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A big year for identity management

Identity Security in 2022: Why Automation, UX, and Best-of-Suite Software Will Lead the Way

Jackson Shaw
© Shutterstock / Sashkin

Although outside attacks from bad actors are a real concern, most actually happen from within. Whether intentional or not, they can have lasting, detrimental effects on a business. So, while identity management has never been the star of the show, it’s one of the most important components of a successful security strategy.

One of the great downfalls of modern business is that security is too often an afterthought. As such, responses to data breaches and compromises are often reactive, rather than having proper safeguards in place to stop attacks from happening in the first place — or at least minimizing the wake of their destruction. So while multi-factor authentication and anomaly detection software are often responses to stop attacks from happening again, how do we really get to the root of the problem?

Although outside attacks from bad actors are a real concern, most actually happen from within. Whether intentional or not, they can have lasting, detrimental effects on a business. So, while identity management has never been the star of the show, it’s one of the most important components of a successful security strategy. Keeping tabs on appropriate enterprise access and permissions is one of the most effective ways to protect your organization’s data.

Fortunately, integrating identity security into your business is not nearly as hard as it is powerful. Thanks to automated processes, easy-to-use interfaces, and the ability to roll it all into your existing tech stack. It’s going to be a big year for identity management and here’s why…

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Automation

Machine learning (ML) is far superior to humans when it comes to pattern recognition and understanding normal and anomalous activity, thereby enabling better, lower-friction security. As such, ML-powered automation can be used to approve many administrative tasks given enough data. For example, ML can identify who, from what departments in an organization, have access to certain data. This ensures operations are consistent across the business, with little room for error.

When you consider much of today’s workforce is operating outside of a traditional office environment, this becomes increasingly important. Enabling employees’ remote and hybrid functionality requires new systems and new security measures. Employees regularly work from locations without secure WiFi, and without IT inspecting, default to unsanctioned apps to get work done. With retention down, companies also need to worry about what data or permissions employees are taking with them when they go. That’s a lot of information to keep track of — and it would be impossible to do so successfully without a certain level of automation.

Better UX for End-Users

A good user experience (UX) for employees is just as important for strong identity management as it is for partners, developers, administrators, and customers. Not only for usability, but to reduce context switching — bouncing back and forth between apps that don’t work synonymously. A streamlined user experience can achieve this by taking the guesswork out of different IT functions. It also reduces the amount of passwords, logins, and access/permissions that need to be monitored across a company.

Think of Microsoft Office, but for a much broader group of capabilities with a common interface. Or better yet, a platform in which you can integrate applications into your existing system with minimal disruption to operations and virtually no learning curve. Next year, we’ll see a greater emphasis on identity management and security solutions that bridge the gap between disparate systems and enable people to work productively and securely. To do this, more and more businesses will start to look at employee UX as importantly as they do for customers.

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Best-of-Suite Solutions Prevail

Enterprise organizations are having an increasingly difficult time attracting and retaining talent post-pandemic. Additionally, they’re struggling to capture and optimize new revenue streams. While many businesses believe the latest best-of-breed solutions are the answer to their problems, this is actually doing them a disservice. Rather, best-of-suite solutions will define the next generation of software and identity. By unifying all apps and services in one platform environment, organizations will be left with a fully integrated, easy-to-use, secure workplace suite.

Not only does this approach have advantages from a workflow, helpdesk, and integration standpoint, but very real compliance benefits, too. Cutting down on the aforementioned context-switching, reducing friction, and increasing productivity are all good for business efficiency. But, when employees don’t need to find workarounds for cumbersome software or IT processes, and don’t have permissions to access files and systems they don’t need, the entire business benefits. And when it does come time for an audit, it won’t be a tedious, manual, and drawn-out process.

When you consider today’s highly distributed workforce and increasingly sophisticated hackers, businesses need to get serious about their stance on security. That said, many would be smart to take a look within before investing in technologies that promise to solve your biggest IT woes. A lot can be said for a strong identity management security, and with the ability to deploy this automatically in a way that works with your existing IT solutions, it’s a no brainer in the new year.

Author

Jackson Shaw

Jackson began his identity management career as an early employee at Toronto-based Zoomit Corp., the pioneer in the development of meta-directory products who Microsoft acquired in 1999. While at Microsoft, he was responsible for product planning and marketing around Microsoft’s identity & access management products including Active Directory and Microsoft Identity Manager. Jackson has held various senior product management and marketing roles since Microsoft including at Vintela, Quest Software, Dell, One Identity, and Forcepoint. He studied computer science at the University of Ottawa, Canada.


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