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  • Mark van Vuuren

What Is the Difference Between IAM and PAM?


It is important to know the differences between IAM (Identity & Access Management) and PAM (Privileged Access Management). However, this theme still raises doubts for some people.


First, it is necessary to understand that the need to obtain an identity is essential.

After all, it is important to know that it is not defined only based on personal documents anymore.

In fact, identity is constituted through several characteristics capable of affirming who we are and the types of activities we perform.

Thus, several issues make up our identification such as name, biometrics, among other attributes that help build a unique identity.

Based on this, without detecting these characteristics, it would be impossible to recognize a person among the large number of individuals that inhabit planet Earth.

Regarding this aspect, have you ever imagined what would be the routine of an online system in which all users had the same identity?

So, imagine the following situation: Leo owns a company. When logging into the system, he seeks access to information relating to all employees in the organization.

Laura, who also works at the company, needs to enter the same platform to obtain information about the work she will perform, without necessarily seeking information regarding the clients.

But how will the system be able to provide the necessary information if it cannot recognize the identity of each one?

And how will the platform be able to identify authentic access?

This reality would also make it impossible to select the people who can have access to certain functions within the system in question.

Interesting, isn’t it?! So, I invite you to keep reading this article.

IAM: What Is It?

Based on the concern regarding identity issues, IAM has emerged, which can be understood as Identity and Access Management.

This system makes it possible to manage the most diverse identities and accesses related to company resources.

These resources can be understood as devices, environments, applications, network files, among other possibilities.

In other words, through IAM, it is possible to have optimal management and definition of the activities each user will be able to perform within the system.

These users can be clients, internal employees, third-party workers, or some applications.

One can see that, regardless of the type of user, IAM systems defend the concept that each individual must have their own virtual identity.

Therefore, it must be unique and needs to be monitored based on its life cycle, thus considering its creation, use, and exclusion stages.

From this perspective, the virtual identity presents the username, a password, and the activities carried out virtually.

IAM contains certain application models. One of the most common is the system as a service.

It is called IDaaS (Identity as a Service).

This process occurs when the authentication infrastructure is supported and managed by third parties.

Generally speaking, there are many application models today. However, every IAM system must have:

  • An efficient database to store information from the most diverse users.

  • Tools that provide the ability to enable and disable accounts.

  • Features capable of granting and revoking access rights to users.

In other words, IAM systems can manage digital identities.

The goal is to ensure access permission to users who, in fact, have authorization.



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