Choosing the Right IAM Solution for Your Business: Privileged Access Management (PAM) vs. Single Sign-On (SSO) vs. Password Managers

Choosing the Right IAM Solution for Your Business: Privileged Access Management (PAM) vs. Single Sign-On (SSO) vs. Password Managers

The easiest way for a cybercriminal to get into a company’s information systems is to obtain a set of legitimate login credentials, which is why password security is the foundation of identity and access management (IAM).

From proprietary IAM solutions that public cloud providers integrate into their services to provisioning software and identity repositories, there’s no shortage of IAM tools from which to choose. Unfortunately, having so many choices leads to a lot of confusion. The bottom line is that most IAM solutions fall into one of three categories: privileged access management, single sign-on, and password management.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

Single sign-on, or SSO, allows end-users to log in to multiple websites or cloud applications using one set of login credentials. You’ve probably seen SSO in action when using your Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook credentials to log into a third-party website or application, such as a mobile game. The biggest advantage of SSO is user convenience; users don’t have to remember as many passwords. However, not all apps support SSO. It also has security risks, particularly if it isn’t implemented in conjunction with two-factor authentication (2FA) and identity governance.

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Privileged access management (PAM) is used to restrict and monitor access to a company’s most critical and sensitive systems. Unlike SSO, which only governs only user access, PAM enables granular permissions, role-based access control (RBAC), and other tools to prevent credentials misuse and support compliance standards. PAM is highly complex, costly to set up and maintain, and designed to secure only a small subset of credentials belonging to high-level employees, such as IT and security admins and c-level executives.

Password Managers

A password manager, such as Keeper’s solutions for individuals, families, and businesses, is a software application that allows users to securely store all of their login credentials in one centralized, private, encrypted repository. Password managers are inexpensive, easy to set up and maintain, and user-friendly. They cover all employees and all websites and apps, including employees’ personal accounts, and they simplify and enforce password best practices.

Which is the best IAM solution for your business?

A comprehensive IAM strategy is a layered approach that combines SSO, PAM, and a password manager with 2FA, RBAC, and other security measures, such as monitoring end-user behavior for unusual login activity. However, this approach is out of reach for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that don’t have large internal IT departments or substantial cash to spend on security.

However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! A password manager and 2FA may be all your company needs to protect itself against the overwhelming majority of password-related cyberattacks.

To learn more, download our white paper Privileged Access Management, Single Sign-On, and Password Managers: Choosing the Right IAM Solution for Your Business.

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