Research: Identity Management

Aug 31, 2011


Identity Management: SaaS, Mobility Add Urgency

Identity management is an essential concept: A much-publicized 2007 Microsoft study showed the average employee had about seven logins to remember—and that was before we piled on SaaS and mobile devices. Yet just 27% of the 438 business technology professionals responding to our 2011 Identity Management Survey say their organizations have what we consider comprehensive deployments, defined as company-wide internal IdM plus cross-domain use for outside vendors and partners.

No wonder people use sticky notes to manage user names and passwords.

For vendors, meanwhile, confusion reigns. In 2009, when we last surveyed readers on IdM, the topic du jour was federation and collaboration with external suppliers. Today, you have “bring your own identity,” or BYOI, not to mention cloud-based federation, hybrid IdM, identity access management, single sign-on and access risk management. These are all labels vendors have tacked on to one general technology and process set, working toward a single goal: to make sure people are who they say they are, and then give them the right level of access.

Vendors tell us they keep tweaking offerings in an effort to reduce costs and jump-start enterprise adoption, which seems to be stalled: A large majority, 81%, of IdM users have had the technology in place for more than a year vs. just 9% for less than one year. But as a practical matter, IdM systems seem to only add complexity and confusion and increase the need for customization, always a losing proposition for IT.

We’re really not surprised at the minuscule increases overall in adoption since our 2009 poll. The consumerization of IT and adoption of more SaaS-based apps for business use should spur a sort of IdM renaissance. Whether it will or not is something we’ll be watching. (R3020911)

Survey Name: InformationWeek Analytics 2011 Identity Management Survey
Survey Date: June 2011
Region: North America
Number of Respondents: 438

Research Report