Exploring the Continued Impact of COVID on the Identity Landscape

2020 required some fairly drastic changes to nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Along with individual challenges, businesses both large and small were compelled to adapt to a primarily remote working staff to maintain business continuity.

Although working remotely is not a new concept, the sheer volume of employees that spent a portion of 2020 converting their kitchen tables and found areas in their home into workspaces has increased exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown requirements. While most people have adjusted to working from home, there is still a great deal being done behind the scenes to make this all possible. Now, more than ever, Identity Access Management (IAM) is crucial to enable efficient business operations, and to protect against the increasing risks of security threats and identity fraud.

Working from home requires the majority of employees to remotely access corporate assets which then necessitates a reconfiguration of online security measures in order to accommodate these needs. In last year’s IDPro Skills Survey, one of the topics we explored was how the COVID-19 pandemic shifted priorities specifically for those in the Identity Management industry. Our respondents selected multi-factor authentication (MFA) as the top priority for employers during the next year and IDaaS (Identity as a Service) was a close second.  These are key technologies in enabling and securing a remote workforce, and in enabling business operations to remain flexible in response to demand.

In 2020, a Gartner survey of company leaders reported that 80 percent intend to allow employees to continue working remotely part-time after the pandemic, and 47 percent will allow employees to transition to working from home full-time. In a PwC survey of 669 CEOs, 78 percent agreed that remote collaboration will become the norm in the future and, since there currently isn’t an end date in sight, enterprises are placing much more attention on digital identity and are working to determine how to address the access and security needs of each employee.

These massive shifts have implications right across the business world and into wider society. From healthcare to government agencies, to enterprises and universities, nearly every industry has had to adapt in the era of COVID-19. Additionally, many remote students and educators require secure access from their homes and each individual must be assigned a specific identity to grant the appropriate level of access.

Though there have been significant obstacles, many companies are discovering that they can source employees globally and that the in-person network isn’t as important as it was once regarded. As a result of these circumstances, job opportunities have opened up for individuals that were previously not considered due to their remote location. On the other end of the spectrum, IT professionals face many challenges when determining identity elements for individuals they have never met while ensuring security for the company’s sensitive information.

As we continue to navigate the current and post-pandemic business environment, identity access management must be a priority as more and more staff work from home.

Have you transitioned to working from home or are you managing a team of remote employees? We would love to hear your stories! Share them with us on Twitter and LinkedIn and stay tuned for updates and industry news from IDPro. And learn more about MFA in our newsletter article

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