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Pulse Report Surveys the Role of Identity in Complex Corporations

What’s the role of identity in your enterprise?

We were curious, so we surveyed 300 enterprise tech executives who are involved in making identity-related decisions to get their take. No huge surprise, identity remains a key part of security infrastructures. Let’s take a look at the high points—and pain points—of today’s identity implementations, with a look ahead at coming trends and essential innovations.

It’s All About the Sprawl

Complex organizations are grappling with an unprecedented amount of identity sprawl generated by business digitization, along with the rapid rise of pandemic-driven remote work that has become our new normal. For complex organizations with years of identity investments, all this identity sprawl can be a real drag on progress. While the exec team works on delivering big picture enterprise-level imperatives, the only way to secure these visionary initiatives is with a complicated underlying identity infrastructure that can’t easily move at the speed of business. This places even more pressure on the IT team to deliver for the C-suite. So how are IT leaders looking at identity in a digitally transformative world, where Trust is at Zero and risk is sky-high?

With the number of identities in use spiraling out of control, individuals and entities are both grappling with how to manage multiple identities for a single user. One key driver of this trend is all those legacy investments still in use. According to this survey, being able to leverage legacy identity assets matters to every respondent—and for more than two-thirds of respondents, these legacy systems remain very or extremely important within the modern identity infrastructure.

As exciting as the latest trends are, from cloud migration to digital transformation, legacy technology remains a necessary part of the infrastructure to at least some degree across the largest organizations in the world. Still relevant—and in need of hands-on management—even in the face of so many new innovations.

Identity Complexity is Stressful for Admins and End Users Alike

There are plenty of pain points across the identity infrastructure, with too many forms of identity to manage, too many credentials to remember, and too many identity silos to unify. All this complexity has led to a rise in frustration, with identity stress as a common theme for our respondents. In fact, they all expressed some form of dissatisfaction with the ongoing challenges of managing identity access and integration.

This is not entirely unsurprising, since today’s enterprise identity administrators are grappling with many disparate forms of identity, built over years of identity innovations. In fact, more than two-thirds of identity admins agreed that maintaining and managing so many different forms of identity is a real headache. But the experience of business users struggling to manage multiple credentials is no picnic, either, with well over half of respondents indicating that their users share this difficulty—and that all this identity friction leads to lower productivity for end users, while also boosting the hassle factor for admins.

Access Control and Governance Tools Can’t Always Cover Every App and User

The good news: one in five respondents have centralized, granular control and pass audits easily. The bad news: that leaves the vast majority still struggling with these core competencies. When asked whether they have a uniform approach to controlling access and meeting compliance requirements, more than two-thirds of users agreed that their modern access control and governance solutions still left out a good number of applications and users, while one in ten are still grappling with legacy applications that are difficult to integrate with more modern security practices.

Consolidation and Cloud-Readiness: Delivering on the Promise of Major Initiatives

A well-oiled identity infrastructure should be the underpinning of many corporate goals, whether you’re looking to quickly integrate acquisitions so users, both old and new, can access what they need to be successful or readying your infrastructure for a cloud-first future.

One third of respondents have either gone through recent merger or acquisition activity or anticipate it in the very near future. For those post M&A, close to half were not able to deliver application access across newly merged or acquired entities for 7-12 months, with more than a third taking up to eighteen months to deliver shared access. That’s a long time to go without true business productivity and collaboration!

True cloud-only computing remains an unmet goal for all but three of the respondents. More than two-thirds are hybrid cloud, with some implementation underway—and a quarter said they were hybrid cloud-curious, with goals in place, but no implementation yet.

According to Gartner’s 2021 Planning Guide for Identity and Access Management, we can expect distributed and hybrid architectures to persist for the foreseeable future, becoming increasingly fragmented, even with cloud-first strategies in place.

So what moves the needle?

A Single Source of Identity Data for Digital Transformation and More

It’s a worthy goal—after all, IAM isn’t easy, especially in complicated architectures that have grown over successive waves of innovation and consolidation. When asked what they would do with a single on-demand source of identity, nearly half would move forward with digital transformation initiatives. A third would end the cycle of constant customizations (just think about how much time you’d save, how much time you’d free up for other business-critical pursuits). Transformational change is what’s required to really shift the conversation from what you can’t get done to all the things you can.

So many of today’s most significant trends, from cloud migration and customer IAM to digital transformation and Zero Trust, hinge on the ability to deliver a robust and unified identity data foundation. What does that mean? It means getting security right by putting your identity data first. It means being able to access every attribute from across all your diverse sources—no matter the protocol. It means harnessing identity data and making it work for your business, for your success.

If you’re curious about how we help complex organizations transform identity data into a project and progress enabler, we’d love to talk!

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