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Is the Industry Headed Towards IAM as a Service?

According to industry analyst Gartner, more than 80% of software vendors will change their business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription and flexible consumption by end of 2020, and, by 2022, 40% of global mid-size and large enterprises will use IAM as a service that will fulfill most of their needs, up from 5% today.

This is real food for thought when it comes to determining the best delivery model for the industry. It seems that not only will 40% of businesses use a strictly service-based model in a mere two years from now, but 80% of IAM vendors are going to cater to this. Why is a service-based model preferable, and what would a good offering look like?

IAM encompasses many domains and offers many functions to both boost security as well as improve organizational efficiency and bolster bottom lines. Whether one looks at Single Sign-On (SSO), Password Management, or Identity Governance and Administration(IGA) functions like Access Reviews and Automated Provisioning, IAM has something to offer almost every business. Revolving around one common backbone: access rights. Hence, a given IAM environment must blend all these different modules in such a way that they play nicely with each other.

But, most IAM solutions today present potential buyers with some common challenges.

Getting approval for an IAM solution can be very difficult. Since most solutions are purchased as licenses, they are billed as capital expenditures, which requires approval from higher executive levels. While industry analysts predict the adoption of IAM to increase considerably in the near future, it is still at a low rate. Most businesses consider IAM a luxury rather than a necessity. Meaning getting approval is even more difficult. Paradoxically, though the Covid influenced business climate has accelerated the need for security, it has also transformed spending behaviour as companies put budgets on hold to wait and watch how the situation pans out.

Bundled IAM solutions have a low feature utilization rate. This is because organizations typically buy the solution for just one or more features, say, for single sign-on, and never explore the other features. The cost of bundled solutions is high, and therefore there is major wastage involved. Observing this trend, many approvers shy away from purchasing IAM solutions, and those that do, experience very low ROI.

Implementation timelines are long: Even amongst cloud-based IAM solutions, implementation of solutions can take months to be fully functional. This problem is exacerbated exponentially with traditional solutions, which can take upwards of 6 months to a year for full implementation. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced business environment, such long implementation times simply won’t do as they result in very low ROI.

Different vendors have different strengths, while trying to offer bundled solutions. For instance, some industry leaders that are renowned for their single sign-on modules offer poor password management capabilities. This results in a situation where different facets of IAM must be purchased from different vendors. Since all IAM solutions deal with access rights, the different solutions must definitely work well with each other. The cost of purchasing multiple license solutions is also very high.

The present COVID-19 situation has been devastating for many businesses. Budgets are at an all-time low, and finding answers that are cost-effective for IAM challenges is all but critical.

These are some key reasons that delve into why service-based, pay-as-you-consume models are a great solution and are going to see high adoption in the near future.

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