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Current and Future State of Identity Access Management (IAM)

According to established research, a company’s ability to provide exceptional customer service results in improved revenue growth. However, to provide such an experience, a company must make significant investments in new technology, processes, and systems. Disruptive innovations must be implemented to maintain, serve, and win new clients in the current era of technological advancement. In today’s world, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is one of the most important technologies. Even though it began as a platform for the acquisition of technologies, it has evolved into an indispensable tool for enabling businesses to communicate with and understand their customers.

What IAM Can Do for Your Company

1. Maintain control over customer preferences, identities, and profile information.

Customers place a high value on relevant, consistent, and personalized experiences throughout their interactions with a company. The only way for a business to accomplish this is through correct customer enrollment, identification, and verification. In addition, the organization should keep track of the client’s preferences and interactions, as well as their overall behavior. All of this will only be possible if a centralized platform for managing consumer identities is established and maintained. This comprises a website that informs customers about authorized payment methods, membership expiration dates, and email lists, among other offerings and services.

2. Provide secure, adaptable access to information that is protected.

The majority of firms now offer products and services that are digitally enhanced. Because of this, they tend to generate more data daily. Many more third parties, such as contractors, suppliers, and outsourcers are also involved in the operations of the majority of businesses.

An organization must take steps to ensure that only the appropriate and authorized data owners have access to the information, as well as that no unauthorized access or data usage occurs. This is true regardless of the hosting model or the location of the server. Furthermore, the organization must ensure that authorization processes take into account the surrounding environment. As a result, IAM must establish connections between business partners, customer data, and personnel. They can accomplish this by implementing and managing identity and access management systems.

3. Increase the value of customer relationships by leveraging identity data.

Identity and access management (IAM) installations provide end-users with identifying patterns and rich context when interacting with a website, corporate applications, mobile applications, and call centers. Moreover, security personnel examine the data and apply the findings to the implementation of defensive measures to protect against assaults as well as the investigation of security incidents

Even more crucially, evaluating the data gives firms information on how customers navigate through a website and encounter difficulties with authentication, self-services such as password reset, and registration, among other things. In addition, the information allows an organization to restructure its website to provide visitors with better-tailored experiences and to speed up critical activities such as registration.

4. Keep your privacy preferences intact.

The majority of customers are growing increasingly worried and sensitive about how organizations gather personal information, the reason for which it is collected, and the storage techniques used. This is due to the passage of numerous legislations that provide data owners with greater influence over how firms utilize the information they collect.

If an organization wants to ensure adherence, it needs to manage user identities so that individuals may log into their accounts and adjust their privacy settings.

Furthermore, whether keeping, copying, or sending data, organizations must ensure that the data is safeguarded at all times, whether it is in storage, in use, or transmission. They must also enforce a client’s privacy preferences, but they can extract value from the information that has been obtained without disregarding its potential value.

5. Encourage the use of zero-trust processes.

Information security principles are increasingly being governed by zero-trust models, which are becoming the de facto and essential standard for doing so. Other areas in which businesses use similar models include network security, application security, data protection, and cloud security (to name a few examples).

Implementing identity and access management solutions helps organizations conform to zero-trust paradigms. They implement the least privilege restrictions to guarantee that users only have access to the information and resources they require to do their tasks. More importantly, IAM enables businesses to seamlessly transition to new and identity-based perimeters. IAM also guarantees that users are not granted excessive privileges. In an organization’s information technology environment, it provides avenues for pre-integration with other components and domains.

IAM Trends in the Present and the Future

Security specialists anticipate that information and asset management (IAM) will become more integral in both corporate and individual life, partly as a result of the constantly changing sociological and technological landscapes. Despite the impossibility of humans to reliably foresee new evolutions beyond the immediate future, certain new technologies will develop, the majority of which will demand more secure approaches to information and asset management (IAM). Given the fact that employees’ inability to manage and defend their access credentials, such as passwords, accounts for 90 percent of all successful attacks, this is particularly concerning.

The existing IAM solutions may not be able to keep up with future requirements, especially as the interconnection and automation of devices and systems grows.

1. Smart Device and Robotics Identification

IAM approaches will expand beyond the existing authentication criteria of pets, humans, and biometrics to encompass the identification of smart devices and robotics in the future, according to predictions. Businesses and individuals will do this through the interconnection of technologies that perform automated operations and allow for data sharing, hence creating a more collaborative and user-friendly IAM environment.

Furthermore, the number of networked and distributed technologies will continue to grow, allowing for more accurate, continuous, and seamless resource access to be provided. This will necessitate the creation and implementation of advanced information and authentication systems that will incorporate artificial intelligence, sophisticated biometrics, machine learning, and any other disruptive technology.

Businesses will no longer be able to access secure resources and physical facilities using the current IAM methods, such as passwords, as a result of this development. Instead, they will replace them with intelligent systems that are programmed to continuously learn individual human qualities and characteristics to improve access control.

2. The Use of IAM as a Utility

In the opinion of industry professionals, IAM is at the heart of both present and future digital changes. Therefore, enterprises will use it as the hub for securing information technology infrastructures in all organizations, including governmental agencies and higher education institutions, among others. IAM is also applicable to any substantial applications or systems that are installed within an enterprise.

As a result, organizations will implement IAM as a utility identity shortly. To do this, technology businesses will first need to develop processes for data gathering, processing, and organization, as well as dissemination, that are consistent and dependable.

Currently, enterprise data is stored in several different silos that are disconnected from one another. In response, organizations have deployed data sharing and modification orchestration as the foundation for offering answers to traditional IAM concerns, such as account provisioning, among other things. User accounts and IAM aspects may be created automatically in response to event triggers such as changes to authoritative data sources such as human resource management systems. As an example, you could assign access privileges and define user traits that would be used to decide access levels.

As a result, such identity abstraction might be referred to as a service-oriented identity and access management architecture. Current goals include being a ubiquitous service that provides identification information to the network, application, and people-based applications. The future of IAM is opposed to the past since it will be built on extremely accessible and adaptable foundations to ensure data integration from a wide range of contexts. As a result, it will provide a secure IAM mechanism to a large number of customers before granting access to protected resources.

Despite the obvious advantages, achieving IAM as a utility is difficult because many businesses have a large number of processes and environments that must first be integrated and normalized cohesively. The absence of defined ways for integrating the diverse capabilities of currently available procedures and processes adds to the difficulties.

When it comes to integrating standards such as SCIM, application or system suppliers are more often than not ignoring the recommendations of industry experts (System for Cross-domain Identity Management). They instead design proprietary interfaces, which prove to be a time-consuming procedure when attempting to integrate them with other IAM implementations. Additionally, some IAM suppliers do not offer a significant portfolio of connectors, which are required for seamless connection with other IAM systems, which is a major drawback. Organizations should fill in the gaps that have already been identified to build a unified foundation in preparation for future IAM requirements.

Furthermore, practically all IAM adhere to the same philosophy: each deployment type is distinct and necessitates the development of specific processes and regulations. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of expensive, brittle, difficult to upgrade, and highly customized deployments. Due to this, providers have had to resort to recycling multiple IAM deployments to survive. Businesses replace outdated implementations with new ones whenever they have fully addressed the security needs of the firm and have completely phased out the previous ones. Other scenarios in which IAM installations may be necessary include situations in which further integration and extension prove to be prohibitively expensive.

In contrast, recycled IAM implementations may be insufficient in safeguarding a wide range of applications because they do not provide complete access control. They may not cover the entire extent of automated provisioning and de-provisioning, as well as suitable access governance and control processes, among other things. This is because constant recycling may result in a corporation having specific systems such as SAP, Oracle, and Active Directory. As a result, current IAM deployments may be inconsequential in terms of maintaining the security of any application or system in a particular environment, exposing them to an unknown amount of risk.

This does not rule out the possibility of achieving the broader IAM aims in the future. To achieve their objectives, enterprises must avoid falling victim to the dangers that can arise from custom one-off IAM installations. The IAM needs of different firms are similar because only a few of their capabilities are aligned with specific patterns. All future IAM deployments must make use of an IAM architecture template to ensure that they apply to all connected apps and systems in the future. The features described in the following qualities are those that should be included in future IAM implementations by companies.

3. Identity Normalization, Federation, and Virtualization

Interactive: All application developers and end-users should be able to communicate with an IAM platform that has been implemented.

IAM providers should include processes and policies that are capable of distinguishing between different actors in the future. They should also specify the authorization levels of an actor, which are dependent on variables such as obligations, entitlement, allocated rights, and roles, as well as the roles of other actors.

IAM platforms must be capable of identifying and managing the continual changes that occur as a result of the shifting linkages between enterprise resources and identities. A consistent level of adaptability should be maintained throughout the IAM lifespan.

Manageable: These are the features required by a firm to easily manage, upgrade, and configure an IAM solution that has been deployed.

Measurable: An IAM deployment should include capabilities that can be used in inspections, audits, improving, and gaining a deeper understanding of all IAM activities. Measurable: An IAM deployment should include capabilities that can be used in inspections, audits, improving, and gaining a deeper insight into all IAM activities.

Storage: Future IAM systems must be equipped with the capabilities necessary to enable the secure storage and maintenance of identity information and the linkages between it and other entities. Solutions should make it simple for a corporation to obtain information from its systems.

Identity normalization, federation, and virtualization are three of the most important aspects of the Internet of Things.

Identity normalization, federation, and virtualization will all be included in future IAM solutions, according to Gartner. To do this, virtualization and federation are predicated on the notion that no single agency, organization, government, or enterprise can serve as the final authoritative source for information about objects and their interactions.

Identity federation will be a fundamental component of future identity management because it will reduce frictions, which is especially important in an environment where the number of objects is expanding exponentially. Organizations will be able to offer access to shared resources or applications through the usage of the federation without having to use the same technologies that are currently used in security, directory services, and authentication. Therefore, it is important to note that federation will be advantageous since firms will be able to maintain directory control while at the same time expanding their reach beyond the boundaries of local authentication.

Identity federation will also eliminate the requirement for proprietary solutions to be developed in the future. As a result, enterprises will save money on the development and deployment of identity and access management solutions. The primary goal of all IAM implementations is to authenticate and identify users while also increasing security and reducing the dangers associated with utilizing the same identity information for numerous authentications, among other things. Additionally, by deploying federated IAM solutions, businesses will be able to improve their efforts to comply with privacy regulations. As a result of its implementation, users will have more centralized and effective control over access to identity storage and information sharing. Further improving the user experience will be made possible by the elimination of the necessity for new accounts to be registered.

Despite the benefits provided by federated identity and access management systems, there is a risk of losing centralized control. The impediment arises from the requirement to accept identification credentials from sources that are not located within the organization’s boundaries. When the authorization risks are limited to low-value data, a corporation may be willing to tolerate the risks in question. Authentication and management of information that is at high risk or of high value, on the other hand, maybe required directly. The fundamental problem with accepting authentication from external sources is a lack of trust in the source. Is the federated user as truthful as he claims to be in terms of his identity?

4. Identity and Access Management (IAM) on the Blockchain

Other technologies are having an impact on the future of IAM as well. Identity systems based on blockchain technology are one example of this. The primary goal of the systems is to enable access to requested services and resources by obtaining explicit agreement to share information with certain entities, which is accomplished through various means.

The future of IAM deployments will involve a self-sovereign, distributed identification model that will empower individuals while also reducing risk for the businesses that gather the information. It can be compared to micro-services, however, it is specifically designed for identity management. It can be considered as a self-governing entity over which the owner has extensive influence in a variety of ways.

Blockchain technology will be a critical component of future identity models. It will also play an important role in the development and support of identity and access management systems that are based on self-sovereign identification. Blockchain is a collection of distributed ledgers that can improve the discoverability of an individual’s identity while also providing secure links to the data that is required for a transaction to be completed. Through anchoring identifiers linked to identifying multiple hubs encoded with semantic data, blockchain technology will also assist in future IAM implementations, according to the company.

5. Passwordless Authentication is implemented.

Because of the widespread use of authentication services such as Windows Hello and Trusona, as well as the growth of connected tokens and smartphone-based authentications, it is now conceivable for security staff to transition away from only password-based identification.

Biometrics (fingerprints, voice, and face), push notifications that users can access through mobile devices, risk-based authentication, behavioral biometrics, and risk-based authentication, as well as FIDO WebAuthN, are some of the alternatives that will have an impact on future information assurance processes. Companies will be able to devote more resources to improving their device registration and first onboarding processes as a result of the use of passwordless authentication technologies.

6. IAM Services that are multimodal and multitargeted to support all workloads

Even though cloud adoption rates are increasing year after year, some organizations continue to rely on on-premise applications, processes, user directories, and legacy systems to run their business operations. Traditional systems may continue to exist in the foreseeable future, which could result in the development of hybrid IAM deployments or architectures. These will be able to support both on-premises and cloud workloads simultaneously. As a result, legacy and on-premise applications such as ERP and HRIS will be able to benefit from IAM security architectures of this type. Although connections and SSO integration will be required, this will not be a difficult task (single-sign-on).

Furthermore, some firms are still hesitant to keep personally identifiable information (PII) and user information in cloud storage services. Integration of SaaS and on-premise applications, as well as support for IAM installations in a variety of configurations, will make hybrid environments and applications possible. Managed services, cloud IDaaS, and on-premise products are examples of what is available.

The use of behavioural biometrics to perform identity verification is a new development.

Increasing the usage of biometrics for identification verification will be encouraged by businesses in order to provide a more continuous process of user authentication. A cyber adversary is no longer required to target system endpoints in order to harvest passwords and other identity or authentication credentials, as was previously the case. They can easily break into an Active Directory or password vault and gain access to all of the passwords that have been stored. A single authentication choice using passwords alone is no longer sufficient, especially in the case of businesses that employ a single-sign-on strategy to access their systems and applications.

As a result, businesses must incorporate multifactor or behavioural device profiling into their operations. For example, corporations might use behavioural biometrics to examine a user’s behaviour as a manner of identity verification when customers react to enrollment forms by filling them out completely and accurately. Consequently, future IAM will consist of expanded authorization and authentication processes that will move away from the current one-time decision to a continuous process of monitoring and developing user profiles and corresponding activities, rather than the existing one-time decision.

Future IAM Architecture Requirements for Efficiencies and Security in the Operations Environment

1. Encapsulation of data and protection of the data’s identity

Organizations must keep track of the identification of the data in order to protect its availability or integrity. Data identity refers to the metadata that is used to describe the data itself, and it can include information such as the owner who created the data, individuals who have access to the data, and users who have been granted permission to delete the information. A critical component of creating a safe and zero-trust environment is the integration of data identity into the data asset, which is done through systems.

Even more importantly, the data identity can reveal information on the data’s usage habits. As a result, cyber adversaries can use metadata to get more information about a given user’s activity, regardless of whether the data is encrypted or not by the system.

Data identity management and linking employee access permissions are critical to effectively protecting against data theft and lowering threat surfaces in order to counteract this practise. User access privileges need to be assigned to users over their entire identity lifecycle, which means IAM solutions must be capable of doing so.

2. Make use of the capabilities of machine learning

Future identity and access management (IAM) solutions should make use of machine learning (ML) capabilities to detect and intercept anomalous patterns and access requests. Businesses can identify and enforce certain user access privileges in the current IMG (identification management and governance) systems that make use of user data stored in a directory, according to the company. Organizations, on the other hand, are unable to employ such tactics to identify hazards that arise when user access rights increase above and beyond usual levels. Machine learning capabilities in IMG tools can provide a deeper understanding of user requests, entitlements, and obtained rights by incorporating machine learning into the tools’ analytic capabilities.

3. Integrate Identity and Cyber Threat Intelligence into Identity and Access Management Platforms

The present approaches for protecting against cyber threats in siloed systems are frequently ineffective and only provide limited protection. IAM vendors, on the other hand, must provide solutions that can provide the best possible protection. The steps include the development of identity and access management solutions that are capable of evaluating and combining various forms of identity data, such as device fingerprints, IP addresses, password and username combinations, and websites that have been targeted by cybercriminals.

4. Authorization should be based on activity and context, rather than on a single factor.

Despite the fact that access certification procedures help to reduce violations of the separation of tasks and improve an organization’s security posture, most employees consider them a hindrance to their ability to be productive.

Internalized authorization deployments that are capable of dynamically tweaking authorization decisions in operating applications are required by IAM providers in order to reduce the demand on IMG procedures. Specifically, this is accomplished by basing IAM on context information like as geolocation or device fingerprints during device access and actions such as resource user access in the application. Other ways generate point values for resource access, which are used to determine whether or not the running tally of a user matches the resources that have been accessed.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.