Context-Aware Security: All the Access Management Efficiency Users Crave and All the Security IT Demands

Striking the Delicate Balance: Ideal Security and Maximum User Productivity

There are some battles that we can never seem to win: The Sharks vs. The Jets; The Yankees vs. The Red Socks; Batman vs. The Joker; and Coke vs. Pepsi. There is no right or wrong. Each side feels entirely justified in its disdain for the other. And compromise is not an option. In our world, the world of business-enabling technology, the eternal struggle is between security and productivity. On the one hand, the world is a dangerous place. You have some very valuable stuff that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. And making sure everything is safe (security) is just the right thing to do.

On the other hand, these technologies exist for the sole purpose of enabling people to do their jobs better. These people doing their jobs better means increased profitability or an enhanced ability to fulfill your organizational objectives. And people just want to get the job done. They don’t appreciate anything that impedes their ability to do that. In fact they will often find ways to work-around security that “gets in the way”.

This dichotomy was reconfirmed in a survey we recently completed of end users and IT professionals. In the survey we asked both camps how they perceive the battle between context aware security and user productivity. The results bolstered some long-held opinions, but also revealed some significant opportunities to finally put this argument to rest:

  • The vast majority of both IT professionals and end users felt that their employers put security as a much higher priority than employee convenience
  • A significant portion of both IT professionals and end users admit that, when given the opportunity, users will find work-arounds to avoid security that is deemed too detrimental to productivity
  • The emergence of mobility, cloud, and BYOx are only adding fuel to the fire
  • There is a compelling need for security that goes beyond traditional, rigid approaches and instead takes into account the “context” of the access request and implements the appropriate level of security based on that risk analysis

In a nutshell, security wins, end users have to “just deal with it”, they don’t like that so they figure out ways around the security measures, and both parties would like a way to satisfy both security demands and productivity needs…but, in general, neither knows how to do it.

There’s a lot more in the survey that supports the argument and paves a path to a solution. To provide this more in-depth view at the issues the survey revealed, we’ve created a webcast called Solving the Security/Efficiency Stalemate where Jackson Shaw, Senior Director of Product Management for the One Identity family of IAM solutions talks about where these challenges are most prominent and offers actionable advice to help you implement a solution. In addition, Dimensional Research will dive deeper into the survey results and what we learn from the responses.

To find out how your opinions and practices stack up to the rest of the industry take a look at the more detailed survey results here. You actually can strike the perfect balance.

About the Author
Todd Peterson
Todd Peterson manages product marketing for the One Identity family of identity and access management (IAM) solutions. With more than 20 years of experience in security software, Todd has deep expertise...