Best enterprise identity access management software

By default, user identities are distributed among cloud applications, virtual environments, networks and web portals. With no central Identity access management (IAM) strategy, businesses of all sizes lose precious security and productivity.

IAM software platforms make it faster and easier for employees to securely access the data and applications they require to execute their duties. These packages ensure an enterprise that only authorized employees are accessing the correct information. For example, while a human resources staffer needs access to an employee’s personal information, the marketing team doesn’t need the same files. IAM tools provide effective role-based access to keep an organization’s resources safe and out of the hands of intruders.

These tools generally perform two functions: They confirm that the user, device, or application is who they say they are by cross-referencing the credentials they provide against what the system has on file. Then, once those credentials are confirmed, the software only provides the necessary level of access, instead of giving the individual access to everything within a network.

Here are ZDNet’s top picks of the leading providers of identity access management software in 2021.



Okta, in May 2021, completed the acquisition of Auth0 for $6.5 billion, picking up a boatload of new intellectual property to go with a new set of customers. 

Gartner recognized Okta as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Access Management 2020 for the fourth year in a row. Gartner analysts described Okta as “one of the most mature and advanced AM tools in the market to meet both internal and external user access management use case’s needs.”

Okta enables organizations to secure and manage their extended enterprise, whether on-premises or in a private, public or hybrid cloud. With more than 6,000 pre-built integrations to applications and infrastructure providers, Okta claims that its customers can securely adopt the technologies they need to fulfil their missions. Okta provides SSO (single sign-on), MFA (multi-factor authentication) and a universal directory, which gives a SecOps team a single place to manage all user identities. The platform offers several different factors for their MFA, meaning users are not limited to phone or email authentication. Okta also provides zero trust access management for infrastructure, enabling more control over user permissions. It also automatically secures APIs on the backend.


  • Intuitive to deploy and integrate other applications as use cases require.
  • SSO process keeps employees from having to remember multiple passwords.
  • Extensive feature menu.


  • Pricing might be steep for small businesses.
  • It can be hard to find login information that’s no longer active.

View Now at Okta



Auth0, founded in 2013 and acquired by Okta in May 2021 for $6.5 billion, is a respected alternative for developers who want to create a secure login experience for their personal applications. It is a next-gen identity management platform for web, mobile, IoT, and internal applications.

The software assigns permissions automatically based on a user’s role, affording less chance of error than manual assignments. It also can provide access tokens to give users temporary access they might need. 

The versatile Auth0 platform handles API authorization to ensure that users only connect to safe applications. The platform offers monthly pricing.


  • Provides templates in several programming languages.
  • The unusual freemium option can be deployed for up to 7,000 users.


  • Options few and far between available for customization
  • Few tools for corporate governance

View Now at Auth0


Ping Identity

Ping Identity, founded in 2002 and one of the most well-established identity management companies in the business, was designed for hybrid IT environments. It works cleanly across public, private and hybrid clouds and with on-premises networks and applications. 

The platform combines multi-factor authentication with single sign-on options to provide an intuitive and secure sign-on experience for each user. It also includes an analytics engine to help SecOps teams detect (and predict) anomalies in user behavior that could signal that a phony identity has compromised the system.

Thanks to its vast feature set, Ping Identity also can help enforce business rules for authorization and authentication through customizable policy tracking.


  • One of the most innovative companies in this space, new features always in the pipeline.
  • Highly attentive and responsive support team.
  • Easy to implement and good interoperability with other applications.


  • Quality comes at a cost: One of the more expensive platforms in the market.

View Now at Ping Identity


Microsoft Azure Identity Management

Any product with Microsoft in the name is automatically going to get attention from potential buyers. Microsoft Azure Identity Management, considered a service of Active Directory, offers several different identity management products for on-premises, public, private and hybrid clouds.

Azure’s Identity Management enables an enterprise to automatically classify and label data to make it easier to assign access rights based on user roles. It also lets users track suspicious activity on shared data and applications, so admins know exactly who is accessing each file and when they’re doing it.


  • Thanks to a familiar MS interface, this is relatively easy to deploy and use.
  • Secures data and applications and limits access in only a few steps.
  • Provides reliable remote access for identity management.


  • Application updates often can be slow to implement.
  • Sometimes requires expert maintenance and management from Microsoft, which could be cost-prohibitive for small businesses.

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