Feet on the Street: KuppingerCole EIC: Beyond the 5 Tenets of IAM

I’m just back from Munich and the KuppingerCole European Identity & Cloud Conference (EIC-14) – my 7th year at the event. I always enjoy opportunities to meet with our local partners, customers and prospects, and EIC was an awesome place to discuss the future of IAM and the impact of cloud identity and security topics.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was at EIC to discuss what I believe are the “5 Critical Tenets of IAM.” The topic resonated with the attendees, and spawned many great conversations. While you could argue that there are more than five tenets (some say 10, some say 20), everyone agreed that regardless of new deployment models or new technologies, we must not forget what we’ve learned over the storied history of IAM.

SailPoint Kuppinger Cole EIC14

That discussion spurred several additional thought-provoking conversations throughout the week, and I wanted to highlight a couple of the topics that have remained top of mind with me:

  • IAM requires the right tools and the right organizational structure. A good IAM solution turns identity data into business information that people can understand and, ultimately, use to collaborate for improved security and operational efficient.   That said, we must keep in mind that organizational challenges will always exist with these programs. Having the right sponsorship, support and organizational structure is essential to their success.
  • Don’t confuse UI with UX. Business users demand that an IAM solution have a great user interface (UI), which means it is simple and easy to use. However, in order to move beyond the basic functions of IAM and truly bridge the gap between business and IT, an IAM solution must also focus on the broader user experience (UX). This means focusing on several areas: how it looks; how it flows with the users’ daily “real business” tasks; how it integrates with other security and operational infrastructure layers, and how identity is employed in the API layer. Fundamentally IAM, is about enabling people and processes, so today’s IAM solutions must seamlessly address every touch point for identity and streamline how its presented, integrated and interacted with.
  • The future is not set, but history should not repeat itself. Regardless of what we think we know about identity today, we can be assured it will change tomorrow. Whether you believe in the return of DEN (the Directory Enable Network) or the coming of identity singularity (when all identity will be user centric and user owned), change is inevitable – and usually good. But while what we now call IAM will continue to evolve, let’s not forget all that we’ve learned so far about good management, good governance and the importance of identity to our overall security and operational efficiency.

I’ll be exploring each of these topics in more detail in the coming months, and how they relate to the 5 Critical Tenets of IAM. In the meantime, I’d love hear your thoughts.