What is the role for identity as businesses in APAC transform to a new normal way of working?
A recently commissioned LastPass by Logmein report entitled The Value of Identity in the Digital Environment, which was produced by IDC, found that building trust with customers by implementing improved security measures and offering a better e-commerce experience by enhancing security are the two highest priorities for CEOs across Asia Pacific. Trust was recognised as the single, most important ingredient necessary to gain loyal, profitable customers as the pace of digital transformation increases in the Asia Pacific region. According to IDC’s Asia Pacific Future Enterprise Benchmark research, over 50% of companies in the region are in the middle to advanced stages of their transformations, which is remarkable.
However, we also saw that in many companies the IT security department is often discounted as a partner in building better trust and so Identity Management is not prioritised as one of the key business goals for 2020-2021. In APAC, companies need to see the value of security more and invest in often underfunded IT security teams by budgeting for better Identity Management solutions which engender trust through better security aimed at protecting customer data.Therefore, the importance of threat identification cannot be overstated.
The research conducted by IDC saw only 23% of APAC organisations plan to deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users accessing sensitive data and 30% of APAC organisations were considering or piloting identity federation plans – the linking of a person’s single authentication across multiple systems. However, federated identity has yet to come of age in the mature IT markets of Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
We also have seen a compounded effect through more remote workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, IT security teams were struggling to adequately manage levels of access and security at scale. 60% of APAC employees were found to want remote access but only 40% had access to it. Banking and financial services industry (BFSI) employees were affected the most, where 72% demand remote access yet only 32% have deployed it.
Remote working is now the new normal for many companies in APAC, so a crisis like Covid-19 shows that businesses need built-in secure flexibility, which is why enabling employees to work from anywhere and keeping the business running smoothly are top on the agenda for every business leader today. Therefore, IT leaders need to address security challenges which range from how to maintain control over corporate network access from employees managed and unmanaged devices, to addressing the complexities of authentication and compliance, while adopting a strong cyber risk governance policy.
Once addressed, having a unified identity assists business by optimising user and customer experience to engender trust across all stakeholders, while managing identity at digital scale to enable digital transformation. It also means that companies can integrate identity management into their operations to support operational excellence, manage enterprise risk and improve productivity without compromising on security.
Often, I see that many businesses see that their security investments focus too heavily on easing customer fears around data privacy, which is important of course, but entirely misses the need for security and monitoring of the employees who will be accessing data. This is where Identity Management solutions such as multi-factor or passwordless authentication and confined data access can provide multifaceted value for an organisation.
A faster drive for digital innovation is therefore reshaping the global economy in APAC and although times are uncertain for the majority of businesses in the region, they still have the potential to transform entire economies. To support this evolution, companies need to consider increasing their spending on security during digital transformations. The overall acceleration of digital transformation efforts will require companies to adopt more sophisticated identity management technologies and processes and so that needs to be a consideration for many now.
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