What is Identity Fabric ?

Identity fabric is a new approach to identity and access management (IAM) that aims to overcome the challenges posed by existing silos between various IAM and identity security solutions. Traditional IAM solutions often involve disparate systems that may not communicate effectively with each other, leading to inefficiencies and potential security vulnerabilities. Identity fabric seeks to provide a unified and interconnected framework for managing identities across an organization.

An Identity Fabric solution delivers a holistic view of user identities, access rights, and account activities. It streamlines provisioning, authentication, and authorization of users and their access to resources across on-premises and cloud environments.

With an Identity Fabric, organizations can take a coordinated approach to identity governance. User lifecycle events like hiring, termination, promotion or role changes can be managed centrally. Consistent identity access policies and controls are applied across systems, reducing risk.

An Identity Fabric also enables advanced identity analytics and intelligence. User behaviors and access patterns are monitored to detect anomalies that could indicate compromised accounts or insider threats. Analytics provide visibility into how access rights accumulate over time and where privileges have spread broadly, so organizations can remediate excessive access.

How Identity Fabric Works to Protect User Identities

Identity Fabric is an identity and access management (IAM) architecture that integrates multiple IAM solutions into a unified system. It enables organizations to centrally manage user identities and control access to resources across environments such as cloud services, Active Directory or other directory services.

The key components of an Identity Fabric include:

  • Identity management systems – Systems that create, store and manage user identities and access. This includes solutions for managing passwords, multi-factor authentication, user profiles, roles and permissions.
  • Access management – Controls and monitors user access to resources across the organization. It ensures users have appropriate access based on their job function and enforces security policies.
  • User authentication – Verifies users are who they claim to be when accessing resources. This includes passwords, multi-factor authentication methods like biometrics, security keys and one-time passwords.
  • User provisioning – Automates the process of creating, updating and deactivating user accounts across all connected systems and applications based on a single source of truth.
  • Audit and compliance – Monitors user access and activity to detect anomalies, ensure compliance with regulations and prevent violations of security policies. It provides logging, monitoring and reporting capabilities.
  • Federated identity – Allows identities from one domain to be used to access resources in another domain. It provides single sign-on across security domains through secure identity federation standards like SAML, OpenID Connect and SCIM.

By consolidating identity data and unifying identity management processes, Identity Fabric reduces risks associated with “identity sprawl” – the proliferation of duplicate, outdated or unauthorized user accounts spread across IAM solutions. It helps ensure only authorized individuals have access to resources, and access is removed promptly when no longer needed.

Benefits of Implementing Identity Fabric for Identity Protection

Implementing an Identity Fabric provides several key benefits for organizations looking to enhance their identity protection and streamline access management.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

An Identity Fabric helps organizations strengthen security by providing a centralized access control system. It enables role-based access control, multi-factor authentication, and user provisioning to ensure only authorized users gain access to systems and data. This also aids in meeting compliance regulations like GDPR and CCPA by facilitating data access transparency and consent.

Improved Scalability

As organizations adopt more applications and services, managing users and access across systems becomes increasingly complex. An Identity Fabric provides a single platform to manage access across all applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud. This simplifies access management at scale and reduces the resources required to onboard new applications and manage users.

Optimized User Experience

With an Identity Fabric, users benefit from a seamless experience across systems. They only need to sign in once to access everything they need to do their jobs. The Identity Fabric automatically provisions and deprovisions access as needed based on a user’s role. This minimizes disruption for users when responsibilities change or they join/leave the organization.

Increased Operational Efficiency

For IT teams, an Identity Fabric reduces manual work by automating access management workflows. This includes automated provisioning/deprovisioning, access reviews, and role changes. Teams gain a centralized view of access across the organization, enabling them to easily monitor for issues, make adjustments, and ensure compliance. Overall, an Identity Fabric allows IT teams to focus on high-priority, strategic initiatives rather than repetitive access management tasks.

Implementing Identity Fabric for Enhanced Security

To implement an Identity Fabric architecture, an organization must have a thorough understanding of their data, applications, devices, and users. An Identity Fabric weaves together disparate identity systems into a single, integrated identity plane across the IT environment.

The first step is conducting an inventory of digital identities across systems. This includes user accounts, service accounts, credentials, authentication methods, and access policies. With a comprehensive inventory, organizations can map identities and access, identify redundant or obsolete accounts, and spot potential vulnerabilities.

Next, organizations determine a strategy for integrating identities. This may include consolidating redundant accounts, implementing strong authentication, and employing automated provisioning and deprovisioning. Single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are commonly used to strengthen identity security. SSO provides one set of login credentials to access multiple applications. MFA adds an extra layer of authentication for logins and transactions.

To build the Identity Fabric, organizations deploy an identity management solution that acts as an identity hub, connecting disparate systems. The identity hub enforces consistent access policies, provides a single pane of glass for identity governance, and employs machine learning and behavioral analysis to detect anomalous activity. With the identity hub in place, organizations can weave in additional capabilities over time, such as privileged access management, identity analytics, and cloud identity federation.

An Identity Fabric enables enhanced visibility and control over identities and access. It reduces risks from compromised credentials, insider threats, and external attacks by eliminating identity silos, strengthening authentication, and using advanced analytics. For organizations pursuing digital transformation, an Identity Fabric is essential for managing identities at scale, ensuring compliance, and maintaining a robust security posture. With a mature Identity Fabric, organizations can make identities the foundation for a zero trust security model.

Identity Fabric and Zero-Trust Architecture

Identity Fabric builds a strong, multifactor foundation for identity assurance and access management. Paired with Zero Trust architecture, it allows organizations to securely enable digital transformation, support remote workforces at scale and gain visibility across complex IT ecosystems.

The Zero Trust model operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify.” It requires rigorous identity verification for every user and device trying to access resources. Identity Fabric provides the robust, continuous authentication and authorization Zero Trust demands. Its AI-powered identity assessments enable granular, contextual access policies based on the risk levels of users and devices. This helps organizations balance security and user experience.

Identity Fabric vs. Identity Infrastructure

Identity Fabric is a more holistic and integrated approach to managing identities across an organization. It encompasses various identity services and solutions, providing a unified and consistent identity experience across all platforms and environments. The idea is to weave together different identity technologies (like authentication, authorization, and user management) into a cohesive, scalable, and flexible framework. This approach facilitates better user experience, easier management, and enhances security.

On the other hand, Identity Infrastructure term refers to the underlying framework or systems that support identity management within an organization. It includes the hardware, software, policies, and procedures necessary for creating, maintaining, and managing digital identities and access rights. Identity Infrastructure is the foundation on which identity segmentation and the identity fabric are built and operationalized.

Identity Fabric vs. Converged Identity

While related, Identity Fabric and converged identity are distinct concepts. Converged identity refers to bringing separate user stores together into a single identity repository. Identity Fabric takes this a step further by connecting and correlating identities across the entire IT infrastructure. An Identity Fabric builds on top of a converged identity system by layering on components for managing access, authentication, provisioning and security. In short, a converged identity is a prerequisite for building an Identity Fabric.

Identity Fabric provides a comprehensive approach to identity management that spans across organizations’ networks, data centers, clouds, applications, and devices. It gives security teams a holistic view of users’ identities and access, enabling stronger security, governance and compliance. By connecting identities across IT systems, Identity Fabric reduces redundancy, improves productivity and delivers a better user experience.


With the rapid adoption of cloud computing and mobile technologies, identity has become one of the most critical components of cybersecurity. As organizations move away from the traditional network perimeter and embrace a zero-trust security model, identity has become the new perimeter.

An identity fabric stitches together disparate identity systems into a single cohesive framework, providing a holistic view of users, their access, and their entitlements across the organization. For cybersecurity and IT professionals, understanding identity fabric and how to implement it is crucial to navigating today’s decentralized networks and protecting critical data and systems.