The Importance of Identity and Access Management in Pandemic Times

Micro Focus Contributor
Micro Focus Contributor
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Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the foundation of a Security infrastructure. Similar to building a house, a shaky home foundation can lead to issues down the line. Without strong identity management (foundation), there could be future access breaches and other security issues. The COVID-19 pandemic that forced organizations to transition to a large remote workforce almost overnight has underlined the importance of IAM even more.

The Importance of Identity Access Management in Pandemic Times.pngCyber Security Insider’s 2020 Identity and Access Management Report found that 89% of organizations saw an increase in the importance of managing access. Only 56% are somewhat confident in the effectiveness of their IAM program. The Report continues that ease of integration is critical, beyond end-user experience and performance.

Historically, identity management has been driven by identity provisioning and governance, meaning giving only the required access identities need, nothing more, nothing less. COVID-19 has increased the importance of identity management, with software companies responding by expanding their offerings. With most organizations now working in a hybrid environment of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud, identity and access management are even more important.  

A recent Gartner survey found that 82% of responders (HR, legal and compliance, and finance and real estate leaders) would continue to allow remote work part of the time, while employees still grapple with COVID-19. Nearly half (47%) said they would allow employees to work from home full time moving forward. Additionally, almost half were granting flex days and flex hours. The Cyber Security Insider’s report cites Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of Advisory at Gartner’s HR Practice, stating, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

Shifting to a remote workforce

As company’s shift to all remote workforces and/or a hybrid model, IAM will have to shift with it providing a synchronized 360 view of a user’s access rights, preferences, and usage. As a recent Security Boulevard blog on IAM Capabilities to Support Remote Work notes, leveraging Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to automate approval processes and access provisioning will free up IT departments to focus on high priority items like fraudulent access rights. Intelligently adapting will be critical as organizations look towards the future and attempt to plan for the unknown.

Tools like Micro Focus’s NetIQ Risk Service v2 have changed the IAM landscape, making company’s more cyber resilient with their seamless plug and play integration with MicroFocus Interset, now renamed ArcSight Intelligence. This new integration identifies risky behavior typical to accessing protected information, offers prebuilt connectors that drive baseline metrics, and provides a self-maintaining score to the risk service, allowing users to set key metrics once. ArcSight Intelligence does the rest, providing automatic updates. The recent webinar “Adding Intelligence to Adaptive Access”, featuring Andras Cser a principal analyst from Forrester, and Gireesh Kumar, a senior product manager from Micro Focus’s NetIQ Identity and Access Management team, explains how to leverage behavior analytics (like ArcSight Intelligence) to adapt access to protected resources. Becoming cyber resilient is even more important during these chaotic times.

As organization’s stare down an uncertain future, it will be interesting to see how IAM will advance to meet future needs. Perhaps even more automation using Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and behavior analytics. Where do you think the future of IAM is headed? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog. Comment below.


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