Identity Management - A Brief Overview from an Indian Context
A BITS Pilani alumnus, Sagnik also holds a PhD in Computer Science & Engineering UC San Diego. Prior to joining Okta in 2021, he has successfully a wide range of roles & responsibilities at Google. Additionally, he has also been the Advisor for many organizations such as Forbes Technology Council, Clari, Karat and Bessemer Venture Partners. In a recent conversation with Siliconindia, Sagnik Nandy, President, Chief Development Officer and Head - Product, Engineering & Design, Okta shared his insights on the current identity management scenario, its importance in today’s context and various other aspects. Below are a few key extracts from the exclusive interview
How do you see the identity management solutions landscape in India lately?
These are very exciting times for identity management space in India, wherein companies are enabling users to connect to any technology securely. Currently, India has one of the largest user bases in the world - be it in terms of both workforce and consumer user base. Currently, six percent of the country’s workforce belongs to the IT sector, and this is expected to be grow to 20 percent by 2027. As a result, there is a tremendous proliferation of devices, wherein many of the users are mobile-first/mobile-only. Additionally, there have been a lot of tech advancements happening lately that are unique to India such as Aadhar or DigiYatra. As a result, the relevance of identity management in India is now more than ever.
Throw some light on some of the emerging tech trends in the identity management space.
Technology landscape has evolved rapidly over the last years. While identity management was primarily focused on on-premise applications earlier, today, most of these applications have moved/in the process of being moved to the cloud. The kind of resources too have evolved and expanded significantly today - be it servers, databases, microservices, IoT devices, service accounts or any other infrastructure. Thus, it is imperative for organizations to ensure that access to this wide range of resources is granted to the users in a secure way for only the required time period and in a seamless manner. Adding on to all these is the artificial intelligence technology which has been completely transforming the way businesses function across almost all industries.
Explain the importance of identity management in today’s dynamic business landscape.
On the workforce identity front, there are two major reasons that emphasize the importance of identity management. Firstly, identity is the glue and connecting layer in today’s world where there is massive proliferation of devices, SaaS applications and infrastructure resources. In every technology stack, every workforce user uses a large number of tools to build their overall tech architecture. Identity is one aspect that puts it all together seamlessly and enables the organization to function efficiently leveraging all these tools & technologies to their maximum potential. Secondly, identity is the new security perimeter in today’s post-covid world which is increasingly moving towards hybrid and often remote. For each user, there is a unique set of resources that they have access to. Thus, enterprises must form dynamic perimeters based on who the user is, what he/she has access to, and their context.
From the consumer identity perspective, there has always been a tension between user experience and privacy. Identity is acting as a true enabler in this regard by enabling businesses to strike a balance and facilitate both user experience and data privacy. As a result, it is critical for organizations to know who their customers are and which of your products they are using. However, this has to be done in a secure manner without invading the consumers’ privacy and complying with all necessary regulatory norms.
Suggest a few key aspects Indian businesses must keep in mind while adopting identity management solutions.
There are four key aspects you must pay close attention to while selecting an identity management solution provider. Firstly, make sure that the identity management solution provides the robust and state-of-the-art security – right from phishing resistance to making sure to have the right password-less solution. Second most important aspect is the flexibility of the solution, wherein it must stay aligned with your business needs and not the other way around. The third aspect is neutrality to work equally well with all service providers and facilitate the linkage across all of them. The last, but most important factor to keep in mind is the Ease-of-Usage. Many organizations have the misconception that the more sophisticated the solution is to use, the more it is secure and effective. I strongly believe that every organization must ensure to opt for a solution is capable of providing the best of both worlds – being extremely secure while simultaneously offering a delightful user experience that is streamlined, seamless and easy to use.
How do you expect the identity management in India to evolve in the coming years?
Currently, India is at the forefront of a majority of the tech advancements that are happening worldwide. Since the rate of digitization in our country is higher than any other nation, this presents a host of opportunities for data security and identity management solutions. Going forward, artificial intelligence will no doubt be a key component of any identity management solution, given the ever increasing number of use cases and identity threats that we are witnessing in India lately.
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