Identity Governance Blog

What Is Identity Fabric?

By Stephen Lowing, VP Marketing at Omada

For Identity and Access Program managers seeking to streamline their access management processes and enhance access governance and compliance, having Governance for Identity Fabric is becoming the preferred means to think of this. In this post, I will explain what Identity Fabric is, reveal the benefits of implementing it, and suggest how to overcome barriers to a successful deployment.

An Identity Fabric is an organization’s identity and access management (IAM) infrastructure and includes a blend of modular IAM tools for hybrid and multi-cloud environments, supports any human or machine identity, provides advanced analytics, and supports standards-based identity integrations.

 

Understanding Identity Fabric

As technology portfolios expand and identity management complexities grow, it is critical to know why more organizations are looking to Identity Fabric to comply with regulations and industry standards. Organizations need a strategy to move beyond their costly legacy identity governance and administration (IGA) systems to control operational costs and security risks without hindering business growth. Identity Fabric provides a solution that preserves valuable resources while enabling the organization to dedicate more attention to critical strategic priorities.

Defining Identity Fabric

Identity Fabric enables any organization to extend identity governance to any application, including third-party applications and mobile devices, providing a seamless and frictionless user experience across diverse environments from on-premises, hybrid, and SaaS deployments.

How does Identity Fabric work?

Identity Fabric provides the environment for an organization to take a modular approach to managing IAM by effortlessly connecting and configuring a wide range of applications, minimizing effort, eliminating the need for customization, and doing so with a best-of-breed Identity Governance solution. Furthermore, it unifies information from the security landscape through bi-directional context exchange to enhance visibility into risk and compliance. This approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the identity landscape for effective risk management.

What are the components of Identity Fabric?

There are four essential components:

  1. Governance Everywhere. Extend identity governance to any application including third-party applications and mobile devices for a frictionless experience.
  2. Seamless connectivity. A configurable framework that connects best-of-breed Identity Governance with a wide range of applications and adapts to hybrid and multi-cloud environments with no coding.
  3. Enhanced security. Integration with modular IAM tools that supports distributed multi cloud identity governance to dramatically reduce the risk of a data breach.
  4. Intelligent automation. Machine learning and artificial intelligence that supports faster human decision-making and automates repetitive processes like authentication and authorization.

 

What are the benefits of Identity Fabric?

For IT infrastructure heads looking to reduce costs from legacy operations and increase operations efficiency, Identity Fabric delivers a myriad of direct benefits. These include:

  1. Benefits to operations. When onboarding new applications and identities, an Identity and Access Manager can deploy an Identity Fabric solution to achieve adoptions and operational change more easily, while maintaining continuity of infrastructure and operations. This ensures successful project execution across the entire organization.
  2. Benefits to security. Identity Fabric implementation minimizes security incidents and breaches. The privacy-enhancing features of Identity Fabric protect customer data and enables CISO/CSO and their teams to demonstrate compliance capabilities for meeting regulatory requirements and industry standards.
  3. Cost benefits. Implementing Identity Fabric can help in phasing out the costs of legacy systems. Identity Fabric architecture reduces manual workload for IT and Line of Business (LOB) to empower business agility while staying in control. By eliminating identity silos and delivering real time risk assessment, it relieves pressure on your helpdesk and other operations, reducing incident resolution activity and freeing them up to perform critical tasks. For senior stakeholders, Identity Fabric helps their organizations to achieve fast time-to-value of the deployment.

Streamlining access management processes

Identity Fabric streamlines access management by centralizing identity-related data and processes. This makes functions like access control and risk-based authentication much easier and faster to perform across the entire organization. The result is a significant reduction in manual workload and efficiency improvement across the board.

Minimizing security risks

An Identity Fabric architecture creates an ideal environment for CISOs/CSOs seeking to minimize security risks and achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards while protecting customer privacy.

As organizations evolve, their legacy systems struggle with controlling user roles and access rights; resulting in individuals often possessing more privileges than necessary for their roles. This exposes the organization to heightened risks of identity-based attacks. Identity Fabric enhances security by implementing robust multi-factor, authorization, and policy enforcement mechanisms to minimize the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

Eliminating legacy operations costs

One of the cost-saving benefits is the elimination of legacy system costs. Identity Fabric enables Identity Governance for all users and applications, across all IAM tools without coding. In addition to eliminating development costs, it reduces maintenance overhead and scales easily to new applications and identities.

The big question for many organizations is “How can we ensure a smooth transition from legacy systems to Identity Fabric?” Omada has extensive experience working with senior stakeholders to develop integration strategies and implement best practices for decommissioning legacy systems and helping organizations deploy an Identity Fabric for achieving cost savings and fast time-to-value.

 

What problems does Identity Fabric solve?

Fragmentation and identity silos

Identity Fabric provides a 360-degree view of all identity-related activities to manage identity across multiple clouds and ease the constraints on productivity caused by fragmented identity silos.

Security threats

Strategies like risk-based authentication, multi-factor authentication that Identity Fabric provides reduces the risk of insider threats and external hackers capitalizing on excessive permissions to engage in identity theft, exfiltrate sensitive data, and disrupt critical business operations.

Complexity

Identity Fabric unifies various IAM tools and systems (e.g., IGA, PAM, CIEM, DAG, ITDR, etc.) enabling an organization to manage Identity Governance from a single place. This simplifies the management of all IAM systems and streamlines operations across the organization.

Scalability and future-proofing

As the provisioning and deprovisioning of user access become more intricate tasks in an organization, Identity Fabric simplifies monitoring of user behaviors, managing directory services, and the accommodation of more users, devices, and applications. The configurability and connectivity that it offers makes the solution flexible and adaptable so it can evolve with new regulations and emerging security threats.

 

What is the difference between Identity Fabric and Zero Trust?

A more appropriate way to think about Identity Fabric and Zero Trust is in the context of the former enabling the latter. Zero Trust is one of the three Identity Fabric immunity principles, along with granting only the minimum access required to perform tasks. Zero Trust is a security model based on the principle of least privilege and maintaining strict access controls by not trusting anyone by default, even those already inside the network perimeter. Consequently, it is an approach that is set to “default deny” and that sees everything and everyone as a threat. The secure access model shifts from the starting point of trusting but verifying to not trusting and verifying continually. The model does this by actively governing permissions and continuous monitoring access.

The Zero Trust model aligns with the capabilities that are central to Identity Fabric. These include the ability to regularly review permissions, require approval workflows, implement separation of duties, and tightly scope user roles, in addition to continuous monitoring and the use of strong forms of authentication in support of least privilege It places identity at the center because all the verification is about the “who” aspect of security.

Another misconception is the contrast of Identity Fabric vs identity management. There is no contrast, but there is comparison. Identity management is the enabler mechanism for compliance with regulatory requirements and helps to mitigate the risk from cyber threats such as attacks on privilege. By comparison, Identity Fabric manages digital identity and access rights across all systems, applications, files, and data.

 

Conclusion

At its core, Identity Fabric is an infrastructure purpose-built to integrate modular IAM tools, support various identities, provide advanced analytics, and facilitate standards-based integrations for hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Through robust identity governance, seamless connectivity, enhanced security, and intelligent automation, Identity Fabric is central to maintaining infrastructure and operational continuity, demonstrating compliance, enhancing security, and reducing complexity and cost. Omada provides a leading solution for organizations seeking to adopt an Identity Fabric approach.

Contact us to learn more and see how Omada can help future-proof your IGA program.

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