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What is Identity and Access Management?

Contents

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Securely Manage Access with IAM
1
Introduction
PREVIEW2m 5s
3
4
Summary
1m 24s
What is Identity and Access Management?
Overview
Difficulty
Intermediate
Duration
17m
Students
41
Ratings
5/5
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Description

This course provides an overview of the AWS Identity & Access Management Service, commonly referred to as IAM, along with its core features. This is a key security service within AWS and is likely to be one of the first security services you will use and come across allowing you to manage specific access controls within your environment for your users.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what is meant identity and access management and the difference between authentication, authorization, and access control
  • Learn the components of IAM as well as its reporting features

Intended Audience

  • AWS Administrators
  • Security Engineers
  • Security Architects
  • Anyone who is looking to increase their knowledge of the IAM service in preparation for an AWS certification

Prerequisites

To get the most out of this course, you should have some basic hands-on experience of AWS and some of its core services, but it is not essential.

Transcript

Hello and welcome to this lecture where I shall provide an overview of what the Identity & Access Management service is, and what IAM actually means.

Firstly I want to define what is meant by Identity & Access Management and I shall break this down into two parts, starting with Identity Management. 

Identities, such as AWS usernames are required to authenticate you to your AWS account, and this authentication process is managed in 2 stages.

  1. The first part of this process is to define who you are, effectively presenting your identity, so for example your AWS username.  This identification is a unique value within IAM for your account, so this means IAM would prevent you from having 2 identical user accounts with the same name within the same AWS account.
  2. The second part of the authentication process is to verify that you are who you say you are. This is achieved by supplying additional data, and when using our AWS usernames we can verify this by supplying a password

Now, Access Management relates to authorization and access control.  Authorization determines what an identity can access within your AWS account once it’s been authenticated to it.  An example of this authorization would be the user’s list of permissions to access specific AWS resources, for example, they might have Full Access to EC2 or Read Only to RDS.

Access Control can be classed as the mechanism of accessing a secured resource.  For example, using the following:

  • Username and password (Authentication and Verification)
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA, used as an additional verification step following a valid password)
  • Or Federated Access, which allows users external to AWS to access resources securely without having to supply AWS user credentials from a valid IAM user account.  Instead, these credentials are supplied from identity providers.  For more information on Identity Federation, please see our existing course here: https://cloudacademy.com/course/using-aws-identity-federation-simplify-access-scale-1549/

So essentially IAM can be defined by its ability to manage, control, and govern authentication, authorization, and access control mechanisms of identities to your resources within your AWS Account.

Having an understanding of the different security controls from an authentication and authorization perspective can help you design the correct level of security for your infrastructure.

About the Author
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Stuart Scott
AWS Content Director
Students
187352
Labs
1
Courses
158
Learning Paths
115

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.