An identity and access management (IAM) protocol is a critical component of your company’s overall approach to security, and putting one in place has an effect on your bottom line. Although initial IAM implementation requires investing time in assessments and audits, purchasing new tools and infrastructure, and reworking security policies and procedures, the identity and access management ROI and operational benefits of an IAM solution are worth the effort.
Estimating the ROI of IAM
As technology has improved in response to the increasing complexity of managing user identities and access permissions in modern business networks, the ROI of implementing an IAM policy has increased. According to Gartner, a company with 10,000 employees can realize an ROI of approximately 300 percent and save $3.5 million over three years simply by switching to automated provisioning. If changing just one aspect of how your company handles IAM can have such a big impact, imagine how much you could save by choosing the smartest tools for your protocol as a whole.
The total cost of IAM implementation is made up of two factors:
• Direct costs, including the platform or service you choose, any physical infrastructure required, increases in IT overhead and the hiring and training of new employees.
• Indirect costs and benefits, such as securing identities, better compliance, reducing IT administrative workloads, lowering breach-related expenses, minimizing risk for customers and avoiding errors.
To determine the approximate IAM ROI for your business, make a list of the relevant direct and indirect costs of the type of IAM solution you wish to implement. Compare these to your current costs to visualize where making improvements can save you money and time. Gartner estimates automated provisioning alone can reduce security administration involvement by 14,000 hours per year and free up 6,000 hours of help desk time, so it’s likely you’ll find several areas in which IAM can improve productivity and reduce total business costs.
Your IAM Budget
Calculating ROI on identity management solutions and access tools provides a basis for your company’s security budget. IAM is just one aspect of a robust security protocol and should be treated as an important piece of the puzzle when allocating funds.
Start with an assessment of your company’s current situation and needs, and consider:
• The number of users
• Effect of expected growth on the user base
• Types of applications and data to which users require access
• Structure of workflows
• Efficiency of the sign-on process
Make this list the basis of your search for an IAM solution, comparing features and costs to find the best value. While total cost is an important factor, especially for smaller businesses operating on tight budgets, cutting corners on IAM can significantly reduce its efficacy and the expected ROI. According to Henry Bagdasarian “cost savings from reduced breach risk and increased productivity must be factored in when assessing the total cost of IAM tools and platforms.”
The total cost of IAM implementation includes the initial setup and ongoing maintenance. An upfront investment in new IT infrastructure or a customized integration solution may be required, but these one-time costs should pay for themselves in the savings realized elsewhere. Ongoing expenses include administrative costs, the upkeep of the system and monthly payments for IAM tools. Factor in extra to cover the adaptations and updates you’ll need to make as your company grows and IAM technology changes.
Your IAM Roadmap
A blueprint for IAM implementation is essential if you want to maximize ROI. Beginning with an assessment of your current IT and security architecture and an understanding of future needs in light of your business vision, you can lay out a roadmap for IAM success.
With this plan in front of you, it becomes easier to see the steps required and to make adjustments to your budget calculations. Gaps in the strategy become clear, and you can change your approach accordingly to prevent delays in the implementation process.
To create your IAM roadmap:
• Perform an audit of your security protocols and solutions
• Assess the current network structure, identifying critical components
• Determine where legacy systems need to be updated or retired
• Map user lifecycles
• Map critical workflows
• Determine the minimum number of privileged accounts required
• Consider the best way to handle access, such as role-based or risk-based controls
• Look for a streamlined sign-on approach
• Identify compliance requirements
Use this information to move forward with a cost-effective IAM implementation plan. Delegate tasks to employees appropriately, hire third-party professionals as needed and track progress so that you stay within budget and meet the desired deadline.
Preparing your business for the costs and logistics of implementing a strong IAM policy allows you to maximize both the benefits and the ROI. With the customizable, scalable tools available from a variety of providers, you can build a personalized solution tailored to your company’s current circumstances and be ready to address future access needs.