New Frontiers of IAM: Reaching Great Heights with 2024 Trends


The IAM market is undergoing a transition. There is a great need to consolidate siloed data and solutions so that decisions can be made in real time to ensure a seamless user experience.

In recent years, businesses have made considerable efforts and investments to achieve identity-first security. Although the journey has been marked by challenges, the industry has collectively recognized the paramount importance of elevating the management of identity-first security to all administrative levels.

Before 2021, the consolidation of Identity Access Management (IAM) systems and services was not seen as a must-have. The market was more inclined towards filling specific gaps in the identity and security infrastructure, and businesses focused on creating stronger point solutions to meet market needs rather than unifying all relevant products and services into a single solution.

Recently, two key factors have driven a notable shift in the approach towards evaluating IAM systems. First, customers encountered challenges in selecting appropriate point solutions, considering factors like compatibility, suitability, cost, and regulatory compliance. Consequently, the widespread adoption of diverse point products resulted in increased complexities in identity management. This complexity impeded system integrations and efficiency and played a role in the surge of discrete identity-based attacks.

Multiple IAM and cybersecurity leaders have also noticed the prolonged issue of identity and security tool sprawl, leading to difficulties not only in closing functionality gaps but also in security gaps. In the Information Systems Security Association’s (ISSA’s) ESG Research Report, a survey revealed that 84% of participants considered a product’s integration capabilities to be crucial. Notably, the significance of integrating security stack technologies consistently stood out in the survey, exemplifying a prevailing trend. Furthermore, 83% of respondents expressed that the future of interoperability would depend on well-established industry standards.

At present, the global IAM landscape is under transition. With strong point products in place, IAM and cybersecurity vendors can now focus on offering a unified solution that brings harmony between relevant IAM systems and services. Consolidation of all sorts is underway, such as cybersecurity consolidation, identity threat detection and response (ITDR), and ultimately, IAM consolidation. These trends are gaining immense traction as businesses race towards delivering a unified solution that meets new market expectations.

See also: New Report Highlights $14 Billion IoT IAM Market

Weaving identity systems together

Cybersecurity consolidation directly impacts the concept of identity fabric by weaving through the crowd of diverse IAM systems and transforming digital identity management.

While cybersecurity consolidation and identity fabric are distinct concepts, identity fabric can be said to have borrowed logic from cybersecurity consolidation. Cybersecurity consolidation is the creation of a single, cohesive security system via the strategic integration of various security tools. Identity fabric, on the other hand, resolves discrepancies between traditional identity infrastructure and advanced cloud-based IAM systems via the integration of existing solutions.

Identity fabric represents a paradigm shift in IAM that’s distinct from cybersecurity consolidation. Going beyond simple threat management, identity fabric addresses environmental complexities arising from IAM silos and hybrid infrastructure. A holistic approach, identity fabric prioritizes flexibility, scalability, and adaptability across diverse identity management systems, encompassing authentication, authorization, governance, federation, identity life cycle management, and privacy and consent management.

Rather than a standalone product, identity fabric is a platform that seamlessly manages identities across various services, accommodating emerging IAM technologies and envisioning a matured version of IAM. According to the 2024 Planning Guide for Identity and Access Management by Gartner, focusing on identity-first security means adopting identity fabric approaches in IAM architecture.

Identity threats warrant identity threat detection and response

In navigating an organization’s IAM journey, emphasizing an identity-first strategy is essential, and addressing the threats surrounding identity cannot be ignored. In 61% of all incidents, credentials are taken using social engineering or brute-force attacks. That’s why it is important to have a consolidated security solution that can actively deal with threats.

Identity threat detection and response (ITDR) stands out as a powerful approach for ongoing threat detection and response. Originally classified as a security discipline by Gartner, ITDR has evolved into a comprehensive security solution, gaining recognition as a distinct market. ITDR has become widely embraced because of its capability to collect diverse identity data from various systems, feeding it into advanced AI and ML systems. A robust and adaptive ML system acts as a digital security guard, proactively identifying unusual user patterns, detecting anomalies, performing behavioral analysis, executing prompt responses, and providing real-time feedback reports.

The influx of integrations requires IAM maturity and hygiene

In her talk, “The State of IAM Program Management, 2023,” Gartner’s Senior Director Analyst Rebecca Archambault said that enterprises, on average, have an IAM maturity score of 2.4 out of 5. Unsurprisingly, several studies show a drastic rise in identity and access-related attacks, with a simultaneous increase in integrations.

For instance, according to the IDSA’s publication, 2023 Trends in Securing Digital Identities, phishing (62%) and brute-force attacks (31%) topped the charts, accounting for the highest percentage of all breaches in 2023. On the other side of the coin, a survey by Cybersecurity Insiders revealed that, when looking to invest in an IAM solution, organizations prioritize ease of integration (72%), followed by end-user experience (62%), and product performance and effectiveness (61%). Organizations want higher-performing solutions and easier integrations that don’t compromise on security. This is where maturity models step in.

IAM maturity models are conceptual frameworks but with a strong potential for practical executions and integrations. These frameworks are formulated to encompass and assess existing IAM capabilities to identify gaps in organizational IAM strategies and facilitate an avenue for feedback and improvements. Since the characteristics of IAM maturity models are based on the requirements for IAM infrastructure management, they share the components of identity management, access management, and governance and risk management.    

As the IAM landscape rapidly evolves, organizations are harnessing advanced IAM maturity models to enhance their integration capabilities. These maturity models serve as strategic roadmaps, allowing organizations to pinpoint risks and weaknesses, focus on standardization and consistency, and align their IAM practices with overarching business goals.

Additionally, for overall IAM hygiene, organizations must:

  • Use IAM maturity models to evaluate the compatibility of IAM tools and services among various vendor solutions.
  • Follow industry standards to simplify integration efforts and boost interoperability.
  • Regularly reassess their IAM capabilities, seizing opportunities for enhancement.
  • Ensure accessibility by making necessary adjustments to integration strategies in response to evolving needs and technology.

Unlocking IAM trends in 2024

While the connection between ITDR and identity fabric is still emerging within the IAM market, understanding their individual goals, and correlating them within the bigger organizational picture is key. On the flip side, IAM hygiene, though crucial, often doesn’t get the attention it needs.

Many organizations adopt tech trends to meet market expectations. While this approach is not inherently bad, it can lead to inconsistencies in various IAM areas of the organization. For a more comprehensive approach, C-level executives, IAM managers, and cybersecurity experts should collaborate on their organization’s IAM strategy. By leveraging identity fabric, secured by identity threat detection and response, and maintained through IAM maturity hygiene, organizations can achieve an all-encompassing IAM solution.

Ronak D. Jain

About Ronak D. Jain

Ronak D. Jain, Growth Specialist at ManageEngine, is a tech enthusiast with a keen interest in cybersecurity. In his role, he actively engages in product research and discovery, shaping IAM and cybersecurity strategies. Ronak is committed to developing frameworks that are aligned with the evolving cybersecurity landscape. His exploration of identity threat detection and response, zero trust, SASE, and global data compliance laws contributes significantly to ManageEngine's cybersecurity initiatives. Outside of work, Ronak enjoys reading, writing, and gaming, reflecting a balanced approach to personal and professional growth.

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