Do you belong to the group of people who would like to completely retire all obsolete solutions and replace existing solutions with new ones in a Big Bang? Do you do the same with company infrastructures? Then you don't need to read any further here. Please tell us later, how things worked out for you.

Or do you belong in the other extreme to those companies in which infrastructures can be further developed only through current challenges, audit findings, or particularly prestigious projects funded with a budget?

However, you should read on, because we want to give you argumentative backing for a more comprehensive approach.

Identity infrastructure is the basis of enterprise security

In previous articles we have introduced the Identity Fabric, a concept that serves as a viable foundation for enterprise architectures for Identity and Access Management (IAM) in the digital age.

This concept, which KuppingerCole places at the center of its definition of an IAM blueprint, expressly starts from a central assumption: practically every company today operates an identity infrastructure. This infrastructure virtually always forms the central basis of enterprise security, ensures basic compliance and governance, helps with the request for authorizations and perhaps even for their withdrawal, if no longer needed.

As a result, the existing infrastructures already meet basic requirements today, but these were often defined in previous phases for then existing companies.

The demand for new ways of managing identities

Yes, we too cannot avoid the buzzword "digitalization" now, as requirements that cannot be adequately covered by traditional systems arise precisely from this context. And just adding some additional components (a little CIAM here, some MFA there, or Azure AD, which came with the Office 365 installation anyway) won't help. The way we communicate has changed and companies are advancing their operations with entirely new business models and processes. New ways of working together and communicating demand for new ways of managing identities, satisfying regulatory requirements and delivering secure processes, not least to protect customers and indeed your very own business.

What to do if your own IAM (only) follows a classic enterprise focus, i.e. fulfills the following tasks very well?

  • Traditional Lifecycles
  • Traditional Provisioning
  • Traditional Access Governance
  • Traditional Authentication (Username/Password, Hardware Tokens, VPNs)
  • Traditional Authorization (Roles, Roles, Roles)
  • Consumer Identities (somehow)

And what to do if the business wants you, as the system owner of an IAM, to meet the following requirements?

  • High Flexibility
  • High Delivery Speed for New Digital Services
  • Software as a Service
  • Container and Orchestration
  • Identity API and API Security
  • Security and Zero Trust

The development of parallel infrastructures has been largely recognized as a wrong approach.

Convert existing architectures during operation

Therefore, it is necessary to gently convert existing architectures so that the ongoing operation is permanently guaranteed. Ideally, this process also optimizes the architecture in terms of efficiency and costs, while at the same time adding missing functionalities in a scalable and comprehensive manner.

Figuratively speaking, you have to renovate your house while you continue to live in it. Nobody who has fully understood digitization will deny that the proper management of all relevant identities from customers to employees and partners to devices is one, if not the central basic technology for this. But on the way there, everything already achieved must continue to be maintained, quick wins must provide proof that the company is on the right track, and an understanding of the big picture (the "blueprint") must not be lost.

Research forecast

If you want to find out more: Read the "Leadership Brief: Identity Fabrics - Connecting Anyone to Every Service - 80204" as the first introduction to this comprehensive and promising concept. The KuppingerCole "Architecture Blueprint Identity and Access Management -72550" has just been published and wants to provide you with the conceptual foundation for sustainably transforming existing IAM infrastructures into a future-proof basic technology for the 2020s and beyond.

In addition, leading-edge whitepaper documents currently being prepared and soon to be published (watch this space, we will provide links in one of the upcoming issues of our “Analysts’s view IAM”) will provide essential recommendations for the initialization and implementation of such a comprehensive transformation program.

KuppingerCole has supported successful projects over the course of the past months in which existing, powerful but functionally insufficient IAM architectures were put on the road to a sustained transformation into a powerful future infrastructure. The underlying concepts can be found in the documents above, but if you would like us to guide you along this path, please feel free to talk to us about possible support.

Feel free to browse our Focus Area: The Future of Identity & Access Management for more related content.