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How identity security can be a business accelerator

In a previous blog, I talked about a couple of “forcing functions” that dramatically increased the relevance and criticality of identity security in securing the modern enterprise. The most obvious was the pandemic and in short succession, the significant acceleration in a trend that we saw percolating within the enterprise for the last handful of years: digital transformation.   

Now, digital acceleration is great for businesses worldwide. It allows for anywhere, anytime work. It creates new opportunities for business growth. It speeds up the pace of innovation within the modern enterprise. But – to do all of that effectively, efficiently, and most importantly, securely – you need an enterprise security foundation rooted in identity security.   

The problem is, not all identity security foundations are created equally. There are plenty of legacy approaches to identity security out there, as well as “lightweight” approaches to identity security. Legacy approaches are cumbersome and outdated, unable to match the realities of today’s cloud enterprise.  And those “lightweight” approaches lack the intelligence and full oversight needed to fully protect all identities and their access to technology resources. They merely connect identities with technology without the deep identity security controls needed to address critical questions like – how long does that identity require access to that specific technology resource? Should they have that access long-term or for a minimal amount of time to avoid overprovisioned, unnecessary access? And how will that access evolve over time for that particular identity and their role within the business? These are critically important questions to be able to answer for every identity. The bulk of identity-related breaches today stem from having access to technology or cloud resources that they shouldn’t have access to in the first place.   

Clearly, neither approach makes the cut when it comes to fully securing the modern enterprise as they make their way down their respective digital transformation journeys. The reason? Neither of these approaches takes into consideration the speed with which the business environment is evolving. Or the scale. The sheer volume of identities a typical enterprise has under management at any given moment is in the hundreds of thousands. Couple that with how many entitlements each identity has, how often those entitlements change as roles change, job duties change, environments change, and the complexity skyrockets very quickly. These dynamics demand a modern, forward approach to identity, one that is built on a foundation of AI and ML technologies. There’s simply no way to keep pace based on the human capacity of your IT and identity teams today.   

CISOs and CIOs today are best served by prioritizing this modern approach to identity security at the core of all that they do from an efficiency, security AND cyber risk mitigation perspective. You can’t pick and choose – a successful identity strategy must deliver all three. Those who recognize identity security as a way to securely enable the enterprise, are set up for successful business outcomes again and again. Instead of being seen as a program, not just a one-and-done project; or being used as a “tool” for doing the bare bones, opening up access to all identities and all technology resources, these CISOs and CIOs can use identity security as a force multiplier – securely solving their identity needs at scale while hedging potential risk to the business via the modern, AI-driven approach to securing and enabling their business.   

The benefit to taking this approach is enormous, the obvious benefit being an ironclad security posture that matches the pace of the business and remains grounded in AI-driven identity security. From a business and cost-savings standpoint, we consistently see organizations that take a modern approach as described receiving significant return-on-investment, an accelerated payback period of 1-2 years; and hundreds of thousands in savings on legacy spend reduction. These are numbers that matter to the C-level and to the board today. Showing the real, tangible business value of identity security done right is the quickest way for a CISO to become a rising star within his or her business.   

Modern identity security must be at the core of your business. As you assess your current environment, if you think it’s “good enough” — think again. Approach identity security through a combination of efficiency, security AND risk mitigation, and you’ll see enormous business impact. And, as the identity champion within your business, you’ll sleep better at night.