Deciding who gets access to which assets within an enterprise is not a new problem; it’s been around since kings gave orders to put the castle drawbridge up or down for an oncoming rider. However, with so much enterprise information now residing online and in overlapping applications both inside and outside firewalls, with employees and contractors dispersed in offices around the globe, and with software as a service (SaaS) becoming an everyday part of enterprise architecture, the need for flexible and secure identity and access management has taken on new urgency.
A February 2008 report from Forrester titled "Identity Management Market Forecast: 2007 To 2014" predicts that the identity management market will grow from nearly $2.6 billion in 2006 to more than $12.3 billion in 2014 (the figure includes revenues from both software products and implementation services). Its authors, Andras Cser and Jonathan Penn, observe that "Even after years of healthy adoption rates, the IAM market is actually just beginning its trajectory toward broad adoption and deep penetration."
With both the supply of identity management solutions and the demand for the product offerings poised to accelerate in the near-term, it is instructive to review the problems that identity management solutions are meant to solve—and the obstacles that still remain along the growth path.