What is the Difference Between IAM Identity and Entity?

In this article we will discuss what is the difference between IAM Identity and Entity? We will discuss how AI Artificial Intelligence plays an increasingly transformative role in identity and access management.

What is the Difference Between IAM Identity and Entity?

In a nutshell, IAM identity represents a user, user group, or role that can be authenticated and then authorized to perform actions on AWS. They are comprised of users, groups, roles and policies. An IAM user is an entity with an associated credential and attached permissions. What's the difference between the two? Both are IAM resource objects.

Both include users and roles (although only identities have groups). You can only attach a policy to an identity, but not to an entity, but it ultimately authenticates an entity, but not an identity. Is the difference in names just a matter of grammar or is there something fundamentally different between the two? IAM is how AWS authenticates and authorizes identities. However, authentication is not the same as authorization.

Authentication refers to “who”, while authorization refers to permissions. The reason why I get lost with these terms is because if a director logs in, it means that they are authenticated. Therefore, it automatically becomes an entity. Since authentication is the act of informing that a specific identity is involved, entities should also be identities by default.

An entity can authenticate itself to become an AWS IAM director. A director can have one or more identities (but only one at a time). An identity can have associated identity policies. The following IAM policy shows how permissions are granted to an identity to read and write from an S3 bucket.

With digital transformation, identities are also assigned to devices, robots and snippets of Internet of Things (IoT) code, such as APIs or microservices. Hybrid multi-cloud IT environments and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions further complicate the IAM landscape. If there is a case study where the number of IAM users required exceeds this limit of 5000, using IAM functions is the only option to avoid it. AI Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly transformative role in identity and access management, allowing organizations to adopt a much more detailed and adaptable approach to managing authentication and access.

After that time has elapsed, the identity must be re-authenticated and obtain new temporary security credentials. There may be another policy that is attached to Jerry's user identity, called Jerries Locker Access. These identities assume the role on a temporary basis and any permission policies associated with the role are applied by proxy to the identity that assumes that role. Because it stands between users and critical business assets, identity and access management is a fundamental component of any business security program.

More and more providers are offering identity and access management services from the cloud. With managed identity services, like other managed security service solutions, a security provider will monitor and manage enterprise IAM solutions running in the cloud or on-premises.


is made up of the systems and processes that allow IT administrators to assign a unique digital identity to each entity, authenticate them when they log in, authorize them to access specific resources, and monitor and manage those identities throughout their life cycle. The ideal is an identity and access management system that can support SSO and MFA in hybrid multi-cloud environments.

In addition to assigning digital identities and authorization methods, IT administrators need a way to grant access rights and privileges to each entity. This principle of least privilege ensures that an identity cannot use a resource unless it is explicitly granted permission to do so.

Terri Benigno
Terri Benigno

Passionate pizza aficionado. Subtly charming travel fanatic. Proud coffee junkie. Certified twitter geek. Typical music fanatic. Freelance bacon specialist.

Leave Reply

Required fields are marked *