Identity and access management as a service gets boost with SailPoint's IdentityNow cloud

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: SailPoint Technologies.

 

Business trends like bring your own device (BYOD) are forcing organizations to safely allow access to all kinds of applications and resources anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

 

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the demand for improved identity and access management (IAM) technology is estimated to grow from more than $5 billion this year to over $10 billion in 2018.

 

The explosive growth -- doubling of the market in five years -- will also fuel the move to more pervasive use of identity and access management as a service (IDaaS). The cloud variety of IAM will be driven on by the need for pervasive access and management over other cloud, mobile, and BYOD activities, as well as by the consumerization of IT and broader security concerns.

 

To explore the why and how of IDaaS, BriefingsDirect recently sat down with Paul Trulove, Vice President of Product Marketing at SailPoint Technologies in Austin, Texas, to explore the changing needs for -- and heightened value around -- improved IAM.

 

We also discover how new IDaaS offerings are helping companies far better protect and secure their information assets. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: SailPoint is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

 

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: The word "control" comes up so often when I talk to people about security and IT management issues, and companies seem to feel that they are losing control, especially with such trends as BYOD. How do companies regain that control, or do we need to think about this differently?

Trulove: The reality in today's market is that a certain level of control will always be required. But as we look at the rapid adoption of new corporate enterprise resources, things like cloud-based applications or mobile devices where you could access corporate information anywhere in the world at any time on any device, the reality is that we have to put a base level of controls in place that allow organizations to protect the most sensitive assets. But you have to also provide ready access to the data, so that the organizations can move at the pace of what the business is demanding today.

Gardner: The expectations of users has changed, they're used to having more of their own freedom. How is that something that we can balance, allow them to get the best of their opportunity and their productivity benefits, but at the same time, allow for the enterprise to be as low risk as possible?

Trulove

Trulove: That's the area that the organization has to find the right balance for their particular business that meets the internal demands, the external regulatory requirements, and really meet the expectations of their customer base. While the productivity aspect can't be ignored, taking a blind approach to allowing an individual end-user to begin to migrate structured data out of something like an SAP or other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, up to a personal Box.com account is something most organizations are just not going to allow.

Each organization has to step back, redefine the different types of policies that they're trying to put in place, and then put the right kind of controls that mitigate risk in terms of inappropriate acts, access to critical enterprise resources and data, but also allow the end user to have a little bit more control and little bit more freedom to do things that make them the most productive.

Uptake in SaaS

Gardner: We've seen a significant uptake in SaaS, certainly at the number of apps level, communications, and email, but it seems as if some of the infrastructure services around IAM are lagging. Is there a maturity issue here, or is it just a natural way that markets evolve? What's the case in understanding why the applications have gone fast, but we're now just embarking on IDaaS?

Trulove: We're seeing a common trend in IT if you look back over time, where a lot of the front-end business applications were the first to move to a new paradigm. Things like ERP and service resource management (SRM)-type applications have all migrated fairly quickly.

Over the last decade, we've really seen a lot of the sales management applications, like Salesforce and NetSuite come on as full force. Now, there are things like Workday and even some of the work force management becoming very popular. However, the infrastructure generally lagged for a variety of reasons.

In the IAM space, this is a critical aspect of enterprise security and risk management as it relates to guarding the critical assets of the organization. Security practitioners are going to look at new technology very thoroughly before they begin to move things like IAM out to a new delivery paradigm such as SaaS.

The other thing is that organizations right now are still fundamentally protecting internal applications. So there's less of a need to move your infrastructure out into the cloud until you begin to change the overall delivery paradigm for your internal application.

What we're seeing in the market, and definitely from a customer perspective, is that as customers implement more and more of their software out in the cloud, that's a good time for them to begin to explore IDaaS.

Look at some of the statistics being thrown around. In some cases, we've seen that 80 percent of new software purchases are being pushed to a SaaS model. Those kinds of companies are much more likely to embrace moving infrastructure to support that large cloud investment with fewer applications to be managed back in the data center.

Gardner: The notion of mobile-first applications now has picked up in just the last two or three years. I have to imagine that's another accelerant to looking at IAM differently when you get to the devices. How does the mobile side of things impact this?

Trulove: Mobile plays a huge part in organizations' looking at IDaaS, and the reason is that you’re moving the device that's interacting with the identity management service outside the bounds of the firewall and the network. So, having a point of presence in the cloud gives you a very easy way to generate all of the content out to the devices that are being operated outside of the traditional bounds of the IT organization, which was generally networked in to the PCs, laptops, etc that are on the network itself.

Moving to IDaaS

Gardner: I'd like to get into what hurdles organizations need to overcome to move in to IDaaS, but let's define this a little better for folks that might not be that familiar with it. How does SailPoint define IDaaS? What are we really talking about?

Trulove: SailPoint looks at IDaaS as a set of capabilities across compliance and governance, access request and provisioning, password management, single sign-on (SSO), and Web access management that allow for an organization to do fundamentally the same types of business processes and activities that they do with an internal IAM systems, but delivered from the cloud.

We also believe that it's critical, when you talk about IDaaS to not only talk about the cloud applications that are being managed by that service, but as importantly, the internal applications behind the firewall that still have to be part of that IAM program.

Gardner: So, this is not just green field. You have to work with what's already in place, and it has to work pretty much right the first time.

Trulove: Yes, it does. We really caution organizations against looking at cloud applications in a siloed manner from all the things that they're traditionally managing in the data center. Bringing up a secondary IAM system to only focus on your cloud apps, while leaving everything that is legacy in place, is a very dangerous situation. You lose visibility, transparency, and that global perspective that most organizations have struggled to get with the current IAM approaches across all of those areas that I talked about.

Gardner: So, we recognize that these large trends are forcing a change, users want their freedom, more mobile devices, more different services from different places, and security being as important if not more than ever. What is holding organizations back from moving towards IDaaS, given that it can help accommodate this very complex set of requirements?

Trulove: It can. The number one area, and it's really made up of several different things, is the data security, data privacy, and data export concerns. Obviously, the level at which each of those interplay with one another, in terms of creating concern within a particular organization, has a lot to do with where the company is physically located. So, we see a little bit less of the data export concerns with companies here in the US, but it's a much bigger concern for companies in Europe and Asia in particular.

Data security and privacy are the two that are very common and are probably at the top of every IT security professional’s list of reasons why they're not looking at IDaaS.

Gardner: It would seem that just three or four years ago, when we were talking about the advent of cloud services, quite a few people thought that cloud was less secure. But I’ve certainly been mindful of increased and improved security as a result of cloud, particularly when the cloud organization is much more comprehensive in how they view security.

They're able to implement patches with regularity. In fact, many of them have just better processes than individual enterprises ever could. So, is that the case here as well? Are we dealing with perceptions? Is there a case to be made for IDaaS being, in fact, a much better solution overall?

IAM as secure

Trulove: Much like organizations have come to recognize the other categories of SaaS as being secure, the same thing is happening within the context of IAM. Even a lot of the cloud storage services, like Box.com, are now signing up large organizations that have significant data security and privacy concerns. But, they're able to do that in a way and provide the service in a way where that assurance is in place that they have control over the environment.

And so, I think the same thing will happen with identity, and it's one of the areas where SailPoint is very focused on delivering capabilities and assurances to the customers that are looking at IDaaS, so that they feel comfortable putting the kinds of information and operating the different types of IAM components, so that they get over that fear of the unknown.

One of the biggest benefits of moving from a traditional IAM approach to something that is delivered as IDaaS is the rapid time to value. It's also one of the biggest changes that the organization has to be prepared to make, much like they would have as they move from a Siebel- to a Salesforce-type model back in the day.

IAM delivered as a service needs to be much more about configuration, versus that customized solution where you attempt to map the product and technology directly back to existing business processes.

One of the biggest changes from a business perspective is that the business has to be ready to make investments in business process management, and the changes that go along with that, so that they can accommodate the reality of something that's being delivered as a service, versus completely tailoring a solution to every aspect of their business.

The benefit that they get out of that is a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO), especially around the deployment aspects of IDaaS.

Gardner: It's interesting that you mentioned business process and business process management. It seems to me that by elevating to the cloud for a number of services and then having the access and management controls follow that path, you’re able to get a great deal of flexibility and agility in how you define who it is you’re working with, for how long, for when.

It seems to me that you can use policies and create rules that can be extended far beyond your organization’s boundaries, defining workgroups, defining access to assets, creating and spinning up virtualized companies, and then shutting them down when you need. So, is there a new level of consideration about a boundaryless organization here as well?

Trulove: There is. One of the things that is going to be very interesting is the opportunity to essentially bring up multiple IDaaS environments for different constituents. As an organization, I may have two or three fundamentally distinct user bases for my IAM services.

Separate systems

I may have an internal population that is made up of employees, and contractors that essentially work for the organization that need access to a certain set of systems. So I may bring up a particular environment to manage those employees that have specific policies and workflows and controls. Then, I may bring up a separate system that allows for business partners or individual customers to have access to very different environments within the context of either cloud or on-prem IT resources.

The advantage is that I can deploy these services uniquely across those. I can vary the services that are deployed. Maybe I provide only SSO and basic provisioning services for my external user populations. But for those internal employees, I not only do that, but I add access certifications, and segregation of duties (SOD) policy management. I need to have much better controls over my internal accounts, because they really do guard the keys to the kingdom in terms of data and application access.

Gardner: We began this conversation talking about balance. It certainly seems to me that that level of ability, agility, and defining new types of business benefits far outweighs some of the issues around risk and security that organizations are bound to have to solve one way or the other. So, it strikes me as a very compelling and interesting set of benefits to pursue.

You've delivered the SailPoint IdentityNow suite. You have a series of capabilities, and there are more to come. As you were defining and building out this set of services, what were some of the major requirements that you had, that you needed to check off before you brought this to market?

Trulove: The number one capability that we really talk to a lot of customers about is an integrated set of IAM services that span everything from that compliance and governance to access request provisioning and password management all the way to access management and SSO.

One of the things that we found as a critical driver for the success of these types of initiatives within organizations is that they don't become siloed, and that as you implement a single service, you get to take advantage of a lot of the work that you've done as you bring on the second, third, or fourth services.

The other big thing is that it needs to be ready immediately. Unlike a traditional IAM solution, where you might have deployment environments to buy and implement software to purchase and deploy and configure, customers really expect IDaaS to be ready for them to start implementing the day that they buy.

It's a quick time-to-value, where the organization deploying it can start immediately. They can get value out of it, not necessarily on day one, but within weeks, as opposed to months. Those things were very critical in deploying the service.

The third thing is that it is ready for enterprise-level requirements. It needs to meet the use cases that a large enterprise would have across those different capabilities, but also as important, that it meets data security, privacy, and export concerns that a large enterprise would have relative to beginning to move infrastructure out to the cloud.

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About the Author
Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Ga...
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