Need a Killer Strategy for Modernizing IAM in a Hybrid World?


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Every organization is looking to transition from legacy systems to a more modern IT infrastructure by leveraging cloud for cost savings, better user experiences, new revenue streams, and greater employee productivity. Why then have only 25% of organizations achieved their initial IT modernization objectives? 

According to an IDG survey, “The State of IT Modernization 2020,” organizations struggle to modernize, in part because they lack a clear strategy. Figuring out the best path forward is complicated. Most likely you’ve got a combination of competing priorities, outdated processes and tools, aging infrastructure, lack of in-house expertise, insufficient budget, and operational limitations around application development. 

Modernizing your identity and access management (IAM) toolset is no exception. Determining the best strategy to modernize IAM and leveraging a cloud IAM platform can also be a challenge. Identity drives user experiences, engagement, and productivity. If done right, you defend your organization and users — whether employees or consumers — against compromised accounts and data breaches, as well as differentiate your organization by providing exceptional user journeys. So what steps can you take to modernize IAM while taking infrastructure into account? You can start here by reading our Identity Cloud Checklist: Top 10 Considerations and Best Practices to Strategize IAM in the Cloud 

Don’t Compromise when Modernizing IAM    

When it comes to modernizing IAM, many organizations settle for one of the following:

  • Switch to a IDaaS-delivered IAM model built on simplicity and ease of use but supports  limited use cases and cannot adequately support legacy, on-premises IAM systems, applications, and things. 
  • Stick with a legacy on-premises identity solution that offers fuller feature sets, but is complex, difficult to maintain, and offers no clear roadmap to get you to the modern security and useability features and functionality you ultimately need. 
  • Build an in-house cloud or hybrid solution – that is, if you have the skill set to build it and then keep maintaining and tuning it. 
  • Acquire multiple point IAM solutions that can only address specific use cases with no feature parity across deployment models, be it on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, or multi-cloud

All these options have shortcomings, and none can provide the enterprise functionality that you need to support users and secure on-premises and cloud applications at scale. Additionally, as priorities and strategies shift, you need an IAM solution that can move with you. Cloud has played a significant role in how organizations modernize and secure user experiences but cloud is not a one size fits all solution. Many organizations operate in a hybrid world today, yet traditional options don’t make it easy for you to modernize. In fact, Gartner states the majority of enterprises using data in the cloud will be living in a hybrid — and likely multicloud — deployment world for the foreseeable future. 

Planning for the Future

If you haven’t already, you should start thinking about how to future-proof your IAM strategy. Look for an IAM solution that can be easily deployed across any environment to fit business needs as they evolve. You should also think about use cases and business outcomes. For example, you might find that initially you need to secure identity for employees, and, later, for your workforce, consumers, citizens, and things. 

Tailoring your IAM solution for your industry is also important. For example, if you are in a regulated industry, you will most likely need an identity cloud solution that can coexist with on-premises solutions, provide true data isolation, enable fine-grained transactional authorization, and integrate with leading anti-fraud solutions. If you are in healthcare, you will need to manage identity relationships – such as parent and child and doctor and patient – and incorporate these relationships into access and authorization decisions. 

And, of course, overall functionality, security, feature parity, availability, vendor support, and cost must also be taken into consideration. 

There’s lots to think about. Fortunately, we’ve taken the guesswork out of what to consider as you either start or evolve your identity strategy with our Identity Cloud Checklist. Download it today.