Leadership Brief

10 Top Trends in IAM

Digital identities are at the core of Digital Transformation, Information Security and Privacy. It has never been more important for enterprises to ensure they have the capability to manage identities effectively in a rapidly changing business, regulatory and IT environment. This Leadership Brief looks at the main trends to help businesses evolve their Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategies to meet new, emerging and future requirements.

Warwick Ashford


1 Executive Summary

As digital transformation continues apace, the most significant trend is the move to the provision and consumption of everything as cloud-based services, including Digital Identity. In the digital era, IAM is not just about identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or groups in an organization (B2E). It must also include partners (B2P), customers and consumers (B2C), as well as non-human entities that have identities such as services (software processes) and devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT).

The challenge is to manage all these identities to meet security and privacy requirements, while at the same time enabling business growth, frictionless consumer/customer interaction, and personalized services and content. Businesses, therefore need to have the appropriate strategy and IT architecture in place to enable a smooth transition to the as-a-service model.

The success of Digital Transformation depends on an ability to manage the access of everyone and everything to every digital service, with modern architectures like microservices at the core. This could be achieved, for example, by enabling standardized decentralized identities that can be created once and easily maintained by the identity owners, who then can give consent for those identities to be re-used to grant or deny access based on access policies. This approach is not yet supported by any well-established technologies and represents one of several decentralized identity options such as bring your own identity (BYOI) and social network logins. Therefore, organizations should plan to support all kinds of identities and ensure they have the risk-based adaptive authentication and authorization tools to make informed decisions about how each of those identity types can be used. For most businesses this will mean making their IT architecture more agile and flexible, and providing the backend systems required to make all the necessary connections using Application Program Interfaces (APIs).

These changes will result in a converged digital identity backend or “Identity Fabric” that can deliver as a utility all the identity services (including security and privacy) required by the growing number of new digital services enabled by digital transformation that will consume identity services.

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