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: 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.
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.
Even as a cloud service, it needs a very secure way to get back into the enterprise and still manage the on-prem resources that aren’t going away anytime soon. n one hand we would talk to customers about managing things like Google Apps, Salesforce and Workday. In the same breath, they also talk about still needing to manage the mainframe and the on-premises enterprise ERP system that they have in place.
So, being able to span both of those environments to provide that secure connectivity from the cloud back into the enterprise apps was really a key design consideration for us as we brought this product to market.
Gardner: It sounds if it’s a hybrid model from the get-go. We hear about public cloud, private cloud, and then hybrid. It sounds as if hybrid is really a starting point and an end point for you right away.
Trulove: It’s hybrid only in that it’s designed to manage both cloud and on-prem applications. The service itself all runs in the cloud. All of the functionality, the data repositories, all of those things are 100 percent deployed as a service within the cloud. The hybrid nature of it is more around the application that it’s designed to manage.
Gardner: You support a hybrid environment, but I see, given what you’ve just said, that means that all the stock in trade and benefits as a service offering are there, no hardware or software, going from a CAPEX to OPEX model, and probably far lower cost over time were all built in.
Trulove: Exactly. The deployment model is very much that classic SaaS, a multitenant application where we basically run a single version of the service across all of the different customers that are utilizing it.
Obviously, we’ve put a lot of time, energy, and focus on data protection, so that everybody’s data is protected uniquely for their organization. But we get the benefits of that SaaS deployment model where we can push a single version of the application out for everybody to use when we add a new service or we add new capabilities to existing services. We take care of upright processes and really give the customers that are subscribing to the services the option of when and how they want to turn new things on.
The IdentityNow suite is made up of multiple individual services that can be deployed distinctly from one another, but all leverage a common back-end governance foundation and common data repository.
The first service is SSO and it very much empowers users to sign on to cloud, mobile, and web applications from a single application platform. It provides central visibility for end users into all the different application environments that they maybe interacting with on a daily basis, both from a launch-pad type of an environment, where I can go to a single dashboard and sign on to any application that I’m authorized to use.
Or I may be using back-end Integrated Windows Authentication, where as soon as I sign into my desktop at work in the morning, I’m automatically signed into all my applications as I used them during the day, and I don’t have to do anything else.
The second service is around password management. This is enabling that end-user self-service capability. When end users need to change their password or, more commonly, reset them because they’ve forgotten them over a long weekend, they don’t have to call the help desk.
They can go through a process of authenticating through challenge questions or other mechanisms and then gain access to reset that password and even use some strong authentication mechanisms like one-time password tokens that are going to be issued, allow the user to get in and then, change that password to something that they will use on an ongoing basis.
The third service is around access certifications, and this automates that process of allowing organizations to put in place controls through which managers or other users within the organization are reviewing who has access to what on a regular basis. It’s a very business-driven process today, where an application owner or business manager is going to go in, look at the series of accounts and entitlements that a user has, and fundamentally make a decision whether that access is correct at a point in time.
One of the key things that we’re providing as part of the access certification service is the ability to automatically revoke those application accounts that are no longer required. So there’s a direct tie into the provisioning capabilities of being able to say, Paul doesn’t need access to this particular active directory group or this particular capability within the ERP system. I’m going to revoke it. Then, the system will automatically connect to that application and terminate that account or disable that account, so the user no longer has access.
The final two services are around access request and provisioning and advanced policy and analytics. On the access request and provisioning side, this is all about streamlining, how users get access. It can be the automated birth-right provisioning of user accounts based on a new employee or contractor joining new organization, reconciling when a user moves to a new role, what they should or should not have, or terminating access on the back end when a user leaves the organization.
All of those capabilities are provided in an automated provisioning model. Then we have that self-service access request, where a user can come in on an ad-hoc basis and say, “I’m starting a new project on Monday and I need some access to support that. I’m going to go in, search for that access. I’m going to request it.” Then, it can go through a flexible approval model before it actually gets provisioned out into the infrastructure.
The final service around advanced policy and analytics is a set of deeper capabilities around identifying where risks lie within the organization, where people might have inappropriate access around a segregation of duty violation.
It’s putting an extra level of control in place, both of a detective nature, in terms of what the actual environment is and which accounts that may conflict that people already have. More importantly, it’s putting preventive controls in place, so that you can attach that to an access request or provisioning event and determine whether a policy violation exists before a provisioning action is actually taken.
Gardner: What are your customers finding now that they are gaining as a result of moving to IDaaS as well, as the opportunity for specific services within the suite? What do you get when you do this right?
Trulove: What most customers see, as they begin to deploy IDaaS is the ability to get value very quickly. Most of our customers are starting with a single service and they are using that as a launching pad into a broader deployment over time.
So you could take SSO as a distinct project. We have customers that are implementing that SSO capability to get rapid time to value that is very distinct and very visible to the business and the end users within their organization.
Once they have that deployed and up and running, they’re leveraging that to go back in and add something like password management or access certification or any combination thereof.
We’re not stipulating how a customer starts. We’re giving them a lot of flexibility to start with very small distinct projects, get the system up and running quickly, show demonstrable value to the business, and then continue to build out over time both the breadth of capabilities that they are using but also the depth of functionality within each capability.
Mobile is driving a significant increase in why customers are looking at IDaaS. The main reason is that mobile devices operate outside of the corporate network in most cases. If you’re on a smartphone and you are on a 3G, 4G, LTE type network, you have to have a very secure way to get back into those enterprise resources to perform particular operations or access certain kinds of data.
One of the benefits that an IDaaS service gives you is a point of presence in cloud that allows the mobile devices to have something that is very accessible from wherever they are. Then, there is a direct and very secure connection back into those on-prem enterprise resources as well as out to the other cloud applications that you are managing.
The reality in a lot of cases is that, as organizations add those BYOD type policies and the number of mobile devices that are trying to access corporate data increase significantly, providing an IAM infrastructure that is delivered from the cloud is a very convenient way to help bring a lot of those mobile devices under control across your compliance, governance, provisioning, and access request type activities.
The other big thing we’re seeing in addition to mobile devices is just the adoption of cloud applications. As organizations go out and acquire multiple cloud applications, having a point of presence to manage those in the cloud makes a big difference.
In fact, we’ve seen several deployment projects of something like Workday actually gated by needing to put in the identity infrastructure before the business was going to allow their end users to begin to use that service. So the combination of both mobile and cloud adoption are driving a renewed focus on IDaaS.
If you look at the road map that we have for the IdentityNow product, the first three services are available today, and that’s SSO, password management, and access certification. Those are the key services that we’re seeing businesses drive into the cloud as early adopters. Behind that, we’ll be deploying the access request and provisioning service and the advanced policy and analytic services in the first half of 2014.
Beyond that, what we’re really looking at is continued maturation of the individual services to address a lot of the emerging requirements that we’re seeing from customers, not only across the cloud and mobile application environments, but as importantly as they begin to deploy the cloud services and link back to their on-prem identity and access management infrastructure, as well as the applications that they are continuing to run and manage from the data center.
Gardner: So, more inclusive, and therefore more powerful, in terms of the agility, when you can consider all the different aspects of what falls under the umbrella of IAM.
Trulove: We’re also looking at new and innovative ways to reduce the deployment timeframes, by building a lot of capabilities that are defined out of the box. These are things like business processes, where there will be catalog of the best practices that we see a majority of customers implement. That has become a drop-down for an admin to go in and pick, as they are configuring the application.
We’ll be investing very heavily in areas like that, where we can take the learning as we deploy and build that back in as a set of best practices as a default to reduce the time required to set up the application and get it deployed in a particular environment.
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