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As the curtains have closed on the Gartner IAM Summit 2024, it’s time to reflect on the insights and discussions contributed by 971 participants (give and take a few), in or in between the 105 sessions, workshops and round tables, and the 43 vendor exhibitions, all centered around the rapidly evolving field of Identity and Access Management (IAM).

It once again was a melting pot of the ideas, trends, and forecasts that will shape the IAM landscape in the coming years. One of my key takeaways was investing in value rather than cybersecurity value, which in turn should be measurable e.g. in terms of business value benchmarks, outcome-based metrics, and governed by protection (or performance) level agreements. This underlines the importance of aligning IAM strategies with overarching business goals and objectives, which in my opinion is key.

Identity as the cornerstone

Identity emerged as a cornerstone of security, forming the bedrock of Zero Trust principles. As organizations increasingly prioritize identity hygiene and infrastructural robustness, IAM assumes a pivotal role in safeguarding critical assets and data. Apropos data, leveraging identity data as the "new oil" to enhance the performance of the IAM “machine” (i.e. discipline) was also discussed as critical priority for IAM practitioners.

Evolving landscape: Continuity and adaptation

While many topics discussed at the summit were continuations from previous years, they were updated and adjusted to reflect the evolution of the IAM discipline in 2024. One ongoing topic on my list, was the absence of an Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) Magic Quadrant, which was retired 5 years ago due to perceived maturity. I for one, don’t agree that the technology has matured yet. It’s still evolving, and the introduction of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is just one example.

Leveraging generative AI

And talking about GenAI, it also emerged (surprise) as a topic of much interest. Gartner predicts that organizations embracing GenAI over machine learning technologies will experience considerable efficiency gains in their IAM initiatives. However, the implementation of AI in IAM requires careful consideration, and selecting the right tools and strategies to maximize its potential is essential. AI is an evolutionary approach rather than a revolutionary one and will depend on seamless IAM integration.

Emerging trends and challenges

Other key topics discussed at the summit were emerging trends such as machine and workload identity management, decentralized identity, and API access control, all highlighting the multifaceted nature of contemporary IAM challenges. Addressing technical debt, harnessing the power of language models for policies and refining access modeling, but also themes such as organizational culture, identity programs, operating models, and identity-first security emphasize the holistic nature of modern IAM practices.

In conclusion, the Gartner IAM Summit 2024 offered a wide spectrum of the trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping IAM. In an increasingly digital world, it's imperative to embrace innovation, foster collaboration, and adopt a forward-thinking approach to IAM. By staying abreast of emerging technologies and best practices, organizations can effectively drive sustainable value as well as mitigate risks and enhance their security posture through Identity and Access Management.


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