Unified Identity – find the meaning behind the hype!

February 08, 2024The Hacker NewsUnified Identity / Cyber ​​​​​​Security

Unified Identity

If you’ve been listening to software vendors in the identity space lately, you’ve noticed that “integrated” has quickly become a buzzword everyone’s adopting to describe their portfolio. And it’s good! Joint birth has some amazing benefits!

However (there’s always a though, isn’t there?) not all “unified” “identity” “security” “platforms” are created equal. Some vendors call the combination of workforce IDaaS and customer IDaaS a unified identity solution, while others offer a glorified 2FA service – unified only in the minds of their vendors.

Your view is important!

So forget for a moment what the vendors claim, and think back YOUR organization and YOUR identity security view. Consider this new definition: “integrated” is having the ability to consolidate your identity challenges into a complete identity solution.

Here is an example: you are responsible for the identification infrastructure of a large hospital. Frontline workers, administrative employees, audit/compliance requirements and many external users. You are using Active Directory, and your LOB application does not create an identity. For this hospital, unified identity means strong access management for customers and frontline workers, strong opt-out management, AD hardening and reporting business level. Anything less would fail the joint promise and mean that their internal landscape of identity remains fractured.

Another example: a small software dev studio. They need stronger Privileged Access Management (PAM) controls to protect the development pipeline and ensure they don’t become the first attack vector in a supply chain attack. But they also need Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) for the machine entities and their owners, who work on the many automated tasks they run. A solution that consists of PAM and IGA independently from each other is not compatible.

What is the value of unified identity?

so why”joint identity ” has become a hot buzzword? Well, there are some good arguments for it. Traditionally, the identity space has been very fragmented, with many experts not even considering it a singular market until More recently, Identity Governance and Administration (IGA), Access Management (AM), and Privileged Access Management (PAM) are key sub-markets, with many broad adjacent spaces such as AD bridging. and endpoint privilege management.

The key driver for unified identity is this extreme fragmentation: a large organization has an average of 45 different security tools. Add to this identity sprawl, a trend where organizations continue to take more identity silos in-house – A survey by One Identity shows that half of organizations use more than 25 different systems to manage access rights. It’s simply not sustainable, and adding a new tool every time a new threat approaches is completely unfeasible. So organizations are looking to consolidate vendors, reduce complexity and reduce the number of suppliers they work with. The benefits of a The Unified Identity Platform is a better cybersecurity posture and greater stability in the face of security threats, while increasing simplicity and enabling agility.

Another factor is high line costs: bundles, volume discounts and ELAs are a simple way to reduce costs. Vendor consolidation also brings some less obvious savings: a tech stack helps the skills gapeasing the burden of hiring and training, which in turn means significant savings in headcount and can reduce the need for highly trained senior staff, creating more value from security with fewer resources or put another way, work smarter not harder.

Integration is an important aspect of the identity scene – and one of the biggest headaches. Security tools should work together seamlessly, but rarely do. The industry does not want common standards, which makes interoperability difficult to achieve. With some effort (meaning customization, support hours and overhead) identity solutions can work together, but creating a complete ecosystem of identity tools that work flawlessly together a remarkable achievement. It’s easy to see the value this brings to a unified identity platform. The tools are pre-tested, pre-validated to work together, usually without any customization required, and the components of the platform are supported as one of the vendor.

This brings us to the final benefit: faster time to value, an expression worthy of any MBA graduate. Identity and access management (IAM) projects are notorious for their long implementation, as specialists meticulously formalize business processes and implement them in code or configuration. In large organizations, this is an extremely complex task, as the IAM setup must mirror every aspect (and quirk) that the business has been built on – sometimes for decades. Implementations become so complex that they fail – the cost and time are too much for the patience of business leaders. In short: time to value IAM objects. And a unified identity solution removes the complexity of the multi-vendor approach, eliminating even one factor.

After these benefits, let’s talk about a downside: vendor lock-in. The combined identity looks great but betting the house on a dealer is a tall order. And what if you already have solutions in place that you’re happy with? It’s important to remember that not all unified identity vendors are the same; Some vendors offer modular identity platforms that allow you to keep what you want and combine what you need. This approach enables customers to start integration at any point (for example in PAM) without having to accept and implement all areas in one giant leap. When choosing vendors, look for this flexible approach.

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