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Balraj Dhillon
February 15th, 2021

During 2020, we witnessed an unprecedented year of change in response to the global pandemic. The upheaval caused organizations to quickly pivot and accelerate their digital modernization initiatives. This widespread shift was in response to a dramatic increase in the remote workforce, that in turn, created a surge in demand for IAM solutions.

In so many ways, 2020 has taught us that making predictions can be a fruitless endeavor. Yet, I venture to predict that with the scope in which COVID-19 has touched virtually every business, it will have a long-lasting effect. With that said, here are five key IAM trends for 2021.

1. Remote working becomes the norm 

Continued support for a highly effective remote workforce will continue to be a priority in 2021. The shift to a work-from-anywhere environment has presented unique challenges for most organizations. Ensuring that the right employees have fast and secure access to data and applications, will continue to be a major focal point. Enabling quick and easy access also means IAM professionals need a secure perimeter, for a remote workforce using risk-based authentication tools.

  • Leveraging risk-based indexing can help organizations step up/down authentication levels based upon risk scoring and correlating that with user behavior analytics and AI.
  • Maintaining a remote workforce warrants a review of cybersecurity controls, as cybercriminals exploit gaps, with increased attacks aimed at remote workers.

2. Increasing pressures for privacy and security

The digital modernization shift that organizations embarked upon in 2020 to adhere to privacy legislation, should be top of mind in 2021. There are many data privacy and security requirements that need to be considered to support the increasing domestic privacy laws across the United States, such as California’s CCPA, and outside of the US, with GDPR across Europe, and CPPA in Canada. Existing business practices, and the implementation of consent privacy requirements, should be reviewed against these new requirements.

  • Increasing data privacy and security requirements means stricter compliance requirements and liabilities for organizations. As such, they should prioritize compliance management with effective cybersecurity tools that are tied to a strong CIAM strategy.

3. Citizen access and identity proofing

In 2020, we saw an unprecedented need for governments to enable citizens with digital access to services. In response to this demand, Simeio worked with national, state, and local governments to transform and enable access to diverse digital services. There are many examples, including secure access to healthcare data, such as COVID-19 test results, and the modernization of social assistance programs.

  • We see this trend continuing into 2021, and the need for citizens to verify and identify in a digital format, with digital access to many more government services. Leveraging tools, like Simeio’s Identity Vault (IV), will enable organizations to remotely prove identity using authoritative data, such as identity cards and biometric identifiers.

4. Increasing use of passwordless authentication

With a primary remote workforce continuing well into 2021, organizations and their IT teams will need to implement more robust IAM strategies. Leveraging tools such as passwordless authentication will help drive significant efficiencies for remote workers.

  • In 2021, organizations looking to leverage passwordless authentication should map out application policies and enforcement points, and leverage multi-factor authentication.
  • More organizations will look to adopt a passwordless strategy for their IAM deployments in 2021. This will result in reduced IT challenges associated with traditional password logins but will bring new challenges in delivering a frictionless access experience.

5. Enabling consent will become critical

The continued growth in digital modernization with CIAM will see an increasing need for organizations to manage customer data using enhanced tools, like consent management. We will see a tighter integration of consent management use cases with API gateways. This will evolve from simple implicit consent, to more complex fine-grain authorization use cases. These will require policy administration around user data. We will see more use cases around healthcare, where patients will look to delegate access to substitute decision makers or enabling parent and child relationships.

  • Overall, 2021 will continue to see a significant growth in IAM, and a continued focus upon providing cybersecurity safeguards with seamless user login and access experiences. Digital modernization initiatives will continue in full force, as organizations will continue to support their remote workers.
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