The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) use continues to climb, with new offerings and capabilities making cloud the centrepiece of digital experiences and business operations. Gartner predicts that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will increase by 21% to reach a total of US$600 billion this year alone, with a significant driver as SaaS-based applications. In fact, by 2025, 85% of apps used by organisations are expected to be SaaS-based, as per BetterCloud’s 2020 State of SaaSOps survey.
While this spells greater agility for businesses, the increasing complexity of distributed networks and dependency on third party tools and SaaS services is making the road to cloud success a bumpy and unpredictable ride, with these trends creating a wider attack surface, resulting in 90% of organisations having experienced an identity-related breach, according to Identity Defined Security Alliance’s whitepaper titled 2023 Trends In Securing Digital Identities.
The responsibility falls upon IT and security teams to manage, integrate, and secure SaaS environments that may include hundreds of apps for thousands of users across the organisation. However, IT and security teams struggle to keep up with access control and governance. A primary challenge for organisations is the absence of complete visibility and insights into their access data. Additionally, a predominantly manual, human-based strategy can result in over-provisioning access, causing non-compliance and unnecessary exposure to security risks.
The challenges of legacy identity management in the digital future
Inertia can be the greatest challenge in identity security. In the past, IT teams may have opted for an identity management solution before the growth of digital transformation and have held onto legacy systems. This can be attributed to familiarity with the existing solution, or the mindset of avoiding additional expense on modern solutions until a data breach occurs.
However, this is not sustainable as legacy identity systems were not designed to manage the security pressures of today, and the increasing volume of new identity types in various IT environments. Often, legacy identity solutions are not able to provide a comprehensive view of user access across all business applications, and this challenge is further exacerbated when information is spread across both on-premises and cloud-based environments, making it difficult to maintain compliance. More than that, operational efficiency can also be impaired, as legacy solutions can struggle with managing a high volume of access privileges spread across applications and environments, leading to potentially granting inappropriate access privileges to users.
However, this is not sustainable as legacy identity systems were not designed to manage the security pressures of today, and the increasing volume of new identity types in various IT environments. Often, legacy identity solutions cannot provide a comprehensive view of user access across all business applications. This challenge is further exacerbated when information is spread across both on-premises and cloud-based environments, making it difficult to maintain compliance. Moreover, operational efficiency can be impaired, as legacy solutions can struggle with managing a high volume of access privileges spread across applications and environments, potentially granting inappropriate access privileges to users.
As digital transformation initiatives push towards the expansion of cloud computing, legacy identity solutions will find it challenging to evolve and adapt to the complexities of the hybrid environment. With the rise of digital transformation and cloud adoption, the changing workforce, and an ongoing wave of compliance requirements, the number of users, points of access, applications, and data sets has increased dramatically. Businesses today need identity security solutions that are built to encompass both cloud and on-premises environments, to ensure that their entire IT ecosystem stays secure even as they scale digital operations.
Why AI-driven identity security matters
Better yet, with AI-driven identity solutions, businesses will stand to gain the trifecta of speed, automation, and flexibility. Given the exponential rate at which enterprise identities are growing, leveraging autonomous identity security is now business-essential for ensuring reliability, security, and compliance. It enables organisations to anticipate user access needs, adapt and automate security policies, spot risky user behaviours, and control access to all key areas of the organisation.
Organisations can look towards an AI-driven identity security solution to provide a comprehensive and integrated view of user access. This improves access visibility, accelerates the discovery of problematic access patterns, supports audit accuracy, and enables compliance activity, ensuring a strong security posture against potential threats and risks. High-risk access areas can be identified, with AI spotting trends that eliminate manual efforts in analysing user access and providing automation to align access with business needs. Beyond trends, an autonomous identity security solution can identify outliers and determine whether access should be approved or removed, offering detailed analysis to support automated decisions. Additionally, low-risk access approvals can be accelerated.
Moreover, an intelligent, automated, and integrated identity security solution can aid in compliance with regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System. Such systems aim to achieve this by managing access controls, data privacy policies, and consent. Local data centres are also available to meet data residency and privacy requirements, offering intelligent and flexible solutions for highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services. This allows these industries to balance cloud-enabled digital transformation with safeguarding digital operations.
In conclusion, the adoption of autonomous identity security solutions has become increasingly important for organisations to stay ahead of emerging security and compliance risks. An AI-driven identity security approach can help organisations achieve a scalable, efficient, and effective method for managing identities and access, thereby enhancing their security posture in today’s digital world.