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What is Centralised Identity Management?



Centralised Identity Management (CIM) is an approach within cybersecurity and identity and access management (IAM) that consolidates the management of user identities, credentials and access permissions into a single, centralised system. This method simplifies and streamlines the administration of identities across an organisation, enhancing security, compliance and operational efficiency.

Key Components of Centralised Identity Management

Central Identity Repository

Unified Directory
A single directory service, such as Active Directory (AD) or a cloud-based directory, serves as the authoritative source for storing and managing user identities, credentials and attributes.

Identity Aggregation
The repository aggregates identities from various sources, ensuring that all user information is consolidated and consistently managed.

Authentication Services

Single Sign-On (SSO)
Centralised identity management often supports SSO, allowing users to authenticate once and gain access to multiple applications and resources without re-entering credentials.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Enhances security by requiring multiple forms of verification (e.g., passwords, biometrics, tokens) to authenticate users.

Authorisation and Access Control

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Centralised systems define and enforce access permissions based on user roles, ensuring that users have appropriate access levels.

Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)
Utilises user attributes and environmental factors to make dynamic access control decisions.

Identity Lifecycle Management

Provisioning and Deprovisioning
Automates the creation, management and removal of user accounts and access permissions as users join, move within or leave the organisation.

Access Reviews
Regular audits and reviews of user access permissions to ensure compliance and adherence to the principle of least privilege.

Policy Enforcement

Security Policies
Centralised enforcement of security policies such as password complexity, expiration, and account lockout.

Compliance Policies
Ensures adherence to regulatory requirements and organisational standards across all identities and access points.

Monitoring and Auditing

Activity Logging
Centralised logging of authentication and access events, providing comprehensive visibility into user activities.

Audit Trails
Maintains detailed records for compliance reporting, forensic investigations, and security audits.

Centralised identity management is a crucial strategy in cybersecurity and IAM that enhances security, operational efficiency, and compliance by consolidating the management of identities and access controls. It ensures that security policies and controls are applied uniformly across all users and resources and reduces the number of systems that need to be secured, making it easier to protect against breaches. Administrative overheads are reduced by streamlining user account and access management tasks, making it easier to scale identity management practices as the organisation grows, integrating new applications and services seamlessly.

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