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IAM authentication

IAM authentication

(also identity and access management authentication)

IAM authentication definition

IAM authentication, short for identity and access management authentication, is a security process that ensures only authorized entities can access certain network resources. It utilizes policies and technologies to verify the identity of users and manage their access to specific assets or services based on roles and privileges.

See also: two-factor authentication, access control entry, password vault

IAM authentication examples

  • Cloud services: Cloud service providers like AWS and Google Cloud use IAM authentication to manage access to their resources, ensuring only authorized users can access and modify data.
  • Enterprise systems: Large corporations often employ IAM authentication to control access to internal systems and sensitive data.

Advantages and disadvantages of IAM authentication


  • Security: By verifying user identities and controlling access based on privileges, IAM authentication significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Compliance: IAM authentication helps businesses stay compliant with various regulations requiring certain data security levels.


  • Complexity: Setting up and managing IAM authentication can be complex, especially in large organizations with a multitude of users and roles.
  • Maintenance: IAM authentication requires regular maintenance, like updating user roles and privileges, to stay effective and secure.

Using IAM authentication

  • Implement the least privilege principle: Ensure that each user has just enough access to perform their job functions and no more.
  • Regularly review and update access policies: As roles and responsibilities within the organization change, IAM policies should be updated to reflect these changes.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security