6 Highlights from Gartner IAM Conference 2017

December 7, 2017


Gartner hosted the 12th Identity and Access Management (IAM) Summit in Las Vegas last week, which is likely the largest annual gathering of IAM Professionals in the world with more than 1,700 attendees. The conference format is aggressive with two and half days of presentations, roundtables, plenary sessions, and vendor demonstrations. And that is just during the daytime hours! The evenings are packed with a wide variety of evening events hosted by vendors that both inform and entertain. The Emcee and conference Host was Brian Iverson, Gartner’s IAM Research Director, who also delivered multiple presentations and keynotes.

Here are 6 themes that headlined this year's conference. 

1. IAM is a Program, not a Project

Organizations often treat IAM as a tactical technology play, when in reality it has strategic implications that drive new efficiencies and support the customer channel as well. Key components to consider in an IAM program are:

  • Access Management (& Provisioning)
  • Authentication
  • ID Proofing
  • Fraud Detection
  • UEBA

2. IAM is converging and changing

  • Employee vs/and Customer
  • New Models of Identity:
    • Social (centralized/ federated) to Blockchain (decentralized/distributed identity)

3. Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) will continue to evolve through Dynamic (Federated or Distributed) Identifiers, Biometric “Liveness”, and Adaptive Analytics (UEBA)

4. Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is complex and takes more time and effort than most organizations realize in order to get it right. The following best practices were discussed:

  • RBAC needs to focus on both the Person and the Resource
  • There are three types of Roles (Think: Hats, buckets, and marbles)
    • Business (Title)
    • Provisioning (Multi-app)
    • Resource (app or service specific)
  • Bottom-up analysis of user entitlements are typically the most efficient use of resources

5. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning is now automating access controls decisions and risk management (UEBA).

6. Distributed Identity built on Blockchain and Digital Trust Frameworks are closer to introducing radical changes to legacy IAM Programs (yet, still on the hype curve).

“The digitization of society (not just business or the enterprise)… was a clear underpinning for many of the sessions.”  - Mobile Identity, Biometrics, Cloud and Micro-services Hot Topics at 2017 Gartner IAM Summit

In closing, we would like to extend congratulations to Justin Taylor for recently joining Gartner as IAM Director of Research, IAM, and Authentication.  I look forward to seeing his leadership, contributions, and influence at Gartner.



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