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Most European IT security leaders plan to maintain or increase spending on identity and access management (IAM), a survey has revealed.
The study report polled senior IT and security executives at 200 businesses across Europe, including the UK, in March 2016. It was conducted by market research and strategy company Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) in collaboration with global analyst firm KuppingerCole.
The results showed a significant awareness among senior IT decision-makers of the need for IAM systems that function securely while fulfilling the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
IAM was seen as key to meeting the security challenges of digital transformation, with 93% pledging to maintain or increase spending on IAM in the next three years.
“It was surprising to see just how much senior IT security leaders understand about digital transformation,” said Paul Fisher, research director at PAC.
“This study reveals they are a lot less siloed and a lot more enlightened than previously thought.”
The study showed that European CIOs, CISOs and IT security managers are looking at consumer identities, improving customer experience and operational efficiencies as part of their planning, but believe digital transformation can only achieve its benefits if security is improved
“The fact that IT security leaders are thinking about consumer identities shows they are thinking outside of the security box. It also shows they are seeing it as a real issue and it is good to see that some suppliers are beginning to think the same way,” said Fisher.
Read more about identity and access management (IAM)
- IAM is seen as being part of IT and not business, and investments tend to be aimed at mitigating one-off incidents, says KuppingerCole analyst Matthias Reinwarth.
- Why identity and access management is taking centre stage in companies’ access policies.
- Companies should consider their identity and access management (IAM) systems as a likely point of attack, according to SailPoint.
- Identity and access management of employees is so complex that many companies have faltered when it comes to securing programs for trusted partners.
Lack of awareness a serious risk
He said the public sector could lead the way regarding consumer identities, citing the UK Government Digital Service’s identity assurance service Gov.uk Verify.
When questioned on the primary goals of their digital transformation strategies, 48% of respondents said threat- or breach-mitigation was very important.
This was placed just higher than improving customer experience or driving costs savings and efficiencies, which were both expected to be digital enterprise priorities for the businesses surveyed.
However, the report said the lack of security awareness among employees could prove a serious risk as businesses transform and embrace opportunities provided by the internet of things (IoT).
In the digital age, the report said the insider threat will need to be managed ever more securely, with 46% of respondents indicating that the lack of training or understanding of IAM policies or processes would be the main cause of the next IAM-related breach.
Meanwhile, shadow IT is emerging as a serious threat to creating a secure IAM system as companies digitally transform, with 43% saying it was challenging; and 22% very challenging.
Identity and digital transformation
The study – sponsored by KPMG, Computacenter, SailPoint, CyberArk and VMware – also showed that 65% of respondents see consumer identities and applications as an important factor in their next IAM investment; 57% are considering a managed security services provider (MSSP) for their next IAM investment; and 77% said their organisation is already undergoing digital transformation.
“Our study has revealed that IT security managers are acutely aware that IAM solutions will need to step up to the plate if new identities from consumers, and even those of things and sensors, are to be securely managed,” said Fisher.
“There is a recognition among our sample that in the rush to digitally transform, the all-important security factors could be overlooked by other lines of the business. Identity and access management will move centre stage as the main defence against cyber-attacks in the digital age.
“Some things won’t change. Most breaches today are the result of simple mistakes by employees clicking on rogue links in emails, downloading malicious attachments, or simply not following security policies and training lessons.”