5 Ways to Prevent an Identity Governance Deployment Failure

identity governance administration (IGA) deployment

Identity governance and administration (IGA) solutions have a reputation as being difficult, costly, and lengthy. They also have a reputation for deployment failures, costing enterprises even more in time and money as they scramble to correct the problem or find a solution more suitable to their business. At the same time, identity governance is necessary to maintain identity compliance, manage employee roles, and handle the vast volume of access requests.

So why do identity governance and administration deployments fail? And how can your enterprise avoid those pitfalls? Here are the 5 things enterprises should keep in mind:

1. Determine What Your Enterprise Needs: Identity Management or Identity Governance

Throughout Solutions Review, we prompt enterprises to ask vital questions before selecting an identity solution for themselves—whether that be IAM, biometrics, or identity governance. These questions aren’t to be considered lightly; they’re essential to determining what your enterprise needs most to best secure their identity information, credentials, and permissions.  

For identity governance, it comes down to questions of size. Is your enterprise too large for a traditional identity access management solution? Will automation of identity processes such as onboarding, offboarding, and access requests relieve a significant burden on your cybersecurity team? Is your enterprise now mandated to demonstrate identity security for industry or regulatory compliance? Or do you just need better password management and authentication policies? The answers to these questions can help you determine whether your enterprise needs an IGA solution.

On a related note, don’t rush to answer these questions too quickly because you feel you know the answer. Consult with your cybersecurity team and evaluate where they need the most assistance. Studies show they are overburdened as is, so adding a solution they may not need will only contribute to their stress.

2. Ensure Your Identity Processes Work Before You Automate Them

Part of an identity governance solution’s appeal is its automation capabilities. Through IGA, it is possible to automate the entire identity lifecycle of your users, as well as provisioning and workflows. But there is a catch to this innovation: automation only works on processes that already work. Lots of enterprises deploy an IGA solution believing it will solve their internal workflow problems, only to find that they still need to perform manual interventions and customizations to keep processes on track.   

Therefore, before deploying an identity governance solution, observe your identity processes as they are—where do they break down? Where is manual intervention necessary as of now, and why? Once you make these determinations, you can work with your team to solve and streamline these identity issues. Then an IGA solution can facilitate the now fixed processes.

This might be a more lengthy investment in terms of time than you may have expected, but you will save your enterprise far more in the future by taking a proactive approach. Remember, IGA solutions are not bandages to existing problems—sooner or later, you will have to confront them. Make sure it is on your terms.

One last note: it is always easier to maintain and manage fewer roles, even if you have more employees than roles. It is often better to have some roles overlap in their permissions than make a new identity with unique permissions for every single user.

3. Don’t Expect Too Much Too Quickly

Identity governance takes time before it truly begins to deliver value. Some enterprises try to implement an IGA solution just before a major compliance deadline, not giving the solution enough time to deploy across their myriad systems. This tactics leaves them vulnerable and often without the proper level of compliance without realizing it.

To prevent this failure state, deploy an IGA solution well in advance of any deadlines, and have clear objectives and benchmarks to determine the solution’s success as it rolls out. And the key phrase here is “rolls out.” Going from sitting to sprinting is a mistake in exercise, and is as much of a mistake in identity governance. Start by deploying your identity governance solution where you feel you need the most automation and compliance, determine what works and what needs improvement, and then deploy them on other systems.

4. Remember to Support Your Identity Governance Solution

If you imagine that you can just set an identity governance solution and forget it, you need to think again. Even with automation, you will need your cybersecurity team to evaluate that your IGA solution is working properly, prepare for any issues, and update the automated processes as your users’ demands change. They will be necessary to implementing patches and communicating issues with your solutions provider. Neglecting proper support renders even the best IGA solution little more than a balm for your real problems. Give your team time to adjust to your new solution and to monitor it.  

5. Remember The Crucial Question: Will It Scale?

You can’t be sure where your enterprise will be in five years, or even next year. But of course you can make predictions. When deploying your IGA solution, consider what you might need in the future: how your industry might change its compliance requirements and how your business might grow. Will your IGA solution need more customization in the future? And if so, how will that customization affect the other processes under its sway?

The future comes for us whether we want it or not. Picking an IGA solution is an excellent way to prepare for whatever that future holds. Just make sure you know what will be required of you when you do head down that road.

You can learn more about Identity Governance and Administration solutions in our 2018 IGA Buyer’s Guide.

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner