Five predictions for IdaaS and Identity Management in 2015

Okta Australia Vice President Graham Pearson

Five years ago we knew changes in technology and the ways in which we do business would present enormous challenges for how IT manages identity, what we didn’t know, was just how fast these changes would take place. By 2015 Gartner forecasts Identity as a Service (IDaaS) will make up 25 per cent of the Identity and Access Management (IAM) market, up from just four per cent in 2011.

It is now clear that today’s CIO understands that enterprise identity is a critical layer in the IT stack, and the foundation upon which the next generation of IT is already being built.

So what will drive the next five years of IDaaS growth?

1. Business investment in the cloud will grow

Despite its growth, cloud computing is still very much in its infancy. Although the idea of the cloud has been around for some time now, on-premise and hybrid IT models still dominate the IT landscape.

But that is all set to change dramatically. Gartner predicts that by 2016 cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend. At the same time, mindsets of technology leaders towards their role in this new cloud era are also changing. An IBM study found that 60 per cent of CIOs will focus on improving the customer experience and getting closer to customers, and by 2018 they expect cloud architecture to play a critical role in enabling their organisation’s strategic vision. 

Developers in general are creating more intuitive, user-centric apps with the end-user experience at the core of the product development process. In many cases, the enterprise is struggling to keep up with demand for these tools, with employees frequently using cloud-based applications that have not been formally sanctioned by IT.


2. Security will remain a key concern

For many companies, concerns around security represent a barrier to cloud adoption. The idea of managing sensitive customer data offsite is uncomfortable for some. In a 2014 survey of IT professionals, Liberman Software found 74.55% of respondents felt that the cloud applications their users download cause security headaches.

But since IDaaS providers focus on security more than any IT department ever could, they are able to make applications that are both highly secure and highly user-friendly.

As enterprises grow their cloud presence and look for secure IAM solutions, they will increasingly choose to partner with IDaaS providers, who are positioned to add value to enterprise security in three distinctive ways.

  • With SSO, employees no longer have to use sticky-notes or excel sheets to remember countless weak passwords.
  • Automated, real-time de-provisioning means that IT does not have to manually remove each application account every time an employee leaves the company, thereby mitigating security risks.
  • Multifactor Authentication (MFA) solutions enable users to work securely from anywhere on any device.

The challenge for IDaaS providers in the coming years will be to communicate this security message to prospective customers and give them confidence in their move to the cloud.

Business will be conducted via mobile devices

More and more business will be conducted via mobile devices in the coming decade. Global mobile data traffic is expected to grow thirteen-fold from 2012 to reach 134 exabytes in 2017, according to a Cisco study, and this growth will be driven by five key trends:

  • The Mobile Cloud. The convergence of mobile and cloud has created an efficient infrastructure in which the cloud performs the heavy lifting of computing-intensive tasks while also storing massive amounts of data.
  • More Devices. 2.5 billion people (35% of the world’s population) are forecast to own at least one smart phone by 2015.
  • New Web Technologies. HTML5, CSS3 hypervisor for mobile devices, cloudlets and Web 4.0 are all driving adoption of mobile computing.
  • Improved Mobile Bandwidth. Mobile bandwidth is increasing exponentially as 3G, 4G and superfast broadband networks are expanding throughout much of the world and enhancing connectivity of mobile devices.
  • User Demand. Users have come to expect to be able to access a company’s website or applications from anywhere, at any time. Businesses have responded by creating mobile versions of their services that enable this ‘always-on’ access.

As mobile emerges as a computing platform in its own right, it presents us with an opportunity to fundamentally change how and where we get our work done.

As the move to the mobile cloud progresses, more businesses will turn to IDaaS products to secure their environment in order to offer employees the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere.  We all know that typing passwords into smartphones is hard, while remembering lots of unrelated usernames and passwords can be even harder. IDaaS providers like Okta, allow users to register their native or web-based apps once and then gain secure mobile access using multifactor authentication methods.

Read more: Small, unsophisticated developers perpetuating IoT security lapses: IBM

As businesses come to understand how IDaaS can enable employees to work from anywhere, more will migrate to cloud-based identity solutions.

4. IDaaS will be the identity layer for web and SaaS applications

As cloud and mobile computing adoption continues to grow, an ideal platform will emerge that will enable companies and individuals to develop more and more cloud-based products and applications.

Every application needs robust identity and access management, but even the most seasoned CIO knows that implementing a modern identity and access framework that provides security and integration across systems can be an enormous challenge.

In a world migrating to the cloud, IDaaS providers are best positioned to address this challenge for developers of all kinds. Though traditionally associated with providing employee Single Sign-on to apps, developers will increasingly turn to IDaaS providers to address identity challenges for three other ‘external’ stakeholder groups, namely: partners, customers and app developers.

5. Big Data will drive insights and enhance security

Read more: Business Applications as a Service (BAaaS)

In recent years, organisations of all types have been developing capabilities to capture and house large, complex and varied sets of information about customers, employees and partners. A 2014 IDG survey found that 70% of respondents (enterprise organisations) have either deployed or are planning to deploy big data-related projects and programs. As such, identity-related challenges and opportunities are set to take center stage.

Big Data Security

As the volume of data made available grows exponentially, so too do the business risks associated with its management. Opportunities for fraud, cybertheft and compliance issues are heightened, making a secure identity layer a critical component of any big data-related project.

Big Data Insights

Big data does not inevitably lead to big insights. The capture and storage of structured and unstructured data is only part of the challenge. Careful, thoughtful analysis is critical if businesses are to drive competitive advantages from big data. IDaaS providers are uniquely positioned to support businesses in this effort by providing insights on three key stakeholder groups:

  • Customers – IDaaS providers can help businesses understand customer behavior on websites or apps. With this data, marketers can gain a comprehensive picture of who is engaging, and what they value about the company’s product.
  • Partners – Similarly, IDaaS providers enable businesses to identify which partners or distributors are accessing a B2B portal and which are not. This can be an important way to assess the quality of specific partner relations, and gives the business the opportunity to take corrective action when required.
  • Employees – As employees use more and more applications and services to help them work, IDaaS providers are positioned to help the business understand who is doing what. Not only can this insight help preempt security and compliance risks, it can also highlight where IT budget can be most productively spent.

In the coming years more businesses with big data ambitions will recognise that only IDaaS can provide them with the level of security and insight they need to effectively harness the power of big data.

Here’s to the next five years.

About Graham Pearson, Okta Vice President, Australia
Graham is Okta's first Vice President of Australia, responsible for establishing and growing Okta's operations in the region. Graham brings with him more than 22 years of enterprise software sales experience, specialising in identity management. Prior to joining Okta, Graham spent several years working in distribution and channel marketing throughout Europe before serving as Regional Sales Director for Oracle in Australia. In this role, Graham was responsible for establishing the identity management and security divisions for Oracle in Asia Pacific.


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