The term IAM is one of the common you hear in cloud-native environments. What does such a system do? And if you do know, how long did it take you to understand the full purpose? IAM stands for Identity Access Management. It is a complex system of entities (humans, applications, etc) that request access to a system, on the one hand. And also, there are a complex hierarchical set of rules, to grant or deny the requested access. The fundamentals described here are vendor agnostic, though most of my experience derives from AWS's implementation.