How PIAM Is Creating New Opportunities for Installing Security Contractors

Physical identity and access management systems can deliver unified identity management capabilities across an IT ecosystem, including physical security.

A new class of security software products called physical identity and access management (PIAM) is transforming the way in which the enterprise security function supports critical processes. These products enable multiple departments and teams to engage and collaborate through on-boarding, badging and access management.

The products work by connecting into the many different site-level physical access control systems (PACS ) in order to provide a consistent enterprise-level approach to managing trusted identities for employees, contractors, visitors and even suppliers, tenants and vendors.

While customers implementing these solutions still need support from physical security resellers for server setup and installation, they now also need a second set of deployment capabilities for all required system integration and data migration tasks. This is more than the traditional physical security reseller has typically provided.

In addition to integrating into the established PACS, these solutions often connect to other parts of an enterprise’s IT ecosystem. This can include HR systems, user directories and training management systems, as well as external services for running background checks or identity verification. In this way, the PIAM software works with existing hardware and infrastructure to collect, collate, store and analyze data from multiple security and non-security solutions.

Today’s industry-leading PIAM products provide a single administration console for centralized management of these tasks, as well as a kiosk for visitor management and a self-service portal that allows end-users to submit and track requests.

Because they are deployed at the level of the enterprise and consolidate data from a broad set of systems, PIAM solutions can provide reporting and analytics capabilities that enable organizations to mitigate security risks while combatting known and emerging threats. They can even provide the common bridge between physical and IT security systems that enable a single credential to be used to access doors, networks and data without having to purchase separate, stand-alone products.

Much of the value of PIAM solutions comes from the unique benefits that they provide in a number of key areas. First, they stem the flood of internal emails by supporting streamlined workflows around requesting and granting access. This also prevents errors arising from data being re-entered manually at each stage in the process, and enables the organization to operate more efficiently.

The establishment of well-defined, system-enforced procedures for issuing and revoking badges reduces the risk of unauthorized users having access to active credentials. Enterprise-wide audits of access privileges can be managed through the system, ensuring that the organization is compliant with internal and regulatory policies.

Rapid Growth Forecast for PIAM Market

In order for their customers to realize these benefits, integrators must help drive change across the organization. Often this involves working with customers to define a strategy and policies for the way in which the organization will manage the multiple different classes of identity, from employees to contractors to visitors. This requires the integrator to develop a broader understanding of the different systems (HR, user directories, etc.) that store identity attributes, and the role these systems play in the different stages of the identity lifecycle.

Integrators also must define best practices for processes and procedures around identity lifecycle management. In short, integrators must evolve their position as trusted advisor to cover a broader range of subject areas than they’ve traditionally addressed.

Although the PIAM market is in its infancy, it is forecast to undergo rapid expansion. The industry analyst firm IHS Markit projects that global PIAM market revenues, excluding Asia Pacific and Africa, will more than triple to nearly $500 million by 2021.

Like software products in many young markets, PIAM solutions are evolving rapidly and deployments are rarely “plug and play.” Integrators who sell these products typically must work closely with their customers to understand the nuances of their identity management requirements, as well as systems integration and data migration needs.

Not all integrators will want to invest in developing these skills at this stage in the PIAM market’s evolution. However, those that get in on the ground floor stand to benefit greatly from becoming early leaders in providing this new generation of solutions. These integrators become indispensable to customers working to address an area that will be of key strategic importance to them for many years to come.

Julian Lovelock is Vice President of Quantum Secure, Identity & Access Management Solutions (IAMS), with HID Global.

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