Reflections from Gartner IAM 2017

Late last year we wrapped up our 2017 Americas events tour with the grand finale, Gartner IAM, the preeminent identity conference of the year. This conference was our best one to date: we had two featured customer speaking sessions featuring Capital One and FINRA, over a dozen briefings with leading firms, more than 2,200 booth attendees, and a networking dinner with 30+ companies where we discussed the changing world of security and digital identity. You might have even seen our logo strategically placed around the venue! I’d like to thank our fantastic customers and partners for their help in making the event a great success.

From the conversations I had at the conference, it’s clear that the identity and access management (IAM) space now offers one of the most strategic value propositions to be born out of the tech community in the past 30 years. In a previous blog I predicted that digital identity has the potential to become the next major technology milestone of our time (the previous inflection points being Mainframe / Client Server / Internet and Cloud). After speaking with analysts and identity professionals across various industries at Gartner IAM, I have a greater belief in that theory than ever before.

The convergence of new technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence with rigorous regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation has solidified IAM’s importance to not only security professionals, but anyone involved in building a transformative digital business. Security is critical and cannot be overlooked, but digital identity also has the ability to help organizations achieve their goals that are far beyond keeping the bad guys out. Strategic initiatives around customer experience, privacy, and the internet of things (IoT) all require digital identity at their core.

For example, basic tenants of IAM such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) have now taken on a new level of importance in the battle to avoid compromised credentials. Now, MFA must be applied with careful consideration in order to deliver a secure “friction-free” customer experience. It’s not just enough to securely identify and authenticate the user, it has to be done in a seamless manner that works across all channels. This requires new solutions like fine-grained authentication, adaptive risk, and continuous security. It’s clear that our constantly evolving digital world requires digital identity solutions that are dynamic, highly scalable, and flexible to account for the latest innovations and complex requirements of different industries.

That’s why leading digital businesses across various sectors including retail, financial services, government, and automotive choose ForgeRock to address both transformative business initiatives as well as traditional IAM challenges. This was on display at Gartner IAM where we were proud to feature customer presentations from Capital One and FINRA (two of the most popular sessions of the event). These customers exemplified the new paradigm of IAM, solving both traditional security requirements while driving innovation for business benefit and a superior customer experience.

Awareness of the power of identity is growing. Last month, I had the privilege of meeting with several members of one of the nation’s largest health insurers. Although their security, risk and compliance requirements were of vital importance to their project, their primary motive was to leverage digital identity to optimize their current customer relationships while acquiring new customers in the most cost effective and efficient manner possible. The dialogue we shared around this expanded role of digital identity was a microcosm of what is now the new age of IAM.

I suspect we’ll look back years from now and reflect upon how digital IAM transformed not only security and business, but our everyday lives in totality. If you’re interested in learning more about the potential of IAM to change digital business, I highly recommend Forrester’s latest report, “The Future of IAM”. I think it’s a very helpful reference when considering the tremendous power of identity not only to solve the urgent, pressing challenges of today, but to position your business for future success as well.

Tom is SVP Americas at ForgeRock.