IAM Challenges and Solutions for Modern Workplaces
The shift to hybrid work and increasing use of cloud technologies comes with the fact that the concept of well-defined network perimeters is becoming hazier by the day, hence why Identity and Access Management (IAM) is more important than ever in the modern business environment. Always remember the best practices for your organisation's IAM implementation to ensure its effectiveness and security.
But while virtually all organisations now understand the need for an Identity and Access Management solution, making sure that what they choose works for their needs is not as clear-cut for many. This lack of understanding poses a high risk of failure, whether due to IAM not being one of the main components of the business’s digital transformation strategy, neglecting to take a holistic approach to access management, or some other reason.
Below, we explore some of the more common challenges of implementing IAM in the modern workplace and the solutions to consider.
Decentralised Workforce and Identity Sprawl
The increasing reliance on cloud technologies has led to many user accounts being hosted in various locations, such as independent cloud applications, on-premises servers, partner systems, etc. The widespread adoption of hybrid and remote working also means more and more employees need access to corporate resources from outside the office, and managing such remote access and accounts independently for all applications and connections can be highly cost-prohibitive and difficult. In other words, the lack of a clear IAM system means credential sprawl and configuration drift will become unmanageable for businesses in no time.
Zero Trust policy helps organisations tackle the challenges of decentralised workforce and identity sprawl by shifting the focus from network-based trust to identity-based trust and implementing security measures that ensure continuous verification, least privilege access, and robust monitoring, even in a distributed and decentralised work environment.
Completing this user management puzzle requires implementing Identity Governance and Lifecycle solutions to provide and revoke user access depending on their position and other associated roles. In addition, such IGA solutions in Singapore could also provide access certification and audit functionality.
Lack of a Proper Perspective
Organisations need to understand that improving their security should not always be treated as a traditional project. This is more important with IAM implementation, which is better considered as an ongoing program that starts as an umbrella project with multiple phases consisting of a series of projects that can run for two years or more. Neglecting to view it as such is one of the biggest causes why an IAM implementation can fail.
The first step to prevent this is assigning someone to handle IAM throughout its life cycle. The individual in charge must be capable of facilitating effective communication between the stakeholders and the team and stakeholders and managing strategic and operational considerations over time. The next step involves setting expectations with the other stakeholders and the management team, as everyone must understand three things:
● The estimated amount of work involved
● The potential need to adjust approaches down the line, and
● The necessary ongoing monitoring and auditing to achieve success.
Remember that, as with many other complex solutions, IAM is neither perfect nor will it stay acceptable without the help of regular intervention. Lastly, setting expectations is far from being a one-time event. Program managers also need to constantly reinforce support for the IAM solution as it gradually becomes a reality lest stakeholders lose interest and pull out resources.
Insufficient End-User Guidance
Without proper guidance, users often view new solutions as hard to use, which leads to resistance to accepting them. This poses a significant difficulty when implementing new authentication procedures, as some authentication solutions leverage token or biometric sensors. If these do not adequately match user needs, they can bottleneck the production and result in a lack of management and user acceptance.
What makes an authentication process ideal is transparency to its users. However, this is not always possible. As a result, stakeholders must evaluate their corporate resources and the authentication needs and acceptable level of intrusion into user activities for each based on associated risks. This assessment must include affected users to help pinpoint day-to-day issues and understand the need for transparency.
An IAM implementation is an ongoing endeavour that requires the full involvement of an organisation’s various stakeholders. It is an effort that impacts every facet of the business and must be implemented and configured according to prioritised risk assessments. Most importantly, understanding the associated challenges and pitfalls and finding a solution to them is part and parcel of a successful rollout of an IAM solution and ensuring continued value throughout its life cycle.