Our experience has shown us that the awareness and adoption of Identity and Access Management solutions are much lower in developing countries than in developed countries like the USA. Why is this so and what can be done about it?
There are various reasons for this phenomenon.
Developing countries, by definition, either engage primarily in agricultural business or are in the process of industrialization. This means that the majority of the workforce is engaged either on farms and mills or in production factories. When most of the businesses in a country have 95% of their staff as laborers, the need for IT systems is limited, and Identity and Access Management seems irrelevant.
Business in developing countries tends to function in a hand-to-mouth manner and operate without much of a plan and in a disorganized way. In other words, they are not very process oriented. Identity and Access Management systems are highly process oriented and trade brute force and human labor for intelligence and automation. Businesses in developing countries are at odds with such a mindset and as such do not think about IAM.
While breaches occur in every country, they make the headline far more often in developed ones. This has created a skewed perception that businesses in developing countries are not at risk.
Lack of skilled labor is another issue in developing countries. Skilled IT professionals that understand the importance of IAM and that can oversee the implementation and handle the day-to-day operations of an IAM system are limited.
The cost savings that accrue from IAM in developing economies is smaller. The elimination of IT helpdesk costs that developed nations can enjoy by employing an IAM solution is not as much in emerging economies.
There is a general lack of awareness as these countries do not have thriving economies and the focus of businesses is on survival and not on things like security.
Developing economies are typically high-growth economies. Basic IT infrastructure development to support the growth is the center of attention and not cybersecurity.
Nothing can be done about nations that still haven’t developed to a stage where IT has become essential. Countries that are still primarily agricultural simply need more time to mature.
Still, there are the ‘in-between’ nations that are still developing but have successfully started to industrialize. India and Brazil, for example, can benefit from IT and Identity and Access Management but are not yet perfect markets for it.
Here’s what can be done:
Start by offering solutions that require low IT skills and are largely automated. This takes the guesswork out of what is needed by the organization for its size. Offer all-in-one IAM suites that are powerful yet simple and cover all needs of companies with up to 10,000 users (as developing countries usually have a larger number of businesses with fewer employees.) Focus on Access Management (SSO and Password Management) which boosts productivity and security. Access Governance, while equally necessary, is not likely to be a priority to these companies. Try and introduce it after the benefits of Access Management are experienced.
Highlight benefits rather than features. The availability of a central user repository instead of fragmented user stores and improved user experience due to SSO and Password management are key areas that can be highlighted.
Emphasize the cloud model which removes complex installations, updates and upgrades. This makes the annual outlay small.
Sell by adding to infrastructure services through IT service providers.
Target industries that have higher cost benefits from an IAM solution – such as BPOs.
Look for niches and unconventional but common industry environments such as SSO to HPLC machines in the pharmaceutical industry.
Cross Identity CI is a prime IAM product for developing nations. It has a low cost, low implementation time, and does not require extensive IT skill or many IT savvy employees. It is powerful and compares (even surpasses) with any IAM suite on the market now. Since developing countries comprise largely of factories, our patented (and unique in the industry) SSO to thick-client apps is a boon for organizations in these countries. With this feature, shop floor machines, pharmaceutical production devices etc. can be included in the Single Sign-On system.
Developing nations require time and education to become mature markets for Identity and Access Management. Educational programs and – particularly – providing the right kind of solutions that require low IT skills and few IT personnel – are key to getting such countries to adopt IAM.