GUEST ESSAY: Five Steps to Improve Identity Management and Strengthen Network Security

The identity management market has reached $13 billion and is still counting. While intuition would tell you that companies have identity under control, that’s far from the reality.

Related: Adopt a zero-trust approach to access management

Current events, such as the global pandemic and the “Great Resignation,” which have accelerated cloud adoption, remote work environments, and the number of enterprise applications and systems in use, have complicated matters.

As a result, new solutions and features to address identity challenges have emerged. In a sense, this is a positive trend: changemakers are innovating and trying to stay ahead of looming threats.

On the other hand, there is a lot of snake oil in the market making it difficult for organizations to realize the value of their technology investments. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many solutions don’t work together seamlessly, making it difficult for employees to get the job done.

When you consider these points, it’s understandable that companies end up with too many solutions to manage effectively, or simply default to inefficient manual processes to handle identity and security-related tasks. But for progress to happen, we must first understand why it happens.

That’s what the new research from Gradient Flow’s “Identity Management Survey 2022” aims to do. Based on the findings, here are five ways leaders can improve their approach to identity management and security.

• Take stock of relations with suppliers. A majority (54%) of survey respondents with IT functions indicated that they work with multiple vendors for security functions, including identity governance, risk, compliance, single sign-on, PAM, and security operations.


It is reasonable for companies to work with multiple vendors to address specific security issues. However, leaders would be wise to consider where they can reduce or consolidate. A good first step is to explore new functionality within the existing technology systems in place.

•Reduce unnecessary applications and systems. Using at least 10 business apps a week is the norm for about a quarter of survey respondents. Remote work (think video conferencing and cloud migrations) has only exacerbated the number of frequent system employees.

Yet more than 40% of knowledge workers surveyed expect a big boost in productivity from using fewer applications or systems. Leaders need to find ways to streamline tasks or improve functionality to help reduce the effect of context switching on productivity.

• Priority to the user experience. User experience (UX) was the main challenge in most of the segments studied. Nearly half of respondents indicated that identity solutions need to provide better interfaces and enable people to work productively and securely. Jumping on new technological systems is not the solution.

Instead, leaders should extend functionality within systems that employees are already familiar with. This is likely one of the reasons why 47% of respondents use IT service management (ITSM) or workforce management platforms to manage things like permissions and entitlements. This approach requires no training and frees up IT teams for larger projects.

•Reduce management time. For all segments studied, granting and removing access took a few hours. That’s valuable time wasted on onboarding new employees and too much time for your sensitive data to be vulnerable with departing ones. In terms of identity tasks, this one is quite straightforward and as such should be automated where possible.

It also gives organizations real-time visibility into who is coming and going, and who has and who does not have access to certain company systems and assets in the event of an audit.

• Take the AI ​​hype with a grain of salt. In the vein of automation, artificial intelligence (AI) has been heavily hyped in the tech world, but it may be too early to see the benefits of identity management. While two-thirds of respondents cited the use of AI, less than one-third generated moderate to high benefits for their efforts.

However, ITSM can help, as it provides organizations with the quantity and quality of data needed – most of which is lacking – to drive AI and machine learning initiatives.

We still have a long way to go to optimize identity management and security, but understanding the triumphs, challenges, tools, and practices helps address them more strategically and beneficially. With knowledge comes power, and with this research, we have the power to implement better approaches to identity management and beyond.

About the essayist. Jackson Shaw is Chief Strategy Officer at Clear Skye, an Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) software company focused on enterprise identity access and risk management.

*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from The Last Watchdog written by bacohido. Read the original post at: