The cloud continues to transform the way we conduct business as more organizations are becoming cloud enterprises. Mission-critical software, including identity governance solutions, is moving to the cloud. Identity enables organizations to adopt new technologies with full visibility and control over who has access to what sensitive information, and the power of identity allows today’s cloud organizations to move forward confidently and securely.

Cloud-based identity governance offers security, compliance and automation delivered as a service. Now, for the first time, organizations can get a native, comprehensive, enterprise-grade identity governance suite delivered as a service (SaaS). And importantly, it is designed to address both cloud and on-premises IT environments – a key for hybrid enterprises.

Cloud Changes the Way We Work

SaaS adoption has increased steadily over the last 5 to 10 years as SaaS has evolved from a convenience to a necessary technology used for critical business applications across many industries. While it may be a long time before every enterprise makes the jump, Gartner predicts 90% of organizations will have a hybrid IT environment by 2020, with even on-premises stalwarts moving to the cloud. Currently, it’s common for companies to have hundreds of SaaS applications. Because cloud applications are often easy to obtain, almost anyone can buy or download software, and this can cause issues with shadow IT, where employees are procuring applications without IT oversight or approval.

IDC estimates businesses will spend $141 billion on cloud services by 2019.

With increased interconnectivity and advanced technology, we have also created a world where it’s no longer necessary for employees to be in the same physical space – or on the same type of hardware – to collaborate. Many enterprises now have a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy and allow employees to use their personal laptops, smartphones and tablets for work, reinforcing the need for business applications to be accessible anywhere, anytime and from any device. Moreover, in addition to employees, business users may now also include contractors, partners, suppliers, board members and customers around the world who access applications and data from a variety of devices.

These changes can cause a lack of visibility. Many enterprises have no clear view of who within an organization is employing technologies like shadow IT to access sensitive corporate applications, files and systems. According to SailPoint’s 2017 Market Pulse Survey, 72% of respondents were concerned about shadow IT and BYOD as organizational exposure points. The inability to see who has access to what across the organization creates a large security gap for enterprises today.

9 in 10 know at least some employees participate in shadow IT.

Our Cyber Environment Has Evolved

The move to the cloud is inevitable, but it comes with risk, especially since the threat landscape has fundamentally changed. Security remains a constantly moving target with compliance demands contining to grow, which stretch IT resources beyond their ability. Without the proper support, the benefits of the cloud can be negated by leaving organizations exposed to security breaches and compliance issues.

Unfortunately, data breaches are the cost of doing business today. No company is safe from attacks. In SailPoint’s 2017 Market Pulse Survey, two-thirds of respondents admit their organization has fallen victim to an IT security breach in the last 12 months and reported an average loss of $4.1 million. Data breaches also cost businesses downtime, reputational damage and loss of business. It’s not a question of if you’ll be breached, but when – and how badly it will impact your business.

The problem with this is IT decision-makers are ill-equipped to counter that vulnerability. There’s a large security gap for many enterprises between innovation and moving forward and keeping the organization secure. How do you open your perimeter, enable your users and empower your business – securely and confidently – with all the constraints and risks and penalties looming? The answer is that you need to be more than cloud-first. You have to be identity-first.

Identity Powers the Cloud

Many enterprises are starting to view identity as the center of their IT and security programs. Identity solutions govern who has access to applications, systems and data – regardless of where they’re deployed – and empower users to work wherever they are and on whatever device they want to use.

Successful management of SaaS applications and a secure migration to a cloud enterprise require identity governance. Identity powers the cloud by enabling organizations to securely adopt cloud technologies while providing full visibility to identities across the hybrid IT infrastructure. You can see all access to information across your cloud and on-premises applications, while minimizing the risks associated with user access. The benefits of cloud, combined with putting identity governance in the middle of your IT operations, give you power to make your enterprise automated, compliant and secure.

Why Chose the Cloud?

Enterprises choose cloud-based identity governance because it’s flexible, cost effective and faster to deploy. There is no infrastructure to manage, and the skill and manpower requirements are significantly less. Other benefits include simplified management, consumer-like usability and a much more business-friendly method for accessing data. For cloud-first companies, a SaaS identity model is a natural extension of their existing strategy. You can build off best practices, and address compliance mandates and industry regulations. Upgrades don’t involve months of planning and testing, and bug fixes are delivered on a daily or weekly basis for all customers.

Are You Ready for Identity Powered by the Cloud?

Effective identity governance requires an artful blend of people, processes and technology. But as enterprises rush towards the cloud, they don’t always stop to consider the importance of including these new cloud assets as part of their overall identity strategy. While there are several variables to consider, here are the two big questions to help determine if your organization is ready for cloud-based identity governance:

What business goals are you trying to achieve?

When it comes to your identity governance needs, you’re likely looking to increase security, compliance and/or business efficiency within a certain timeline for deployment. Begin answering this question by creating a solid business plan, defining a baseline and an objective, and including the metrics that will determine success and failure. What limitations currently exist? Do you have enough bandwidth to administer an identity governance program?

Next, gain the backing of your executive leadership and ensure your organization agrees with your plan. A program without executive support may get off the ground, but it probably won’t last and you will face multiple hurdles, such as funding challenges or internal pushback. Also, an innovative CIO or a flexible CISO is an important person to have on your side, but you’ll want the additional support of your compliance organization, security teams, IT and business users.

Finally, look at what resources will be involved. How will it impact users and current systems? How will you handle implementation and administration? Launching an identity governance program as an IT project will not lead to long-term success. You need to work across the entire organization.

Do you have a partner who can meet your requirements?

Before identity governance was more widely available as a cloud-based service, on-premises models were the only products to consider, so organizations looked at vendors and determined who had the best product to meet their needs. Today, there are more options to sort through. You can choose a traditional enterprise on-premises product, a full SaaS multi-tenant service, a managed service provider or a combined deployment. With the advent of SaaS identity governance products, you can select a deployment model that best fits your organization.

But in addition to the right product or service, you need to work with an innovative leader in identity governance and administration. Find a company who can deliver the important capabilities you require. Cutting-edge technical knowledge and the ability to execute success are the qualities you want in a trusted partner.

SailPoint Can Help

SailPoint has codified a decade of identity governance expertise and best practices into its SaaS identity platform, resulting in fast time-to-value while addressing today’s identity needs in a digestible, easy-to-manage manner. With this solution you can have both a secure and thriving organization with identity governance at the center of your security operations.

SailPoint’s cloud-based identity governance can empower your enterprise to do what you set out to do in the first place: focus on your business. Whether that means gaining a competitive advantage, chasing new opportunities for growth or providing a better experience for customers, identity governance enables your enterpise to be confident, fearless and unstoppable. Learn More

Find out how SailPoint can help your organization.

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