With a fast -growing, often -moving, highly distributed workforce, identity management and security are paramount for IT leaders. Add technological advances, cloud proliferation, and constantly evolving cyber threats, and we’ve reached a turning point for digital identity. And despite nearly 30 years in the field, we still have much to learn.
To determine what those lessons are, we must first understand the challenges, use situations, and behaviors that drive our current approach to identity. The “2022 Identity Management Survey” aims to achieve this, gathering need-to-know details about identity skills from more than 500 knowledgeable workers who live in the space every day. Of the respondents, the majority (60%) held IT job roles — people right in the trenches. From their responses, here are 6 trends that have emerged.
1.) Businesses Rely on Multiple Identity Management Solutions …
More than half of respondents with IT job roles indicated that they work with several vendors for identity management, risk, compliance, single sign-on, PAM, and/or security operations. This is much for security functions only. As you can imagine, switching between multiple, diverse systems can be a source of frustration and disruption for workers. This often leads to IT interventions or using insecure solutions just to get the job done. Leaders should look at solutions that enable identity security functions within their existing tech stack to avoid these challenges.
2.)… but Fewer Applications Result in Improved Productivity
In fact, 45% of respondents with IT job roles said they expect high productivity boost from using fewer applications or systems, and 41% of respondents outside the IT field agreed agree. There is less to talk about when it comes to the number of technical tools and applications we expect employees to use regularly. The evidence is clear: there are so many different solutions and applications, and it affects workers ’ability to do their best. Beyond the survey results, it is well documented that context-switching — required to bounce between systems — can reduce productivity from 20-80%, increasing with each new task.
3.) UX tops the List of Identity Challenges
Not surprisingly, user experience (UX) topped the list of challenges in most survey segments — even more than cost. The multiple solutions and applications used are likely a contributor to this. Those responding to the technical duties, cost, and time to access or fulfill the top three challenges. As evidence, without consistent UX, productivity suffers, and with it, overall business operations. Leaders must empower employees with the tools and processes they need to succeed. It’s the same, otherwise more important than giving customers the best UX.
4.) ITSM, Email, and Excel are the Preferred Method for Application and Entitlement Management ”
Respondents from medium and large companies, as well as those with work roles in IT cited, IT Service Management (ITSM)/workforce management platform as the most popular option for controlling permissions and rights. It is encouraging to see the trend of more mature organizations managing identity within their ITSM platforms. That said, it’s surprising and fun to see that email and spreadsheets are the next options for controlling application permissions and rights. This is something businesses need to prioritize, preferably before a breach or audit.
5.) Microsoft 365 is the Platform of Choice
Respondents working in small companies mentioned using Google’s platform and tools at a higher rate, while those working in large companies preferred Microsoft 365. More than a third (35%) of respondents working in large companies said their company uses ServiceNow. Regardless of the platform, businesses would be wise to explore the features and applications built into their current investments in the platform. By syncing identity and security management with the processes and tools already in place, leaders can avoid the cost and complications of a major tech overhaul, prevent employee learning curves, and have assurance that the tools are seamless.
6.) AI Doesn’t Deliver Real Value — Pa
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are used to automate tasks and workflows across multiple domains and industries. Security-related tasks are no exception — automation, determining which employees need access to which data or system, and anomaly detection are some of these applications. But while two-thirds of survey respondents indicated that their company uses AI/ML to improve identity management, less than a third of them indicated that the technology yields moderate to high yields. benefits for identity management. Despite its potential, it appears that it is still too early for AI to identify.
Businesses have taken great steps when it comes to identity management and security, but we are not acting fast. With the speed of technology, it is critical that business leaders approach identity through the lens of security and usability to ensure they are getting the most out of their identity initiatives and solutions. As research points out, ITSM is a good place to start. This will help reduce UX, and multiple vendor, and application management challenges. It’s half the battle, and it’s something leaders can implement today.