3 Barriers to Identity and Access Management (IAM) Modernization

August 15, 2019
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3 min read

Is your organization struggling to modernize its identity and access management (IAM) program with a cloud-based platform? Perhaps the cost of operating and maintaining legacy IAM systems is increasing and you can see the benefit of implementing identity-as-a-service (IDaaS). Legacy systems may also be inhibiting workplace productivity for both your IT and security staff, as well as business users.

If this all sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to Forrester Analytics, IDaaS is expected to grow at a 14.1 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years as more businesses look to reap the benefits of cloud computing.

Overcome These 3 Challenges to Modernize Your IAM Program

Modernizing an IAM program in the cloud is complex for organizations of all sizes. Those with on-premises IAM systems usually have technical debt from the customizations and maintenance required to run such solutions. Untangling this mess and migrating to a modern, cloud-based IAM solution requires some heavy lifting. The organization must, for example, ensure that users get seamless access to the right resources at the right time for the right reasons.

If there’s a breakdown at any one of these functions, IAM will be an ongoing challenge. Below are a few common hurdles you might encounter when undergoing an IAM program modernization initiative — and some tips to help you clear them.

1. Gaps in the Overall Identity and Access Management Strategy

Modernizing an IAM platform requires a strategy and road map that incorporate an optimal architecture and deployment model for the organization’s applications.

The first step is to understand how your IAM program aligns with the objectives of the business. In addition, consider any applicable compliance requirements and how they factor into your identity management strategy.

Your business users will demand fast and simple access to resources. But how do you move away from legacy IAM systems to a cloud IAM platform? How would your staff manage passwords and access to data and applications and provision users in a new cloud-based platform?

Finally, the strategy and road map should share an end-to-end plan for migrating IAM workloads from on-premises to the cloud and the ongoing management of that platform.

2. Poor Alignment With Business Stakeholders

Establishing an agreed-upon strategy requires complete alignment of the organization’s stakeholders, including IT executives and line of business managers. It’s essential to understand what interests and priorities these stakeholders have throughout the IAM modernization project.

Stakeholders must feel invested in the initiative and receive regular updates on the project progress. It’s important to understand and anticipate the needs of the team members, processes and technology involved to accomplish your objectives and outcomes.

On an ongoing basis, make sure your key stakeholders understand the business benefits the IAM program modernization will deliver.

3. Lack of Skilled IAM Resources

If you’re running on-premises IAM tools, you’ll soon find yourself managing several point solutions for particular use cases as opposed to an overall program for the business. Over time, it becomes increasingly costly and burdensome to achieve and maintain these systems. Resources may be overwhelmed with managing the volume of help desk requests, user onboarding and offboarding, password resets, and changes to access rights.

The upkeep of these legacy IAM applications could also take up a significant amount of time for IT and security administrators. This time commitment often leads the organization to explore the possibility of moving IAM applications to a cloud-based system using an IAM services provider to help them along their journey.

But how will you upskill your IAM resources to manage a modern, cloud-based IAM system? These resources will need training and enablement on the processes that encompass a new IAM platform.

When In Doubt, IAM Services Can Help

To address some of these challenges and acquire the skills necessary to successfully transition to a modern, cloud-based IAM solution, many organizations are turning to professional services providers. Such services can help your organization migrate away from legacy systems to a modern, cloud-based IAM solution with the following benefits:

  • Eighty-six percent lower costs to onboard IAM applications onto a cloud-based application
  • Ninety-five percent reduction in downtime on IAM workloads
  • Sixty percent reduction in help desk support requests
  • Ninety-six percent reduction in maintenance hours to support IAM software and hardware

Organizations have made significant investments in IAM products over the years. Building a new, modernized IAM program that meets digital transformation initiatives requires new skills, experience and insights that are designed to grow the business. An IAM services provider can help address the gaps and foresee the pitfalls ahead.

Download “The Forrester Total Economic Impact of IBM Identity and Access Management (IAM) Services” to learn how IBM helped a Fortune 500 healthcare organization adopt a new, cloud-based identity and access management program.

Marc von Mandel
Product Marketing Manager, IAM & Product Professional Services

Marc von Mandel leads the global portfolio marketing efforts for Identity and Access Management Services (IAM) and Product Professional Services at IBM. Marc...
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