What is Identity Infrastructure ?

Identity infrastructure refers to the systems and processes used to manage digital identities and access within an organization. It encompasses identity management systems, authentication mechanisms, and access control policies.

As businesses increasingly rely on technology to operate and interact with customers, the ability to verify identities and control access to data and applications has become crucial. Identity infrastructure ensures that only authorized individuals can access sensitive data and that their access is tailored to their specific needs and privileges.

Identity management systems create, store, and maintain digital identities. They contain profiles with attributes like names, emails, passwords, and access rights. Authentication mechanisms verify users’ identities by checking their credentials, such as usernames and passwords, security keys, or biometrics. Access policies determine who can access which resources.

A robust identity infrastructure integrates these elements to provide secure and seamless access to applications and data. It employs strong authentication to verify users in a convenient manner. It grants access based on the principle of least privilege, only providing the minimum level of access needed. It uses identity management to create, modify, and remove access as roles and responsibilities change.

Role of Identity Infrastructure in Cybersecurity

Identity infrastructure has evolved from traditional identity and access management (IAM) focused on internal users and resources to also encompass customer identity and access management (CIAM) for external users accessing web and mobile applications. Modern identity infrastructure must support a variety of authentication methods and federation standards to enable single sign-on across complex IT environments that incorporate on-premises and cloud resources, as well as external partners and customers.

Identity infrastructure is crucial for cybersecurity. It underpins secure access to digital resources, enabling organizations to verify users, control access, and monitor activity. Without properly implemented identity infrastructure, organizations cannot securely adopt new technologies like cloud services, mobile devices, and web applications.

For these reasons, the framework of Identity Fabric was created.

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.

Role of Identity Segmentation within Identity Fabric

Identity Segmentation is a specific strategy or technique within the broader framework of Identity Fabric. It involves dividing or segmenting user access and identities to enhance security and limit potential risks. By implementing identity segmentation, an organization can ensure that users only have access to the resources necessary for their specific roles, minimizing the chance of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

In the context of an identity fabric, segmentation becomes an integral part of the overall identity management strategy. It fits within the fabric’s goal of providing secure, efficient, and manageable identity solutions.

Components of Identity Infrastructure

Identity infrastructure refers to the integrated components that establish and govern digital identities. It encompasses authentication, authorization, administration, and auditing which work together to secure access to resources.


Authentication verifies the identity of a user or device trying to access a system. It typically involves a username and password, but can also use multi-factor methods like one-time passwords, biometrics, and security keys. Authentication ensures that only legitimate users and devices can access resources.


Authorization determines what level of access an authenticated identity has. It establishes permissions and privileges by role, group membership, attributes, or other factors. Authorization enforces the principle of least privilege, where users have only the minimum access needed to perform their jobs.


Administration manages the lifecycle of digital identities, including account creation, updates, and deprovisioning. Administrative roles control identity stores, set password policies, enable multi-factor authentication, and more. Proper administration is essential to maintain security and compliance.


Auditing tracks key events related to identities and access. It records activities like logins, privilege changes, and resource access requests. Auditing provides visibility into how identities and access are being used so issues can be detected and addressed. Audits should follow the zero trust model by verifying all events explicitly.

Together, these components establish a robust identity infrastructure following zero trust principles. They authenticate strictly, authorize minimally, administer properly, and audit continually. A strong identity foundation secures access across today’s digital ecosystems, enabling secure collaboration and connectivity.

Best Practices for Securing Identity Infrastructure

To secure an organization’s identity infrastructure, several best practices should be followed.

Implement Single Sign-On

Single sign-on (SSO) allows users to access multiple applications with one set of login credentials. SSO reduces the risks associated with weak or reused passwords by limiting the number of credentials needed. It also improves the user experience by streamlining the login process. SSO should be implemented across as many applications as possible.

Enable Multi Factor Authentication

Multi Factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security for user logins. It requires not only a password but also another factor like a security code sent to the user’s mobile device. MFA helps prevent unauthorized access from stolen credentials. It should be enabled for all users, especially administrators with elevated access privileges.

Manage User Roles and Access

A role-based access control model should be used to regulate what users can access based on their job functions. Users should only be granted the minimum level of access needed to perform their duties. Regular reviews of user access rights should be conducted to ensure permissions are still appropriate and valid. Excessive or unused access rights should be removed.

Monitor Identity Analytics

Identity analytics solutions should be leveraged to detect anomalous behavior that could indicate compromised accounts or insider threats. Analytics can identify unusual login times, locations, devices, or access requests. Security teams should regularly review identity analytics reports and investigate risky events. Adjustments may need to be made to authentication policies or user access rights in response.

Centralize Identity Management

A centralized identity management platform should be used to oversee all users and their access to applications and systems. This provides a single pane of glass view into an organization’s identity infrastructure. It ensures consistent policies are applied across resources and simplifies the processes of provisioning, deprovisioning, and auditing users. With a centralized platform, security risks can be mitigated more easily through features like role management, access reviews, and identity governance.

Implementing Identity Infrastructure

Implementing a modern identity infrastructure requires careful planning and execution. As organizations transition from legacy systems, they must integrate new solutions with existing infrastructure and processes. A strategic approach is key.

Develop a Roadmap

The first step is creating a roadmap for integrating identity infrastructure across the organization. This roadmap should outline a phased approach, starting with a pilot implementation. The roadmap establishes timelines, budgets, and metrics for success at each stage. It should address integrating with existing systems like HR databases as well as Single Sign-On (SSO) for streamlined user access. A roadmap helps ensure key stakeholders are aligned and major roadblocks are addressed early on.

Choose a Starting Point

For the initial implementation, select a subset of users and applications to include, such as employees accessing cloud apps. This focused start allows organizations to deploy the new solution, work out any issues, and build expertise before expanding to additional use cases. Starting small also makes the process more manageable, increasing the likelihood of success. Organizations can then build on early wins to gain buy-in for wider deployment.

Provide User Education

Educating users is essential for successful adoption of new identity infrastructure. Whether the solution is for employees, customers or partners, organizations must communicate how and why the new system is being implemented. They should outline any impacts to users, like password or login changes, and provide resources for help. Targeted education, especially for pilot groups, helps users feel prepared and invested in the solution.

Monitor and Optimize

After initial deployment, continued monitoring and optimization are required. Organizations should track metrics like user adoption, login times, and security incidents to ensure the solution is performing as intended. They can then make adjustments to improve the user experience, close any vulnerabilities, and expand functionality. Monitoring also provides data to build the business case for further investment in identity infrastructure.

Security, Regulatory and Insurance Compliance

Security Compliance

Identity infrastructure enables organizations to control access to data and applications. By implementing identity management best practices like multi-factor authentication, strong password requirements, and user provisioning and deprovisioning, organizations can securely manage access and help meet security compliance standards like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS require organizations to control access to personal data and implement safeguards to protect information. Identity infrastructure allows organizations to:

  • Manage user access and entitlements
  • Track user access for auditing
  • Implement separation of duties
  • Disable access for terminated users
  • Review user access rights regularly

By automating identity management processes, organizations can efficiently meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance policies require organizations to follow best practices for access management and identity governance. Identity infrastructure demonstrates to insurance providers that an organization has strong controls in place to reduce risk. This may allow the organization to get more comprehensive coverage at a lower cost.

As cyber threats become more sophisticated, identity infrastructure must evolve to provide enhanced security. Several trends are shaping the future of identity infrastructure.

  • Zero trust security is an approach that assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location. Zero trust security verifies anything and everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access. This “never trust, always verify” approach is becoming increasingly popular for identity infrastructure. Implementing zero trust security requires strong authentication methods like multi-factor authentication to verify users.
  • Biometrics, like fingerprint or facial recognition, provide a unique way to authenticate users based on their physical characteristics. Biometric authentication is very difficult to spoof and helps prevent identity theft. More organizations are incorporating biometric authentication into their identity infrastructure. However, privacy concerns exist around the storage and use of biometric data. Regulations like GDPR place restrictions on how biometric data can be collected and stored.
  • Federated identity management enables users to use the same set of login credentials to access resources across multiple organizations or domains. This reduces the number of passwords users have to manage and enables single sign-on experiences. Standards like OpenID Connect and OAuth enable federated identity management and are being increasingly adopted.
  • The decentralization of identity infrastructure is an emerging trend. Blockchain technology and self-sovereign identity models give users more control over their digital identities. However, decentralized identity infrastructure is still quite new and standards are still emerging. Widespread adoption may take time.


As more services and applications move to the cloud and remote work becomes more common, identity infrastructure ensures only authorized users can access the systems and data they need. When done well, it improves productivity and collaboration while reducing risk.

However, if not implemented correctly, identity infrastructure can create vulnerabilities that malicious actors actively target. IT and security leaders must make identity infrastructure a priority, gain a thorough understanding of its components and best practices, and invest in robust solutions to authenticate and authorize users in a secure manner.