Posts Tagged ‘Identity Access Management’

Building a Sturdy Foundation for Identity Access Management Implementation

  January 21st, 2021

The biggest question many organizations need to answer: Identity and access management is constantly evolving — is yours?

In 2021, it’s estimated that businesses without formal IAM programs will spend 40% more on IAM capabilities while achieving less than those with them. Organizations with IAM programs need to continually develop and advance theirs over time, and they will need a permanent team and partnerships to continue the evolution and management of it. And, by building a successful and engaging IAM program, they will not only spend less, but achieve more in the long-term.

Each iteration of IAM implementation follows the same simple guidelines and four steps:

  • Identifying key stakeholders
  • Defining the vision
  • Building the roadmap
  • Defining the architecture

Every stage of the plan during the first round is straightforward, and each successive cycle will be more effortless than the last. By following them, you can foster repeated identity access management advancement.

Build a Foundation.

The first step of an optimization journey begins with identifying key stakeholders. Although identification is at the heart of this action, it is also about determining what drives these important process partners. A successful first step will build the foundation for every iterative cycle that follows, so it’s paramount to look at it in greater detail.

IAM leaders should recognize that enterprise IAM role management, groups, privilege access, and governance is a unique arena that requires a specialized framework and methodology. With this in mind, IT decision makers should launch the initiative in advance to provide ample time.

Due to its specialized framework and methodology, the IAM implementation requires a diverse and committed group of stakeholders and their representatives within the organization: those who influence and benefit from the IAM program. Examples of a stakeholder and stakeholder representative includes end users and a service desk manager or network security and director of security. The goal is not to create experts or IAM experts out of these representatives, but rather to empower them to evangelize and demonstrate the program deliverables — scope and priorities are important to the larger audience.

It’s also important to understand what stakeholders and their representatives’ version of success looks like. This includes establishing common goals across departments and building trust within the organization, but also working through issues such as lack of recognition, lack of interest, and conflicting needs. To keep stakeholders invested, continue to align with their goals, build consensus, and continually reassess. Success will be measured against an IT leader’s ability to adjust to change and stakeholder input.

Lastly, IT decision makers should always have a champion. This individual can work with vendors and external stakeholders to advocate for the IAM solution.

Once key stakeholders and their primary drivers have been identified, an organization is ready for the next steps in this iterative process, which involve redefining the business across its vision, roadmap, and architecture. But much like the first step, it requires a thoughtful approach to succeed.

Find Success With Your IAM Implementation

Accelerate your IAM implementation with the Hitachi ID Bravura Security Fabric. This best in class solution empowers organizations to better navigate the difficult terrain of increasingly complex threats with a resilient, flexible, single identity and access management (IAM) platform and framework. Hitachi ID Bravura Security Fabric — which brings together the layers of Identity, Pass, Privilege, Group, and Discover — is dynamic, iterative, and optimized to protect, manage, and govern digital identity and access infrastructure in today’s ever evolving landscape.

Watch the webinar from our Power of One Summit to explore the additional three stages of a successful identity access management program implementation.


IAM Implementations Meet the Challenges of the New Higher Education Paradigm

  January 19th, 2021

In the current climate, higher education institutions face numerous extraordinary challenges in managing identity and crisis. Remote access has become the norm, introducing new variables to the higher education equation as students, staff, and alumni have unprecedented access to a growing number of resources that are also open to attack.

Furthermore, higher education budgets continue to be in flux forcing IT and security teams to reduce risk and operate with fewer resources. Automation has become necessary to make this new educational organization equation add up. It is the vital business enabler that empowers your organization to do more with less and is paramount to identity and access management’s (IAM) success in this new remote access paradigm.

Many higher education IT leaders acknowledge this emerging need for IAM, consistently implementing it across their organizations. However, a recent survey from Hitachi ID and Pulse uncovers a discrepancy between the IAM processes currently in place and what best practices genuinely are — especially when it comes to the benefits of IAM automation. Across a large sampling of higher education institutions, IT decision-makers have implemented IAM but are conflicted between the benefits of governance and automation.

The Conflict: IAM Implementation vs. IAM Best Practice

When asked if a governance-first initiative is the most effective way to initiate and manage an ongoing IAM program, almost all of the surveyed IT leaders at higher education institutions claim that access governance is the best approach to IAM. In fact, of the 98% who have implemented an IAM program, almost two-thirds have invested in IAM governance, including 52% who have also implemented IAM automation.

When higher education IT leaders were asked if their organization had made investments in access governance or identity and access automation, however, the results demonstrated a disconnect between IAM beliefs and action:

  • 52% had invested in both access governance and automation
  • 33% had invested in just access automation
  • 13% had invested in only access governance
  • 2% had invested in neither governance nor automation

Moreover, while these leaders say governance is the best approach, 97% also claim that IAM automation is necessary to maintain compliance. This statistic further reiterates the clash between what respondents have implemented today and what best practices truly are for IAM processes.

The Resolution: Automation Benefits and Goals Drive Convergence on IAM Implementation

Despite this divide between beliefs and practices, the data demonstrates that higher education IT leaders are looking to complement access governance with automation. Most institutions are planning to automate their IAM completely. This best-practice combination has been recognized by IT leadership as a way forward in this digital and remote access-first environment to boost the productivity and security of their organizations.

Already, 64% of IT leaders at higher education institutions have automated IAM processes like provisioning and deprovisioning of students, faculty, and alumni, but there are still many recognized areas of opportunity, including:

  • Life cycle management
  • Self-service requests
  • Risk score assignment

However, they admit that the only thing holding back further implementation are budget and existing infrastructure investments. Despite these barriers, approximately two-thirds of higher education IT decision-makers see it as an opportunity to reduce security risk, boost confidence in compliance status, and make a conscious shift from reactive to proactive threat detection. Moreover, almost all IT leaders see IAM implementation as an opportunity to improve the end-user experience in the wake of a year of mass work-from-home migrations, rising layoffs, and an ever-growing list of remotely accessed resources.

In a year filled with so many of these unforeseen changes and a new dynamic digital-first higher education paradigm, IAM automation and governance are the best-practice methods to meet these challenges with a proactive and future-focused strategy.

Review additional results of our survey and learn more about IAM automation for higher education in our free resource: Higher Education IT Leaders Are Looking to Complement Access Governance With Automation.


Leaders Value These Key Identity and Access Management Automation Payoffs

  January 15th, 2021

Identity and access management (IAM) automation is an undeniable game changer in higher education, with countless advantages for colleges and universities. So, when we recently worked with Pulse to survey IT leaders in higher education, we were a little surprised by the narrow scope of some of the results. When asked what automation benefits they’re most looking forward to, most of the answers centered around three categories:

  • Reduced security risk
  • Boosted confidence in compliance status
  • A shift from reactive to proactive threat detection

All of these are certainly key benefits for higher education; however, the payoffs for colleges and universities go well beyond these three. Automation can increase efficiency, resiliency, and accuracy in a number of ways.

More Time for Strategic Initiatives

While just over a third of respondents showed interest in this benefit, the importance of time saved cannot be overstated. Institutions that no longer have to spend time manually managing IAM can instead dedicate those resources to more innovative projects. Whether it’s app development, streamlining processes across departments, or focusing on end user experience, removing the more time-consuming parts of identity and access management allows colleges and universities to devote more resources towards strategic thinking.

Improved End User Experience

With so many other priorities to manage, user experience can get left behind. Our recent survey certainly reflected that: only 13% of respondents noted it as an expected benefit. Overlooking this vital piece of the IAM roadmap may expedite processes in the short-term, but poor UX can create extra work (i.e., onboarding challenges and overall usage issues) down the road if neglected for too long.

Simplified Workflows and Streamlined, Modernized Processes

Never underestimate the power of simpler processes. These automation bonuses may have only sparked excitement in around 10% of our IT leaders, but these streamlined workflows can make all the difference for universities. This is especially true for larger institutions who are tasked with identity and access management across multiple departments and colleges where automation can save countless hours.

Hurdles That are Holding Back Critical Growth

Unfortunately, due to obstacles faced by much of higher education, that automation panacea is still a ways off. The following hurdles are holding back critical growth for identity and access management in higher education and overcoming them will be crucial for success in the future.

Budget Constraints

Pre-pandemic, higher education was already facing budget cuts. Now, Covid-19 has only further intensified financial constraints. IT departments at colleges and universities, in particular, have been faced with unforeseen challenges as they were forced to quickly adapt for remote learning and then strengthen these swift solutions as the pandemic stretched on. Of course, this increase in internal IT demand had its own financial outlays and was simultaneously coupled with schools needing to tighten their budgets even further.

In our survey, all IT leaders agreed that budget is a primary roadblock for identity and access management automation. While there’s no easy solution for these financial hurdles, clearly communicating the full value of IAM automation (long-term cost savings, more efficient processes, fewer errors, etc.) will strengthen efforts to implement these essential processes and solutions.

Existing Infrastructure Investments

Legacy systems make those budget constraints even more challenging to overcome, as many schools have put significant amounts of time and financial investment into these systems and processes. Making the switch to a new automated system is about more than the financial cost, it’s also the time needed to onboard and implement that new technology — especially training teams and getting them up to speed with the new IAM solution.

All IT leaders we surveyed selected this as an impediment on the road to automation. Understanding that the investment — both time and cost — is worth the increase in efficiency, security, and so much more will allow colleges and universities to expedite their automation journey.

Executive Buy-in

Ultimately, automating identity and access management in higher education requires that IT leaders achieve buy-in from all decisions makers. While those in the trenches of the IT department may have a clear understanding of the benefits of automation, communicating that with the C-suite can present its own challenges.

While three-quarters of respondents identified executive buy-in as an automation hindrance, for schools struggling to convince decision makers of the value, it can be the sole roadblock to automation. As is the case with budget constraints, presenting the ROI of automation (time saved, decrease in human error, and as a result, reduced long-term costs) will be key in convincing leadership to commit to this essential evolution.

All of these challenges certainly present stumbling blocks on the path to IAM automation for colleges and universities. Clear communication of the return on this investment will be critical as higher education IAM moves forward.

Reputation Is Everything

Most end users may not be a decision maker at any colleges and universities, but they’re still certainly stakeholders when it comes to identity and access management. Whether it’s a student needing to reset their password from home or a new research project that requires specific entitlements, the process needs to be seamless, simple, and secure.

Clunky processes can create frustration for the end user (at best) and serious system vulnerabilities (at worst). It’s also worth noting that ultimately, when it comes to IAM processes, the opinions of end users can and do influence those who make the decisions.

End User Experience Also Has Pull

For many of these questions, the results matched the trends we’re witnessing in IAM for higher education. However, a few categories had some surprises, among them, end user experience (UX).

While only 13% of higher education IT executives cited the improvement of end user experience as a main benefit of IAM automation, two-thirds rated the influence of UX over the IAM roadmap as at least a 4 (on a scale of 1-5). End user experience isn’t driving IAM automation, but it still has plenty of pull when it comes to automation. Understanding its influence can help higher education better incorporate UX into automation plans moving forward.

Amplified by Remote Access

While remote access has always played a role in UX, the pandemic has made it a priority. Our survey reflected that 98% of those surveyed said UX improvement has risen in importance following the mass work-from-home migration and the broad swath of resources being accessed remotely. Remote access has also added another dimension to UX with IT teams needing to account for how remote students and faculty can reach support (for password problems or more serious issues) when the need arises.

Lighten the Load

While the end user is the focus of UX, higher education IT teams will also reap some of the benefits. Seamless, simple, secure IAM that’s easy to use and incorporates support solutions that users can access remotely, will ultimately remove many of those tasks (password resets, permission updates, etc.) from the IT team’s to-do list. Fewer user issues means less problem solving for your IT team, freeing them to focus on more strategic initiatives — further improving processes, application development, or whatever innovation is next.

User Experience Smart From the Start

UX may not be the driving force for higher education IAM automation, but IT leaders still need to keep its impact and influence in mind when plotting out their identity and access management roadmaps. When higher education IT leaders incorporate UX into IAM automation strategies from the start, they can stay ahead of any complications and ensure IAM automation benefits all stakeholders.

Get our one minute whitepaper to read the full results of our survey and learn more about IAM automation challenges and benefits for higher education in our resource:

Higher Education IT Leaders Are Looking to Complement Access Governance With Automation.

Join Hitachi ID and Pulse for an upcoming webinar to learn more about how higher education is using automation to complement identity and access management governance in their zero trust strategies to protect data against cyber security attacks.