Identity and Access Management Certifications

The fastest growing professional certifications in cyber security are the Identity and Access Management certifications and there are very good reasons why IAM certifications have received enormous attention from the information security industry.

As we explore and analyze the information security landscape, we can understand why Identity and Access Management (IAM) is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic segments of information security which in turn increases demand for certified IAM experts.

First, information security risks and focus have been shifting away from the traditional system security management practices to identity and access management because companies have discovered that information security threats are as much internal as they are external. Many user access credentials are increasingly under attack by hackers who see great value in weaknesses in identity and access management practices which they leverage to gain access to systems and data. It is reported in research reports that most system intrusions are executed using stolen IDs and passwords. As such, highly privileged accounts introduce even a greater risk because any unauthorized access with these accounts provides additional capabilities which can be used to inflict greater damage. Therefore, identity and access management is as much about processes and people as it is about technology.

Second, with the ever increasing number of mobile communication devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, identity and access management has expanded beyond the enterprise devices. Companies which allow employees to use their personal devices for business purposes to reduce costs and improve device management for employees and businesses need identity and access management experts to manage device identities and their access to enterprise resources for a greater security posture of the organization.

Third, due the flood of drones and other Internet connected smart devices also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), identity and access management will become even more complicated and important to manage new and evolving risks. These devices will include self-driving cars and smart robots which self-teach with artificial intelligence and perform tasks on behalf of their owners. Today, we all have smart phones and many of us will own robots in the near future which will perform tasks on our behalf. Today, we are just worried about the security of our smart phones which if compromised will disclose some of our most private photos, emails, notes, and other information. In the future, we will also have to worry about the security of our smart robots and devices not just because of the private information they contain, but also the connectivity they will have to other devices or the transactions they can perform on our behalf.

“Identity theft committed by humans today will transition to identity theft committed by devices tomorrow which initially will be guided by humans. As automated devices use Artificial Intelligence to become smarter, they will overtime have their own mind and become corrupt” says Henry Bagdasarian, Founder of Identity Management Institute. “The rising deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT), drones, and robots in all areas of personal and commercial markets as well as the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence validate this assessment”, he continues.

In addition, advancements in the areas of authentication technology, changes in identity services, and adoption of cloud services also require changes in today’s cyber security approach emphasizing the importance of identity and access management certifications. All of these evolving trends which are increasing risks for all organizations demand knowledgeable and qualified professionals who know how to assess risks and help manage human and device identities and their access.

In the future, information security managers must be much more proactive and fast in identifying risks before their organizations are impacted. This process requires very strong analytical skills to assess various security report data, open mindedness, and a vision to foresee the upcoming challenges and opportunities. These skills will not only help professionals identify risks but also propose innovative solutions in the form of new or improved products, services, and governance.

List of Identity and Access management Certifications

Identity Management Institute is the leading Identity and Access Management certification organization which offers global Identity and Access management certifications.

Below, you find a list of identity and access management certifications within IAM career categories and web page links for quick access to program details:

Certified Identity Governance Expert (CIGE)®

Certified Identity and Security Technologist (CIST)®

Certified Identity and Access Manager (CIAM)® 

Certified Identity Management Professional (CIMP)®

Certified Access Management Specialist (CAMS)®

Certified Identity Protection Advisor (CIPA)®

Certified Red Flag Specialist (CRFS)®

Download “Becoming a Cybersecurity Expert” from the certification page for details about the IAM roles in cyber security career choices.

Benefits of Identity and Access Management Certification

Some people may not see the value of professional certification in the marketplace and others may question the benefits of pursuing identity and access management certifications. Below are some questions that some may ask themselves when considering a professional certification:

  1. Is the certifying organization providing awareness and training with periodic articles, newsletters, blogs, social media posts, discussion groups, and other resources which serve the greater society?
  2. Is the certification name a registered trademark to protect the organization and its certificate holders?
  3. Is a process in place to list criteria for certification and ensure certificate holders are qualified?
  4. Does the organization and its certifications stand out as the leader in the field?
  5. What value do companies and the industry as a whole place on certification?

Let’s attempt to answer the above questions and further explore each area:

The image or perception of the certificate issuer is extremely important. The issuer must be a recognized leader, credible, and trustworthy with integrity. Certifying organizations must provide services and value to their members and respective industries by:

  1. Defining a scope of responsibility for the profession,
  2. Drafting articles, newsletters, analysis, and documentation to expand knowledge,
  3. Assessing member knowledge through exams and/or background assessments,
  4. Providing training for up to date knowledge,
  5. Helping members share information related to the profession and employment, and
  6. Connecting members to one another and companies.

Certifying organizations also provide services and value to companies by:

  1. Ensuring employees are certified through formal assessments such as examination and enforcement of completed and required continuing education, and
  2. Connecting companies to certified members.

Certification Limitations

The total value that a professional may provide can not be solely determined with a certification. Therefore, the certification can only provide assurance for some of the qualification factors that companies are looking for which include education, experience, personality, appearance, passion or enthusiasm, creativity, integrity, and hopefully proven credibility and track record. The value of a certificate is determined by a combination of factors, however, a designation only complements the assessment that companies must perform to hire the best. For example, a certification does not guarantee that a person has great personality or creativity, however, it might provide assurance that the certified person’s knowledge has been assessed through an examination or other means of evaluation, and to some extent an assurance that the person is enthusiastic or ambitious because he or she joined a professional organization. A professional designation means that certified professionals have passed a rigorous certification assessment, including education and experience verification by the certification organization, and that certified members continue to be involved in their chosen professional field and take the necessary training to maintain an up to date knowledge.

And lastly, in order to assess the importance of having certification, the view or perception of a hiring company and its management must also be considered. A certificate like every thing else in life has no value except the value we give to it, therefore, the degree by which a hiring company and its management value professional designations is important when evaluating a certificate’s true and overall value. If management strongly considers a certificate or even requires one from job applicants, then the certificate’s overall value increases accordingly. In general, there are some people who recognize and highly value the benefits of professional certifications, and there are others who have no respect for them. Interestingly, those who don’t respect certifications also lack professional designations.

It is commonly said that a professional certification increases the overall value of an employee, and those holding a professional designation earn higher salaries than their counterparts who do not have a professional certification. It’s somewhat true that certified professionals can demand higher salaries and find jobs much more quickly, especially in tough economic times when the job market is much more competitive. A person has nothing to lose but every thing to gain with a little investment to be involved in a professional organization and maintain a professional designation. It takes very few resources to gain a competitive advantage when looking for work, and a professional certification from a recognized organization offers that competitive advantage. The cost of professional certification and membership is well worth the investment for a long and prosperous career.

Even if some companies do not reimburse the cost of the certification such as membership, study guide, training and exam fees, it is still recommended to aim for the desired certification in your chosen field since no one really cares about your career as much as you do. The resources that you allocate to a professional organization or certification program is never wasted given the value you receive in return such as networking, knowledge, and credibility.

On a final note, a certification which has been registered for trademark protection will ensure that the certification will maintain leadership in the marketplace and offer protection to the certifying organization as well as its members for many years to come.

Identity Management Institute has carefully designed certification programs for the identity management and protection field which evolve as the industry evolves. All the programs have been registered for trademark protection and continue to be recognized internationally as leading identity and access management certifications in the cyber security field.

Why Are Identity and Access Management Certifications Important

One of the questions in the certification applications is about why identity and access management certifications are important to the applicants. Below are a few samples from actual member applications:

  • Having certification will help greatly in my professional career. Most of the Federal clients prefer to have certified professionals.
  • I have been a thought leader in IAM for years. I have helped my company to significantly improve their programs with automation, self-service and most importantly governance and security. The CIAM designation would help me validate my expertise and accomplishments.
  • I intend to become a Certified Identity and Access Manager to expand on my IAM knowledge and skillset. In addition to my Information Assurance MS degree, it will support my contribution to society by allowing me to practice what I’ve learned about IAM and reinforce its importance in the systems and people I work with.
  • Protecting user identity in cyber and cloud environments utilizing various cybersecurity tools will require knowledge, certification, and credibility. CIST will give me the credibility to continue working and supporting the industry and the enterprises to build cyber resiliency technology to manage the identity of the users. Today’s enterprises and social media tools would need CIST experts to help enhance their security capabilities to provide better cyber protection and prevention against the adversaries.
  • The CAMS certification would validate my several years of experience serving on projects as a project manager/business analyst in the identity access management field, including extensive experience directing and leading user support teams with activities related to role-based access control, audit report reviews, and user identity validation. The CAMS designation would expose me to more career opportunities that could leverage my experience for complex and challenging projects.
  • Protection of IT systems is data driven as we have witnessed from recent breaches that resulted in huge fines and losses on many fronts. CDP designation will position me to support my organization and providing expert advice with cost effective solutions to protect data.
  • The CIGE will further demonstrate my commitment to identity governance and strategic planning across technology and security. It is my hope that this certification and membership in the IMI will allow me to further grow and practice sound identity governance.
  • My current duties are specifically around Identity Management. The CIMP certification will validate my expertise in the field.

Visit the certification page to learn more identity and access management certifications and select the best certification for your career.