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3 ways to improve the security of identity and access management

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A highly effective identity and access management program will always deliver business value.

We live in times where, despite having access to the most advanced technologies on the planet, organizations struggle to protect sensitive data and intellectual property. And while the media reports an increase in spend on IT security, these increased budgets are no guarantee of improved security posture.

The more I talk to CISOs and IT leaders at conferences and trade shows, the more I am convinced that most organizations are experiencing the same realities year after year. These conversations validate my own experience of working “hands on” in the industry for over 16 years and paints a clear picture of how companies need help to achieve and secure their identity and access management (IAM) programs.

End of life systems. Too many organizations are at a point in their IAM journey where they literally have one of every product in the marketplace. Legacy systems are increasingly insecure and costly to replace, often burdened by organizational politics or lack of program funding. Plus, IAM teams are pressured by vendors to maintain license compliance with the latest hot fixes and security patches.

Provisioning silos. Overlapping systems and manual processes frequently not enforced by a company’s governance, risk and compliance policies (GRC) increase threat vectors and, consequently, the cost and effort of maintaining compliance.

Weak architecture and strategy. Weak architecture and strategy occurs when too much time is allocated to tactical execution. Myopic vision often is the result when architectural and strategic planning is neglected for too long. Myopic vision is detrimental to a department’s ability to align with the business strategy.

Failure to focus on end-to-end experience. Multiple logins, password proliferation, inconsistent user experience, loss of productivity, and frustrated users all result from a failure to plan, design, and integrate IAM systems from a strategic vantage point. When organizations grow, systems become more disparate and disconnected, causing customers to suffer from poorly connected customer information systems and disjointed customer service.