Everyone has an identity and access management (IAM) project. Whether it’s something as simple as providing authorized access to a new cloud application or something as complex as implementing governance for an entire diverse enterprise with tens-of-thousands of users, hundreds of applications, and a heavy compliance burden, the objectives are the same (delivering access in a manner that preserves security and achieves compliance without disrupting operations). Unfortunately the vast majority of IAM projects under-deliver, end up being off-base once they are complete, worked well for the moment but don’t hold relevance or functionality for the unknown future, or fail outright.
We have seen it all (and helped solve it all). I’ve written a new e-book called Strategies to ensure success for your IAM project that details the common pitfalls faced by most IAM projects. In the book, I’ve identified four main symptoms that may be a good tip-off to a project headed down the wrong path.
- Inefficiency – if basic access management duties take too long, require too much IT involvement from too many different teams in IT, and are done too inconsistently, your IAM project may be off-track. Typically this comes as a result of a too-narrow focus on the “pain du jour” and an effort to quickly solve one problem without thought for other challenges that exist or may exist in the future.
- Audit exposure – one if the quickest – yet most ineffective – ways to discovers an IAM project gone wrong is to have your auditor tell you so. The fundamental aspects of compliance (access control and separation of duties) are so ingrained in IAM, that when any deficiency in those areas will quickly be exposed in an audit finding.
- Living on a prayer – the more you “hope” everything is OK the less likely it is that things are actually fine. If you aren’t sure things are going well, you’re probably right. An undeniable sign of an IAM failure is not knowing about a problem until it’s too late.
- Inflexibility -- if dealing with change is difficult (or impossible) and requires more new IAM solutions, more IT involvement, and more siloed approaches, your IAM project is not likely to succeed.
In short, a number of factors can get in the way of a successful IAM project:
- Maintaining manual processes
- Dealing with issues only as they come up and only in silos
- Relying too heavily on customization
- Choosing the wrong technology
- Inability for organization to adapt to change
- Improperly scoping the project
- Dumping everything on IT, including things that the business should be dealing with
- Keeping end users and line-of-business managers from performing access management tasks – in other words, a lack of self-service
- Letting complexity get out of control and attempting to solve the problem by adding even more complexity.
If any of these ring true to you, I recommend you read the e-book Strategies to ensure success for your IAM project it includes lots of true stories about real organizations that have faced the same challenges and many that have found a way to solve the problems.
And if today’s specific IAM challenge is identity governance, we have another e-book called Governance: The Elusive Last Mile of IAM , that provides details on the most common obstacles to identity governance and strategies to ensure your IAG project is successful
You know you have a project, and if you’re like almost everyone else, you have some of these symptoms, let us help.