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SailPoint Predictive Identity: Q&A with Principal Data Scientist Mo Badawy

This year, SailPoint unveiled its vision for the future of identity—SailPoint Predictive Identity, a game-changer for identity. SailPoint Predictive Identity will help enterprises stay secure by giving them the power of AI and machine learning—while keeping them in the driver’s seat at all times. SailPoint sat down with one of the innovators behind SailPoint Predictive Identity to learn a little bit about how this new technology came about and what customers can expect with its launch.

SailPoint: Can you walk us through what inspired SailPoint Predictive Identity?

Mo: It was out of necessity and really tuning into what our customers were telling us. I was hearing from product teams, from customers, and the market as a whole on what kind of support they need and are anticipating as the identity market continues to grow—they need more tools to help with role mining and recommendations. To put it plainly, they need more tools to help them with making identity decisions – more quickly, more automated, more predictive. That’s where the patent we just secured come in—we’ve developed technology that leverages AI and machine learning and applied it to identity. This can really make a dent in meeting their needs.

SailPoint: How does SailPoint Predictive Identity make a dent in identity?

Mo: The patent, which was recently granted, lays the framework and puts a flag in the ground. It gives us the data structure that we can work with—that spans all companies of any size or industry. We are seeing three major problems when it comes to security as we know it now: peer groups, role mining & access modeling, and automation of certification campaigns. And each use case would utilize a different data structure that would be very costly to keep up. This patent technology gives us common ground. The algorithm in the patent serves several applications and use cases—not just one. This makes it easier to scale, easier to introduce new use cases (inevitable in these times of digital transformation), and easier to productize.

SailPoint: What can our customers expect from this patent? 

Mo: In my humble opinion, the first approach to machine learning should start with scaling. With our patent, we have established an algorithm that utilizes machine learning to help scale the grunt work and tasks that require a ton of man-hours. It automates the mundane stuff—like managing access and role mining. For example, I spoke with a customer recently and they relayed to me that they have 20 employees sitting in a room with excel sheets and other internal tools to do role mining. Because they are not utilizing machine learning or AI, they have to do it all over again next month. If they try this approach, leveraging SailPoint Predictive Identity, this is going to become history for them. This will save them time and allows those employees to focus on tasks that require complex human judgment, not just granting access. This will have human implications on the way our customers will do work—they don’t have to labor too much over tasks like role mining or certification campaigns. Ultimately, they will become more confident that they are doing the right thing, utilizing their precious resource (time), helping their company become more secure and productive as a result.

SailPoint: This is the future, but we have to ask, what’s next?

Mo: SailPoint is known for its constant innovation and there are so many visionaries on our teams—our Chief Product Officer Paul Trulove is one of them—so, that’s not a bad question here because we are constantly evolving, and constantly driving this industry forward. AI and machine learning are here to stay. The use cases we encounter with our customers require a lot of judgment and decisions to be made, some of them easy and some complex. That’s in the nature of security—daily judgments to make sure the actions employees take are for the best of the company and ultimately to maintain the balance between security & productivity in the enterprise. Because of this, it’s not something you can automate easily with a hard-coded script because the rules keep changing all the time, apps, resources, and roles also keep growing & changing. To keep the pace, we are working on new innovations in the area of AI and machine learning, including AI and machine learning driven access risk profiling, NLP-based role descriptions, ML-based account correlation for faster implementations, and outlier detection around access usage. We are always looking at next year and what’s beyond. That’s the nature of identity and security—constant change, but we are ready for the challenge and to create more innovations along the way.

Over the next few weeks, SailPoint’s Paul Trulove will act as the tour guide for the new identity future by publishing blogs on specific use cases that SailPoint Predictive Identity will enable. Stay up to date here