Hybrid cloud and digital modernization offer enterprises both huge benefits and significant challenges. Prevalent among the latter is the often severe fragmenting of user identities and data that are spread across on-premises and cloud environments. In addition, organizations can face increasingly complex administration and compliance processes when they attempt to commonly manage legacy, cloud-based, and modern identity solutions.
IBM Verify (SaaS) is a new suite of solutions and services designed to reduce these headaches, simplify the manageability of user identities in enterprise hybrid clouds, and enhance digital modernization efforts. Let’s consider IBM’s new offerings more closely.
Identity consolidation dreams meet identity fragmentation reality
Though they can contribute to identity fragmentation, hybrid cloud, and digital modernization have also brought the shortcomings of traditional identity and access management (IAM) solutions into clearer focus.
For years, enterprises and vendors worked to create idealized central directories and platforms to simplify IAM. That might have been achievable if businesses had chosen homogenous, single-vendor solutions and IT stayed firmly within the data center. But as IT heterogeneity became commonplace and computing migrated across business processes and infrastructures, the dream of centralization was quashed.
Similarly, digital modernization offerings typically leverage no/low-code technologies and services that cannot simply replace or be easily integrated with mission-critical legacy systems and platforms. In fact, attempting to do so can spark complications ranging from single points of failure to increased security risks to serious business disruption. Moreover, many modern IAM solutions are unable to meet the demands of enterprise regulatory compliance requirements and employee/user role management.
The result? For large organizations, supporting IAM typically relies on a hodgepodge of systems designed for specific on-premises systems and hybrid cloud platforms. That, in turn, makes IAM difficult to manage, maintain, assess, and correct, thus increasing potential breakdowns, security risks, and process failures.
IBM Verify and the value of Identity Fabrics
Is there a way out of this IAM quagmire? IBM believes so. The company calls its approach an Identity Fabric: a solution that is designed to enhance and integrate existing IAM processes by weaving together existing, often on-premises legacy identity infrastructures and multiple cloud providers’ modern IAM solutions into a unified whole. The goal is to reduce IAM complexity while providing an environment supporting consistent, robust, enforceable security authentication flows and visibility.
Good enough, but how do IBM Identity Fabric technologies impact the new IBM Verify (SaaS) solution? According to the company, the offering relies on an Identity Fabric foundation that includes:
- IBM Security Verify Directory – A standalone, authoritative, scalable vendor-agnostic directory that can access, manage, and enforce identity authentication rules and guidelines across on-premises systems and external hybrid cloud environments.
- IBM Application Gateway – A highly scalable product-agnostic gateway designed to bridge gaps between legacy and modern apps and systems. It also supports no-code integrations, thus enabling legacy apps to utilize modern/advanced authentication functions while helping to reduce risk and improve compliance with industry and government regulations.
- IBM Verify Trust – A dynamic, adaptive, risk-based identity authentication tool powered by AI technologies. Designed to enhance the security of any IAM solution without altering or overhauling core systems, IBM Verify Trust guards against account takeover (ATO) attacks by leveraging data from user behavioral biometrics, prior authentication results, account history, global intelligence efforts, network performance metrics, and device risk detection capabilities.
- IBM identity orchestration tools and services – According to IBM, orchestration acts as the “connective tissue between identity siloes” while also reducing strains on IT resources. In essence, identity orchestration enables clients to create highly customizable workflows with little-to-no-code technologies that work across on-premises and hybrid identity solutions.
These elements underlie and make IBM Verify (SaaS) a solution that enables enterprises to reliably simplify the coexistence between legacy and modern apps, consolidate isolated identity siloes, reduce identity solution proliferation and vendor lock-in, and simplify identity solution migrations.
So, what conclusions can we draw about IBM Verify (SaaS) and its foundational technologies and features? First, it clearly highlights the company’s longstanding support for and creation of innovative, enterprise-class hybrid cloud and digital modernization solutions. Second, it reflects IBM’s understanding of and leadership in offerings that support its clients’ practical needs and business-critical processes. Finally, IBM Verify (SaaS) underscores the company’s continuing focus on developing security products and services attuned to the current and evolving needs of global business organizations.
In a sense, IBM is the ultimate “been there, done that” enterprise vendor. The company was at ground zero in the era of centralized data center-centric IT and has negotiated technological, cultural, and market changes and challenges that stymied or sank many of its competitors. IBM was also an early proponent and continuing creator of solutions for both hybrid cloud and digital modernization. Overall, it should come as no surprise that the company’s long history of IT innovation and correctly anticipating evolutionary market and client developments underscores and adds to the value of IBM Verify (SaaS).
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