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IAM risks and how can they be mitigated

What are some common IAM risks and how can they be mitigated

19 July 2022

Common IAM risks

A key goal of enterprise security is to prevent attacks and reduce the damage they can cause. One often overlooked way to achieve this is to prevent attackers from gaining access in the first place. One of the primary ways we prevent attackers from gaining access to our networks is through a process called identity and access management. This security framework focuses on the identification and management of the various identities an attacker may use to gain access to a network.

What is Identity and Access Management?

Identity and access management (IAM) is the process of ensuring that users are who they say they are and have access to the information they require. IAM is an important part of cybersecurity—it helps prevent the misuse of sensitive data and protects against an attack’s ability to access systems and data. But IAM is often overlooked, especially in the wake of high-profile breaches. That’s a mistake.

What does IAM do?

Identity and access management mitigates risk by providing tools that help to maintain an individual’s identity based on strong and unique biometric and behavioural traits. An identity management solution should offer the following capabilities to help users ensure that their identities are secure:

  • One-Time Password Generation
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Multi-factor Authentication
  • Single Sign-On
  • Authorization-as-a-service
  • Self-service password resets
  • Password Recovery
  • Confidentiality
  • Choosing the right password for sensitive data
  • Data access control to prevent data leak
  • Data breach notification
  • Automated password

What are some common IAM risks and how can they be mitigated?

  1. Excessive Permissions

One of the common risks in IAM security is the risk of granting too many permissions to too many users. Granting excessive permissions to one or more users, or to any group of users that has too much access to your system, could enable a security vulnerability.

To mitigate this risk, you should only grant the minimum number of permissions needed to perform a specific task. This will help you to keep your system secure without limiting your users’ ability to do their job.

  1. Misconfigurations

There are many common IAM misconfigurations that can lead to security issues. These misconfigurations include allowing users to access other users’ data, allowing logins from unapproved IP addresses, and leaving APIs open. These misconfigurations can be prevented by limiting API access, administering users with role-based logins, and ensuring that APIs are properly secured.

  1. Cloud Security

IAM risks are inherent in any cloud environment, as many potential risks are mitigated by the cloud service provider. However, IAM risks need to be managed. They can result from cyber criminals, industrial espionage, negligent vendor management, or misuse by privileged users. To mitigate IAM risks, organizations must control access to their privileged accounts, enforce strong password requirements, restrict application access and maintain strict accountability on who has access to their privileged information.

  1. Privileged Access

All cloud users are privileged. All cloud users should be carefully audited for access to privileged accounts. Internet-based applications should be fine for most users. To mitigate IAM risks, organizations should require a minimum level of access for all cloud users, and they should prevent privileged users from abusing their privileges.

  1. External Sharing of Data

Because of the ease with which data may be shared via cloud services, it is difficult to regulate the data that is shared outside. Organizations will be unaware of the resources/data being shared via third-party applications, making it simple to disclose sensitive data.

To avoid this risk, businesses should implement an identity and access management solution that continuously monitors data sent out of the organization.

  1. Account Credibility Risk

One of the most common IAM risks is called “The Account Credibility Risk”. This risk occurs when an organization allows a user with no (or non-existent) credentials to access its resources, and they act on the user’s behalf without adequately confirming the identity. This risk has been amplified by the increased use of cloud services and the increasing ease with which users can access these services from anywhere. This risk is present even on the most sophisticated of cloud platforms.


IAM risk is a serious security problem for any business, even those without IAM responsibilities. Companies should adopt a risk-based approach to IAM, including risk-based policies, procedures, and controls, to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to IAM data, maintain regulatory compliance, and protect against data loss.

Are you looking to get Identify and Access Management implemented to manage and secure the data of your organization? Contact us and we can assist you with securing your company’s data.

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