IGA Modernization: Breaking Through The Status Quo

Yash Prakash

Yash Prakash

IGA Modernization: Breaking Through The Status Quo

Welcome to the second part of my blog series The Evolution of IGA where we will talk about the importance of IGA modernization and the competitive edge that it offers businesses even and especially through uncertain times.

The year 2020 has been the year of the crisis. Beginning with a global pandemic, leading to supply chain issues, historic levels of unemployment, and volatile civil unrest, this has been a turbulent year that has left indelible marks on our society and has altered the global business landscape. Yet these uncertain times provide catalysts for change.

Some companies will tend to draw inward, reducing investment, tightening their belts, pausing new business programs and shying from innovation in an effort to maintain the status quo. True business and technology leaders will rise to the challenge to leverage creativity and ingenuity for increased momentum by accelerating digital transformation strategies while rethinking their priorities.

Nature has proven that organisms that refuse to adapt to changes eventually perish. The same is true of businesses. In a world where uncertainty is more certain than ever, embracing digital transformation is a survival skill. It provides an edge in the increasingly crowded global market, but to realize the full benefits of digital transformation requires IGA modernization.

IGA Modernization requires a fundamental shift in mindset. It demands overhauling how your IGA process functions and altering your approach. You have to be willing to step away from a current mindset and intelligently leverage advances in contextual access risk information and extreme automation. Stepping away from Legacy IGA means managing the complexity of digital transformation and setting your company on the best path for success. In a time where many businesses are aggressively accelerating their cloud-first strategies, IGA modernization is crucial to navigating this new normal and securing a geographically expanded organizational ecosystem.

IGA Evolved

Modernizing IGA is more than simply replacing the existing solution and connecting to new data sources but is more about the ability to innovate. The technological landscape that was in place 10 years ago looks far removed from that of today. Cloud was at its infancy and the concept of getting rid of an on-premise data center and relying upon a 3rd party to run Identity Governance for your organization was laughable. Now the concept of making speculative investments in multiple large pieces of hardware for launching a new project is just as laughable. New innovations and technologies lead to new evolutions in technology that will help drive the re-imagining of our enterprise ecosystem.

As organizations migrate to the cloud, they need solutions as dynamic as the world around them. As their environment changes, they need real time updates that reflect changes such as new applications, user permissions, configurations, and new workloads. All of which creates insight as to how their access is used and can help drive decisions as to what requests are appropriate and which are not. This requires a modern IGA solution that has this in-depth visualization into their rapidly evolving ecosystem and the flexibility to integrate with new paradigms as they evolve.   

Agility = Adaptability

A modern IGA solution embraces the concept of agility on multiple levels of its implementation. First off, it needs to be designed to be modular and customizable rather than a one size fits all framework. This departure from a monolithic static design allows it to adapt to changes not only in technology but also in practices as they evolve and improve. Good designs are flexible, utilizing interchangeable parts that allow it to evolve with new technologies such as when a cloud provider releases a new type of product on the market.  Quickly evolving, and especially cloud-native solutions will more easily be able to interface with this new product allowing the IGA solution not fall behind new trends but instead utilize them at the speed of your business.   

Along this path of agility is adapting to the new concepts of identities. Prior IGA concepts revolved simply around identities belonging to humans, be they employees, vendors or contractors and all of the permission assignments that go along with these types of accounts. As we move towards more incorporation of cloud and automation, the concept of machine based identities such as service accounts, robotic process automation (RPA) or internet of things (IoT) devices, just to name a few. This requires a radical paradigm shift in the fundamental definition of an identity and the agility of a platform to adapt to this expanded definition.  

Optimization: The Power to Overcome Obstacles

A factor of IGA transformation is fundamental transformation of the business processes to become more agile and efficient. Legacy solutions often require inefficient procedures that are fraught with redundant and manual processes that not only increase the overhead of managing an IGA solution but can introduce additional risks. With manual processes it is far easier to create SoD conflicts by simply overlooking combinations of permissions that generate a net toxic permission set. 

Automation

Adapting our IGA solutions to meet the needs of current technology requires an embracing of automation and a minimization of manual processes. This move not only makes our IGA solutions faster and more efficient but we are driving more business value for the organization. As an example, time wasted researching permissions and searching for potential toxic combinations is time better spent on other revenue driving business processes. This is where the visibility into all of the assets into the ecosystem shows its true value. By being able to see across the ecosystem, a holistic view of identities and their permissions can be created allowing new access requests to effectively be graded for risk as the full landscape is understood. This gives us the flexibility to set our risk tolerance for granting requests, allowing for automating acceptance for those that are within our tolerance and that do not violate  our defined rules. 

There is still some need for manual approval, in the cases of requests that are higher risk or that generate potentially toxic permission combinations, but by automating the lower risk requests, we decrease the workload on our approvers. This limits the number of exceptions that have to be approved and by eliminating the low risk and repetitive requests, approvers do not fall victim to rubber stamping all requests just to dump the queue.  

Flexibility & Scalability reduce TCO

Legacy IGA solutions are saddled with a number of operational costs just to start the process of running IGA for your organization. First off is the cost of purchasing the hardware that will run the new infrastructure. This hardware needs to be purchased ahead of time to be robust enough to accommodate not only the current load but the expected growth down the road. Then if unexpected growth occurs, additional cost will need to be fronted to buy more hardware or worse, if the initial expected growth never occurs, the unused hardware sits idle as wasted expenditure. Even if best case and everything grows and scales as expected, there is still additional operational overhead to staff individuals to manage the hardware, operating systems and networking components required to run this legacy IGA operation. 

A modern IGA solution requires a cloud-native approach from the start to fully embrace all of the cost savings and flexibility that comes with the cloud environment. This allows for right fit spending on infrastructure vs large capital expenditures from the start. By embracing this cloud-first paradigm, your IGA solution can grow and scale as the business requires, adjusting instances and sizes to create a customized fit for the organization at any given point in time. This scalability concept creates a lower ongoing expense that is far more digestible than gambling on guessing hardware needs years in the future. 

The cloud paradigm throws out the trap of the upgrade cycle. The standard data center paradigm is a constant loop of replacing old systems as well as having a reserve of backup hardware to swap out when old systems fail. By embracing the cloud, the hardware is always up to date. Redundancy can be created right in the environment, allowing for failover across geographical zones and regions. 

IGA Modernization: Evolve, Adapt, Overcome

IGA Modernization is crucial to ensuring the security of your business. Improving IGA is a process of not just modernizing your existing tool but of revolutionizing the entire way in which you approach identity, security and compliance. Transitioning to risk-aware and as-a-Service platform reduces not just your security costs but operational costs in general. Whether you are on-prem, in the cloud, or a hybrid organization, the Saviynt platform is designed to drive changes for optimization and efficiency throughout your IT ecosystem.  

Join me for the next blog in this ongoing series where we will discuss the pros and cons of Lightweight IGA and its impact on your business.