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Pragmatic Futures for Identity and Access Management: Meeting Business Needs in the Nexus of Forces


Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner, shares his thoughts on future challenges and opportunities in the field of identity and access management (IAM):

Today is the start of our Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit, and one of the issues we are examining is the Nexus of Forces — social, mobile, cloud and information — which is bringing new challenges and opportunities for identity and access management (IAM). Chief information and security officers (CISOs) and IAM leaders must keep sight of the demands of day-to-day operations, governance, risk management and compliance, while extending their vision to include the Nexus and the delivery of meaningful, business-focused results.

The Nexus of Forces are already having a tactical impact on IAM. Businesses must manage identity in an increasingly hybrid world in which legacy on-premises IAM infrastructures are extended or replaced to support software as a service and mobile endpoints. Identities established on social media platforms are also being used for enterprise system access. Organisations that fail to get to grips with the challenges and opportunities of the Nexus risk falling behind.

Below we outline key actions for CISOs and IAM managers to prioritise in 2013, in light of trends in the IAM market.

Plan, Manage and Govern Your IAM Programme
Every programme needs solid foundations. Establishing a strategic vision for your IAM programme is crucial, and this means being able to articulate its overall business value. IAM managers also need to know how to communicate, how to make the right decisions about IAM initiatives, and how to place IAM in the context of enterprise architecture.

Take a Pragmatic Approach to IAM Technologies
It’s important to understand what’s going on in the world of IAM today. What are your peers doing? How can you best use the technology you have to achieve your desired results with a minimum of wasted effort and expense?

Get to Grips With the Nexus of Forces
The Nexus of Forces is already having a tactical impact on IAM, and a number of issues are on everyone’s mind. You need to separate fact from hype, and understand where and how IAM can support business objectives. You also need to exploit emerging trends and technologies, and assess how your strategic vision can reflect the Nexus of Forces.

Complement IAM With Security and Risk Management
IAM, security and risk management are related disciplines that overlap both in terms of business objectives and the technologies used. Both aspects must be considered to get the most out of your investment and to maintain a robust, multifaceted approach to IAM, infrastructure protection and risk management within your organisation. It’s therefore essential to understand how IAM and security and risk management tools and techniques complement each other.

According to Gartner Executive Programs’ CIO Agenda survey, IAM processes and technologies make significant contributions to the business strategies and technologies that are among CIOs’ higher priorities. Close alignment with CIOs’ defined priorities makes it easier for IAM leaders to justify budget and head count requests, particularly for new initiatives.

We are discussing these trends in more detail at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit 2013, taking place on today - 11-12 March in London. More information on the Summit is available at

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