And the survey says: "Identity and Access Management is complex, but I'm OK with that”

Back when I didn’t have much of a life, I would rush home from junior high school so that I could get the TV on in time to watch Family Feud (the classic Richard Dawson version not the watered down Steve Harvey or Louie Anderson versions). I always loved it when the top answer would flip over, the bell would ding, and something like 80% of respondents all gave the same answer, and the contestants would struggle to find out what the other 20% said and inevitably get their three strikes and be out.

Well, here at the home of Dell One Identity, we’ve got our own version of Family Feud going. Only I’m not going to kiss each female, I don’t have wide lapels or a gaudy fat tie, and three strikes doesn’t get you a home version of our game and a year’s supply of Rice a Roni.

Recently we concluded a pretty through survey of companies with more than 1,000 employees asking all about their current approach, future plans, and challenges with identity and access management (IAM). The companies surveyed represented a good cross-section in terms of geography, industry, size, and approach to IAM. I’ll be blogging about the results over the next several weeks.

We asked the question:

“Do any of the following describe your organization’s opinion of IAM?” and offered several typical responses to choose from (and unlike the real Family Feud, respondents could select more than one answer).

So what did the survey say?

38% said IAM is expensive – I hear that all the time.

28% said IAM is hard – that one too.

13% felt that they have a mature approach to IAM with very little room for improvement (I’d like to meet these people, either they define IAM very narrowly or they are lying to themselves).

But perhaps the most telling answers were a tie for the most popular response:

51% agreed with the statement “IAM is complex” while 51% also agreed with the statement “we feel good about our approach to IAM but with a little work we can make it better”. So what gives? Is IAM complex or do you think IAM is OK, but like everything else has some room for improvement? To me this says that the majority of people agree that IAM is complex – after all, it’s an attempt to get your arms around the complexity of diverse systems and user populations. But the same percentage also feels good about their approach to IAM. I interpret this to mean that most people feel that IAM is necessary, it is complex, and that’s just the way it is…you better just accept the fact and do the best you can. That’s kind of sad … at least to the extent that something like IAM can elicit an emotion.

If you look at “traditional” approaches to IAM (the ones referred to by the 19% of respondents that agreed with the statement “You can only get IAM from a handful of platform vendors”), then yes IAM is complex and yes that’s just the way it is (by the way it’s also expensive and hard through these legacy solutions). But the new approach to IAM – the approach that we like to refer to as IAM for the real world – busts this myth pretty thoroughly.

With IAM for the real world, identity governance, access management, and privileged management can all be addressed with simple, modular and integrated solutions that deliver rapid time to value and actually reduce the time and money required to achieve demanding IAM objectives. IAM for the real world places the visibility and control in the hand of the right people (those that know why things need to happen a certain way not those that simply know how to perform administrative tasks on a particular system).

The Dell One Identity family of solutions has real-world answers to the concerns expressed in our survey.

  • IAM through Dell One Identity is less complex than “traditional” offerings, but without sacrificing any functionality, security, or control
  • Dell One Identity provides the “last mile” (whatever that last mile may be) to transform a satisfactory approach to IAM into an excellent solution.
  • Dell One Identity typically costs a fraction of the expense of IAM frameworks or disjointed collections of point tools
  • IAM through Dell is easier – imagine a matter of weeks to achieve enterprise provisioning compared to several years through a framework (If you like I can give you many, many examples)

Stay tuned for more results from the survey. But in the meantime, if you want to understand the right way to do IAM and decide where it’s right for you, I invite you to read the ebook series Identity and Access Management for the Real World.