Results of a new study show European CIOs, CISOs and IT Security managers are looking at consumer identities, improving customer experience and operational efficiencies as part of their planning but believe digital transformation could only achieve its benefits if security is improved.
Identity and access management (IAM) is seen as key to meeting the security challenges of digital transformation with 93 per cent pledging to maintain or increase spending on IAM in the next three years.
Companies with less than 5000 employees are matching large enterprises with over 10,000 employees in the drive to digital transformation.
The findings, contained in a study by market research and strategy company Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), show a significant awareness among senior IT decision makers of the need for IAM solutions that can function securely, while fulfilling the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
When questioned on what were the primary goals of their digital transformation strategies, 48 per cent of respondents to the study – entitled "Identity and Access Management in the Digital Age" - said threat or breach mitigation was very important.
This was placed just higher than improving customer experience or driving costs savings and efficiencies – both expected digital enterprise priorities for the businesses surveyed.
However, the lack of security awareness among employees could prove to be a serious risk as businesses transform and embrace opportunities provided by the Internet of Things (IoT).
Of the respondents, 46% said that they believed the lack of training or understanding of IAM policies or processes would be the main cause of the next IAM related breach. In the digital age, the insider threat will need to be managed ever more securely, according to the study.
Meanwhile, shadow IT is emerging as a serious threat to creating a secure IAM solution as companies digitally transform, with 43% saying it was challenging, and 22% very challenging.
Other highlights of the study, supported by KPMG, Computacenter, SailPoint, CyberArk and VMware include:
- 92% of respondents will maintain or increase their IAM investment in the next three years
- 65% of respondents see consumer identities and applications as an important factor in their next IAM investment
- 57% are considering a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) solution for their next IAM investment
- 77% said their organisation is already undergoing digital transformation.
Paul Fisher, Research Director at PAC, said: "Our study has revealed an encouraging awareness of the need for digital transformation of business by our representative sample of senior information and security executives across Europe. They are aware of the business benefits that digital transformation presents.
"They are also acutely aware that IAM solutions will need to step up to the plate if new identities from consumers, and even those of things and sensors, are to be securely managed.
"There is a recognition among our sample that in the rush to digitally transform, the all-important security factors could be overlooked by other lines of the business. Identity and access management will move centre stage as the main defence against cyber-attacks in the digital age."
"Some things won't change. Most breaches today are the result of simple mistakes by employees clicking on rogue links in emails, downloading malicious attachments, or simply not following security policies and training lessons."
"The ability to harness the power of identity is pivotal to effective digital transformation," said Manoj Kumar, Director, Cyber Security, KPMG in the UK. "It is imperative from this study that management of identities across customer and enterprise populations is at the heart of digital transformation and that cyber threat and breach mitigation can be an integral enabler rather than an impediment in the journey."
PAC interviewed senior IT and security executives at 200 businesses in Europe in March 2016 as part of the study. The executives are employed in banking, insurance, manufacturing, retail, services, telecoms, transport and public sectors and are based in the Benelux and Nordic regions, Switzerland, France, Germany and the UK.