which offers nefarious individuals a channel to commit fraud with stolen identities using advanced methods while it also improves people’s lives.

With new regulations which often overlap with other laws at least partially, the government authorities seem to be playing catch-up and focusing more on prevention. While regulations are typically deigned to protect consumers from identity theft which have already destroyed or at least harmed some citizens’ financial lives, recent attempts to defraud the government have spurred elected officials to recognize the issue’s urgency.

Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021 for effective and consistent identity verification

The Problems

Here are just a few of the problems that members of Congress wish to solve, as outlined in the Improving Digital Identity Act:

  • Inadequate resources for government agencies and businesses that verify identities
  • Rising cases of identity theft
  • Billions of financial losses from identity fraud
  • Erosion of privacy for victims of identity theft

Government Fraud Case

A New Jersey man, Eric Jaklitsch, recently made the news for draining California of over $900,000 by filing unemployment claims with fake identities. He wasn’t caught because of an excellent identity theft prevention system, though. Law enforcement only noticed him because he used fraudulent debit cards at ATMs.

Jaklitsch wasn’t unique. You can find lots of similar stories, like this Boston-area man who participated in unemployment fraud.

How Will the Improving Digital Identity Act Help?

Improving digital identity verification with the implementation of the Act could reduce or even solve digital identity fraud problems. The text of the Act notes that the Federal Government’s authority puts it in a strong position to effect change. State governments, which handle driver’s licenses and IDs, also have extensive reach.

The Improving Digital Identity Act aims to solve digital identity problems in several ways:

  • Creating a cohesive, interoperable digital identity system
  • Providing increased funding to improve digital identity systems
  • Cooperating with private sector entities to improve digital identity verification systems through innovative methods

Benefits of Improving Digital Identity Verification

If all goes as planned, the Act will create a cascade of benefits:

  • Reduced identity theft
  • Greater privacy and data protection
  • Improved banking access for vulnerable individuals
  • More efficient detection of identity fraud and theft

Which Agencies Are Involved?

Representatives from a variety of agencies and departments will form a task force to implement the Improving Digital Identity Act. The involved federal entities are as follows:

  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Education
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Social Security Administration
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Department of General Services

Representatives of various state and local agencies will also participate.

What Will They Do?

At this early stage, some agencies’ responsibilities are clearly outlined. In other cases, it’s unclear which unique tasks each might face. As a whole, the task force will be responsible for several activities:

  • Identifying government agencies that handle identification information
  • Evaluating restrictions on those agencies’ abilities to handle identification information for other agencies and organizations
  • Assessing necessary legal changes to manage the restrictions mentioned above
  • Recommending a framework that would allow agencies to manage digital identity verification securely
  • Determining necessary funding
  • Assessing whether a fee-based model would be effective when offering digital identity verification services to private entities
  • Recommending further actions that Federal, State, and local government entities should take to securely and accurately manage digital identity verification
  • Determining the criminal exploitation risks of digital identity verification methods
  • Assessing the merits and drawbacks of digital identity verification compared to traditional identity verification
  • Working with the private sector to improve digital identification security

In addition to those general tasks, the Act also gives specific directions to representatives of some departments:

  • The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology must create a framework of standards and procedures to guide other government agencies in supporting secure digital identity verification.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security must allocate grants to government agencies that provide identity credentials like driver’s licenses. The grants will be for relevant system upgrades. After all agencies have completed their tasks, the Secretary must also issue binding operational directives for moving forward.
  • The Comptroller General, head of the Government Accountability Office, must assess the use of Social Security numbers by nongovernmental agencies and make relevant security recommendations.

How Will the Government Recommendations Help Private Companies?

Interoperability is one of the key aims of the Improving Digital Identity Act. Private sector companies should take note; cooperating to create a system that connects data from multiple sources could enhance their ability to flag attempted identity fraud. Companies would also benefit from allocating further resources to secure identity verification processes.

Improving Digital Identity Act Timeline and Budget

The Act also referred to as Strengthening Digital Identity Act of 2021 was first introduced in September 2020 and directs the Secretary of Commerce through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a robust digital identity management program with standards and guidelines for improving America’s cybersecurity posture.

The Act requires the publication of the interim Framework no later than 240 days after the date of the Act which should come sometime in 2022. $10 million will be allocated to the secretary for each fiscal year from 2022 through 2026 to implement the Act. A grant program will be established within the Department of Homeland Security to allow States to upgrade their systems for issuing drivers’ licenses and other forms of digital identities.

Identity and access management certifications

Enterprises looking for more robust identity and access management (IAM) platforms are turning to the cloud and embracing the flexibility of identity-as-a-service (IDaaS). To choose the right off-premise solution for IAM, business management and IT professionals must evaluate security, functionality and adaptability prior to implementation. These six questions can guide enterprises in selecting a reliable IDaaS vendor to support diverse access requirements.

Tips for selecting an identity as a service IDaaS solution

Does it Work with All Applications?

Most enterprise-level organizations take a hybrid approach to business applications, hosting some on premise and others in the cloud. Reconciling IAM across these applications is challenging, particularly when legacy solutions are involved or users require seamless access from a variety of devices. Companies utilizing applications built on numerous platforms, such as a mix of Windows and Linux software, face further difficulties. Regardless of where the applications are hosted or accessed, a strong IDaaS solution should simplify integration between systems and applications to create a unified user experience.

How are Identities Managed and Verified?

With numerous industries now requiring detailed access and security policies, IDaaS solutions must offer tools for managing identities in varied use cases. Access requirements within businesses can also change as new devices, applications and users are added or third-party partnerships are formed. Each user should be able to access necessary resources without the need to sign into each application separately.

IDaaS solutions provide a framework for single sign-on (SSO) or federated identity with multi-factor authentication (MFA), which eliminates silos and allows for uninterrupted movement across applications and network environments. Directory services authenticate identities through a central database to allow an appropriate level of access in all situations.

What Security Measures are Used?

IAM is useless if identities aren’t secure, so enterprises must investigate how IDaaS providers address the safety and privacy of identity information. One set of stolen credentials can compromise an entire network and threaten the security of the third parties with which an enterprise is connected. Strong encryption, including password hashing, is required to prevent credential theft and minimize the damage hackers can do if sensitive data falls into their hands.

Enterprises must take into account all users who need access, including employees, customers and third-party vendors, and evaluate IDaaS solutions in light of risk levels and compliance requirements. Platforms using risk assessment tools and behavioral monitoring to determine when to grant access are likely to be more reliable than those with less detailed security controls.

Can Configurations Be Customized?

Just as enterprise access needs differ, so do network configurations and workflows. Manufacturing companies employing connected devices and smart machines require access management solutions equipped to handle device identities along with human users, whereas growing tech companies may be better served by IDaaS solutions designed for quick access from both on-premise and mobile devices.

Although turnkey solutions may provide the underlying framework for any company’s IAM needs, custom configurations are necessary to achieve optimal performance. Basic templates for IAM policies simplify setup and implementation, but enterprises should focus on solutions their IT departments can adjust to address unique access requirements as network environments change over time.

Is it Designed to Scale?

Affordability and flexibility are always major concerns when adopting cloud solutions. Enterprises need freedom to accommodate growth and adapt networks to incorporate new users and devices. IDaaS software equips companies forecasting rapid growth to keep up with IAM requirements and prevent security issues arising from poorly managed identities.

IDaaS must be robust enough to handle large numbers of access requests while maintaining peak performance at all times, especially in enterprises managing customer identities and vendor accounts. Slow response times negatively impact the user experience, which affects both employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Will it Save Time and Money?

Building and maintaining onsite infrastructure to support a modern IAM solution is still an option for enterprises but should be considered with caution as access protocols continue to become more nuanced. IT departments already handle significant workloads, and adding the design, implementation and upkeep of a new onsite system may undermine the security of IAM protocols. Cybersecurity skill shortages make it difficult to find employees with the capabilities to properly manage and maintain the complex systems involved in enterprise IAM.

Switching to a cloud-based solution in which updates, backups and security are largely handled by a third party offloads a significant number of responsibilities from the IT department to free teams from the constant load of administrative duties associated with access control.

Identity and access management certifications

Cloud-based IAM solutions promise easier management and a better user experience. When all users can easily access resources with one identity, productivity increases and networks become capable of adjusting to accommodate change. Enterprises embracing IDaaS benefit from improved efficiency, better security and greater access control, which allows for more flexibility and provides the protection necessary to safeguard today’s complex networks.

This free identity and access management report 2022 is prepared by Identity Management Institute to share updated information on the latest IAM industry trends and drivers, statistics, threats, solutions, and more.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a comprehensive set of technologies, company-wide policies, and processes for granting, controlling, and accounting for identities throughout their lifecycle to ensure authorized access and transactions as well as non-repudiation. This includes onboarding and identifying each identity, authenticating it with a trusted credential, authorizing access to resources, assigning responsibilities, tracking activities, offboarding, and managing other attributes associated with an individual user.

Identity and Access Management Report 2022 by Identity Management Institute. IAM industry and market data.

Exploring and anticipating the future of identity and access management is daunting, especially when a new threat surfaces frequently. That’s why Identity Management Institute created this identity and access management report to assess the risks and outline the industry’s general direction and strategy for addressing the threats. Throughout the years, Identity Management Institute has evaluated the IAM industry with published documents to help organizations foresee the risks by observing the trends and the risk factors that affect identity management and enterprise security at macro as well as micro levels.

This report aims to inform stakeholders about the state of the identity and access management (IAM) industry. It includes valuable information for parties interested in securing systems and data as they consider how IAM processes and technologies can support their security objectives.

The identity and access management report is prepared with publicly available information and analysis of observations for existing and prospective IAM solution providers and experts, software vendors, end-users, industry analysts, IT professionals, and anyone else who wants to understand IAM better. It contains an analysis of how market trends are moving, how security threats are changing, and technology advancements that will shape IAM in the future.

An Overview of Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management (IAM) is a set of processes, policies, and tools that work together to make sure that the right people gain access to the right systems and data while keeping unauthorized access at bay.

There are five general domains within IAM:

  • Identification
  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Access governance
  • Accountability

When considering IAM, it’s likely that technology such as two-factor authentication comes to mind. However, industries throughout the global economy are under constant threat of various cyberattacks, and the state of IAM continues to adapt and evolve to stay a few steps ahead of the latest cyber attacks:

Identification: Zero-Trust Approach

The establishment of identity is at the foundation of all of the other IAM domains. It’s the unique differentiator of users, devices, and applications for today’s computer systems. After that identity is established by an organization, the organization can manage the access to critical systems by implementing its protocols for access governance.

It used to be that an organization’s IT security systems would assume that a user, device, or application can be trusted on good faith. If a request was not flagged as a threat by the security program, it was given access to a number of areas on a network by default. In 2022, more organizations are abandoning traditional IT security protocols and implementing a zero-trust framework for IAM. This means that the IT team assumes that the network is already compromised and no one user, device, or application can be trusted until its identity is verified.

Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication

Nearly every business transaction is now processed digitally. This is a big attraction for sophisticated hackers who are no longer satisfied with notoriety and are going straight for the money or their asset of interest. Stolen personal and financial records have high value on the black market. Progressive companies and government agencies attempt to cut cybercriminals off at the pass in 2022 with the adoption of innovative biometric and multi-factor authentication platforms.

One such platform is ID.me which provides multi-factor authentication at each level of trusted access. One of its most prominent clients is the Internal Revenue Service. By summer 2022, taxpayers will no longer be able to access certain services, files, and documents without proving their identities with ID.me. Due to a backlash, the multi-factor authentication platform will not use digital mugshots of taxpayers for a facial recognition scan as of the writing of this IAM report.

Authorization: Conditional Access Management

Authorization is the act of verifying that a device, application, or user has permission to access requested network resources. One of the most common types of IT security breaches happens when someone accidentally or purposely gains access to resources or files for which they aren’t authorized. As a result, IT security teams are tightening up the way that access privileges are set up. Instead of giving the same level of access to everyone who maps to a certain role, the cyber security teams create more granular access roles. Users who meet specific criteria become privileged players who have elevated access while others may have temporary or limited access.

Access Governance: Automation for Speed and Accuracy

Access governance is the set of policies and procedures for assigning and managing access for different users, applications, and devices. Several years ago, it was common for access governance publications to be static documents that only changed with formal governance board reviews. Access governance automation tools were available, but they had limited functionality.

In 2022, IT security specialists face changes to national and regional legislation that impact access governance for computer systems in the public and private sectors. Also, world markets have recently experienced devastating supply chain issues. These challenges have helped to shed light on the ways that companies manage and share supply chain data.

Now, robust access governance automation tools aren’t just nice-to-have security features anymore. Instead, they are needed to update access governance rules in real time to avoid fines, lawsuits, and damaged reputations.

Accountability: Larger Data Analytics Budgets

According to Gartner, many companies expect to increase their data analytics budgets for IAM in 2022. They want data sets that allow them to make more informed IT security decisions. However, the collected data can also be used to conduct more in-depth audits on access logs that support accountability for IAM.

IAM Contributions to Data Protection and Cyber Security

The main benefits of identity and access management revolve around data protection and cyber security. Around 80% of all data breaches occur as a result of weak or stolen passwords. When a company implements an IAM system, best practices for credential management are put into place to eliminate these and related issues by requiring employees to frequently change their passwords, which mitigates the possibility of a password being stolen when better authentication methods are not available.

A notable percentage of breaches are also caused by insider threats. IAM is able to mitigate these threats by limiting user access and making sure that additional privileges are only given under supervision. Another clear contribution of IAM to cyber security is the ability to track anomalies with accuracy.

Along with basic credential management, modern IAM solutions are built with risk-based authentication, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These technologies allow IAM solutions to better identify and resolve anomalous activity. With more advanced technologies, IAM solutions also help businesses move away from passwords to multi-factor authentication. The advanced capabilities available with IAM solutions include fingerprint sensors, face recognition, and iris scanning, all of which bolster security and protect sensitive data.

State of The IAM Market in 2022

Cybercriminals are constantly exploring new methods, which means the identity and access management (IAM) market must remain dynamic to keep up. Just recently, a series of major breaches have again demonstrated that supposedly secure systems are often surprisingly vulnerable. The IAM industry has also been in flux, with key mergers and acquisitions affecting the general landscape. Amid all the changes, a few definite trends are taking shape. By keeping tabs on the latest developments in the world of IAM, you can know what to expect in the years ahead.

As an industry, identity and access management continues to grow and is viewed as a necessity by cyber-security professionals. Over the past few years, the market has grown substantially to a value of $13.41 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $34.52 billion by 2028. This identity and access management report 2022 covers numerous factors that are contributing to the continued growth, recent trends, possible challenges, and market value. According to a research report, the market will grow at a compound annual rate of 14.5% from 2021 to 2028.


Several factors contribute to the IAM market growth. There’s been real progress in the IAM space at all enterprise levels due to the prevalence of cloud computing and mobility. As organizations move more of their data to the cloud, they need to ensure that the right IAM technologies will secure intellectual property, protect confidential customer data, and create a more secure and compliant environment. All of this has led to greater adoption across several vertical markets, including banking and finance, healthcare, and government agencies.

Many enterprises are also exploring IAM strategies beyond basic authentication and access management. They’re looking at how their processes can be reengineered to help them automate more of their operations and secure the most critical data portfolios. This is driving an increasing need for IAM technologies that provide solutions for sophisticated requirements that executive management and IT professionals alike must address.

Major Breaches Continue to Reveal Vulnerabilities

Organizations from private companies to government agencies continue to fall victim to hackers and cybercriminals. In this environment, the need for comprehensive security measures is clearer than ever before. Below are a few examples:

Fraudsters Use Deepfake Audio to Fool Employee

A corporate worker in Hong Kong sent fraudsters $35 million after receiving forged emails and a phone call that was supposedly from the company’s director. The caller claimed that the company was about to make a major acquisition. What the worker didn’t know is that the audio was fake, created with software to mimic the director’s actual voice. Cybercriminals are likely to use this technology more in the future.

Washington State Department of Licensing Suffers Suspected Breach

The Department of Licensing in Washington state holds all sorts of sensitive data about citizens, including social security numbers and dates of birth. The department recently shut down POLARIS, an online business service, because of a suspected data breach. The incident demonstrates the continued vulnerability of the public sector.

Industry News

IAM companies have responded to emerging threats by building new products, developing new protocols, and perfecting existing methods. This has created a truly dynamic industry. Companies have also been merging with larger organizations looking to consolidate or add products under their umbrellas. Taken together, these developments reveal an industry that’s gone into overdrive, doing whatever it can to strengthen online security.

GBG Acquires Acuant

In November 2021, the massive cybersecurity company GBG acquired Acuant, its erstwhile competitor. The merger brings two industry giants together within a single organization. For GBG, the move provides inroads into the exploding American market. The United States is full of new and growing companies, all of which will need IAM services in order to protect themselves from digital harm. GBG is betting on itself as a long-term provider of these essential services.

SecureAuth Purchases Acceptto

SecureAuth recently purchased Acceptto, a provider of multi-faceted authentication tools that relies heavily on artificial intelligence. The move fits in with SecureAuth’s general intentions. The company has long sought to use AI as a means of improving password-free authentication. Acceptto’s cutting-edge technology can help SecureAuth provide top-end products for corporate clients.

5 reasons identity and access management is important

Importance of Identity and Access Management

IAM is critical to the security, privacy, and compliance posture of organizations’ data, systems, and applications. While access control is important, IAM needs to address more than just access control. Access control is only one aspect of a larger identity management and security model. Access control alone will not be enough in specific industries, such as financial services, healthcare, and government agencies that handle sensitive customer data or have regulatory requirements to comply with AML, HIPAA or other privacy and related laws. There is an increasingly growing need for more advanced identity management capabilities for IT and executive management.

The ability to identify individuals is an essential part of the Identity and Access Management (IAM) process. An individual’s identity may reveal information beyond their access authorization and system activity such as their reputation, employment status, health benefits, and many other personal data. Read about top 5 reasons why identity and access management is important.

Growth Drivers

Key growth drivers for the IAM market include the following which we will further explore below:

  • Cloud computing
  • Mobile services and applications
  • Increased compliance mandates and regulations
  • Vertical markets
  • Consumerization of IT

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has created a shift in the way companies use technology. Cloud offers a delivery mechanism for applications, data and services where the infrastructure is hosted remotely. Cloud computing enables higher utilization of processing resources as users do not need to invest in software or pay for overages on IT infrastructure.

Today, cloud computing has become the fastest growing technology segment and shows no signs of slowing down. More organizations are realizing the cloud computing’s legitimate benefits and adopting the solution. Businesses embrace an actual cloud-first strategy to harness the power of this technology as they look to advance their IT strategies in pursuit of higher returns.

Mobile Services and Applications

Almost 80% of the world’s population will be using the Internet via their mobile phones by 2022, according to Gartner. The mobile Web and applications are expanding the number of people who can use the Web from any location at any time. Furthermore, organizations will no longer limit access to data on a per-location basis, as they often could in the past.

Increased Compliance Mandates and Regulations

When observing the IAM industry, it’s largely driven by the need to meet compliance requirements and regulations, which change almost constantly. As such, it’s believed that the compliance sector of IAM will be the primary driver of growth in the industry. Keep in mind that around 250 resolutions or bills that deal with cyber security were considered by U.S. state governments in 2021 alone. The passing of each new bill means that new compliance requirements must be upheld. With an IAM system in place, navigating these requirements becomes considerably more straightforward.

“There are many redundant and overlapping regulations that require organizations to comply with many aspects of identity and access management such as know your customer, anti-money laundering, financial transaction tracking, and online age verification or behavior monitoring for “appropriate” content. Staying ahead of the regulatory curve and meeting compliance mandates is especially important for companies with government contracts or government-related clients” says Henry Bagdasarian, President of Identity Management Institute.

Vertical Markets

While most IAM vendors design and sell products for all enterprise types, there is growing demand coming from vertical markets to meet their special needs. The vertical market is a subset of the broader IAM market which includes financial services, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

Consumerization of IT

There’s a tremendous demand for devices that can be used for at-work and at-home computing. This trend is driven mainly by the increasing number of people working from home or remotely and internet availability in devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers. The blockchain technology may also add to this dynamic by giving consumers added control over the management of their personal information in self-sovereign identity management scheme.

Identity and Access Management Threats

Companies are constantly dealing with new and unique IAM threats that could pose problems for any business. The most important aspect of an IAM solution is its ability to identify and eliminate any new threats that arise. Cyber security attacks were yet again prevalent in 2021 with an average cost of $4.24 million per breach. One of the costliest issues that companies must contend with are ransomware attacks.

In 2021, cyber-attacks directly affected several high-profile companies. For instance, the attack that occurred on Colonial Pipeline brought about a $4.4 million payout. A considerably higher payout of $40 million was paid to ransomware hackers by CNA financial. It’s because of these and other cyber threats that businesses are looking to any solutions that protect them from losing millions of dollars. The IAM industry is at the forefront of this protection.

Although the IAM market has enjoyed strong growth over the past years, several IAM-related threats could slow down future adoption. Chief among them is a lack of communication between IT and security teams. Without proper communication and integration, enterprise identity management strategy can’t be efficient or effective.

Another potential threat to adoption is the concept of shadow IT. As cloud-based services become more common, the role of an enterprise IAM strategy becomes more blurred. Employees can increasingly use third-party cloud solutions to access sensitive information, thus reducing the role and contributions of their enterprise IAM solution.

And then there’s the potential for cybercrime. The growing number of IAM-based cyberattacks is making security professionals wary about the broad adoption of cloud and mobile technologies, which are often more vulnerable than traditional on-prem solutions. Thus, organizations may be held back from fully utilizing their IAM strategy simply because they’re uncertain whether or not it will be as secure as they need it to be.

The good news is that there are natural solutions to these challenges, including using complementary IAM technologies and solutions from a variety of security vendors. As more traditional on-premise systems transition to cloud and mobile, the number of potentially vulnerable applications grows — but there are still steps that can be taken to minimize those risks.

Challenges Facing the IAM Market Growth

According to market research reports, several challenges potentially threaten IAM market growth. One of them is the increasing complexity of identity management requirements. IAM vendors must ensure that their customers have the best possible tools and resources to manage access by employees and third parties across diverse enterprise applications.

Another challenge is greater user adoption of mobile technologies and cloud-based services. Cloud computing allows organizations to be more agile in their business processes, but it makes managing access even more complex. And without proper adoption of innovative mobile technologies, enterprise customers won’t be able to take full advantage of the benefits that cloud computing offers.

Yet another challenge is the likelihood of increased cybersecurity threats. As more and more sensitive information is moved to the cloud and mobile devices, cybercriminals are becoming more interested in using those systems to break into an organization’s network and data repositories.

On a positive note, security solutions are on the rise, and they will help minimize these risks. Organizations need to ensure that they have the proper measures to protect their data and information, regardless of various access points.

Projected Spending on Identity and Access Management

Fortune Business Insights reports that the global enterprise identity management (IAM) market will grow from an estimated $8.7 billion in 2015 to $19.3 billion by the end of 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 13.2%. While the US leads the pack, in terms of individual countries, Japan is projected to register the highest CAGR over the forecast period at 5.8%, while Russia and the UK are expected to experience a CAGR of 6.7% and 5.6%, respectively, over the same period. The industry has experienced steady growth over the past 12 years due to several factors, including the increased adoption of third-generation mobile technologies and cloud services by enterprises. As more organizations continue their digital transformation efforts over the next five years, spending on IAM technologies will continue to increase.

Budgeting Priorities for IAM

Budgeting priorities will include the automation of access and user management across a range of applications in the coming years. It’s essential to automate IAM processes as much as possible to reduce errors, detect and respond to threats on time, and be more efficient specially for midsize firms and smaller organizations, which cannot afford to invest heavily in IT staffing.

Workforce productivity is another essential part of IAM initiatives. Organizations would like to ensure that employees can access information and applications when needed. Technology is only one part of the equation; data privacy issues can also be a significant challenge for some organizations. There is often urgent need to grant users access, even when there are security concerns. Access provisioning is as important as access deprovisioning which must be addressed for various scenarios.

Governance must be in place to ensure that employees’ access rights are appropriate and enforceable, depending on their role within the organization. As with many enterprise IT initiatives, it isn’t easy to come up with a comprehensive governance model. IAM is no different. With constantly evolving technology, it’s critical to ensure that the right policies are in place to define who has access to which data and applications.

Enhanced visibility across several identities and access management (IAM) related applications will be necessary given the scale of the IAM market over the next five years. More advanced technologies will require a steady increase in spending on IAM solutions, including identity management platforms and various systems for user and access management. Organizations should ensure that there is sufficient funding for the automation of access and user management across a range of applications. They must also invest in technologies that provide real-time network access and system activity visibility.

IAM Employment Opportunities

Employment in the identity management industry is projected to grow 17% by 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Most jobs can be broken down into four main categories: Manager, engineer or architect with programming background, analyst, and administrator. In general, openings for identity administrators will increase as businesses seek to better manage their information security risks and the risks posed by hackers who exploit vulnerabilities in networks. Learn about IAM career and jobs.

IAM Industry Job Requirements

Due to emerging trends, companies are generally looking for candidates with a minimum of 4-7 years of experience in the information technology with an undergraduate degree or higher. Those companies who are hiring for IAM positions generally look for candidates who have an understanding of enterprise resource planning software and associated security functions.

Another position that companies are looking to fill is that of identity administrators, which are responsible for managing the policies and procedures that govern access control to applications and information systems in organizations. Newcomers can prepare to enter the IAM industry by completing a degree in computer science, information technology, and cybersecurity. Identity Management Institute offers a range of professional IAM certifications for novice and experienced professionals.

IAM Projections

The need to secure the enterprise is one of the biggest factors driving IAM spending. As organizations move their data to the cloud and mobile devices, they need an effective way to protect it. A recent survey by Trend Micro shows that two-thirds of security respondents expect a breach within two years. Organizations should also invest more in identity analytics solutions, as this is a critical area for many firms looking to improve their security posture. These solutions are designed to identify abnormal behavior patterns and establish a baseline for network usage patterns. Identity and access management (IAM) projects will be present in almost every enterprise by 2022. These projects will be divided into five categories:

  • Protecting data while maximizing the value of the network.
  • Reducing security risks and complying with regulations.
  • Improving user productivity while simplifying IT management.
  • Controlling access to a range of business applications and platforms, including email and collaboration software.
  • Enabling collaboration between employees, partners, and customers.

Identity And Management Access Vendors

As more companies leverage cloud computing with SaaS applications and manage a large number of dispersed workforce, the demand for comprehensive identity and access management products will grow to identify and authenticate users, manage system access, improve cybersecurity, comply with regulations, and streamline IAM operations. There are several vendors that offer some exceptional products, services and benefits. While some vendors are big and work better for large enterprises, others are smaller and offer unique benefits to SMBs or growing businesses.

IAM vendors can generally be classified under two major categories. These are:

The “Big” vendors in the identity and access management (IAM) market will continue to dominate the IAM market in 2022. These vendors include IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. EMC is another contender expected to have a market leader position. This is because it has been awarded contracts with several organizations to support identity and access management (IAM) initiatives.

The fast-growing vendors include CyberArk, Okta, and HID Global, which have developed innovative solutions that address the needs of business customers. Other vendors may develop niche products and services for specific vertical markets such as healthcare.

Learn more about identity and access management vendors.

Long Term Investment Outlook for IAM

The industry is expected to show sustained long-term growth, driven by the demand for diverse IAM solutions, including access management. Advanced technologies will require a steady increase in spending on identity and access management solutions. Organizations should make sure that there is sufficient funding for the automation of access and user management across all critical systems. They must also invest in technologies that provide real-time system activity visibility and monitoring.

Regulations Around Identity and Access Management Operations

Organizations’ adoption of identity and access management (IAM) technologies will put them in a better position to operate on a global scale. These solutions are crucial for ensuring that an organization adheres to the global data protection and other related regulations. Key regulations include:

While the US doesn’t have a single unified cybersecurity or privacy regulation, The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May 25, 2018 to strengthen and unify data protection rules across the EU.

The EU’s Network and Information Security Directive (NISD) is the first EU wide cybersecurity legislation for implementing security measures to enhance cybersecurity in Europe and avoid cybercrimes.

These regulations help organizations prevent various forms of identity fraud and data breaches, which have become a major concern. All these regulations encourage organizations to have an IAM infrastructure that will ensure they are compliant with these policies and provide highly secure networks that are designed to protect the data of their customers and employees.

Data Breach and Identity Theft Report, Stats, and Predictions

The average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million, which was an increase from $3.86 million the previous year. Remote work is the primary reason for this increase. Even though the IAM industry has been providing businesses with cyber-security solutions for many years, 95% of all breaches occur because of human error.

Stolen credentials brought about just over 60% of data breaches as more than 20% of employees are relatively likely to click on phishing emails. By educating employees, damaging data breaches and cyber-attacks are considerably less likely to occur.

As for identity theft, the cost of identity theft in 2020 alone was $56 billion. Around 2.2 million fraud cases were reported that same year. Keep in mind that 15 million citizens in the U.S. go through identity theft each year, which is a trend that is expected to continue for years to come.

A data breach is one of the costliest consequences of cybercrime. It damages the trust between a company and its partners and may lead to severe damage to its reputation.

Investing in an identity and access management (IAM) systems is a great start, however, organizations must also ensure they have a skilled workforce that understands the identity risks and how to develop best practices or leverage technologies to manage identities and their access. The next technological advancements will focus on using advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain identity, and biometric technologies to prevent system or data breach and ensure timely and legitimate access to resources.

Distributed Digital Identity and Centralized Identifiers

Innovations Across the Identity and Access Management Market

Digital identity innovations such as distributed identity management, and decentralized identifiers using blockchain technology is crucial in creating better tools and solutions for the identity and access management industry in the coming years.

The ability to recognize trends and take advantage of new technologies can help industry leaders develop and embrace solutions that help businesses gain customer loyalty and develop a stronger foothold in their market shares. Innovation and improvement in user experience can lead to higher customer satisfaction and revenues for product development firms and their customers.

Distributed Digital Identity Management

In our evolving and interconnected digital economy, distributed digital identity and decentralized identifier are changing the way identities are managed. Distributed Digital Identity (DDI) helps facilitate the verification and authentication of an identity and management of personal information on the blockchain.

The idea behind DDI is very simple, yet very powerful: it removes the need to rely on an external third party for managing digital identities and eliminates the need for centralized control. Users can create their own digital identity using decentralized identifiers (DIDs), which are stored on a blockchain. They can then use their digital tokens to identify themselves, prove ownership of assets, and selectively share personal data with others for a predetermined period of time with automated smart contracts.

The adoption of distributed digital identity will accelerate the digital transformation of enterprise and government as well as change the way we manage identity and access today. The primary benefit of a decentralized digital identity management solution is the ability to establish trust, verification, and reliability between business partners, customers, and employees in a secure way.

Decentralized Identifiers or DIDs

DIDs are unique, highly available, and verifiable digital identifiers which can represent any subject such as a person or organization and are part of the core component of a decentralized pubic key infrastructure (DPKI). There are many ways to authenticate an identity some of which may be more private than others such as zero knowledge authentication. One of the most secure and popular options is using a digital token which has unique strings in the realm of distributed digital identity and decentralized identifier. These digital tokens can be used for identification purposes as well as access, transactions, and activity tracking.
With DID, users are able to use their digital tokens as identification tokens for their identities on the blockchain. Users could create distributed IDs that contain all of their personal information (such as name, gender, email address, etc.) and prove their identity with no third-party involvement. In other words, there’s no need for a central authority like a bank or credit card company to create or manage user identities. One of the most popular platforms for DIDs is EOS which lets users on the Ethereum network easily create and manage their own digital tokens. By using this technology, people can easily make transactions and provide proof of identity or ownership of assets, like cars or houses.

The growth of the IAM market is mainly driven by the demand for cloud services, growing need for better security, and regulatory compliance. This can be attributed to the increase in cybercrime and hacking incidents across the globe. The world of IAM is evolving quickly in response to a changing environment. The rise of remote work has increased vulnerability just as cybercriminals devise new methods for bypassing security systems. With workers scattered around the world, organizations are struggling to keep infiltrators at bay. To meet today’s many security challenges, IAM companies are coming up with new products and tweaking their methods. The rising demand for IAM products and services is expected to help generate higher revenues for IAM vendors, which will allow them to invest additional funding in research and development (R&D). This will help accelerate innovation in the industry and create new products and solutions that will help organizations meet the needs of their customers.

A Push For Zero-Trust Policies


The increased number of security threats is forcing more organizations to adopt a zero-trust policy. This approach involves consistent authentication and validation for everyone who uses a network. Typical features include:

  • Continuous verification
  • Limited blast radius
  • Automated behavior analysis to optimize responses

In 2022, more organizations should adopt this approach than ever before. Unfortunately, many groups and companies foresee formidable challenges associated with IAM implementation. For IAM providers, smoothing out the wrinkles will be a major focus.

Blockchain Helps Decentralize Identity Standards

Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the world of data security. By allowing for a zero-knowledge proof system, blockchain eliminates the need for sensitive information that can become vulnerable during a breach. Blockchain is also an inherently decentralized form of technology, and it fits perfectly within a user-centric security model. Given these considerable advantages, you can expect blockchain to increase its status in the IAM space.

An Increased Focus on Identity-Proofing Tools

Keeping track of user identity is harder in the age of remote work. In response to the current challenges, expect more companies to invest in identity-proofing tools that can help prove that an attempted login corresponds to an actual user. IAM companies that offer these tools can expect to see a growing client list in the future.

IAM Technology Innovation and Impact

IAM technology innovations mainly center around the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of which are becoming increasingly common among top IAM vendors. For instance, IAM providers like CyberArk use artificial intelligence and machine learning to accommodate adaptive authentication. AI-powered analytics allow for the right access decisions to be made in an instant. Decentralized IAM via blockchain and decentralized identifiers are also being adopted at an increasing rate to substantially reduce security risks.

The use of a decentralized network means identities can be more private and secure. Another approach to identity that’s played a part in the IAM industry is the idea of self-sovereign identity, which provides individuals with full control of their own digital identities. While these methods of enhancing security and lessening potential points of attack are highly beneficial, widespread use of them depends on adoption by businesses and IAM solutions alike.

It’s estimated that IAM solutions will continue to be adopted by an increasing number of businesses in years to come. At the moment, the IAM industry is valued at $13 billion. The annual growth rate from now until 2028 is estimated to be 15%, which means that the projected market value for 2028 is just over $34 billion. The IAM industry has never been more important for any business that wants to protect their data and secure user/employee information. With new cyber threats being introduced almost daily, IAM solutions must be in place to keep these threats at bay.

Conclusion

In recent past, hourly office workers needed to punch a clock in person to begin a shift. Today, the same employees work remotely and sign into company computer systems across the Internet using IAM-based processes and technologies. These tools give businesses the freedom to securely expand their operations around the world. The major challenge is preparing new IAM technologists to innovate fast enough to keep up with ever-changing demand in the market which is expected to grow by 15% annually and reach $32 billion in 2026. This is why Identity Management Institute continues to publish content on identity and access management to raise awareness of the risks, offer solutions, and produce a growing number of certified IAM professionals globally.

The drivers for the identity and access management market growth include high demand for cloud-based solutions and SaaS applications, distributed workforce with BYOD, adoption of IoT and smart devices, access management automation, managing the human error element, compliance, and general cybersecurity.

Identity is the new security parameter. One giant network parameter is no longer a security and access solution for a dispersed workforce and network of systems. Security and access protocols must be defined for each system while a common ground is established for a collection of systems such as SSO.

Identity and access management certifications

Building an IAM team is strategic, challenging, and extremely beneficial for companies that need to strengthen the security of their systems. Anyone pursuing a career in identity and access management, or IAM, is in the right place at the right time. In banking, finance, insurance, energy, health care, retail and other industries, companies are scrambling for qualified professional to build or maintain robust IAM teams.

Strategy and tips for building a robust identity and access management team. Reap the benefits of an IAM team.

Market Research

Two recent surveys focused on identity and access management, one of which was conducted by LastPass, involved a total of more than 1,200 security decision-makers. The respondents worked in companies of all sizes and across a range of industries. The results were eye-opening.

  • Midsize to large businesses are grappling with up to a fivefold increase in identity workforce. Even small businesses struggle to manage user credentials if their networks are open to customers or vendors. The dramatic spike in identities is largely due to evolving cloud and mobile technology.
  • Almost all respondents agreed that weak or nonexistent IAM strategies pose increased security risks. IAM is more important to them now than ever. They worry about phishing attacks, compromised credentials, unauthorized access to data, loss of data, violations of users’ privacy and social engineering.
  • In the survey, when participants were asked about their top priority for the coming year, 65 percent said it was upgrading their identity management programs.
  • In both studies, though, participants cited challenges to improving. For one thing, few of the IT professionals surveyed were especially knowledgeable about their own company’s IAM strategies or about how to implement IAM. Even seasoned IT experts are simply not trained in this relatively new field of expertise.

Clearly, the time is now for business owners and executives to build dedicated IAM teams. That’s great news for both professionals who want to expand their horizons and computer-savvy students who are drawn to a career in cybersecurity.

A New Urgency

It’s tough to pin down how many businesses currently have an IAM team. In the study, however, a whopping 98 percent of respondents who work in companies that employ remote workers said that they do.

Since most businesses employ remote workers these days, it’s highly likely that most either have an IAM team or are working to build one.

Depending on company size and structure, teams report to either the chief security officer or the chief information officer. Many small to midsize companies may engage one executive in a dual role called CISO. IAM has tended to migrate from IT to security over time.

In any case, there’s a whole new urgency to implementing this extra layer of protection. As technology evolves, cyberthieves are never far behind, and their schemes get more sophisticated all the time.

Demand for dedicated IAM teams is only expected to grow over the next several years.

The Numerous Benefits of an IAM Team

The greatest benefit of IAM is reasonable assurance that networks, databases and applications are secure and private. Ideally, users must have the appropriate entitlements to access only the resources they need to do their jobs and only at certain times.

However, more and more companies are discovering additional benefits:

• Frustrated workers find somewhere else to work. A skilled IAM team ensures a first-rate user experience and improves employee retention and morale.

• A streamlined, automated experience boosts productivity whether users are on the premises, traveling or working from home.

• Companies can open their networks for the convenience of customers, vendors and contract workers.

• Automated IAM reduces calls to the IT help desk and subsequent waiting time for assistance. That saves manpower and money as well.

• Centralized security across a range of databases, networks and mobile apps gets users at all levels on the same page. Better communication, alignment of goals and collaboration are among the positive outcomes.

• Teams help organizations become audit-ready, remain compliant with security and privacy regulations, and avoid hefty fines.

How to Build a Robust IAM Team

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for IAM teams. Teams are as unique as the organizations and specific projects they’re created for.

Anyone building a team must first consider the size of the company and the scope of the project. A business with 250 workforce identities won’t need as many team members as one with 10,000 identities. There is really no average size when it comes to IAM teams. The number of members is dictated by the size of the business and its security requirements.

Once the company’s ongoing or project-specific needs are identified, it’s crucial for the team builder or project manager to engage early on with all the stakeholders who will be involved. The audit and compliance departments should be among the first stops.

If an IAM team is being built from scratch, there may not yet be a budget for it. The team builder might have to sell the idea by demonstrating its value to the decision-makers.

This is a fairly new development. Even in businesses that had existing IAM departments, identity management professionals were once seemingly invisible. Their roles were considered strictly technical.

That’s not the case anymore. IAM team members are emerging from the basement, so to speak, to meet with top-level executives so that business goals and budgets for various projects align. They’re getting input from stakeholder groups, such as human resources or accounting, and designing solutions with diverse user types and capabilities in mind.

There are many different hats to wear in IAM. Some roles, like engineering, database management and programming, are strictly technical. Others, like risk assessment and project management, are nontechnical. IAM is a complex job that requires a range of both hard and soft skills. That’s why job postings are so specific.

Almost all robust, cohesive teams comprise both technical and nontechnical professionals. IAM is not just about technology. It’s about people too.

Tips for Building a Strong IAM Team

• If necessary, demonstrate the value of IAM. For instance, point out the high number of IT help-desk tickets. Some experts estimate that every instance of a forgotten password costs a company around $70. Calculate and show the annual loss that could be avoided.

• Engage the audit and compliance staff. Show how automation will reduce mundane tasks and eliminate costly errors.

• Collect feedback from stakeholders at all levels in every affected department. Show how an IAM team will cut costs, streamline processes and generate revenue. Make sure that goals and business drivers are in sync between the team and various stakeholders.

• Select a small core group for project management across the entire team. Based on stakeholders’ feedback, choose supporting team members that are equipped to meet stakeholders’ needs. Group them according to specific project requirements or skills and experience. Select a representative with good communication skills from each group. Clearly define the goals, responsibilities and expectations for each new project or phase.

From there, plan carefully, delegate and consult the road map often to measure progress.

Choosing (or Becoming) Top IAM Talent

Superstars in IAM aren’t merely technologically gifted.

They’re wildly creative. They’re avid learners who continually expand their knowledge and pick up new skills. They can contribute to multiple projects, easily adapt to evolving technology, and communicate well.

Most importantly, perhaps, they earn as many certifications as possible. Diverse experience increases their value to any project or organization.

There are technologists, system architects, and IAM engineers who build and deploy identity management systems, and governance experts who build IAM programs. There are identity and access managers transforming IAM, identity protection advisors helping consumers, or red flag specialists trained to watch for warning signs of identity theft in high risk businesses. And, access management specialists who keep tight control over system access and respond to incidents. These are just a few of the specialties in IAM that require certification.

Identity Management Institute, founded in 2007, is an international industry leader in IAM certifications. Every day, we certify professionals in data protection, identity management, governance and technology, identity fraud prevention, access management, identity theft protection, and compliance.

In addition, we work with a variety of businesses to help them build or improve their IAM teams.

Given the rate at which demand for IAM is growing, we strive to help professionals get certified and companies get the talent they need.

Identity and access management certifications

While telecommuting offers a number of benefits for workers and employers, there are also risks involved which warrant cybersecurity and data protection considerations for remote workers. When employees work from home, they cannot use the company’s internet, printers or computers. Because of this, employers need to create thorough security policies for their remote workers. From data protection to computer malware risks, companies must carefully consider the following areas.

Cybersecurity and Data Protection Considerations for Remote Workers

Data Protection and Privacy

In one survey of IT leaders, 57 percent of leaders thought that remote workers would expose their organizations to a data breach. A total of 34 percent of leaders said that their workers did not care about security. Unfortunately, only 42 percent of companies provide or approve devices. Instead, many companies simply work to mitigate the risks of employees using their own devices.

In reality, most remote workers just want to do their job. They may not care about data protection. It is also possible that they are simply unaware of data protection and privacy measures. Whatever the case, companies have to be proactive about requiring employees to take security precautions.

If your employees are working from home, they need to have a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts the worker’s connection to your servers, which allows them to access data safely. If an attacker does not have a corporate VPN access, they cannot access the same information. You can also protect your company’s data by limiting the information that each employee can access. This naturally reduces the damage that can occur from a single worker’s security lapse.

Whether your data is in transit or at rest, it should be encrypted. Even if there is a security breach, the data will be illegible as long as it is encrypted. To achieve this goal, employees must equip every device, computer and work phone with encryption. Software programs like Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office offer an automatic option for encrypting files.

Employee Training

Ultimately, the main cause of any data breach is human error. When all of your employees are in a central office, it is difficult to prevent mistakes from happening. It is even harder to control workers when they are working from home.

Your data protection officer should train all of your employees on cybersecurity policies. In addition, you should create a specific policy for your remote workers. Then, your employees have to learn about their new expectations. Your cybersecurity team should be readily available for video calls if your workers have any questions.

Incident Support and Escalation

A remote workforce involves an entirely different approach to incident support and escalation. Normally, organizations have decreased threat visibility because employees are working at home. All of the traffic flows through personal devices instead of corporate computers. Because of this, identifying incidents may take longer. In some cases, it may be impossible to figure out the root cause of an incident.

To make digital forensics easier, companies need to implement centralized log monitoring. Attackers often cover their trail by getting rid of the device’s logs. By maintaining records of these logs, companies can stop criminals from using a common attack technique.

Remote workers may not be able to talk to a specialist in person, but a remote specialist can execute scripts and investigate problems from afar. Trained personnel can respond to most issues and take remediation actions. Because the specialist has to guide a non-technical employee through the remediation process, it can take longer to respond to events.

To make remediation easier, companies need to have clear channels for communication. IT departments must be easily accessible so that team members can instantly reach them when an incident occurs. These specialists must also be trained on who they should contact if additional actions are required. Organizations should create incident response plans that are specifically designed for a remote workforce. An incident conference bridge can also help security team members respond when a coordinated, team-based response is necessary.

Data Storage Locations

Your corporate network and shared files are especially important in a teleworking environment. Team members must be able to access shared resources in order to do their jobs. If one person is hacked, it can affect everyone.

For many companies, the easiest answer to data storage is the cloud. Cloud storage allows you to backup your data at multiple locations around the world. Data is encrypted, and it can be shared among team members. By using cloud storage, you can enable your remote workers to collaborate safely in real time.

Remote Work Policies

Your preventative measures are only useful if employees are aware of them. As you transition to a remote workforce, you should create policies for data security, encryption and other measures. Then, you should train your employees on these policies and how to spot cybersecurity risks. Your employees should also know who they should call if there is a problem.

Computer Malware Protection

Many remote workers are using home devices instead of corporate computers. Because of this, they need to install antivirus and antimalware tools on their home devices. If a device is used for work, it should have a firewall and strong malware protection. You have less control over what an employee does when they are at home, so extra protection is essential.

Document Printing and Security

Document printing is a potential security risk. If an employee prints documents at home, FedEx or a local print shop, the physical documents may not be discarded properly or could be picked up or viewed by someone else. In large organizations, this issue has always been a problem. When there is a surge in demand, employees often send duplicate print jobs to different printers. Once one job prints, they forget to pick up the other print order. In most organizations, multi-technology card readers can ensure that only the correct users are able to receive the printed document.

For teleworkers who can occasionally visit the office, you can enable remote printing. When a document has to be printed, the team member can use the company network to print it. They can select the location in the company’s main offices where they want it to be printed.

If it is not possible to print through the company network, you may want to choose a copy shop close to each remote worker’s location. Then, you can set up an account for each worker and give them guidelines. You can also use technology to track what each person is printing. By creating printing policies and encouraging safe printing, you can increase your company’s document security.

Crisis Plans

Even with the best security measures, you may still encounter problems. You need the right incident and crisis management plan in place to handle potential issues. Your contingency plan should include testing and backup communication channels that you can use if the network is compromised. All of your remote staff should be trained on your company’s crisis and contingency plans.

While many companies switched to teleworkers because they had to, having a remote workforce also offers a number of benefits. Remote workers allow you to save money on office space and overhead costs. To enjoy these benefits, your organization has to safely navigate the transition to a remote workforce. With the appropriate security measures and technology, your organization can emerge stronger than before.

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There are five reasons identity management is important in cyber security and data protection. IAM is a dynamic field and must remain progressive in order to help combat cybercrime as cybercriminals continue to develop new methods. In recent years, rising number of major data breach cases has demonstrated that perceived secure systems are not as secure as we think because many factors contribute to system security and access vulnerability.

5 Reasons Why Identity and Access Management is Important

While new and improved IAM products are introduced and companies continue to merge amid industry changes, visible trends are taking shape. Below are 5 reasons identity and access management is important:

1. First, identity and access management ensures that legitimate parties have the right access to the right resources at the right time while keeping illegitimate parties out of systems. This is probably the most important role of identity and access management in information security. Various parties which may include employees, contractors, vendors, customers, and even IoT devices need access to systems and as such require the establishment of their identities and access provisioning during the on-boarding process. Subsequent processes are needed to remove access as soon as the relationship is terminated and monitor activities to detect hacking attempts or unauthorized activities.

2. Second, parties who have been granted system access pose the greatest risk because they are often the identity theft targets of hackers who need their access privileges to enter systems. Regardless of access management mechanism deployed, the easiest way for hackers to gain access to a system is to steal an existing access. One of the methods for stealing an existing access and gaining unauthorized access to systems is phishing emails which is the root cause of the majority of hacking and data breach incidents. This means that regardless of our information security investments and high tech security systems, access can be compromised if existing access is not protected and often parties with existing access pose the greatest risk and this is why identity and access management matters in cyber security. AI enabled identity management tools can help detect and prevent attacks and unauthorized access.

3. Third, parties with access to systems and resources make judgment errors when they wittingly share their access privileges with others. This is often due to the lack of education and training for teaching the parties about the importance of keeping access information confidential and the techniques for detecting and mitigating hacker attempts to steal their information. Identity management best practices include user education to secure their privileged access to systems and data.

4. Fourth, parties with access to systems and authorization to perform tasks are often the ones that are well positioned to commit fraud and cover their tracks to avoid or delay detection. Corrupt insider risks are real and this is another area where identity and access management solutions can be leveraged to monitor user activities and detect unusual transactions based on predetermined criteria.

5. And lastly, identity and access management matters because as regulatory requirements expand for customer identification, suspicious activity detection, incident reporting, and identity theft prevention, identity and access management solutions are needed to validate, track, and report on identities for compliance purposes. From a regulatory compliance standpoint, IAM services help companies manage various requirements such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and related Customer Identification Program (CIP), transaction monitoring for Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR), and Red Flags Rule for identity fraud prevention.

As you can see, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is extremely complex and critical in managing information security risks. Although technology is an important part of identity and access management, effective IAM also requires processes and people for on-boarding users, granting and removing access, and keeping unauthorized users out of systems. Once an IAM strategy is established, technology can be deployed to automate the identity management lifecycle and reduce errors which often exist in manual processes.

In conclusion, identity and access management risks continue to evolve worldwide as new threats and solutions are introduced, and laws are implemented. Specifically, cyber crime, identity theft, and related fraud are on the rise and various governments are scrambling to address privacy of consumers and manage risks through regulations.

As companies become more aware of the urgent need for managing identity and access management risks; deploying systems, designing or reengineering processes, and employing skilled staff also become apparent and are brought to the forefront for managing risks. IAM is a risk-based function that can help an organization achieve competitive advantage through state-of-the-art technology such as biometric authentication to lower operating costs, increase efficiency, and reduce the risk of security breaches.

Identity Management Institute is the global organization with thousands of followers which provides the leading identity and access management training and professional certifications.

Identity and access management certifications

While different countries and regions have specific laws and regulations governing how personal data must be collected, used, and protected, there are a few generally accepted data privacy principles that most experts agree on. This article will explore some of the most universally accepted data privacy principles which are also covered in the CDP certification course.

Generally Accepted Data Privacy Principles

Generally Accepted Data Privacy Principles

  1. Management – The entity establishes, documents, discusses and assigns responsibility for its privacy policies, notifications, and processes.
  2. Notice – The entity, in its privacy notice, informs users (Notice) of the company’s policies and procedures and explains what constitutes appropriate proportional personal information collection, usage, retention, and disclosure for each purpose.
  3. Choice and consent – The entity outlines the options available to the individual and gets permission to collect, use, and share personal information. This applies to non-identified transactions, where feasible, as well as the use of pseudonyms, and opting out of data sharing with third parties.
  4. Collection – The entity explains the collection technique, such as what, why, and how data is gathered, and only collects the bare minimum of personal information for the stated purposes with consent from the relevant data owner.
  5. Use, retention, and disposal – Personal information may not be used for purposes other than those specified in the Notice or for which the individual has given consent. This includes the use of distinct identifiers. The entity retains personal information only as long as it is required to fulfill the stated goals or as directed by law or regulations and then destroys it.
  6. Access – Individuals have information about their data as well as the ability to access and modify it, including the option to dispute the entity’s compliance.
  7. Disclosures to third parties – The entity makes only those disclosures of personal information that are permitted by the Notice and with the consent of the individual, and only after making certain that the third party adheres to data protection principles.
  8. Security – Personal information should be secured in a variety of ways, such as encrypting data at rest, online, and in-transit through the use of firewalls, VPN, encryption tools, and access control agreements, to name a few.
  9. Quality – The entity maintains accurate, complete, and relevant personal information for the stated purposes.
  10. Enforcement and monitoring – The entity has processes in place to handle privacy-related complaints and disputes, as well as procedures for monitoring compliance with its privacy policies.

Rights of individuals


The data privacy rights of individuals are probably among the best known and universally or generally accepted data privacy principles. In general, when a company or entity collects any personally identifying information from an individual, it must provide notification of this fact to the individual when requested. The individual also has a right to know what information is being collected, how and where the data is being used, who has access to it, how long it will be kept, and if it will be shared with other entities. Where personal data was collected without the individual’s express permission, they have a right to demand its removal.


The common theme that runs through these rules is privacy by notification and consent. Individuals have a right to know and specify how their information is used and protected. They also must permit its use and revoke the consent at any time.


According to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), these rights are not simply suggestions, and they are absolute requirements. Any company that processes or intends to process the data of individuals in the EU must comply with the GDPR or face significant fines.


In the US, the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) provide a similar set of rights for individuals. The FIPPs were created in the 1970s and have been updated several times over the years. They are not legally binding, but most companies follow the best practices.

Obligations of Organizations


Organizations that process personal data must also comply with several specific obligations. These include ensuring the security of the data, protecting it from unauthorized access or use, and destroying it when it is no longer needed. They must also ensure that individuals have a right to review the information that has been collected about them, request changes, and demand that it be deleted when no longer needed. The organization should also provide individuals with access to any information shared with third parties or outside companies.


Organizations must take all reasonable steps to protect personal data in their possession, regardless of whether they collected it themselves or received it from another entity. The penalty for not doing so can be significant, as Google recently learned when the French data protection authority fined it $57 million for violating GDPR.


Finally, all entities involved in collecting, using, or storing personal data must ensure that they are aware of and comply with the relevant laws and regulations governing data privacy.

Obligations of Individuals

Individuals have several obligations when it comes to data privacy. They must protect their passwords and other login information and not share them with anyone else. They must also take care not to reveal any personal data unnecessarily.
When it comes to social media, individuals must be cautious about the information they share. Anyone can see public posts, including employers, insurance companies, and other organizations that may use the information to make decisions about individuals. It is always best to assume that anything shared online is public and can be accessed by anyone.

The generally accepted data privacy principles discussed above are some of the most widely accepted globally. They provide a framework for protecting the privacy of individuals while still allowing organizations to exchange information. This provides a useful starting point for any company that wants to improve its data privacy policies and procedures.
These principles can also outline new legislation related to data privacy. It is already being used by legislators in the US, who consider how best to address concerns about personal data in the age of big data and digital transformation. Organizations must incorporate their privacy program into their digital transformation efforts and consider privacy governance concepts to protect data and respond to privacy inquiries.

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