In the context of IAM (Identity and Access Management), an identity is a

  • user,
  • group,
  • device, or
  • service

that is granted access to resources within an organization. In this way, the idea of an "identity" deviates from how we often use the term in causal language as it may encompass group identities or even things like another computer or a printer. Please note that in this sense, one person can have multiple identities depending on the context. Thus, an identity needs to be understood in relation to the resource sought after. One person may be an administrator on one system and a user on another.

An identity can be authenticated by an Identity Provider (IdP) using various methods such as username/password, biometrics, or token-based authentication.