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The widespread adoption of public cloud infrastructure has turned identity and access into the new cybersecurity battleground. Since the public cloud is outside the network perimeter, cloud identity and access management is becoming the new enterprise security paradigm. Here we’ll define cloud identity and access management (IAM) and why it’s critical to cybersecurity strategies.

What is Identity and Access Management (IAM)?

Before examining cloud identity and access management in more detail, let’s define what IAM is. According to Gartner, IAM is the “discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. IAM addresses the mission-critical need to ensure appropriate access to resources across increasingly heterogeneous technology environments and to meet increasingly rigorous compliance requirements.”

Essentially, a cloud IAM service controls users' permissions and access to cloud resources. Policies are permissions attached to either users or cloud resources to authorize what they can access and do.

In cloud computing, sensitive files are stored on a remote cloud server. Company employees log in via a browser or an app to access the files. Unfortunately, a cybercriminal only requires an Internet connection and an employee’s login credentials to steal those files.

Cloud Identity and Access Management Benefits

Using cloud-based IAM services implement processes, systems, and policies that manage user identities and access. This paradigm reduces or eliminates the need for expensive on-premises infrastructure, enhances security, and improves productivity. Below we’ve compiled some key benefits cloud IAM offers companies:


Securing Cloud Migration

Cloud migration, which includes identity infrastructure, is a high priority for many companies. Cloud IAM increases deployment speed because it's hosted in the cloud rather than on-premises. The vendor manages the service in the cloud, so upgrades are more manageable.


Reducing IT Costs

More people work from home and use personal devices for work, shopping, social media, and other activities, which requires IT teams to manage more apps, resources, and devices. On-premises IAM may not be adequate, and the costs associated with employing and maintaining in-house identity experts continue to rise, as do equipment purchases and maintenance. Cloud IAM doesn’t require IT infrastructure and support. 


Providing Adaptability and Scalability

A cloud-based IAM solution can be deployed as software-as-a-service (SaaS), a managed service in the vendor's private cloud, or software in the organization's private or public cloud. Adding new users to cloud IAM solutions is easy, whether adding hundreds of employees to a new location or launching a promotion to attract thousands of new customers.


Bolstering Authentication Security

Cloud IAM enhances security with capabilities like two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA), which reduce the need for passwords and the potential data breaches that can result from compromised credentials. MFA and 2FA use multiple authentication factors to verify a user's identity. Access can be streamlined even further through passwordless authentication, reducing or eliminating passwords.

Enhancing User Experience

Users get faster and easier access to their resources by using single sign-on. Customers, employees, and partners can use cloud IAM solutions. Using one set of credentials saves time and frustration for customers, employees, and partners who use multiple apps throughout the day.


Minimizing Password Reset Requests

Cloud IAM solutions reduce the risk of password theft and compromise by reducing reliance on passwords. Password resets account for up to 50% of IT help desk calls. 


Boosting Workforce Productivity

Most employees need access to a range of applications every day, including email, online meetings, HR, finance, and CRM systems. Employees lose productivity when they are forced to create multiple accounts and use multiple passwords, which they may forget. With cloud IAM, employees, contractors, and other workers gain access to resources faster and with fewer hassles by minimizing the time spent on logins.


Complying with Regulations

Using cloud IAM, companies can more easily comply with data privacy regulations. Cloud IAM allows you to adapt and remain compliant as regulations change quickly.

Why Cloud IAM is Critical for Zero Trust

Cloud IAM is fundamental to successfully deploying a zero-trust cybersecurity architecture, which shifts cyber defense from network-based perimeters to users, assets, and resources. It is the first step in an effective zero-trust roadmap.

A zero-trust system involves continuously verifying authorized users as they move around the network and granting each user the lowest privileges possible when accessing sensitive areas, documents, or files. 

Single sign-on and other authentication methods can help automate managing employee and customer identity, but even authorized users must verify themselves whenever they switch networks.

In chip making, the zero-trust model means that companies never automatically approve anyone trying to access the network, whether the person is an employee who has worked for the company for decades or a reliable supplier.

Synopsys, EDA, and the Cloud

Synopsys is the industry’s largest provider of electronic design automation (EDA) technology used in the design and verification of semiconductor devices, or chips. With Synopsys Cloud, we’re taking EDA to new heights, combining the availability of advanced compute and storage infrastructure with unlimited access to EDA software licenses on-demand so you can focus on what you do best – designing chips, faster. Delivering cloud-native EDA tools and pre-optimized hardware platforms, an extremely flexible business model, and a modern customer experience, Synopsys has reimagined the future of chip design on the cloud, without disrupting proven workflows.


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Synopsys technology drives innovations that change how people work and play using high-performance silicon chips. Let Synopsys power your innovation journey with cloud-based EDA tools. Sign up to try Synopsys Cloud for free!

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