Identity Management Day, aimed at raising awareness about the importance of having good identity hygiene, sharing identity best practices, celebrating identity practitioners, and supporting the next generation of cybersecurity talent, was a huge success this year. Thanks to the Identity Defined Security Alliance and National Cybersecurity Alliance for co-sponsoring it. The virtual conference held on April 12, 2022 had a great lineup of sessions with over 20 speakers from varied backgrounds – vendors, practitioners, industry analysts, industry alliances, and investment firms. With almost 200 identity management champions – both individuals and organizations – expressing their commitment to improving the security of digital identities and an engaged audience there was a lot of activity leading up to and on April 12th. It was my honor to chair the Identity Management Day.
Identity has never been more paramount. As organizations accelerate their digital and cloud transformation, managing risk and security in a work-from-anywhere world remains challenging for enterprises and SMBs alike. Today, identity has become the first line of defense — and the first step — to protecting organizations and adopting a modern Zero Trust security model. The recent headlines made securing digital identities the top priority in every security program. Several recent breaches were due to poor identity management practices and could have been avoided through following basic identity management best practices. Businesses in the digital world can only run smoothly when there are strong identity programs securing their assets and enabling their users. Organizations should prioritize incorporating identity best practices in their business processes, enforcing them continuously, and educating their users, users of all kinds, on the criticality and the benefits of adhering to these practices.
An important aspect of Identity Management Day was to recognize and encourage the end-user organizations and individuals who dedicate themselves towards promoting identity management best practices and making identity management and security an enabler to business operations while reducing risks. To do so, we had 4 categories of awards:
- Identity Management Project of the Year – Enterprise
- Identity Management Project of the Year – SMB
- Best Identity-Based Zero Trust Initiative
- Identity Management Leader of the Year
The first three award categories were designed to recognize organizations that have implemented an identity management and security project that exemplifies the use of best practices while providing overall value to the business. The last category is aimed at recognizing a leader who evangelizes and progresses identity as a critical component of security initiatives in their organization. Winners were selected by a panel of judges from the IDSA and NCA.
There were a number of strong nominations. Among them the following were the winners:
Allstate for Identity Management Project of the Year – Enterprise
Allstate initiated a project called Manage My Access to transform how they handle user authentication and access management, improve overall security posture, end reliance on legacy systems, and solve user experience issues. They followed identity management best practices from ideation to production and went live within five months. They achieved their goals, enhanced the user experience, and realized multi-million dollar cost savings for Allstate.
West-Mark for Identity Management Project of the Year – SMB
West-Mark has modernized its password policy. Following NIST cybersecurity guidelines, West-Mark transformed how password resets happen through continuous monitoring and appropriately enforcing password resets. They strengthened security, enhanced the overall user experience, and secured public sector contracts.
Adobe for Best Identity-Based Zero Trust Initiative.
Adobe launched a project called Zero-Trust Enterprise Network, or ZEN, to balance a pleasant user experience with security requirements for its employees in the era of remote work. It enables them to utilize certificate-based authentication without needing to remember complex passwords —And utilizes both a centralized identity provider and endpoint detection platform. With minimal investments, ZEN allowed Adobe to achieve tighter security and an enhanced user experience while reducing the need for a VPN with simpler authentication methods.
Raj Bhatia, Executive Director Identity and Access Management, Comcast for Identity Management Leader of the Year.
Raj initiated and led Comcast through an identity transformation plan to serve its immediate needs and long-term strategic goals. Under his guidance, the Comcast team built a national platform called “MyComcastAccess” to help over 190,000 employees and centrally manage identities at scale to accommodate future growth and possible M&A activities. Raj has made it his passion to share his experiences and lessons learned in the Identity Management community by mentoring and speaking at various industry events. He sits on several Customer Advisory Boards and is exceptionally forward-thinking and business-oriented while keeping identity management best practices in place. He believes that identity management is about people and enabling business.
It was my pleasure announcing the winners during the Identity Management Day virtual conference. Congratulations once again to all the winners!!
About the Author: Ravi Erukulla is a long-time identity and security enthusiast and is particularly passionate about simplifying the way identity and security products are built and adopted. Ravi brings two decades of industry experience in identity, security, and technology solutions. In his current role as VP of Analyst Relations and Customer Advocacy at Saviynt, Ravi is responsible for driving analyst relations, industry alliance partnerships, and customer advocacy & engagement. Prior to joining Saviynt, Ravi led product management and engineering at Oracle and SAP for Identity and GRC products. Ravi holds a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of South Carolina.