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Identity Access Management Is Set for Exploding Growth, Big Changes — Report

New research says IAM spending will grow on the back of affordable subscription services, spurred by cloud and mobile adoption, IoT, and continued remote working.

A study out this week shows that global spending on identity and access management (IAM) solutions is on pace to rise by 62% over the next five years. A big chunk of that growth will be built on the back of subscription services, which analysts say are quickly accelerating to be the dominant model of purchasing IAM solutions — they're expected to make up the vast majority of the IAM market by 2027.

Published by Juniper Research, the study today reports that IAM spending will rise from an expected $16 billion this year to $26 billion in 2027. The firm’s analysis found that small businesses are spurring a lot of this growth. Until relatively recently, everyone but the largest enterprise organizations were shut out of many parts of the IAM market because the comprehensive suites were expensive and difficult to deploy. 

As SaaS and cloud subscription services have proliferated in the space, smaller firms increasingly have found IAM within their reach, and this study says to expect this trend to snowball. Whereas the subscription model makes up 60% of the market now, in five years the researchers forecast it will make up 94% of all IAM spending.

IAM Spurred by Modern Realities

Meanwhile, other, broader IT trends such as the explosion in cloud computing, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, mobile computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and more geographically dispersed workers are all spurring greater IAM services spending to solve an acute need for saner access control.

"There are more devices and services to be managed than ever before, with different requirements for associated access privileges," according to Juniper's analysts. "With so much more to keep track of, as employees migrate through different roles in an organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage identity and access."

According to Naresh Persaud, managing director in cyber-identity services for Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory, the market has been especially jumpstarted in the last 12 to 18 months as organizations work to accommodate a broader range and larger scale of remote-work situations.

"During the past year or so, demand for IAM has increased considerably, driven by the need to support work from home or hybrid in-office structures demanding remote access," Persaud says. "And, increasingly, more end users are engaging with organizations virtually. As such, we're seeing a real increase in organizations that want to leverage identity access management as a channel through which they can build customer relationships digitally."

This trend is especially driving cloud-based IAM, says Sushil Madhukar, chief principal at consultancy TechDemocracy.

"Companies are looking to adopt cloud-based solutions that can support and manage security and risk management, scale and manage remote working, and bring visibility to distributed identity management," Madhukar says. "The future of IAM will continue down this remote working path, but with an even bigger emphasis on ease of use and digital identities. Passwordless authentication and SaaS-based and -driven identity solutions will become a key focus in the near future."

Subscriptions to the Fore

According to Persuad, many organizations of all sizes still struggle to stitch together all the various IAM subscription services (or legacy on-premises ones, for that matter), which means that the next big challenge for firms will be in putting together the right talent to manage the entire IAM portfolio. This will likely spur further spending, and for resource-constrained organizations will likely drive them to embrace managed services specifically with IAM expertise to handle the talent gap.

"Many organizations are working to rationalize applications and modernize or replace parts of their IAM tech stacks — or, if those stacks are functioning well, scale solutions to cover broader footprints of their apps with IAM for better workforce experience and data protection," Persaud says. "As IAM program sophistication advances, so do the needs for talent to run and operate those programs. The result: IAM talent has become even more scarce than it already was. Leveraging more advanced technologies and solutions and managed services are just a few of the approaches organizations can consider to help contend with that talent gap."