Identity and access controls key in recession

With the recession driving increasing internal fraud and threats from cybercrime, analyst firm Gartner has said identity and access management (IAM) technologies are key forms of IT protection.

But Ant Allan, Gartner Research vice president is also warning organisations against throwing away old tech - or investing in new methods - without a thorough understanding of the IAM processes they want to automate first.

"The mistake people make when looking at IAM is to jump into a technology project," he said. "Technology might be the answer, but you need to look at the needs of the organisation first before you look for suitable tools."

He told IT PRO that large enterprises often choose well-established IAM technology suites without first investigating whether components in their existing IT security infrastructures may do as good a job.

Research carried out by the analyst also found nearly 50 per cent of organisations were only now developing IAM processes and investigating tools, while more than 25 per cent were still defining processes and using only basic tools.

"IAM is different from the rest of the information security infrastructure because it is so closely aligned with the business processes it supports, like user provisioning, as well as joiner and leaver staff management," said Allan.

He agreed with the general consensus that IAM would, as a consequence of increased threats to information security during the global economic downturn, probably withstand IT spending cuts as part of efforts to bolster IT security.

But the analyst said many enterprises were also planning to change the length and/or scope of IAM projects in order to save on up-front capital spending.

Even though those internal or external IAM projects, using federated approaches for instance, could ultimately help save costs by providing single sign-on access and control.

"It's possible to still continue to develop IAM processes and structures without having to invest in new tools," Allan added.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.