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Hybrid IAM solutions are the way of the future, study states

By Catherine Knowles
Wed 31 Mar 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The vast majority of IT leaders will adopt or expand cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) initiatives in the next two years, and will face challenges along the way.

This is according to ForgeRock’s first definitive study on hybrid cloud adoption in enterprises.

Titled Identity and Access Management (IAM) for the Hybrid Enterprise, the study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of ForgeRock and Google Cloud.

It revealed that more than 80% of global IT decision-makers have already adopted, or plan to adopt or expand, cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) initiatives over the next two years.

It also found that the industry has significant opportunities to improve the IAM experience for the majority of hybrid cloud adopters.

Findings show that while cloud adoption overall is increasing, investment and interest in hybrid cloud using a combination of on-premises, public cloud, and SaaS is particularly high.

This suggests that IT leaders are realising that hybrid cloud is a new reality for organisations and can be the quickest way to optimise their IT without disrupting business-critical applications.

As ecosystems and cloud adoption expand, security professionals are increasingly aware of siloed data environments and the blind spots in their cloud and IAM strategies.

Approximately three-quarters of the respondents, or 72%, have a cloud-based IAM, but nearly 50% of them don’t have key security practices in place.

Further, almost all IT professionals at firms with IAM technologies face challenges meeting customer needs in a pure cloud environment, the study shows.

For example:

  • 66% of respondents say that process issues, such as flexibility and agility of IAM systems and the ability of those systems to support hybrid cloud worlds, is impeding their adoption.
  • 88% of respondents find technology issues, such as limited IAM functionality, lack of product scalability, and the inability to manage identity and access across current applications, is preventing their adoption of IAM in the cloud.
  • 48% say that lack of cloud IAM expertise, or lack of support from leadership for cloud-based IAM adoption, is preventing them from making progress.

The researchers also looked into hybrid IAM as a modern approach for the hybrid enterprise.

Two-thirds of respondents say that process obstacles such as the flexibility and agility of IAM systems, and the ability of IAM to move between different hybrid cloud worlds hold them back.

Adopting a hybrid IAM approach can bridge this gap, the researchers state. 

A hybrid IAM approach enables today's large enterprise to run, unify, and secure all digital identities in a hybrid IT environment.

Additionally, more than 70% of respondents expect to see improved customer, employee, and IT benefits from investments in hybrid IAM.

By leveraging a comprehensive hybrid IAM platform, organisations can enable seamless user access across multi-channel applications, whether they are running applications on premises, in the private cloud, or on one or more public clouds.

A hybrid IAM platform also solves the need for multiple point solutions while addressing key focal points for todays IT decision-maker.

As highlighted in the study, infrastructure modernisation, cloud strategy, and consolidation topped decision-makers lists.

As businesses continue to evolve, organisations with accelerated adoption of hybrid IAM will have an important competitive advantage, enabling enterprises to support existing business-critical applications on premises while also transforming and adopting cloud.

ForgeRock chief product officer Peter Barker says, “As this first-of-its-kind research shows, while IT leaders are faced with unique criteria and conditions that shape their IT strategy, hybrid IAM has emerged as a necessity in helping them deliver simple and secure employee and customer experiences."

Google Cloud vice president, global head of solutions engineering, Hamidou Dia says, “The future isn’t just cloud, it’s hybrid cloud.

"This approach gives companies the ability to reimagine their business and modernise faster, and IAM needs to be at the centre to ensure the future is both frictionless and secure.”

To conduct the study, Forrester Consulting surveyed more than 300 IT executives globally on the state of cloud adoption.

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