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Bendik Berntsen

Identity - The enabler of the cloud?

The cloud computing market is expected to grow from $67B in 2015 to $162B by 2020. This is hardly a surprise, as more and more services are being offered via the cloud and consumers are taking full advantage of this as they allow them to be more mobile. With the amount of users of cloud-based apps and software skyrocketing, security becomes a key issue for IT departments.

To resolve it, a significant investment of time and resources will be required. This might explain why cloud-based security services will balloon into $9B market by 2020, twice the amount recorded in 2016. However, the most difficult security issue will be the management of identity in the cloud. This is so because identity has become the enabler for "everything" in the Cloud. Let’s take a closer look at how identity has turned into the most important issue when speaking about the cloud environment:


The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect on May 25th, 2018. One key component for achieving compliance with this new regulation is identity. Only through proper identity authentication will companies be able to avoid data privacy violations and breaches within their own networks as well as for data flows with third-parties. Even privacy by design, an approach focused on privacy and data protection from the start, will rely heavily on identity and access management systems to ensure that data is safe and GDPR compliant. Ultimately, in order to continue to use and offer cloud services legally, companies will have to implement secure identity management and authentication processes.


Marketing strategies have been shifting from targeting masses to focusing on individuals over the past years. While the GDPR poses a serious challenge to this approach, the trend will most likely continue one way or the other because it is more efficient. Personalized marketing relies heavily on user data and information to create tailor-made campaigns and messages aimed at specific users. However, in order to know who you should target and how, you need to obtain information from a digital identity. This makes identity management essential for successful individual marketing.



Nowadays, most modern companies are taking advantage of a several cloud-based services such as Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and Hubspot as they offer more flexibility.  As employees are becoming more mobile than ever, identity in a cloud environment is becoming the key to applying security measures and policies that create a safe environment for your devices, applications, and information. The result of our increasing dependency on cloud-based solutions is that it becomes more difficult to cope with identity and access management challenges such as orphan accounts, sufficient monitoring, proper approvals, toxic combination of access and adequate control over privileged accounts.

The future

By 2020, 60% of all digital identities connected to enterprises will stem from external identity providers. A stark contrast to today where less than 10% come from third-party providers. So how should you deal with identity management? By following the best practice: modern application development authenticate towards the Azure Active Directory (AD). This counts for SaaS applications like Microsoft Office 365 too. By enabling applications this way and using the global service of Azure AD, you are able to make applications available through the internet. No matter which device you are on or where you are located, it is the person and his/her identity that grants you access or not. Finally, keep in mind the identity and access control should never be trusted to IT alone - there should always be an HR system or department which are the "main" resource for creating and maintaining user access and identities.

If you want to find out more about how to overcome cloud identity challenges in your organization, download our Cloud Journey Guide below.


Bendik Berntsen

Account Manager

Bendik is an Account Manager at Innofactor in Norway.