What Is PIAM and Why Do I Need It If I Have PACS?
Modern workplaces are swiftly expanding, both physically and digitally. As such, some organizations now resemble a spider’s web of countless networks, software, processes and systems. Organizations are adding new solutions to their spider’s web of existing ones in order to accommodate evolving access challenges and business needs but are rarely achieving unity and integration between them.
This leaves physical and IT security professionals — who are trying to manage employee, visitor, contractor and vendor access — with a headache as they face: the need to consider multiplying systems and processes, siloed departments with no collaboration, various locations and diverse teams with differing access requirements. This often results in an organization hindered by disconnected and manual processes.
But what if there were a common solution that could sit above all these existing departments, systems and sources, and act as a single point to manage physical and logical access across an entire organization? That’s where physical identity and access management (PIAM) comes in.
How Things Might Currently Look
The basis for securing physical locations, buildings and assets is fundamentally through physical access control systems (PACS). These systems protect organizations by ensuring that access to secured locations is only granted with an authorized credential — including smart cards, keys, mobile apps and more against a reader.
The infrastructure ensures that essential security is met throughout a physical organization. Now consider the evolving access activities that go on inside an organization — various types of identities such as employees, visitors, contractors, customers and vendors. While PACS ensures that access is either authorized or unauthorized, what about the complete lifecycle of the identity attempting this access? What are the reasons behind it? On what basis was this person granted access and what do they need it for? Traditionally, organizations must conduct multiple manual processes across various systems to retrieve this information and take actions.
Advancing Access With PIAM
A PIAM solution captures all information relating to an identity, and gives organizations visibility into the who, what, why, when and where of every access activity across their business. PIAM is about granting, controlling and understanding access control on a more granular level to increase overall security and compliance. There’s more to it than that though — it's also about simplifying operations and reducing cost in terms of time and money.
So, What Exactly Is It?
A PIAM solution acts as an intelligent layer that sits above multiple systems and locations in your organization, it serves as the one single place where the organization can control access at a role, policy or attribute level.
But How Is It Different From PACS?
Here are a few examples of how PIAM is different from PACS.
PIAM aims to modernize traditional physical security systems and processes that can make compliance to internal and external regimes difficult. HID provides solutions that integrate with current PACS to avoid rip-and-replace, and instead maximize the potential of your current systems. Discover our solutions here, which are available for small, medium and large complex enterprises, all the way to specific verticals.
Stay tuned for the rest of our PIAM educational series where we’ll explore the use cases an effective solution can solve, and the time and money you can save. In the meantime, you can learn more about how PIAM can help you simplify workplace access in our eBook, Identity as the Only Perimeter.
Andrew Bull is the EMEA Sales Director of the Workforce Identity Management in IAM Solutions. He brings over 25 years of experience in physical access security. Prior to his current role at HID, he supported HID SAFE within global banking organizations and other solutions within PACS. Andrew previously worked for JCI (Cardkey) and Honeywell. As an active member of UK ASIS Chapter, he enjoys speaking on a variety of identity and access management topics.